From Autumn to Winter 2019

Winter has been rather slow to arrive in North Bohemia in 2019. We were blessed with a wonderful Indian Summer during the second half of October and the weather remained mainly dry and fine, well into November. This allowed me to make a lot of progress in the garden about which I hope to write another blog post in the near future.

But now it has turned cold with overnight frost on several occasions. I noted yesterday afternoon that the the tub into which rain off the roof of my carport drains, was still solidly frozen on the surface. However, we still haven’t had any snow. In my two previous winters here in Stará Oleška, the first snow fell in November.

Wood-burning stove well alight © Ricky Yates

I have to say that I am very pleased with my new wood-burning stove about which I wrote here, a month ago. It is already proving to be a very worthwhile investment. Here it is, roaring away!

Cross-sections of tree trunk, awaiting removal © Ricky Yates

As I said in reply to a comment on that post, I hope that the truckload of logs that I had delivered in January 2019, will last me through the whole of this winter. But as I wrote in a post on 30th March entitled, ‘From Winter to Spring 2019’, that load included these massive cross-sections of tree trunk; twenty-three of them in total.

Where the cross-sections of tree trunk once were © Ricky Yates

The only way to get them from where they were deposited, on public land, adjacent to my garden, and into the wood shed, was to cut each of them in two with my chainsaw. Having done that, I then transported each section, one at a time, by wheelbarrow, into the shed. Forty-six journeys in total! I finally completed the task on 22nd April. Here is where they once sat, along with the debris from chainsawing.They did all just fit into the shed!

Being protected from any rain and with the warmth of summer, all the normal-sized logs have developed some cracks whilst sitting in the shed, as the timber has dried out and become seasoned. In turn, this makes them easy to split into a size suitable for the wood-burning stove.

Two of the cross-sections of tree trunk stacked in the wood shed © Ricky Yates

But the cross-sections of tree trunk have only developed a few fine cracks and have therefore proved much more difficult to split. So instead, I’ve had to spend quite some time and energy with my chainsaw, to reduce them into sections of a more manageable size, before they can be used in the wood-burning stove.

Chainsaw ready to tackle the next half cross-section of tree trunk © Ricky Yates

However, because the wood from these cross-sections is so dense, it burns far more slowly. This is particularly useful if I want to go out for a few hours in the evening and join the locals at U Soni. Just one of these reduced size sections of tree trunk will keep burning for at least three hours, meaning I return to a warm house and with no need to re-light the fire.

6 comments to From Autumn to Winter 2019

  • Pauleen Bang

    How lovely and cosy it looks with your wood-burning stove and you have obviously got lots of exercise sawing and chopping.

    One day, I must come and visit you but at the moment I am waiting fearfully for the result of the election, which could have a profound effect on my residence in Denmark. If you can still vote (I can’t) then please vote tactically to get this monster out of government.
    Wishing you a warm and happy Christmas.
    Love Pauleen

    • Ricky

      It is cosy! The wood-burning stove is roaring away as I write.

      You would be very welcome to come & visit. I share your concern regarding the outcome of this coming Thursday’s election. Having only lived outside of the UK for just over 11 years, I do still have a vote and have exercised it – tactically, as you suggest. I did post a photo on FB.

      With my best wishes for Christmas & the New Year – Ricky

  • Sean McCann

    Hi Ricky,
    Delighted to hear how well your new stove is working for you and that the heart wood of those big logs is long lasting, there truly is nothing like properly seasoned timber for giving off heat. Your first photograph is fabulous, I almost held my hands out to my laptop screen to warm them as I listen to a downpour of rain hammer my roof and windows.

    Today being Polling Day in the UK I’ve been thinking of yourself and the many thousands like you, European citizens in danger of being made aliens by your own government. My friend and neighbour Caroline who is worried about her pension surviving in a post brexit currency revaluation between Sterling and the Euro. I know you and every other ex-pat face the same worry but it is more serious for people living in ‘high cost of living’ Ireland.

    I hope your tactical vote and those of your fellow ex-pats can have the desired effect on the results and we will all remain united Europeans into the distant future. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Nollaig Shona is Ath-Bhliain fé Mhaise duit féin agus Muintir Yates go léir. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and the whole Yates family, stay close to the fire and keep well my friend.
    Regards, Sean.

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,
      As always, thank you for your comment & kind words.

      I’m currently sitting at my laptop & trying to stay awake until at least 23.00 CET, in order to see the first exit poll after polling stations close at 22.00 GMT. The outcome of the UK General Election will affect my status here in the Czech Republic & the value of my pensions. But as you allude, more significantly, if Brexit does go ahead, it will the first stage of the break-up of a united Europe which has ensured peace for the last 75 years after the horrors of two world wars during the twentieth century.

      Thank you for your Christmas and New Year greetings which I reciprocate. Veselé vánoce a štastný nový rok!

  • Stephen Morris

    Merry Christmas, Ricky! Good to hear from you again… I always miss the news from northern Bohemia during the time between posting. The wood and the wood burning stove look beautiful. Glad you can go to the pub and still come back to a delightfully warm house. Wishing you a good 2020 and good luck sorting the fallout of the election results. Pray for us here in the US facing our own election difficulties.

    • Ricky

      Wishing you a Merry Christmas too, Stephen, and my apologies for the length of time between posts.The wood-burning stove has proved to be a very worthwhile investment & being able to go to the pub & come back to warm house is most satisfying.

      The UK election result has provided the required kick up the bum/butt that I needed to make me get on with my Czech citizenship application & stop procrastinating. I wish you well in 2020, both personally & for the forthcoming Presidential election.