They think it grows on trees…

I get my annual delivery of firewood about now and of course once delivered, it has to be stacked (neatly of course, we have to keep up with the standard of the French neighbours) to dry out for use the following year. I usually get through about 5 or 6 cordes of wood (depending on how cold/long the winter is) and that is quite a lot of wood! A corde is roughly 1 x 3m3, but this varies according to the type of wood, where you live and often who is supplying it. The locals around here are quite obsessed with wood – it is still one one of the more economic ways of heating, but wood prices are now increasing along with all the other fossil fuels as more people are using it to heat their houses instead of fuel, gas or electricity. Trying to explain that to gite guests isn’t always easy as there are so many trees around here I think everyone assumes it is free. In fact I pay more for wood here than my father does in the UK, 160€ per corde this year, for mainly oak (la chêne) with a little beech (du hêtre).

Anyway, the delivery fortunately ‘coincided’ with the visit of OH, who is an expert wood stacker (over 6 years experience now), so as a tribute to him, here are some photos showing How to Stack a Woodpile Properly:

Of course you also have to be careful of the snakes – there are vipers about and they often hide in the woodpile. I’m not sure if they are protected in France as they are in the UK, but my old neighbour shoots them if he sees them, regardless of any legal protection the snakes have. He took great pleasure in showing us one of the dead ones he shot earlier this year – the trick is if you see one, look again the next day in the same place, at the same time and it will be there, and a sitting target, so to speak. Apparently snakes are creatures of habit, very much like my neighbour.

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Making the most of the free food provided by nature