Gathering in Autumn
There’s a distinct chill in the air and we are wondering how long it will be before we will have to start lighting the wood burning stoves in the snug and the sitting room regularly. One thing is for certain, we need to organize our store of logs for the winter. Last year we cut down a fair amount of willow from trees around the riding arena. It’s been stacked and drying out for over a year now. The logs are small, good and dry but willow burns hot and fast and despite having a stable stacked high with it, we know it won’t last us through the winter.
As it happened, we were going to Lanarkshire Hardwoods in Auchengray because Colin was trying to source some wood dust for his latest smoking in his cold smoker. We got some lovely oak dust which will be wonderful for smoking the pork cuts from last year’s pigs and also the mackerel that a friend caught for us off Crail on the east coast.
Lanarkshire Hardwoods is owned and run by the wonderful furniture maker Patrick Baxter and his wife Rachel and it really is, as the website says ‘the home of beautiful wood’ . The extraordinary array of wood in the woodstore is compelling, from the smell, the colours, textures and sculptural shapes of the wood, to the delicious names like pippy oak and burry elm.
Two years ago we bought a huge burry elm beam for the new fireplace in the snug. Like all of Patrick’s wood it is locally sourced and has a provenance and it’s nice to know that this beam comes from the nearby village of Quothquan. It’s a beautifully tactile mantle and an impressive feature in the room. Today I bought a beautiful small piece of partly planed elm that I intend to turn into a little ‘parking’ sign, to indicate to our B&B guests where to leave their cars. There is so much gorgeous wood that it’s easy to dream up projects for it. I’ve got a notion for some lovely, open kitchen shelves.
For now, we get the fire wood ordered from Will and know it will be a great mix of hard and soft woods but all of it will be excellently dry. Every now and then one of the logs will burn with a deep, pungent, incense-like smell and the memory of it makes the arrival of autumn welcome.
The lengthening of the nights into the depths of winter will create time for other pleasures. We can look forward to reading, writing and rug making (more of that later!) in front of the cosy wood burner, knowing we have a well stocked wood store to see us through.