pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Logs to Burn!

Logs to Burn
Logs to burn.   Logs to burn
Logs to save the coal a turn
Here's a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodman's cries.

Never heed his usual tale
That he has splendid logs for sale
But read these lines and surely learn
The proper kind of logs to burn.

Oak Logs will warm you well
if they are old and dry
Larch logs of pinewood smell
But the sparks will fly.

Beech logs for Christmas time
Yew logs will heat you well
'Scotch' logs it is a crime
for anyone to sell.

Birch logs will burn too fast
Chestnut scarce at all
Hawthorn logs are good to last
if you cut them in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax
You should burn them gree
Elm logs like smouldering flax
With no flame to be seen.

Pear logs and apple logs
They will scent your room
Cherry logs across the dogs
smell like flowers in bloom.

But ash logs all smooth and grey
burn them green or old
Buy all that come your way
They're worth their weight in gold.

Another one:

Oak logs will warm you well
That are old and dry
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly.
Birch logs will burn too fast
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn logs are good to last
Cut them in the fall.
Holly logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm logs like smoldering flax
No flame to be seen.

Beech logs for winter time
Yew logs as well
Green Elder logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.
Pear logs and apple logs
They will scent your room,
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smells like flower of broom.
Ash logs smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way –
Worth their weight in gold.

There are lots of these poems - interestingly, they seem to have blended, with whole verses transposed from one version to another.    

Logs to burn, logs to burn,
Logs to save the coal a turn,
Here's a word to make you wise,
When you hear the woodsman cry.

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear, Hornbeam blazes too,
If the logs are kept a year, to season through and through.

Oaken logs will warm you well, if they're old and dry,
Larch logs of pinewood smell but the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is Yew for warmth through wintry days,
The Poplar and the Willow too, they take too long to blaze.

Birch logs will burn too fast, Alder scarce at all,
Chestnut logs are good to last, cut them in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax, you should burn them green,
Elm logs like smouldering flax, no flames with them are seen.

Pear logs and Apple logs, they will scent your room,
Cherry logs, across the dogs, they smell like flowers in bloom.

Ash logs, so smooth and gray, burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way they're worth their weight in gold.

This is a version which I posted in January last year...

Beechwood flames are bright and clear
if the logs be kept a year
Oaken logs burn steadily
If the wood be old and dry
Chestnut's only good they say
If long dry years it's laid away
But Ash when new or Ash when old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.
by Dorothy Tilson

Birch and Fir they burn too fast
Blaze too bright and will not last
Build a fire of elder tree
Death within your house you'll see.
If you would bake the sweetest bread
Use Hawthorn, or so 'tis said
But Ash when green or Ash when brown
Will please a queen with a golden crown

Elm will burn like churchyard mould
Even the very flames are cold
Poplar gives a bitter smoke
Burns your eyes and makes you choke
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells of flowers in bloom.
But Ash when wet or Ash when dry
A queen may warm her slippers by.

Each version has something to offer.    I must conduct an experiment next autumn...cut some Hawthorn (second poem) then, when it has seasoned, use it to fire-up the Rayburn when I am baking bread (final poem) ...  
It is cold and snowy outside - another day for sitting next to the fire and dipping into old books - life is tough!


  1. I like this post elaine.. you have found some good poems.. all about the wood. I burn mainly oak and olive..
    your Salamander looks inviting love the berries on the mantle.. mine is pretty similar.
    Its blowing a gale here.
    stay warm.
    happy weekend.

    1. Hi Val, The log burner has come in very useful in the last few days!

  2. For years, my sister-in-law would quotes parts of an old poem about logs whenever the family men went into the woods to cut out some wood for the season's fires. She could never find all the text ... I am going to share your post with her, as she ended up finding one that resembles the last poem you shared. She'll love that there are others too!

    1. Hi Susan, If I manage to find any more I'll let you know...I hope she enjoys them.

  3. Thank you for this post . . . I liked the poems very much.
    It brought back memories of my dad who liked burning cherry wood for its fragrance, crackle and warmth.
    Thank you Elaine . . .

    1. Hi Lynne, We had to get rid of a diseased cherry tree - we hoarded those logs and brought a few out at a time, for special occasions! They were wonderful.

  4. Here, the 'chi-chi' folk like black cherry for their downtown condos because it burns with a blue flame..much more chic than yellow,which clashes with their colour schemes!
    Jane x

  5. We don't have a fireplace in our house. I still miss the fireplace in our old house even after 18 years.

    1. Hi Sweet Posy Dreams, That is a shame, they are so cosy.

  6. My parents put in a wood burning stove insert in their fireplace and always had a fire going in the winter to help with the heating bill! My dad, brother and brother-in-law would go out on weekends to cut wood. It was after one of these times that my mother made her "famous" chili! Actually, it was a disaster since she mistook cloves for chili powder! My dear dad ate it anyway and told he did always, "it was the best she ever made!"
    Thank you, Elaine--your poems brought back dear memories, XOXO

    1. Hi Susan, Now that was true love! What a wonderful man your father was! xx

  7. I remember as a child the cast-iron cook stove in the kitchen of my aunt's farmhouse. She cooked all the family meals and baked bread, cakes and cookies in that oven. I have wondered about how difficult it must have been to keep a steady heat while burning wood or coal. That rhyme about the different woods probably explained the best kinds to use for using for keeping your oven going.

    1. Hello Ms Sparrow, I, too, have a cast iron stove in my kitchen - the Rayburn. Believe me, it is not always easy to keep a steady heat, mind you, my Rayburn is particularly temperamental!

  8. There's no heat and warmth like a log fire. I love our solid fuel Rayburn - even if it is work intensive. We've got some ash logs which are brilliant. Love your poems.

    1. Hello Molly, I am a slave to a solid fuel Rayburn, too. Jolly hard work, but so worth while - heating, hot water and cooking! Ash logs are fabulous.

  9. The way logs burn would never occur to me, but my brother in law is versed in all of them. He intersperces apple or cherry or other flavors in the hardwoods for a surprise. His son told us woods are classified hardwoods by their nuts. If the nut has a shell, it grows on hardwood. Don't know if that is accurate, but it is fun.

    1. Hello Joanne, Until we got this place and began using the Rayburn and log burner, I confess that I hadn't thought about it either. Then someone told me about the poem and it all began to make sense. I love the tip about hardwood classification, I must explore that a little more.

  10. I so miss a good log fire...its so cosy...however I don't miss the snow. I must admit though it is do beautiful in the countryside. It must be snowing in New Bolingbroke too then. MY sister will be burning her two indoor wood stoves which makes her cottage as warm as toast!!! Lovely!

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

    1. Hello Amanda, New Bolingbroke must be looking spectacular with all the snow we have at the moment. No doubt those burners are being put to great use!

  11. Everyone's very rude about Chestnut. We use it a lot, and find it excellent. But it does have to be at least 3 years dry. Otherwise we burn good old OAK.

    1. Hello Cro, You are absolutely right, it just needs to be seasoned really well. Our favourite is Ash, it's wonderful.

  12. I love these kinds of poems. I learn so much, and sometimes even remember it!

  13. Hello Mitch, I wonder how that palm tree would the Spanish have similar poems?

  14. Great poetry! I am spending a lot of time stuffing logs into the furnace these days..


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