No accident that my Hero found this in his Christmas stocking this year, because actually, we take pleasure from our small woodstack.  Or, possibly more accurately, I take the pleasure and enjoy the warmth of his labour in stacking it all.


Only last week, we took delivery of a load of fresh logs, ready to be stacked and seasoned over the year.  There’s a similar quantity of seasoned logs stacked and drying in the garage ready for use, every one lifted and placed carefully, for there is a satisfaction in such things, don’t you agree?

But we are not in the same league as some, as witnessed over the weekend.


Of course, if one has to heat the whole house for the winter, then a larger stack is needed.  But my hero’s critical eye was cast over this one, lacking somewhat in the rotation, we thought.


This being a farm, then perhaps heating would be needed in the barns and cowsheds too? 


Plenty of room for new supplies here, though.  What a fine woodstore,with a clean, tiled back to it.  Having said that, the open design of ours allows the wind and rain to blow through from front to back, seasoning the wood nicely.


At least when the wood is stacked around the house, there’s the benefit of insulation too.  As you can tell, driving around we take note of such things and from time to time, one of us will “ooooo!” and spot a particularly fine example and admire the skill and sheer hard work involved in creating it.


On Sunday, though, we spotted the best woodstack ever.  Really.


It stretched three sides around the boundary of the Karthause Ittingen and contained more wood than we’ve ever seen, all neatly stacked in evenly sized and well built stores.  We’d met our Swiss friends for Sunday lunch in Frauenfeld at the marvellous Goldenes Kreuz (Goethe war da!) and on a lovely, Spring afternoon, their suggestion of a walk in the country was spot on.


The woodstacks were remarkable in the way they were sorted: some stacks contained smaller, kindling sized pieces and these variations in texture and pattern were very attractive.  I was also rather taken with the small drifts of what I assumed to be a variety of willow.


My favourite, perhaps, was the stack of dry vines, each one covered in lichen and in spite of being oddly twisted and contorted, was just as neatly stacked as all the others.


A grand sight to lift the spirits.


Formerly a Carthusian monastery, Karthause Ittingen is now a venue for concerts, weddings and suchlike.  There’s an hotel here, a good restaurant, a gallery and a spa.  We enjoyed looking around the reconstructed residence of the monks and soon realised why so much wood was needed.


A kachelofen in every room would have required regular feeding throughout the winter months.


And oh my, what beautiful kachelöfen they are too!


This one dated back to 1677, though it had been restored in the 1990s.


A silent order, the Carthusians must have savoured such a wealth of visual treasures.


I mean, the refectory is rather pretty too, isn’t it?


As for the chapel.  Well.


Altogether breathtaking.


After a spot of tea and a short stop in the lovely monastery shop we made our way back to our cars.


What a lovely day we’d had.  What great company our friends are!


And for sure, those Carthusians chose a great site for their monastery, even if they did need a fair quantity of fuel to get them through the chilly times.  Whether the concept is attributed to Thoreau or Ford, wood does indeed warm at least twice; once when cutting and once whilst burning.  When stacking is included, then my Hero definitely gets an extra boost.

A rich textile heritage

A rich textile heritage

In die Schweiz

In die Schweiz