This has led me to having some great conversations, meeting new folks and learning a lot more about a subject I knew very little about!
A book highly recommended to the amateur and enthusiast alike, is aptly called "The wood fire handbook" by Vincent Thurkettle. It is an excellent read on all things fire & firewood, from log types, best wood to use, stacking and storing, and the best fires to have.
As he says in this book 'Sitting in the soft firelight, I have often wondered why I am so fascinated by fire ... fire warms, consoles, and touches the very heart of us, like a loving, worldly-wise relative ... '
Of course, it is not only wood I burn. I also use a small amount of suitable coal (these particular nuggets comprise of shredded olive nuts compressed with crushed coal) and briquettes. And we do use the central heating, particularly in the mornings when the fires have long since gone out.
As I mentioned, I collect wood from different sources. From asking for discarded pieces of timber in building sites, collecting pieces of unwanted (small) branches or trees that people are happy to have removed and other chance opportunities. Doing this has kept me warm twice - working to collect and the fires themselves - one, and sometimes two, fire(s) going on these cold wet Winter days.
My stacking of wood has improved as I've learned more. I know I've to build a proper wood store, another task to add to my list over the Summer or Autumn of 2014. For now though, using my small shed & glasshouse, keeping them well ventilated on non-windy days, is sufficient.
Quantity wise, it's hard to measure, but I think I have used just under 1.5 cubic metres over the past 2-3 months. Not bad going I think! I have dry wood reserves for about another two-three weeks. I'm still collecting away, but it's likely we'll be more reliant on central heating; maybe it's no harm, garden tasks are beckoning. Central heating though, just doesn't have the same conversational appeal - 'oh yeah, I pressed the button on that bad boy and on it came' - Lol.
Stay warm & safe