Our main source of heat is our old oil boiler. I say old – it’s no more than 10 years old, but it looks and sounds kaput. However, during the winter we try and use our wood stove as much as possible. We source local wood – some bought in, some foraged, some donated – and it’s better to keep the travel miles down on wood if you are keen to think of it as a greener source of heat. Despite being old, the house has been insulated on all of the outside walls, between the brickwork and internal plaster. The result being that the good old wood stove, only a 5kW thing, can keep downstairs at around 18-22 Celsius and upstairs at around 16-17 Celsius, in an average winter. It’s a great little thing, and last year we got through around five cubic metres of hard wood feeding it.
This year we had a selection of woods acquired over the year, so a day was spent bandsawing them all up into fire-sized chunks, and building a new pile. As you can see – Suz is such a fast worker that every shot resulted in her as a blurry ephemeral wood-stacking being (in denims). This is about a third of what we’ll get through, though we do have some nice hard wood to still cut.