Wednesday, 13 January 2010

When the Logs Came and The Firewood Poem

At the weekend, when snow was fresh on the ground, a trailer load of logs was delivered. We have a small open fire which supplements the central heating, but its main role is to warm and cheer us on a cold winter`s night. The logs were from New Forest trees felled or trimmed by the Forestry Commission workers. New Forest commoners have rights to a certain amount of wood. Some also buy in extra cordage to chop into logs and then sell on to local households.

Our logs were delivered by a pleasant and cheerful commoner and his son. Helping them to unload was a chance to catch up on local news and chat about the condition of the ponies that the commoner runs on the Forest. One of his mares was recently hit by a car on a local wooded hill, but fortunately she survived and is recovering at home in one of their pastures.

When the commoners had gone, the dogs came out of the kitchen to "help" us load the logs away into a dry shed. I never cease to marvel at the way that a dog can turn a commonplace event into a chance for fun and a wonderful game. Every time we loaded the wheelbarrow, the dogs would run off with a log and play tug-of war with it on the snow covered grass. The two old collies seemed to shed their years as they ran, jumped and pounced on the logs, until the time came to collect up the last piece of wood and take the black and white boys back into the warmth again.

The Ginger Man came out for five minutes but was not impressed by the game.Too cold and too rough.

"I`m not staying out here in this!"

Here is The Firewood Poem, which I remember my grandfather reading to me many years ago.
The Firewood Poem
Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut`s only good they say,
If for logs `tis laid away.
Make a fire of elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.
Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E`en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom.
Oaken logs, if dry and old
Keep away the winter`s cold
But ash wet or ash dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.
by Celia Congreve


rachel said...

What a useful poem!
A blazing log fire is a delight to the heart. A central heating boiler doesn't have the same appeal somehow, does it!....

ChrisJ said...

I really like your poem. I have never heard it before. I also LOVE your dogs. Apparently there are some wild Exmoor ponies up on Flamborough Head this winter. I used to live there many years ago.

Bovey Belle said...

Looks like your ginger boy mended then, if he was out in the snow. Glad the dogs are full of energy and happy to chase sticks out there. I bet you gave a HUGE sigh of relief when the water troughs began working again.

We have been having to burn the apple tree we cut down this summer. It was half-seasoned from being standing half-dead the past few years. Without it we would have been struggling for firewood.