By: Blonde Two

I have the feeling that most people go foraging for blackberries or other fruits of the forest. We Blondes were lucky enough recently to take part in a feast of foraged sea vegetables on the Isles of Scilly. The other day though, I went foraging for something not so tasty. I went foraging for fire wood.

Family B2 have a wood-burner. We have already lit it twice this year and it makes for wonderful, snuggly afternoons and evenings. The thing about wood-burners is that they need wood. We have never paid for our wood because we have some lovely friends and neighbours who keep us supplied. We are also lucky enough to have a copse nearby.

This copse has been the scene of many happy family moments; we used to walk Harry-the-Jack in it, Six-Foot-Blonde has hammocked in it, it is the home of our garden-visiting badger and I have plants in my garden grown from cuttings of copse plants. I also used to send my boys up to find the perfect yule log on Christmas Day (mainly to keep them out of the kitchen).

I am not sure about the legality of copse-wood-gathering. I only take what is on the ground and there is plenty left for the beetles and bugs. I do know that the commoners’ right to take wood is called ‘estover’ but have no idea if I have that or not.

Whichever way, finding, gathering and sawing wood is a great way to get a bit of outdoor exercise. I am not an expert but here are ten Blonde tips:

1. Take an Ikea bag (other Swedish Furniture brands are available) but remember to clean it out before your husband needs it for shopping.

2. Don’t attempt to saw big logs, you will get fed up half way through.

3. Take a folding pruning saw like the one below. They cut on the pull and push strokes.

4. Never take live wood or even any with leaves still attached.
5. Choosing rotten wood is tempting because it is quick to saw. Don’t, it will also take less time to burn.
6. You don’t have to saw all the way through every log, try a half cut then a judicious stamp with a boot.
7. Wood weighs more than you think it does, don’t over fill your bag.
8. Don’t do axing on your own.
9. Try to cut so that wood will fit into your fireplace/stove. It is frustrating to have to do it again when you get home.
10. Stop sawing/axing for a while to appreciate the trees, the quiet and the birds.

I’m afraid that if you are anything like me, you will only gather enough for one evening’s cosiness. But consider this, you won’t be paying any VAT on your new fuel!