Woodchip muffins

Firewood is now such a frightful price that you feel compelled to maximize the layers of pleasure it can provide.  The provision of warmth alone isn’t enough.

As it happens, I like the way it smells, and I love that rich and fat feeling I have when I’ve got a great big stack of it in storage.  There’s a kind of cornucopic abundance that comes with it – the same feelings supplied by a bountiful vegie garden at harvest time.

But this year even that wasn’t enough.  Couple my desire to make it work harder with a delivery too far from the shed, a sunny afternoon and a few hours of office work I was desperate to avoid, and this is the result.  Redgum muffins.

Or redgum Monet haystacks, perhaps.

In the mix above were some very fond memories of Marnarnie, when owned by Kevin O’Neill (the florist), whose Swiss(?) gardener following the Ash Wednesday fires cut all the burnt trees for firewood and stacked them as above throughout the garden.  They became, for several years, this garden’s leitmotif.  At any point in this huge garden, they’d be echoing around you, and disappearing off under the canopy in the distance.




  1. Wow those look amazing! Care to offer any ‘how-to’s’ on getting them to look that fancy! Sure beats a up ended trailer load of wood!

    1. Love these! Perhaps you should order another load of fire wood for this season and keep your muffins for next winter.

    2. I’m convincing myself instead that their transience is part of the fun…

    3. Easy. I made a circular wall (with a central post and a bit of old rope to make sure it at least started as a perfect circle) and just chucked all the odd shaped bits in the middle to fill it up. Saved any shingle-shaped pieces for the top.
      That was the only fussy bit. Voila!

  2. How beautiful! Almost reminiscent of an Andy Goldsworthy installation.

    1. And actually faster than stacking it indoors! Everybody wins!

  3. It will be interesting to see what beasties decide to take up residence in the crevices.

    1. You should see the beasties that take up residence in it when stacked in the woodshed. I turn out endless rats nests with every new layer I peel off. Can’t be any worse outside. Might even be better

  4. They look fabulous but how do you keep them dry for burning?

    1. I don’t need to. I know for a fact that this firewood has been sitting out in the open for at least a decade. It might take me eighteen months to use it all, but it won’t come to any harm in that time

  5. I like your muffins but they’d look rather alien in my New Jersey landscape.

    1. Come to think of it, they look rather alien here as well. I want them among trees

  6. These are beautiful; I would never be able to allow myself to actually use the wood. They remind me of stone cairns.

  7. Love them! I imagine them built by trolls who watched too much Grand Designs!

    1. No, just one, but fortunately one with sufficient emotional maturity to choose to overlook the slight..

  8. That is absolutely fantastic Michael. Yes, very Andy Goldsworthy-esque which I love. Just goes to show that natural materials can be used in both fun and practical ways. So what is the next firewood sculptural piece you’re going to do? ……

    1. Dunno Steve, but with the price heading where it is, next time I order firewood I might be just using a solitary piece arranged artfully on a stone plinth.

    2. Well if that’s the case I think you’ve got a couple of options to consider … you could either develop a new hobby of wood turning to make that solitary piece ‘special’ or find a friend with a bush block that needs seasonal thinning so you don’t have to buy it …..

  9. The muffins are gorgeous.Meanwhile here in Brisbane I am longing for cool weather. Still 32 degrees.

  10. I worked at Marnanie in the early nineties, and yes, Marco was a Swiss migrant from Chur who was head gardener there in the pre-and post-fire years. He made the beautiful wood piles, but liked to make little of it, telling us it was just a handy way to stack wood!

    1. Thanks for the first-hand info, Jen. Ah, Marnanie in the 90’s. All I can think of is Japanese windflowers towering over your head..

    2. hi there i worked at marnanie after the bush fires of 1983 have fond memories of the place, i also worked with marco speck, tree ferns were my favourite and the large pond at the top of the garden ,we helped cut down a huge gum tree at the time . chris dixon , in pommie land. ps worked with a guy called jullian from melbourne

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