Thursday, January 22, 2009

Come on baby, light my fire

It's a little joke around here when I sing "Come on baby, light my fire". That doesn't mean any hanky panky is about to means that it's time to get the wood stove going. Seriously, for 2 "city folk", one of our biggest challenges in moving to the country was to figure out how to light a good fire.

The first fire we tried in our wood stove was a miserable failure, and you could smell the smoke in our house for days afterward. The fire never did start.

We've gone into stores that sell wood stoves to get advice. We were told by one person that we needed to drill a hole and install a pipe in our air tight cement walled house in order for the fire to be able to "draw". That seemed a bit extreme.

I'm happy to report that after 8 months of living here (mind you, we didn't light any fires in the summer months) we (that's the royal "we") have finally figured it out. It took a couple of months of burning the fire so hot that we couldn't stay in the room any longer. But now John can set a great fire, and have it burn just right for hours. Heaven for me.

The next story about fire is our burn barrel. Really, if you live in the country, you must have a burn barrel. Obtaining one was quite an adventure for John. Most people use old oil barrels. John went from business to business to track one down. Someone told him that oil barrels aren't a good idea anymore because "they don't make them like they used to". John was told the barrel would cost $50 and would last about 2 years. The man suggested John try an oil tank replacement business and gave him a phone number to call.

It turns out that this guy has 52 oil tanks that he has taken out of houses and replaced with new ones. He said he would clean one out and cut it in half for us, and he'd have it ready the next Sunday for us to pick up. He then forgot about us and it wasn't ready when we arrived to pick it up. He told John he'd deliver it to us the following Wednesday. Then he phoned and said he'd be a day late. He didn't show up, and it was getting near Christmas, so we decided to leave the whole issue until January. Then one morning he came with his truck and dropped off the 2 burn barrels...delivered to our door and put in place in the yard. He wouldn't accept any money and apologized for "being late". Geesh. I felt guilty for all the work he did for us!

So now we have 2 burn barrels. And we have 2 men (John and his son G) who were anxious to test one out. But...looks like we're back to fire starting lessons again. Because despite these photos, the fire didn't get going (they managed to get some dried grass to burn!).
One thing I know, though. These guys are determined (aka stubborn) and they'll get it figured out.


Grant said...

It takes three logs to make a fire and two logs to make a frustration!

Jennifer said...

Jon and I are going to look at a house that has two wood-burning stoves. It's a really cute house, but neither of us knows how to build a fire. Luckily, I don't think the house needs them for heat but I'm not sure...

And what is it about men and outdoor fires?

Glad you (I mean he) figured it all out. Stay warm!

aliceinparis said...

I have always wanted a wood stove. Love the heat they give off.
Fires are great. One of my fave things about camping is the daily campfire:)
Cheers, Shelagh

Christine said...

I love fires! I make them every night in the summer and when I visit my parents in the winter, I love starting the fires in the fireplace. The trick is good kindling and very, very dry wood. Also, you have to leave room between the logs/wood for air to go through. It gets easier! :)