Log Store in Progress at Shadowlands
Although we have not yet got our wood burning stove, I thought it high time I got started on constructing a storage facility in preparation. Those of you who have kindly followed my blog from time to time will know I have that massive pile of timber sitting at the back of the house. What it was originally intended for, who knows, but I thought I would make use of some of it.
Having bought a hand saw in the UK whilst over there at Christmas and brought it back in my suitcase (to the consternation of my wife), I set about testing the density of the large timbers to see if it was going to be a goer or not. Of course, they have hand saws in Japan too, but they are different. They are usually bladed on both edges of the saw, and cut with the up stroke rather than the down stroke (I may have got that the wrong way around). So the teeth are in the other direction. Which is ‘best’ I have no idea, but I’m used to the British saws, so that’s what I used.
Anyhow, I digress: the first problem was finding a decent site for the store. Finding a flat surface in the garden is virtually impossible, so I knew it would have to be on the concrete somewhere. Since we are thinking of getting an outside wood oven as well as an indoor stove, a location close to what will be the outside dining area (but not too close) seemed appropriate. You can see the spot I ended up using, which had the added benefit of screening the mysterious pathway into the woods (the rhodo walk), and also screening us a little from the house over the road (the only one in the vicinity). This is not visible when the trees are in leaf.
Next, sizing up the timber – heavy work. Eventually I found some suitable things, and began to work from plans in my head (adjusting as the circumstances allowed). I wanted the store to be robust, and was not too worried about the precision of the joints, for as you can see, I am ‘facing it’ with American cedar, left over from when the main house was built (I presume – found it in another store on the property). I’m keeping some back, of course, for repairs to the main house – don’t worry!
Measuring and cutting piece by piece, two trips later, and I am at the stage that you see in the pics. I was helped by finding a measuring angle (set square) high in the trees. I think the roofers must have dropped it when recently redoing our roof, and then couldn’t find it! The roof of the little store has not been resolved because I have not yet decided whether I am tiling, asphalting, or using some more cedar. Once the back and sides are done, I will see what it looks like and then decide. I’m reasonably pleased with it. It is pretty flat according to the spirit level (what a bad name for this great tool y the way – I think it should be called a dispirit level in my experience!). But on this occasion, everything seems straight, level, flush and so on — more by luck than judgment. The bottom slats are raised to allow air circulation (important for drying wood I understand). The upper slats are different sizes to create a wave-like rack. I am hoping this will help the logs stack better — patent pending? :) What do you think everyone?
The weather at Shadowlands today, by the way, was about 5 degrees! Very mild, and it was quite pleasant working up there. Quite a lot of snow is still lying from weeks ago, but it is thawing slowly (hopefully an early spring). What is good about seeing it thaw is that it gives me a very useful sun and warmth map. I can see the areas that get a lot of sun, which is where I am going to put a few fruit trees.
When I arrived there this morning at 8.00 am, there were some fairly regular pounding/boom sounds. The mountains almost seemed to shake. To be honest, I was a little concerned that it was something volcanic — especially given the eruption going on in another part of Japan at the moment. I was relieved to learn a few hours later from a ‘neighbor’ that it was the National Defense Force doing firing (tank?) practice near Fuji-san. This is literally miles away, but the mountains hold the sound and it reverberates in a freaky way.
Oh, whilst I remember, I also attach to this blog a picture of a very typical onsen pipe system direct from a volcanic vent. For American GOY members, it may remind you a little of oil rigs or something. They dot the landscape. Sometimes they are very active and emit huge clouds of steam, other times they sleep. A bit like human beings really.
- 4 Feb, 2011
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