The woods bordering the canal provide a very handy source of firewood, when trees fall, or when contractors cut back the overhanging branches or fell entire trees. Indeed, the canal community is always ready and willing to get stuck in when a tree comes down, especially if it falls across the canal and becomes a hazard or impediment to navigation. Socially useful, and enlightened self- interest. A bit of a win-win situation.
And so I did a quick trip out with Jim yesterday, to take some cuts from a big ash that fell a few months ago. Ash is, of course, the tree of choice for the owner of a woodburning stove; it will burn green, though that isn't good for your flues; but it's always better when it's seasoned. My firewood supply, stacked up on the roof of the boat, consists of hawthorn and ash that we rescued from fallen trees that we'd encountered back in the spring, and so it's had a good summer to season. (Having your firewood up on the roof exposed to the rain isn't ideal, perhaps, but then, if not there then where?) ...but a few weeks into the stove season, it is starting to look a bit depleted. And anyway, when there's a fallen tree you just can't say no, can you?
So off we went, Jim and me. It's always best to have at least two people on a job like this - as a friend said, "if you're working with a chainsaw, keep your phone on you so you can call an ambulance when you cut your leg off..." -a handy tip there but one we didn't need yesterday, fortunately.