The year at Trewen has its own rhythms, which one way or another we choose to live by. All our heating and much of our cooking is fuelled by wood from our own land and all that wood has to be felled, logged, moved, split and stacked undercover, ideally two years before it is used. A warning to all those romantics who would love to live ‘off-grid’ – the wood might be free but the energy it takes to process it is definitely not.
This winter we have been working our way down an overgrown hedgerow of straggly sycamores and there is a rhythm to this too. We work one tree at a time so as not to be overwhelmed by the amount of work (for some reason trees seem to triple in size once they have been felled). We usually manage to log up two or three trees in a day and when things go well and we don’t get rained off. We end the day with a bonfire of brash and tea made on our Kelly kettle and some homemade cake, which goes a little way to ease our aching backs.
Once the frogs and frogspawn appear in the pond (often on my birthday) we know the year has really started to turn, the sap will be beginning to rise in the trees and it’s time to end felling for another year. ‘All’ that remains to be done, is somehow move all the wood down from the field, hire a log-splitter, split all the big logs and saw the wrist-sized branches to length and then stack them undercover in walls that will not fall over sideways by next winter. Easy!