I love my woodheap. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in chilly Tasmania and now live in the Blue Mountains village of Blackheath (aka BLEAKHEATH). Oh that promise of cheerfulness and warmth.
It is also a perfect sun trap on our property in autumn and winter.
Despite turning 70 this year I am still chief wood splitter and fire lighter in our household. It is a position I am loath to relinquish, although as a concession I no longer use an axe. An electric saw and a wood splitter are my tools of trade. To be honest, I find the whole process therapeutic.
I still wear clip earring, and have lost a few with my almighty splitting blows. To the amusement of friends I now park them in a convenient stump. 😍
Ideally the woodheap should be covered. I love this idea from Berrima in the NSW Southern Highlands. Recycling at its best.
The woodheap was the setting for my first experience of a truly gentlemanly act. I was about 13 and busy splitting sticks when a neighbour’s son a couple of years older arrived to spend time with my brother. I was quite touched when he said, ‘Hey, let me do that for you.’ A small gesture, but it made a huge impression on me. Thank you Dennis.
Who knows how many cricket bats my siblings and I fashioned from old fence palings? A few well directed chops to form a handle and we were ready!
On a more disturbing note, that woodheap was where chickens and ducks were dispatched by my father.
COMPANY AT THE WOODHEAP
There is another joy to a woodheap….birds, especially blue wrens and inquisitive yellow robins. They hop about hoping bugs will appear from the split wood.
The reward! Sheer bliss on a chilly night.
We only burn dry, well seasoned wood (mostly gum) to reduce smoke pollution, but I know this form of heating has its critics.
HERE IS A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW WITH LEAH PURCELL ON THE WOODPILE IN HENRY LAWSON’S THE DROVER’S WIFE.
For information and advice on wood burning fires and wood smoke CLICK HERE.