Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Been getting through the two woodpiles at an alarming rate recently. The 'short woods' woodpile is in the shed and consists of logs that are one-third of a metre long that fit the little upstairs (telly watching) stove. The other pile is stacked against the outside wall of the shed and is made up of half-metre lengths that fit the big kitchen stove. Seems like only yesterday that Georgie and I stacked these two piles in the glorious sunshine of a September day. Amazing how time flies, even though it drags a bit in winter.

Managed to corner young Hadrien on Sunday afternoon and told him of my dwindling wood supply. Having little better to do, he suggested we connect up Christian's (his dad) trailer, grab a chainsaw and set off for Christian's massive woodpile up in nearby field. The woodpile there is made up of one-metre logs stacked in a row about thirty metres long and two metres high. Provides Christian with a bit of much-needed income. A 'cord' (about the size of four mini van fulls) of wood costs about 150 euros (140ish quid). Reckoned I needed a quarter of a 'cord' of 'thirds' and same again of 'halves', making (if my maths is correct) a total of half a cord.

Hadrien set to work cutting the first batch of logs in half while my task was to load them into the trailer. If you've never stood next to an 18-year-old in full cry with a massive chainsaw, my only advice is this: don't. The boy's a maniac. Gloves? No. Goggles? No. Headgear? No. Ear plugs? No. Common sense? None. Due care and attention? You're joking. Needless to say, I stood well clear until the flurry of activity was over. Only then did I slowly start to load the trailer, with, of course, the boy-devil's assistance. Being the wuss that I am, I made a point of wearing my wood-handling gloves. Told Hadrien he should do the same but he pooh-poohed the idea (the wearing of nancy-boy gloves is obviously frowned upon out here in redneck country). Interestingly, later that evening, Isabelle had a bit of a tough time removing a splinter from one of Hadrien's fingers so neighbour Colette was summoned with her scalpel and tweezer set. I observed the fifteen minute operation with due smugness, his screams just about covering the continued ringing in my ears from that confounded chainsaw.

Logs loaded, I slowly drove back to the house and spent about an hour unloading and stacking the half metre lengths stash. Then returned to the field where Hadrien had finished cutting the third of a metre lengths, miraculously without cutting himself off from one of his gangly limbs. Loaded up. Bit of a problem getting out of the field. Evening dew, wheelspin. So the juvenile brain donor had to push car plus trailer plus logs while I steered and shouted encouragement. Eventually we made it, thanks largely to my superb throttle control and excellent choice of line (Hadrien would, no doubt, claim otherwise). As we exited the field, with light rapidly fading, Isabelle turned up in her Audi, followed us back to my place and gave us a hand unloading. Almost pitch black by the time we finished.

As you may have noticed, Christian wasn't around. Out all day on another chasse (hunt). Still hadn't returned by 9pm (presumably drinking with lads so he's in the doghouse) when I left Isabelle's after enjoying an aperitif and being entertained by Hadrien's blood-curdling screams. Went back home and slung a few more logs on the fires. Sod's law - Monday dawned warm and sunny. Snow all gone. Maybe I won't be needing that new stash of wood after all. Hah! Some hopes! If I remember correctly, it snowed at Easter a couple of years ago. More than likely have to repeat Sunday's exercise in about eight weeks' time. Ooh, fun and games.

Georgie working hard on the woodpile while I look on last September...

Shrinking woodpile, snowy apple tree, Sunday's pink dawn...

(Still can't figure out how to load pics in horizontal rows.)


  1. Just been informed that this blog isn't accepting comments. Shall now attempt to give it a try...

  2. Hmm..., seems to have worked.

  3. Sounds like a lot of work. But some great pictures

  4. Let's see if does, been a bit quiet here.