Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where there's smoke there's fire...or not

Wood burning stoveImage by JKleeman via Flickr

Our little Adirondack cabin is heated by a wood-burning stove. The stove does a great job of keeping the house warm...as long as there's a fire going. When my husband is home, that's not a problem. He's got a knack for starting fires and we are always toasty. The problems start when he goes to work.

Fire and I have always had a sort of all or nothing relationship. Sometimes I can strike every match in the book and never get as much as a spark. Other times I light a candle only to have the candle holder shatter. I've noticed a strange smell in the car just before the burning wires make the headlights fade. Let's not even mention what happened to the pot holder I dropped into the oven.

Because of my history with fire, burning things has been my husband's job while I stayed out of the way.

The first time my husband left me with nothing but ash in the wood stove, I spent most of the day and most of the matches trying to light a piece of wood. My husband came home that evening to find me and the kids wearing two sweaters each. I had to be humble and admit that I needed some fire making lessons.

The next morning I was instructed in the finer points of fire construction. I learned that I needed more than one split log. I was shown how to arrange the ash and coals and where to put the crumbled up newspaper. I discovered the magic of kindling. Armed with this new information, and under my husband's watchful eye, I made a fire.

Fire and I aren't BFFs or anything, but our relationship is more stable. Most days I can get the stove lit with one match. Occassionally I still need a whole book of matches. If fire is being really uncooperative, I bake something. The oven warms the house up very nicely, too.
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