We burnt so much of the stuff this winter that we had to order more, first time we’ve been caught out. However much work the wood is, I wouldn’t be without our wood stove in the living room and my old wood cooker in the kitchen – I’d much rather burn the food on this than anything else! For all you eco-warriors, this is carbon neutral as its from a managed, replanted wood!
Stacking the wood, had me pondering on Austria and its wood. I think the country runs on it – well most houses are built from it, a lot are heated, and its a major industry, as someone said, our first class wood goes to make poor quality furniture for Ikea. We get a mixture of Pine, Ash, Willow and Birch, there’s very little Oak or Beech here at this altitude. Most of the woods are managed and all our owned and form some of a family’s wealth. The amount of wood you had stacked outside was seen as an indicator of your wealth, we even see it now where it’s beautifully lined up outside someones house but has been there so long, it’s all grey and rotting – there must be a parable in that! One of the houses we looked at in Rauris, we were told the tale of how an old woman had lived there, but in the middle of winter her nephew saw the windows were all frozen – she had no money for wood and was ashamed to ask for help.
It’s so managed here, every branch is owned and the more responsible owners replant straight away after felling. There was a huge storm here in 2006 and there are places on the hills where all the trees went, and most have been left to re-generate, but apparently if this has not happened in ten years they have to replant. The trees are cut into metre lengths and then stacked for a year, then cut into smaller lengths and either sold or re-stacked and dried more. We buy ours from a local farmer as ‘fertig’ in that its in little bits, dried and ready. He delivers that to us, dumps it in a heap and we have to then re-stack inside, or some do it outside with a cover. Then we have to carry it indoors. It must be the most handled and expensive fuel in the world when you consider how much carrying of the stuff and waiting for it to dry goes on before you can burn it.
I’ve certainly not got the Austrian wood stacking preliminary certificate yet,but I’m getting there!