Our land is covered in trees - mainly pine but some oak and olive. Maintaining this woodland creates five positives:
1. The health of the trees, earth and surrounding plants (pines dominate water)
2. Reduce forest fire risk (25m radius of house without pines)
3. Create a supply of fire wood
4. Keep us fit and healthy as it is hard physical work
5. Building a roofed woodshed allows rain water gathering
By July 2022 (so 7 years) we estimate that we have felled 150 trees of all shape and sizes. From now we expect an annual count of no more than 5, while many more trees will have branches cut off. So, we absolutely do not believe in burning wood to fuel our heating system & stove being an environmental issue. Far from it - this is a natural and abundant source of energy that is local, sustainable and allows self sufficiency. While keeping us healthy and reducing fire risk - ticks all the boxes!
The pictures above show the different stages of the tree processing. The 1st stage is dangerous as the tree is around 12m tall. The final stage of splitting the wood is back breaking work before it is stacked and dries for 2 years before we burn it. To help with the wood mix and keep us in good supply as processing wood takes a lot of time we do also buy non pine from a local supplier - we are working towards doing less of this - the supplied wood is shown in in the pile in front of our woodsheds. The woodsheds were started in July 2017, extended in August-September 2020 and completed in February 2021 (this final part is shown below). The process of adding guttering and water tank collection is being completed in July 2022. If full of wood by the end of April we are on track to be supplied with dried wood over a 2 year cycle assuming that the following April is also full - this allows for the pine to fully dry and be the most effective burn while protecting our log burning heating system (see final picture) and chimney from the sap that turns into a tar if not dried.
As well as building the wood sheds over time we have also acquired the right training and equipment to safely and effectively maintain our woodland. We use a battery chainsaw for both self sustainable power source and extra safety. We have a spare chainsaw, axes, manual saws, spare chains, spare batteries, oil, Saw horses, splitting maul and tools for repairing. In addition to safety hats, gloves, boots and trousers. Another new process to learn and equipment to acquire and learn how to use. This is Barry´s area while Sam helps with the splitting and Ethan is learning bit by bit how to sustain our woodland and generate a fuel source as well.
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.