Throw another log on the fire please Big Man…

11 Nov

When I lived in London and the weather turned chilly (usually around the second week of August if I remember correctly), I cranked up the central heating and thought nothing more about turning it off again until about the second week of July.

Living in the Campo, we have no mains gas connection.  A few brave souls have installed gas fired central heating, but because our main living/dining/kitchen area is all one room, we decided that a fire would be enough for us.

Well, it should have been had the first fire we bought worked well.  It was a super duper one with a glass door that was meant to waft lovely warm air over us and fill the house with a cosy glow.  Mmm.  What we actually got was a smoky old fart of a fireplace that ate up wood like a starving person newly released from the fat farm and left us shivering and having to repaint the house which turned a yucky nicotine brown colour.

We saved up our pennies and bought a new fire which looked almost identical but to our great joy, actually worked! Now our fire eats wood like a super model on a diet, wafts warm air over us without suffocating us with smoke and warms the bathroom and hall which sit behind it until the next morning.

Getting wood to the house is a whole other matter.  No quick trip to the petrol station for a bag of logs, we buy several thousand kilos a year to keep us going, and have a very special way of getting it up the slope to our house. Just in case you should find yourself in the same situation, here´s our recipe for keeping toasty warm all winter when living in the almost middle of nowhere.

First, load 4 thousand kilos of oak onto your rusty but trust old lorry.  Feel free to substitute olive, almond or cherry wood as available that year.

Leave some of it in your little olive grove.

Drive your rusty but trusty lorry over kindly neighbour´s field and park by side of your house. Crank up the winch and start to manoeuvre a couple of bags into place outside your back door.

If you have a small dog called Alfi (or similar), take him up to the roof with you to help direct the winch. Small dogs have a particular talent for this I find.

Otherwise, get a friendly neighbour to help.

Let your eye wander over the sad looking vegetable garden enjoying a well deserved rest for the winter.

Place the wood where you want it.

Accept a kiss from your lovely but hot and grubby Big Man who has done all the work.

Light that fire, open a bottle of wine and relax.


43 Responses to “Throw another log on the fire please Big Man…”

  1. Mad Dog November 11, 2011 at 21:09 #

    Very funny! That looks like a brilliant fire too. Central heating is great, but nothing beats a real fire 😉

    • chicaandaluza November 11, 2011 at 22:47 #

      Nothing does beat it – except central heating when you´re having a bad day and just can´t get the blinkin´ thing to light! Yes…it does happen sometimes 😦

  2. gardenfreshtomatoes November 11, 2011 at 21:24 #

    I Love your ‘rusty but trusty’ lorry (or ‘truck’ as I would call it) with its shiny new(ish) crane attachment! Your method certainly beats the old “grab the wheelbarrow and bring up a load”…

    Enjoy your fire, the nights are getting cool!

    • chicaandaluza November 11, 2011 at 22:48 #

      It is easier (sort of)…well, quicker at least. And I love the word truck…so much more “grrrr” and manly!

  3. spicegirlfla November 11, 2011 at 22:24 #

    That little Alfi is adorable! and you’re a lucky lady having a Big Man like that!!

    • chicaandaluza November 11, 2011 at 22:49 #

      I agree on both counts (thank you!)…mind you, I had to wait a long, long time to meet my Big Man!

  4. ChgoJohn November 11, 2011 at 23:30 #

    Nothing like a fireplace in the dead of WInter. It will rid your bones of that awful chill and bathe the room in that heavenly glow. And there’s nothing more disappointing than a malfunctioning fireplace. Glad you replaced the latter with the former and have all the wood you’ll need for the cold nights ahead.

    • ChgoJohn November 11, 2011 at 23:31 #

      Oh! Alfie is awesome!

      • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:13 #

        He´s very into cuddles, so please bring Max round to play!

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:12 #

      It had to be done – we couldn´t have gone through another winter without buying gas masks!

  5. Karen November 12, 2011 at 00:14 #

    A properly working fire is so important. Do you leave the wood in the bags or did the two of you have to stack it all?

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:13 #

      We leave it in the bags which get covered with tarpaulin. Seems to keep it dry enough and it´s just a step outside the back door.

  6. Yvette November 12, 2011 at 00:52 #

    Oh my, what an exhausting day!…That bottle of wine would be a sure thing, and the 40 winks!! x

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:14 #

      My role was more or the…supervisory and culinary sort…although I did join in with the wine and 40 winks 🙂

  7. fati's recipes November 12, 2011 at 01:54 #

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautifulll post! 😀
    You’ve a real talent… Great with the similies, I must say… released starving person to a supermodel on a diet? Wow, you’ve got it all under control! 🙂

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:15 #

      Ah thanks so much Fati. It was fun to write 🙂

  8. TheDorsetFinca November 12, 2011 at 07:28 #

    I love that post! Our wood burner is our godsend too… we have a fallen tree or branch brought round by tractor from our farmer neighbour, then we have to spend the following weeks sawing it up and stacking it!!! x

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:15 #

      It´s great when you get “given” wood, but boy do you have to work for it!

  9. thefooddoctor November 12, 2011 at 09:04 #

    I agree with Linda..Alfi is super cute and you are lucky to have big man..all great things are worth waiting for 🙂

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:16 #

      They are indeed…thank you so much, I am a very lucky lady 🙂

  10. chaiselongue1 November 12, 2011 at 09:19 #

    Lovely story, lovely warm fire!

  11. thecompletecookbook November 12, 2011 at 09:57 #

    What a lovely funny read Tanya! Alfi is ADORABLE!!! Give him a scratch behind his ear from me please. Pete would be jumping up and down with joy at the sight of all that wood – he is a pyromaniac of sorts and would braai 7 nights a week just to light a wood fire!
    🙂 Mandy

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 10:32 #

      Will give Alfi a little scratch from you and tell Pete he´s welcome to pop round any time for a few logs!

  12. foodblogandthedog November 12, 2011 at 13:01 #

    I love our fire too, it’s one of my favourite things about the winter here. We have one with a door too. Last year the glass in the door broke and we stuck it together with sellotape because a new piece of the firesafe glass was going to cost 180 euros!! The sellotape worked surprisingly well because it melted into the split with the heat, just a little tip there, in case!! We succumbed this year and bought a new piece of glass for the door last week so we are enjoying the cosy evenings again. The cats are particularly happy!!

    • chicaandaluza November 12, 2011 at 13:39 #

      What a pain about the door – at least you didn´t have to buy a whole new fire. And what a great tip about the sellotape…as we are pretty good at breaking things, I´ll remember that!

  13. ceciliag November 13, 2011 at 05:41 #

    love your lorry full of wood! wish i had it and the winchy thingy, but I have to carry my wood in my arms to the house. Our fire is our only heating too and your new fire looks great! c

    • chicaandaluza November 13, 2011 at 10:39 #

      The winchy thingy is the business. I´m sure the day will come though when we have to do it manually…walk through olives, cross track, up about 15 steps then round the house to the back. Phew…that will keep us in shape as we get older!

  14. Florence November 13, 2011 at 15:37 #

    Hi Chica. How lucky are you. You don’t want to borrow the wheel barrow then! lol! Fab pictures. Especially of your man and Alfie. Thanks for sharing. Lovely post.
    Regards Florence x

    • chicaandaluza November 13, 2011 at 16:09 #

      Thanks Florence – we could lend you rusty but trusty – but your wood comes in almost to where you want it!

  15. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide November 14, 2011 at 05:16 #

    This was far more fun to see than to do, I’m sure. Wonderful photos and story as always!

    • chicaandaluza November 14, 2011 at 07:38 #

      Well, I got off lightly thanks to Big Man, Alfi and Kindly Neighbour! Have to say, we´re glad it´s done now though.

  16. sportsglutton November 14, 2011 at 20:22 #

    I love this! I can’t live without a fireplace…yet I don’t currently have one in the house. The firepit out back is my short term solution to feeding my “fix.”

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:00 #

      A firepit sounds like fun – food, flames…just what you need!

  17. PendleStitches November 14, 2011 at 21:44 #

    You definitely earned that bottle of wine! And what cute guys you have in your life.

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:01 #

      It´s a one off hard work day (well, until about January when we´ll need to winch some more up!) but fun. And yes, they are all cuties 🙂 Thanks!

  18. JamieAnne November 15, 2011 at 04:25 #

    Looks like quite a haul of wood. 🙂 Nice to put a face to “Big Man”

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 09:02 #

      It should keep us going into next autumn hopefully – and yes, that´s my Big Man!

  19. Bluejellybeans November 15, 2011 at 09:45 #

    Hola Tanya!
    Me ha encantado tu post. Ha sido una oportunidad genial para conocer un poco tu entorno y, otra vez, me ha encantado 🙂

    Como ves, voy un poco retrasada en mis comentarios… estoy teniendo una semana complicada.
    Gracias por compartir tu dia a dia con nosotros,
    Un beso,

    • Chica Andaluza November 15, 2011 at 10:39 #

      Gracias Giovanna y no te preocupes por el retraso – no estás obligada a hacer un comentario! Espero que mejore tú semana. Un abrazo

  20. Fired Up Cooking SA November 24, 2011 at 18:11 #

    That was a lovely read!! It is spring & freezing here – I wish I had your gorgeous fire place to sit in front of tonight!

    • Chica Andaluza November 25, 2011 at 09:16 #

      Aah – sending you some of the warm glow to keep you warm 🙂

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