One negative thing about the cottage is that it doesn’t have central heating. We have survived a winter without central heating through using a combination of a number of electric radiators and the use of a traditional open coal fire. Whilst anyone who has visited us has relished the fire and described it as giving the cottage a romantic winters feel, I’ve found it a pain in the backside. Coming home from work to a cold house and having to scrape out the ashes and lay and light a fire takes time and effort and is not exactly easy with a toddler who wants to help with everything. The cottage has a coal shed so back in August we stocked it up with a ton of coal and a good number of bags of kindling. The novelty of the fire quickly wore off for me and it had become a daily chore which became increasingly inconvenient. I also resent the cost of running a fire; when you turn on the heating you don’t necessarily think about the cost of it, but with a fire you can practically see the money being burnt in front of you.
A bag of kindling will typically cost about a fiver and is an essential for starting a fire before the coal is added. For us one bag of kindling could manage to start about eight fires if we were conservative with it. From some of the work we’ve done we’ve ended up with a few bits and pieces of wood and have been given some other bits from friends. So J has purchased a table saw so, among other things, we can create our own kindling. J’s dad was a woodwork teacher back in the day so he gave J a quick tour of how to use it and we have started to create our own kindling for next winter. The kindling can be stored in the log store that J built (more on that another day) and will be ready and waiting for us next winter. As an added bonus the sawdust created by the table saw can be used for our chickens. Although we might not save much money by doing this we are creating something that we need from resources that would otherwise go to waste which has to be a good thing.