My favourite spot during this Covid lockdown winter has been our ‘sun trap’ wood stack at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. Here I happily saw and split logs and enjoy the company of birds. Friends tell me I should get my husband Rob to do the work, but I say….NO WAY! 🤬 This work keeps me fit, both physically and mentally. The wildlife is simply a bonus.

Blue Wrens arrive in a family group of seven or eight whenever I start up my little electric saw. The males have yet to develop their bright breeding colours, but they are still adorable. Their tinkling chirps remind me of little girls giggling together.

Blue wren perched on my electric saw.

The sweet fellow below is perched on my splitter about to enjoy an ant’s egg.


The ants are large enough to worry me a bit, though thankfully they are not aggressive. Some are quickly picked off by the opportunistic wrens.

Wheels of uncut wood stacked in the open have rotted at the centre and been colonized by an amazing variety of creatures; ants, spiders, beetles, native cockroaches, lizards etc etc. I must say I feel a bit guilty at ruining their refuges. My associate Editor Des was intrigued by this young huntsman, which thankfully scuttled off to a new abode.

Recently I split open an old stump I’d been using as a seat and destroyed the home of a funnel web spider.


The Eastern Yellow Robins take up their characteristic sideways perch on the stack itself, keeping a look-out for bugs. They are so curious and friendly. Only on the rare occasions that a magpie arrives do they make a hasty exit.

A curious magpie at the wood heap.

I regularly just down tools and sit watching the birds. Nevertheless, the wood stack has reached epic proportions.

Bird watching seat at the wood heap.
Enough wood in this stack for a few winters.

I love my little piece of paradise, but I still hate lock-down for the dreadful effect it has on our local businesses and on those impacted so much more seriously than me.

Wood stove

For a truly delightful book on wood cutting and stacking may I suggest the unlikely bestseller Norwegian Wood.

  1. Pauline this is a lovely collection of photos and your wood stack is just superb. I think I need to change my attitude towards wood splitting. I see it as an unwelcome chore but clearly this is a state of mind that I can overcome. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Pauline

      Thanks David, I’m well past retirement age but I really do enjoy it. 😍

  2. Lovely post as always. Lockdown is hard but it will succeed if enough people do it. Last Friday I visited with a nurse who talked about being in the ICU when a 40-year-old was brought in. They tried everything and he died in 36 hours. A nasty virus to be sure. Stay home, stay safe, save a life.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Clare, it is such a challenging time. Thank goodness for our wonderful nurses.💛

  3. where I grew up in Qld, it was blue wrens

  4. Great woodpile Pauline! I was amazed when I visited Switzerland to see their woodpiles, some of which were veritable works of art. So neat and organised, the Swiss. Also, I’m glad you don’t subscribe to what I call ‘acquired female helplessness syndrome’ i.e. the weird idea that women aren’t capable of/shouldn’t do anything physically demanding. Go girl!

  5. Some wonderful images of all your lovely birds. The Spider I’m not so keen on!

    • Pauline

      Only a harmless huntsman, probably some funnel web nasties too, but I haven’t spotted any. 😎

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