Country mouse?

One of the things I have learned to do since moving to the country is chop wood. When I first came I had the Kate Winslet approach.

A lot of fruitless flailing and I ruined a couple of axe handles along the way, but I have come on. I now like to think myself more like Rene Zellwegger in Cold Mountain

That may be a little ambitious or overstated but I am definitely more handy about the place. Maybe not ploughing but I can manage some rough work, and I am neither old nor full of mischief. Yet.

I can manage pretty well. Today I may draw the line at wringing the rooster’s neck but hey, never say never.

But as I was saying I have learned to chop wood and find it very therapeutic, warming you twice as they say.  It’s hard, satisfying work and invaluable for working off a temper.

There’s an immediate and pleasing visual result. Not to mention the flames.


This is our wood store: a thing of beauty and I helped stack it.

And this is today’s offering, enough for tonight and tomorrow.


I have learned a lot from wood chopping.

  • A firm non slip base to stand on and to stand the log on is essential.
  • Balance the log carefully on its end.
  • Hit the log without too much back swing. Allow the weight of the axe and gravity to apply force.
  • If it doesn’t split first time, turn it over and try the other end: ie take a different tack and often it will yield.
  • Sometimes the log has a hidden knot and it will not split. Don’t waste your energy on it. Leave it for someone younger or keener or more set on dominating the natural world. (Often a man but not always).
  • In another life that cheeky internal knot would make a beautiful shape on a polished platter or bowl.
  • Not all wood is for burning.



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