Storing, splitting and burning; if you find yourself heating your home with an open fire or wood burning stove this winter then you're pretty much guaranteed to get warm at least twice before you even place a log on the grate.
There's something incredibly satisfying about having a full load of logs dumped outside your home and carrying and stacking them like a grown-up game of tetris in a log-store, leaving you looking upon a winter's worth of warmth in physical form at the end of the garden. Splitting logs then becomes one of those pleasant daily chores; heading out with a log basket and knocking rounds down into sections small enough to burn well, and selecting the straight-grained lengths for splitting down further into kindling. The axe is the oldest tool known to humankind, and using one on a daily basis through the cold months of winter is a pleasant reconnection to physical work that so many people lack in their daily routines. And then, after all that, you get to build a fire and cosy down in it's flickering orange glow.
I'm not actually all that disappointed that the temperature's dropped over the last few days and winter has started to make it's imminence felt. For one thing it has given me a good winter project to be getting on with, as I didn't own a small hatchet for splitting down kindling (the felling axe pictured above is for splitting logs and, as the name implies, dropping trees) until I found a couple of really "well used" old examples in a local charity shop for a few pounds each. They are in need of some restoration though, so at some point soon I hope to be able to post a "how-to" article if I do a worthy job and they turn out well.