Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tending Fire

It has been very cold here all week. Yesterday the low temperature was 21 degrees. Brrr! Perfect fire weather, though, so I've built a fire in the fireplace every morning as soon as I get up.

And the fire needs to be watched until it's established. I have to sit and tend the fire. It isn't an unpleasant way to spend the first half-hour of a morning, sitting by the gradually warming fireplace with a cup of coffee, coaxing it to keep burning.

For us, though, the fire is a luxury and not a necessity. We have central heat which will make the house as warm as we like it (I try to exercise some self-discipline and keep it on 64 degrees F). We have an oven, and so we don't need the fire for cooking. In fact, if the fire simply refused to burn, I could give up and the only consequence would be that somebody would eventually have to clean the charred wood out of the fireplace.

Imagine getting up at 5 a.m. on a bitterly cold morning, and starting a fire to heat the house and cook breakfast. Imagine shivering in the cold as you wait for the temperamental logs to finally catch, and imagine having no firestarting accessories like we have today. You might have matches, or even (perhaps) a flint. Or, if you're lucky, there might be some coals left over from the night before, if you've banked the fire well enough. And if the fire doesn't start, you'll just be cold, and eat cold food. Or, if the cold is severe enough, you might die. Our forefathers (and foremothers) had a great deal of intestinal fortitude, I think!

Now I will admit that I have never started a fire out of coal, and coal was a popular fuel for at least part of our history. But I know that wood is temperamental, and I know that it takes a good hour for me to get an established fire that can just sit and burn without tending every few minutes. And I am very thankful for my modern conveniences - here's to heat and modern kitchens and firestarters! :)

If you're interested, the author of this article Build a Better Fire claims to have invented a more efficient way to use your fireplace. And now Melissa is here and we are going to enjoy the fire, so I will close this. Stay warm, everybody!



Anonymous said...

Good morning Terri & Melissa! Coffee by the fireplace sounds very inviting this morning. We seldom have a fire in our indoor fireplace but Nalley loves to build one in his rock fireplace at the creek. It's always fun to see my little great-nieces roast marshmallows down there. Once they ran all the way up that steep hill to show me a perfectly roasted marshmallow hanging from the coathanger by a string by the time they made it to me!!! So cute! Hope you both have a wonderful day. Stay warm.

Wolfie said...

Ooooooh... I LOVE the smell of a wood fire. It's always been something I've enjoyed.

I have always wanted a fireplace in my home but never managed to live in a house equipped with one.

I would love to do nothing more than sit by the fire and enjoy the warmth. Stare into the flames. (Have done this at other people's homes and while camping.)

Enjoy the warm fire Terri!!!


Terri said...

Mildred, we love roasted marshmallows, too! But you have to be quick, don't you! that's a cute story - I can just picture them running, and that marshmallow sliding... :)

Wolfie, I would share my fireplace if you were closer! :(


Wolfie said...

Ohhhhh Terri.... I'd take you up on that too!!! *wink*


Susie said...

Praise the Lord for modern conveniences. Where would we be without them? I guess stoking the fire as you said.

Coffee and a warm burning fire sounds like a wonderful way to start off the day.

smileykylie said...

Hi Terri, MMmmmm, we are having an unseasonal cold spell here and I could do with a sit by your fire today! My folks have an open fire and it really is lovely. I am thankful for the central heating though, as I'm snug in bed the heater kicks in on a timer so it's lovely and warm when we get up! Boy we're soft aren't we!! love :)Kylie

Daisy said...

There is something very relaxing about sitting by a fire and watching the wood burn. I am very glad I don't have to get one started every day in order to keep warm though! Hope your week is off to a good start. :D

Amy said...

It's freezing here too. I wish we had a fireplace because keeping the heat on 64 is just cold! My DH says it feels "cheap" in here. He's right!
I envy you guys having coffee beside the fire! Enjoy!