Its logging time ! There is something very satisfying about making log stacks - part of the pleasure it is to do with storing away the logs for the winter ahead, like a Jay caching acorns. Its to do with the satisfaction of being organised and set up for the months of cold. But I also like wood stacks as objects too, they have an aesthetic aspect, all those clean cut ends facing out. 

Last year I experimented with making round stacks, having watched a couple of Youtube videos and they worked out pretty well, for first attempts that is. The trick is to maintain an inward slope on the logs from the get-go, laying the first layer on a line of logs laid in a circle. I really like their shape and have got rather attached to them standing like primitive dwellings in the clearing. I let Sweet Chestnut dry out for at least two years before using the logs, so I won't have to demolish them just yet.

        We also burn Birch and this only needs a year to dry if split. Left too long it begins to rot quite quickly. We use Birch on our open fire and Sweet Chestnut in the wood-burner as it has a tendency to spit. This means at least two separate log piles and remembering each year which pile is ready for the fire. In a way this adds to the pleasure, and it means trying to be a bit systematic about processing so the piles can be accessed easily even when the ground is very wet. I am also thinning Scots pine and use some of this for burning at home but the logs burn quickly and with lots of heat, so I use them sparingly usually mixed in with the Sweet chestnut.

        My Birch log stacks are pretty ordinary so far but they are very pleasing on the eye when freshly cut, the bark side always on top. Maybe next year I will build a circular stack with the Birch. The worst thing about logging is the strain on the back from all that bending and lifting but my life has been improved with a simple tool - a pickeroon. Its basically a spike on the end of a stick, that you stick into a log and use to lift it. Its really good for loading cut logs from the ground straight into a pick-up and for dragging the cords to the cutting area. If I was being paid to advertise I would tell you that its a Fiskars XA22 Pickeroon (or Sappie), but I am not, so I won't !

My favourite splitting axe and the Fiskars XA22

the business end of a pickeroon.

My set-up for logging with a load being prepared for delivery

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