Logs © Ricky Yates

The main source of heating for my home in Stará Oleška is a wood-burning stove, located in the kitchen. The previous owners left a fair supply of split logs, stacked in one end of the woodshed, located on one side of the back garden. They also left a further supply of logs, mostly not split, sitting in a pile in the middle of the back garden, partially covered by various pieces of unsightly plastic that were doing very little to keep them dry.

Over a couple of days, very soon after moving here in mid-May 2017, Sybille and I, aided by two wheelbarrows, successfully moved all of that pile of logs, from the back garden, stacking them neatly with the other logs in the woodshed. The unsightly plastic was then deposited in the appropriate recycling bin in the centre of the village.

Where the logs once were © Ricky Yates

I regret not taking a photograph of the pile before we shifted it, but the photograph above shows the bare patch where it once stood, before I tackled the surrounding jungle. The photograph below was taken after the grass received its first hair cut of 2017.

Where the logs once were © Ricky Yates

Where the logs once were – October 2017 © Ricky Yates

Whilst this photograph, taken in early October 2017, shows that the bare patch had by then, begun to recover.

Because of all the logs left by the previous owners, heating the house for the first few months of this winter, has cost me absolutely nothing, beyond the effort expended in moving the pile from the garden and splitting all the unsplit logs.

Timber awaiting being sawn © Ricky Yates

Propped against the woodshed, were these longer tree branches, to which I added various pieces of scrap timber that I found in other corners of the garden. Early in October 2017, aided by an electric chainsaw, I reduced all of this timber to the correct length for the wood-burning stove.

Timber gone © Ricky Yates

Here is where the timber once stood.

The resultant stacked timber © Ricky Yates

And here it is, cut and stacked inside the woodshed. Because most of these pieces are relatively thin, they have been especially useful in getting a fire going, before adding heavier logs.

By late November, my supply of free logs was beginning to run low. Martin Tonder, the real estate agent who sold me the house, had previously told me that there would be no problem getting a further supply of logs as there were several people in the area, who were in the business of supplying them. So I tapped into his local knowledge once more.

Logs are being delivered © Ricky Yates

Martin recommenced a Mr Kopecký and kindly arranged for a truck load of logs to be delivered to my back garden, on Tuesday 5th December 2017. Here they are beginning to be delivered 🙂 If any reader would also like a log supply, Mr Kopecký’s phone number is 605 298 734 🙂

My new log supply, immediately after delivery © Ricky Yates

Here is the pile, immediately following delivery.

My new log supply, immediately after delivery © Ricky Yates

Whilst here is the view in the opposite direction, with the woodshed into which they needed to be transported and stacked.

Loaded wheelbarrow © Ricky Yates

Single-handedly shifting this lot, one wheelbarrow load at a time, took some serious effort.

The remaining pile © Ricky Yates

At the end of Wednesday 6th December, there was still all these to move. Eventually, when it started to rain, I covered up the remaining pile as best I could and waited until the elements were more favourable.

Remaining log pile and snow © Ricky Yates

I started again on the morning of Saturday 9th December, only for it to start snowing at lunchtime 😉

Further wintry weather has intervened, as illustrated in my previous post. Then I went to the UK for Christmas. However, since returning to the village to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, I’ve had two further sessions in the back garden. The second of these was yesterday on New Year’s Day when the final wheelbarrow load reached the shed. The results of my labours are difficult to photograph because the shed is so full. But the photograph below is the best I can manage.

Stacked logs in the woodshed © Ricky Yates

Finally completing moving all my new log supply and successfully getting it stacked in the woodshed, has made a very satisfying beginning to 2018. Št’astný Nový Rok! Happy New Year!

20 comments to Logs

  • Alan Schmidt

    What a mammoth task!
    Having to split all those logs will keep you fit!
    I would be tempted to find a supplier of split logs!

    Stastny Novy Rok to you

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Alan!

      Splitting the logs isn’t too onerous a task. I’ve become quite expert at doing so 😉 Getting them supplied already split would be a good deal more expensive.

  • Adrian Blank

    Once you’re done there we have a big pile of logs here for you to can carry on with.

    How seasoned are these logs you’ve got? If too fresh then they’ll smoke quite a bit more and clog up the burner.

    • Ricky

      Thanks Adrian – but I’ve had quite enough of moving & stacking logs for at least a year, I hope!

      Both the logs that were left & the new supply, seem to have been well-seasoned. They make relatively little smoke – far less than what I see coming out the chimneys of some of my neighbours 😉

  • Pauleen Bang

    Wow Ricky. Who needs a gym when you can get this sort of exercise free of charge. Well done. And a Happy New Year to you, too.

    • Ricky

      Indeed Pauleen! The body did ache somewhat at the end of each day I spent shifting & stacking the logs. It has certainly helped to keep me reasonably fit. Thank you for your New Year greeting which is reciprocated.

  • Stephen Morris

    What a stupendous task indeed! Happy New Year! Keep warm—it’s in the single digits Fahrenheit here in Manhattan and -10 wind chill with several inches of snow tomorrow. They say we will soon break the record of nearly three weeks below freezing. I’m not sure any of the goldfish in our backyard pond will survive this year. The surface will have been frozen for a month or more by the time it begins to melt and —although the fish hibernate and can survive cold temperatures for quite a while—they may not get enough oxygen this year. Brrrr! Shiver! I dread to think how much wood I would have to chop and burn in our kitchen to keep warm!

    • Ricky

      Quite a task Stephen, but at least it’s now done!

      It’s not yet been that cold here this winter. We’ve had some snow as you will have seen in my previous post but nothing like the temperatures you’re experiencing at present. I hope the goldfish do survive!

  • Robert E. Doolittle

    Hi Ricky; That pile of firewood is a beautiful thing to behold. It looks like all of that wood is hardwood. How much did Mr. Kopecky charge you for that load? It is presently cold enough in Gainesville Fl. to use our fireplace. Indeed the interstate highway about 50 miles north of us was closed due to ice on the road especially on bridges. There was the possibility of light snow just north of us today, but I don’t think any developed.
    I would love to have a nice pile of firewood as you do, but I don’t think I could afford the delivery fee Mr. Kopecky would have to charge. Is it possible to keep the entire house warm from a stove in the kitchen? Do you keep the fire going in the stove all night?
    By the way, splitting wood is good exercise, and you get warm doing it.
    Regards, Bob

    • Ricky

      Hi Bob! The answer to your question is CZK 11,500, which is just under USD 550 or GBP 400. Martin Tonder reckons that the load will last two seasons. I think he is being rather optimistic but it will certainly see me through the rest of this winter & at least partway into the next.

      I’ve read about the extremely cold weather that many parts of the USA are currently experiencing. See also the previous commenter.

      To answer your other questions. Once the fire has been going for a couple of hours, the house heats up quite nicely. However, it did take some time to warm it up after I was away in the UK for a week over Christmas! I’ve not even tried to keep the fire going overnight. Once it’s going well, if I close the ash tray completely to reduce air intake, it will burn on for two to three hours without further attention.

      Your final remarks echo one of my former farmer churchwardens in England. He used to say that a wood fire warmed you up twice – obviously when you burn the wood but also when chopping/sawing/splitting the wood beforehand!

  • Well done! Seems the “housey” continues to keep you fit 😉 BC SY

    • Ricky

      Thank you SY! As Pauleen says in her earlier comment, ‘Who needs a gym when you can get this sort of exercise free of charge’ 🙂

  • Sean Mccann

    Well done on shifting that lot single handed Ricky. And congratulations on finding a supplier who brought you properly seasoned, ‘clean’ timber. I’ve had the experience of trying to split knotty logs many times and even the memory is exhausting. Glad to hear you are now ‘fuel rich’ for the remainder of this winter at least. Always nice to look out the window on a cold day from a warm room and know you don’t have to brave the elements- the Irish proverb ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’ no fireside like your own fireside rings very true at such times. Happy new year, Sean.

    • Ricky

      Thank you for the compliments regarding my log shifting skills, Sean!

      The timber isn’t perfect but most of the logs will split without too many problems. As I said in response to an earlier commenter, anything more fancy would cost a good deal more. It is nice to know that I’m now set at least for the rest of the winter.

      I concur with the sentiments expressed in the penultimate sentence of your comment & like your Irish proverb. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  • Robert E. Doolittle

    Ricky; How goes the remodeling of your kitchen proceeding? Any more winter wonderland pictures?
    Regards, Bob

    • Ricky

      Hello Bob – sorry for taking so long to approve & reply to your comment. The answer to your first question will be in the about to be compiled next blog post. The answer to your second question is that we’ve had some more snow on several occasions since my post on 19th December 2017. But on each occasion, it melted within a couple of days & we never had the sunshine that we had for a few hours on Monday 18th December when I took those ‘winter wonderland pictures’. However, we are forecast more snow in the next few days.

  • Happy New Year, Ricky! It looks like you’ve done excellent work cleaning up your yard and making it look great (so far).

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Cynthia! The yard, (or garden as I would call it 🙂 ), is one area where I have made quite some progress. I still need to get the large heap of earth, (of which you can see part of on the left in the snowy photo), shifted. But it is otherwise, fairly tidy & the logs are all in the dry.

  • Robert E Doolittle

    Hi Ricky, Since we last communicated, my Neighbor and I jointly invested in a log splitter. It is a very simple device runs only on human power. It is essentially a large hydrolic jack mounted horizontly on a metal base with the ram end facing a large steel wedge welded to the frame. The jack ram moves toward the wedge pushing a log into the wedge when one moves two long handles back and forth by hand. The log is forced into/onto the wedge until it splits. You couldn’t split very large amounts of wood per hour with this tool, but for a fireplace or home stove it would suffice. This splitter would still give one a good work out, and the main advantage is it is safer than a sledge and splitting wedge. Amazon sells this splitter for $150 with free delivery, although probably not free to Stara Oleska.
    Have you traveled to Dresden this winter for the services in that beautiful church?
    Happy New year, Bob

    • Ricky

      Hi Bob – I’ve seen various log splitting devices in DIY and garden shops around here. But I’m perfectly happy with my axe & hammer which usually does the trick with the exception of a small number of awkward logs. It’s makes for a good workout each day 🙂

      I’m still travelling to the Frauenkirche in Dresden once a month. I’m there again this Sunday http://www.frauenkirche-dresden.de/kalender/detail/event/19812/ .
      Unfortunately, Deutsche Bahn & Ceské dráhy with their winter timetable, have discontinued the train I used to return on to Decín leaving Dresden at just after 21.00. So I’m now having to drive all the way instead.