It is the time of year when the beech nuts are developing, and, consequently, the branches are getting heavier. A few branches above the house were sagging, and as a result were touching the chimney head and the apex of the roof. These branches required to be dealt with immediately, before we get any gales. The problem is I don't have a pole pruning saw. Buying one would likely require some serious research. Cheap pole pruning saws can be bought for around £100 and they go up to (sic) £400 plus. The ones with mini chainsaws at the end cost a lot more.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. We were due to have a guest visiting for ten days, so I decided to clean the chimney flue in the lounge. This flue is used by the wood burning stove and hadn't been cleaned for a few months. I thought my timing was good, as our guest wasn't due to arrive for nearly two weeks. Cleaning the flue and the stove, plus tidying up afterwards, usually takes a few hours. Simples. Boy, did that turn out to be a decision I regretted at my leisure for the next week.
You might find it hard to believe that it sometimes rains in the Highlands. This causes some problems for my wood processing, as it is difficult to complete the cutting and chopping of a whole tree(s) without some of it getting wet. It is a particular problem for windfall (trees blown down during storms), as they aren't planned. I needed some short-term storage, and it needed to be big. A lean-to shed or a Dutch barn might be more permanent structures that could answer my need, but they would be time consuming to build and expensive. A polytunnel might give me sufficient space, be suitable for short-term storage and is cheap to buy.
Limbing produces a lot of relatively small branches, which although useful firewood, is time consuming and difficult to handle. The problem is that the branches need to be held in place while I cut them with the chainsaw. As the branches are thin, I might cut through them in a second or two. I then need to put aside the chainsaw, re-position the branch, secure the branch in place, pick-up the saw, cut the next section of branch, re-position the branch... Well, you get the idea. This process is hugely inefficient.
This is the first in a series of posts showing my ideal wood processing set up. We use a wood-burning stove for about three-quarters of the year, only leaving it idle during the summer months. To supply the stove requires spending a lot of my spare time processing wood. Processing wood includes all the jobs from cutting down trees to putting the logs in the stove. In recent winters we have had some severe storms which created a lot of windblown trees, adding to the requirement for processing wood efficiently.