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Nothing like a fire to chase away the winter doldrums

January 19, 2009

I believe the technical term for it is Seasonal Affective Disorder, but to me it’s the winter doldrums.    The days are shorter, and during the work week, it’s dark as I head home, and I seem to hibernate.  The couch is a welcome comfort and my projects wait for another day.    This weekend was cold and dreary and Sunday’s light but persistent drizzle fairly nixed any further work on the shop.

What to do?  Build a fire, and spend some quality time indoors.   

pyrotherapy

pyrotherapy

We just started using the fireplace over the holiday break, and this is perhaps something like my tenth fire and I’m still perfecting my technique.   There are the basics – a bit of newspaper, pile on kindling in the form of small fallen branches, and then moving up to some larger branches and then the split logs.  All pretty straight forward, except I’m burning a mix of two year old poplar and sweet gum.  The latter is in abundance.  

Once the fire is going, and to perk it up from time to time, I found if I mostly close the glass doors, the draw and combustion are greatly accelerated.  Once up to temperature, I can open the doors and let the heat radiate outward.  We’ve ordered a larger grate and I’m looking forward to it’s arrival.   Leslie really enjoys the fires, and say what  you will, but gas logs and electric simulations just don’t duplicate the sensory experience of a real wood fire.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2009 4:14 am

    Channel your inner Dick Capps: Gasoline!

  2. January 19, 2009 6:19 pm

    Ha! Thanks Lee – good to see you.

    Well, indoor fires are a bit of a departure for me – I’ve had a bit of practice building more sizable outdoor examples and found that once going, used plastic 5 gal oil containers (think “pickle buckets”) are awesome accelerants. The plastic melts and drips down into the fire and burns like rocket fuel. Pretty soon you have a vortex jet of swirly flames soaring skyward.

    Obviously, I show restraint with the indoor efforts. I remember the drapery episode at your home and your dad’s bold efforts to stamp out the flames with his hands. God bless him!

    Mark

  3. Jane permalink
    January 20, 2009 1:41 am

    Throw a couple of pecans in the embers. They heat up, the shell cracks just a smidge and a blue flame shoots out – great fun!

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