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Wood Porn! Are you a real fire obsessive?

Carrying wood through woodland

Steady on, I hear you say, but don’t panic. Whilst we can probably all have some fun with double entendres relating to wood, this is more about a Norwegian man called Lars Mytting whose book Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way makes some interesting reading.

Don’t you just love it when people have such a passion for something and Lars certainly has this in spades. He lives in a small town two hours north of Oslo. His home sits between a forest and a lake and is pine, turf roof, birch cabinets made by his grandfather and of course two stoves. He is the proud owner of 20 axes and he admits that he even once held what he calls an ‘axe imposium’ with a fellow author.

Whilst his book is at one level simply a guide to wood burning, it is at another level about modern man’s relationship with nature, land, manual labour, fear and tradition. Interestingly in Norway regulations say you must have a secondary source of heating, otherwise if you lose electricity and it's minus 20°C you'll be in serious trouble. Firewood is not a quaint tradition but an essential of life. It is also stooped in history through the generations and many children would have read the fire prayer which ends as ‘When the day is done, God grant me that my fire has never gone out’.

In the late 19th century, in the heavily forested state of Maine, young  American women considering a potential husband were advised to consider the way a man stacked his wood!

Stacked kiln dried logs

Large and small logs piled together. – Frugal, kindling sneaked in among logs.

Old and new wood piled together – Be suspicious – might be stolen wood added to his own

Collapsed pile – Weak will

Everything in a pile of the ground – Unstable, lazy, prone to drunkenness

Not much wood – Lives from hand to mouth

A lot of wood – Loyal

Flamboyant pile – Extroverted, possibly a bluffer

Unusual shape – Freethinking, open spirit, construction maybe weak

Tall pile – Big ambitious, but watch out for sagging

Low pile – Cautious man, would be shy or weak

Upright and solid pile – Upright and solid man

No woodpile – Not husband material.

So, next time you are stacking your wood away, take pride in your stack and perhaps share the above thoughts with your daughter to help her

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