With guests invited for Christmas, the prospect of depending on the few leeks, carrots, onions and herbs from the garden, to create the meals I had in mind would have meant very small helpings. So thankfully the Balbriggan Fish and Farmers’ Market was open late before Christmas to allow me augment my larder with fresh local produce. As a result nobody went hungry or cold for that matter.

My wood store (Photo by C.Finn)

Staying warm during the coldest Christmas in fifty years was hard for many people. The time and effort spent building a lean-to wood store in 2008 really paid off during this cold spell. The small Pioneer wood-stove was kept piping hot with well dried and seasoned logs.

As the stove opening is ten inches wide, I had to split some of the logs. Having a small garden does curtail the manly swinging of an axe mind you. This is not the Rockies or even the Bog of Allen after all. However a combined effort with axe and lump hammer did the job just as well.

The collection of prunings from winter 2008 served very well as the ‘cipíní’ to get the stove fired up. Indeed these ‘cipíní’ need to be used up otherwise I will be short of space to store the prunings which I will shortly be gathering from the apple, blackcurrants, raspberry canes and even the rowan trees in the front garden.

Meanwhile no shortage of wood ash but that has its uses too.


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