Thursday, January 24, 2013

O For a Muse of Fire

I've spent most of today so far in fire-related activities.  Chopping wood, coaxing flames, piling on sticks, groaning about how my back and hands hurt... fireplaces are a lot of work, as some of you may know. 

This morning we woke up freezing cold and rather miserable (Virginia having finally realized that it's January, not October), so my mom and I decided to make a fire ourselves.  Usually it's my dad's job, but since he was at work it was up to us.  We had it nicely built up, but then we ran out of wood.  At first we sent out the little 'uns to gather sticks, but then they brought in a huge log....and I had a bright idea.  I would chop it.  My dad has a little hatchet which I've always wanted to try out, and now I got my chance.  (I'm certain there''s a bigger one somewhere in the garage, but I'm scared of the garage - too many spiders - so I didn't hunt too far.  So I grabbed my brother Joe and went out chopping. 

Chopping wood is glorious fun.  You get to whack an inanimate object with a sharp tool.  What's not to love?  I think I shall keep a supply of sticks to chop when I get angry from now on.  Really.  I think it would be quite beneficial.

So, to give this post a reason for existing, I shall explain some basics of stick-gathering and fire-making to you poor city slickers.  (You have no idea how hypocritical it is for me to say that.  I am by no means a country girl.) 

So, stick-gathering.  The sticks should be dry, but not rotted.  If they're rotten, they'll burn up like twigs, which is okay for a quick blaze, but isn't really worth it.  The lighter they are, the drier they are.  The drier they are, the better (and quicker) they'll burn.  Obviously the bigger they are, the longer they'll burn.  I don't know much about types of wood...I know some burn better than others, but I have no idea which.

Once you've got the sticks, you can make the fire. (By-the-by, unless you have a strong man, a saw, and big tree limbs, I recommend that you buy logs from a grocery store or something to supplement your sticks.)  If you have a huge fireplace or are making a bonfire, the best method is to lay your logs in a square shape with sticks and kindling (pinecones work well) in between.  If you've only got a regular fireplace, you can lay the logs in a triangle or x-shape.  I've been laying my sticks vertically against a log in the back and stuffing the middle with twigs, but it's not working terribly well.

So yeah, that's what I've learned about fires.  They're great fun, even though it's a ridiculous amount of work.

If you've got anything to add to my fire-making-knowledge, tell me in the comments.  And if I've got anything wrong, pleasepleaseplease tell me.  And if you made it to the end of my chattering...congratulations.

via google images


  1. "So I grabbed my brother Joe and went out chopping."


  2. Fires. Love 'em. I'm not a pyromaniac... okay, maybe a little. :]

    We've only had a fire or two this year, which is very disappointing. They're so cozy, but there hasn't been dire need of one. I love started them up, though. We use fire starters, newspaper, and pine cones to get ours roaring. I think the fire starters (a lump of stuff of some sort that comes in a package that you light on fire, which burns for a long while- enough time to get the wood to catch), are kind of cheating, but whatever. :P

    God bless!


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