Archive for firewood

Dig Chop Rake

The rain has helpd of for a couple of days som I have been busy digging, chopping logs and raking where I have dug. I have created 3 deep beds for trial next year. Just haven’t decided what I shall test out compared to normal beds. The obvious choice would be root vegatables of some sort as these will surely do better in a very well dug out bed. That might be making the results a bit bias though.

So I have think I shall have to go with 1 root veg., 1 peppers, 1 french beans. That should give me a good idea as to whether the extra work involved
reaps a greater yield. I used to hate digging, but after you get in to your stride and begin to see the results, it can be quite a satisfying task. Plus
it saves going to gym. I could do with a massage but Annie is back in the UK, so will have to suffice with a few beers up the pub, it is the weekend and I haven’t seen the boys from the pub for a few days.

As well as digging I have been doing a bit more chopping of wood so have had a really good workout. I could quite easily give this job up though. Not quite so satisfying especially when you see how quick the stuff burns. Putting three logs on the burner in one go, might well have been 10 mins work on some of the logs I have got as they are full of knots and don’t half take some chopping. However I have no choice as I have no other means of keeping warm, which works wonderfully as an incentive.

Here for those that like pictures, one of my deep bed freshly dug over and raked, and another of a pile of logs. Picture paints a thousand words. But does
not describe the toil that went into creating them!

Chopping Wood

The weather has hinted at the cold to come, and my cental heating system consists of a ‘petchka’ (wood burning stove) and pretty much
nothing else. The good point being, that as well as wood being relatively inexpensive I also have 15 or mature trees that can be given
a haircut for additional fuel.

This can be done by hand, but it is a lot easier and far more macho to do it with a chainsaw, and lets face it men and power tools really do
go well together. Also out here the health and safety brigade have yet to ruin every aspect of life, so no course is required. Best just hope
I don’t loose a couple of fingers in the process.

Chainsaws are quite common in my village so before I go out and but one I thought I would have a go on someone else’s first, this is not normally
my approach previously I would have bought the chainsaw just in case I ever needed it. Perhaps I am getting old (35)!

In order keep from freezing thorugh the winter, I usually get through 3 cubic metres of firewood with a few bags of ‘vuglishta’ (coal). This can be
bought direct from the local shop. At about 70 Lev a cubic metre, which then requires sawing and splitting. Or else you can get a permit from the
forestry people and cut a few trees down in the local forest, which only costs about 5 lev a cubic metre you do have to transport the stuff yourself.

Fortunately I have friends with horses and carts as well as one friend with an old army 4×4 transporter that is capable of moving 3 cubic metres of wood in one
go. So this was the preferred method. Having aquired the permit and told which trees we could cut down we headed off to in to the forest. Cut down said trees
and loaded them onto the army transporter. I left in the transporter with the driver. Just as we were exiting the forest, I looked across at the driver (Ekrem)
and realised he was 3 feet above me, the indestructable army transpoter had tipped over!

Luckily this was not the problem I imagined it to be! He started laughing,as I was nearing panic. We got out of the vehicle, removed all the wood and
it righted itself, phew!. Ekrem moved 10 metre forward and we reloaded, just the two of us as everyone else had already left. Ekrem though all this was hilarious,
and after a while I saw the funny side as well. Just my arms were telling me otherwise. I am now in the process of splitting all the logs into a size that
can be used in my wood burner!

As ever I am trying to decide which metod of getting wood is the most efficient, and in all reality it is probably easier to buy it straight from the shop, but this
really does take away from the experience of actually doing something for yourself, and living a self reliant lifestyle or at least trying to should be about
doing things for yourself (even with a lot of help) rather than just paying someelse to do it for you. Although I quite tempted to see if anyone wants to
help chop the damn stuff up!

How to Get Cheap Firewood

My first year in Bulgaria, my firewood cost me 65 Lev a cubic metre, and came in strips 1 metre long, which then had to be cut and split by yours truly. This is quite cheap or so I thought, but there must be an easier and cheaper way. Well there is. And I don’t mean stealing it. This is all quite legitimate, and as with most things in Bulgaria, you require an hour or so of patient waiting to get your document, with stamp!

Here is what you do. Each Obstina (region) will have a ‘Gorski’ Office. You need to go there (summer time is best it gives your wood chance to dry out before you use it) and ask for a wood permit for however many cubic of firewood you want. This costs (at least it did in Djebel) 5Lev per cubic metre!!!!!

The Gorski man will then go with you and mark which trees you can cut down and take away with you.

Yes it involves work, yes you will need a 4×4 with trailer, and yes you will need a chainsaw. None of which I had.

But all of which were given, donated, and even chauffeured for me. Nothing was asked for in exchange. I did by pay for them to have a night in the pub with me though. I was ‘Chirpy” I think this translates as ‘on me’. Which set me back 20lev as they all had work in the morning!

So my 5 cubic metres of firewood cost me 25Lev + 20Lev(beer) = 45 Lev = Not even 1 cubic from the shop.

You have got to love this place and the generosity of the people.

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