It’s time to bring this up to date. I see that it has been a full two years since I wrote something about this house and our living in it. The frequency fell away because, well, the house went on doing its thing and we went on doing ours.

We went through last winter and, unlike the previous one when I had to start raiding the shed containing the next winter’s wood, we got through well. A less harsh/cloudy winter – and better wood. I say “got through”. That gives the impression that it was a struggle and a worry. It wasn’t. There was plenty.

That old shed – which was built of the old pallets and lumber left over from building this house itself – itself became firewood. Burning this was fine – except that I was riddling the ash to extract the nails. The ash – not much ash on a daily basis – gets put in a metal bucket. Metal, in case of accidents. See later! But I don’t want a lot of nails in the compost heap, which is where the ash goes. Relatively recently I read that it was better to put ash in the compost heap than directly on the soil in the garden, especially in winter, as the rain has washed away the goodness by the time the plants start growing, so there’s no benefit. Put it in the compost and it will still be there when the compost is spread on the soil later.

Moving on as this is not a gardening column – there’s not much ash because dry wood, burnt properly, doesn’t leave much ash. The chimney gets swept every year (of course) in the summer and the sweep is always very complimentary about how clean the chimney is. #smug

So the built-out-of-old-bits-of-wood-with-a-tarpaulin-over-it shed became firewood. Most of the wood which had been in this shed/store, moved – well, I moved it – to the ready-use store for the next winter. But of course the rest of it, and the deconstructed shed itself had to have somewhere to go. I had to be able to keep it dry and where was any other wood to go? And for the following years(s)? So we build a purpose made wood shed. Yes, with opposed slats outside and inside the studs, alternating with gaps! This is the sort of thing I am told you find in Scandinavia. It keeps the rain out but lets the wind blow through. I’m really quite proud of it, even if it doesn’t look terribly log-cabin-ey.

Purpose made woodshed

And it works! The wood dries. And as the photo shows, there’s a lot of wood there for winter 2021-22 already. With most of my other occupations cancelled by coronavirus, there’s been plenty – too much – time to cut/split/stack wood.

Oh yes, the accident. One day, some few years ago now, there must have been unseen (obv) charcoal embers in the ash. And it was shovelled into a (plastic) bucket and put back again in the back lobby (what our architect was pleased to call the boot room – it’s the “airlock” for the back door). Not that long later, the lobby was full of smoke, the plastic bucket was melting and flames were beginning to appear. There are smoke sensors throughout the house – but not in the lobby. It was all put out very quickly and easily with a quick jug of water, fortunately. The smoke alarm went off very shortly after the door to the lobby was opened of course, the noise of which makes it difficult to remain calm (get the jug of water before you open the door) and is quite bad for the blood pressure! But a salutary lesson. It could have turned into a bigger fire before the smoke got to the sensors. We now have a metal bucket – so if the worst happens and the embers have a new lease of life there will be smoke but no fire.

Next post will be revisiting the Solar PV. Things have moved on in the electric world and it’s time to revisit this.

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