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We like trees. It`s often too cold to do much hugging here in rural Aberdeenshire and we need to burn trees to keep ourselves warm.

We need to live with trees. They make our homes and our landscape more hospitable. They fix carbon.

They grow when we`re asleep. They don`t need as much attention as cabbages. When they`re grown we can harvest them. We can make them into homes, as well as many of the items inside those homes. They hold the roof up, store pots and pans, stir the porridge, heat the water, provide seats and tables. They`re nicer than plastic and chipboard and when their life is eventually over, they decompose and form a forest floor that grows more trees. If you`re human, what`s not to like?

Goodness knows what we`d do if we only had the trees that are really “native” to the north – the ones that were here before the people.

We like to speak of local timber products, meaning any trees that live here with us now.

The hardwoods in this area we make most use of are oak, ash, beech, (wych) elm, sycamore. There are many more species available but not abundantly so.

Softwoods are available in easy quantities..spruces, scots pine, Douglas fir and larch. These are rarely available milled and dried and are sometimes grown rather more quickly than their imported friends; they can have a different appearance.

The large timber yards are more likely to offer you something from the Far East as hardwood: supply is regular in time and quality.

We prefer to deal with other local people. There are several that do a good job of sawing, storing and drying local timber from the woodland in the local area and make use of ad hoc availability such as farmers` hedgerow trees.
The variety is great. Soil types and height and situation affect colour as well as grain pattern, knots and burrs. We can`t really guarantee what the next tree will be like. Variety is a life spice. At least your table won`t look like next-door`s.