Every year from late summer into early autumn the Tuscan villages are bustling with tractors of every size delivering wood to homes for their fires during the coming winter.
In these parts it’s by far the most economical way to heat, the running costs of diesel boilers are prohibitive nowadays and mains gas is rare in the hill villages and not a cheap option either.
Now that I have a stuffa, a traditional wood-burning stove, I rely solely on wood to heat my home. We have taken delivery of three loads this winter, and going by the mild weather so far, I’m fairly sure there will be much left over for next winter. Below are images taken from our first delivery.
9am, I hear Alessandro arrive with our wood supply neatly packed on his time-served rusty tractor.
The morning air filled with the smell and taste of diesel fumes as the engine’s thunderous heartbeat echoed relentlessly around the courtyard.
A neighbour passing by stopped and took it upon himself to help fellow-villager Alessandro reverse his tractor and trailer into our courtyard. A hairy and brave move you wouldn’t find me willing to try, but its a daily norm in these villages.
Alessandro wears his ear-protectors, whilst our brains rattle around our skulls, eagerly awaiting the engine to fall silent.
The tipping starts and our wood is slowly piled onto the pavement outside our home ready to be stacked indoors by the willing and able.
Now its time for some of the ‘labour of love’ we country folk are always talking about.
For the first hour of stacking, it doesn’t matter how many times you return to the pile with your wheelbarrow, the mountain of timber appears to remain exactly the same size. Eventually, with aching limbs, I see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel, a great feeling.
After a Twix, a Mars bar, several cups of tea, a hand full of splinters and a mouth full of curses, the pavement is cleared and the wood stacked..