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


Ski-ing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada, Spain

Sierra Nevada, SpainImage credit: Javier Martin (Wikipaedia CC)

The 2013-2014 winter season opens tomorrow, November 23rd, at the Sierra Nevada Ski Station in the province of Granada, Spain.

The Sierra Nevada (snowy mountain) is Europe’s most southerly and sunniest ski resort with more than 80% of sunny days each year.   There are more than 104 kilometres of trails, 116 ski runs and 22 ski lifts to ensure you enjoy the biggest snow park in Spain!

The lower end of the resort village, Pradollano, lies 2100 metres above sea level with the top station at 3300m.

The Sierra Nevada Ski Station also boasts the greatest skiable vertical drop in Spain at 1200 metres.  

The resort is situated 27 kilometres from the city of Granada and, with ski-ing available from late November to early May, it’s possible to enjoy ski-ing and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea (only 100 kilometres away) on the same day.  

Now there’s a challenge for you!

Where’s your favourite ski resort?


Related articles:

Project Piste 2 Playa: Granada’s Ultimate Day-trip

Classic Andalucía: La Alhambra, Granada

The Alhambra Palace, Granada

East of Málaga: The Weather in Winter

Statistics can give a general indication but don’t show detailed variation.  Indeed, one of the things that differentiate the winters (or any of the other seasons, for that matter) from northern European weather is that there is less variation.  Although we can have severe rainy periods at this time of year, most of the days in between are remarkably steady. This is due to the high pressure systems that keep storms away from us, in the main.

December is generally a sunny month and this winter it has been exceptionally so, with hardly any cloudy days and afternoon temperatures often well into the 20 degrees Celcius – so typical of a lovely June afternoon in England.

Another very important factor around the shortest day in late December is that unlike English afternoons, when darkness descends by 4pm, here in southern Spain it doesn’t go dark until around 6.30pm – a wonderful bonus!

January, and especially February can seem a little harsh sometimes, especially when we know of the prolonged hot, dry weather to come later in the year.  But it is all relative. Yes, we can get stormy weather during the first two months of the year and occasionally if we have two or three dark and windy days together, we begin to doubt the sun will return.  Never fear. Very soon the sunshine does come back and we can usually count on temperatures around 18C each afternoon.

Frost is virtually unknown with the very lowest overnight temperatures around 3C, though normally it does not fall below 7 or 8C.   After rainy days at this time of year, we may see a dusting of snow on the top of nearby Monte Maroma, but that is at a height of 2069 metres.

It has to be said, though, that a few times each winter there will be very strong winds often coming down from the north, swirling over the mountain peaks and these can be unpleasant indeed.

All in all though, winters here, east of Málaga, are comparable to good spring weather in northern Europe and, as we are situated about 18 degrees of latitude further south of much of northern Europe, the sun is that same degree of angle higher in the sky, meaning that there is genuine warmth in its rays.

Life continues outdoors during the majority of winter days, and long, cold, rainy periods are virtually unknown.

Whilst you´re here, why not have a look at:

East of Málaga: The Weather in Summer

Photographs I love …. and why!

Flowering snapshot of a January day around the garden


Following on from my previous post showing you the beautiful almond blossom, I thought you might enjoy a flavour of the delights of a day in January, east of Màlaga – garden style!

What does your garden look like on a January day?

You might also enjoy:

Wildflowers of Andalucía: Bloomin´ lovely!

The Buddhist Stupa of the Eastern Costa del Sol

A Celebration of Fried Breadcrumbs