How to get three-times the benefit from your log fire

Contrary to popular belief – YES, it does get cold here in sunny Spain in winter!

Don’t get me wrong – even in the depths of February we usually have sunny days with blue skies, but as soon as the sun begins to drop behind the nearest hillside, it’s time to change into jeans and thick socks ready for the cold evenings and nights.  By European standards, the temperature doesn’t drop very low (around 6 Celsius) – after all, that’s one of the main reasons we moved here from England’s perishing winters, but it surely feels cold.

Houses around here are built to keep out the warmth of the sun during the long, hot summer months rather than for keeping warm in winter.  Village houses are built close together (causing shade), and with small windows.  More modern houses, like ours. might have patio doors and larger windows, with insulation in the walls – but we still have tiled floors rather than carpeted ones and inadequate heating (by UK standards).

Top path on our land

Fortunately, on our land we have 47 almond trees, which come in handy when pruning time comes around during the autumn months.  Branches here and there are  selected for firewood – after which I send my hubby out with the saw.

Here cometh the first benefit!

Stacking the almond logs

On another day, the branches need chopping into smaller logs to fit in the fireplace, before being stacked in a dry place.

Thus comes the second benefit of the log fire – and still without a match being lit.   (Well, my hubby certainly always leaves me in no doubt how warm he gets whilst sawing, chopping and stacking!)

Stacked logs

Later follows the third, warming benefit ….. and the bit I like best – the log fire!

Roaring log fire

See how much better warming value we get, rather than telephoning a local supplier for yet another load of logs to be delivered.


Do you have a log fire and do you get such good value from yours?


Other posts you might enjoy:

The Green, Green Vegetables of Home

East of Málaga: The Weather in Winter

Chickpea and chorizo soup with smoky paprika bread



43 thoughts on “How to get three-times the benefit from your log fire

  1. To heat our house we need to light a fire pretty much after lunch and we get through so much wood. Looking at the wheelbarrow, roughly how many of those logs would you get through if you lit a fire at, say, 5pm and kept it going until 9pm? Here in La Alpujarra (450m above sea level, so relatively ‘low’) the temp has recently been dropping to 1 or 2 degrees each night.

  2. Hurray for log fires!! If only I had one of my own damn it! These wheelie-radiators we have are at least an improvement on last year’s electric heater that served only to scold my legs whilst the rest of me froze. I can’t wait to get home for Christmas and be properly warm (how ironic?)

    • Hey – wanna come and chop some logs for me???!! That’ll keep you warm.

      We always say that we see more snow here in southern Spain (albeit from a distance on the mountain tops) than we ever did in north-west England.

      Mmmmm central heating and carpets 🙂

  3. I can agree with you the log fire is a godsend. And as for phoning a wood supplier I have never had to and hopefully never will. There’s always old pallets about and stuff and don’t forget the drift wood. Even collecting acorns will do and your getting a bit of exercise as well.

  4. Sadly we dont get such good value as you from the wood for our fire – it would be lovely to have almond trees and prunings, and enough to use for fuel.
    At Taylors Arm we have our wood delivered but the upside is it that is the winter business of a friend, who has a wife and 2 little kids… buying our wood from him contributes to him making a living, and I know he appreciates the local business. Sometimes his wife and kids go on the deliveries so it’s a social thing too. And if we are out walking and see him making a delivery, we stop and help him offload 🙂
    Lots of warm thoughts 🙂

    • OOHHH that’s lovely, EllaDee. I love the social aspect 🙂

      Of course, we are fortunate because of the number of trees we have – otherwise we would have to buy locally, too.

  5. We sadly lost two lemon trees and a plum this summer, all mature, but at least we now have plenty of free firewood for our new chimenea! Love the heat, light, smell, movement of flames. Nearest you get to cosy here!

  6. I was once in Malaga at Christmas time and I was freezing, even with my stout Austrian boots. Every day I gave thanks to Papa for giving me a kangaroo skin coat as a going away present, so I can imagine how those fires of yours – recycling at its best – warm you, both physically and psychologically. Lovely fire picture, by the way. 🙂

  7. It is a pain to keep them clean (particularly the glass fronted cassettes – best to use a bit of oven cleaner) but I do feel sad when winter is coming to an end and I cant justify using the fire anymore…. the heat is much more intense than central heating, it has a distinctive smell and is also romantic.

  8. Oh it’s the same for us! Chopping, stacking and burning – that wood really keeps us warm doesn’t it 🙂 Took me a while to get used to just heating the area you’re in rather than having a completely centrally heated house – but now we just put on a few layers and later in the evening enjoy the fire. Lovely shots!

  9. I so agree with your comment about houses not being designed to keep the heat in, but the sun out! We have the same problem here. We heated with electric radiators at first -now that we’ve esblished how much we have to pay EDF for the privilege of heating the 50 cm 3 metres above our heads, we have installed a wood stove and oh, boy… it’s fantastic! HTe only problem is that we have to buy the wood, because I don’t have almond trees like you. I love seeing my cat sitting in the wood basket and glaring at the fire because it’s not hot enough for his liking 🙂

  10. Haha, yes, we leave all the more physical jobs to the colder weather too. Unfortunately we don’t have enough trees to heat us through the winter though, so we still rely on Andrés and his trailers of encina. We usually fill the leñera in spring, just as we stop using the wood stove – then it’s all dried out, and gives better heat and less smoke, when we need it in November.

I´d love to hear from you, and much appreciate your comments. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s