Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Lesson From the Country Life

Living in Chicago gave me no education in a variety of survival skills. One such skill is making a fire. Eight years ago I married a man from West Tennessee, and moved there. We had 16 acres, mostly wooded, and no central heat. In the basement was a wood burning stove, and that was our main source of heat. There were two propane fireplaces also in the house, but we just used those in the mornings as a chill chaser.

If you have ever been to West Tennessee you would know that it is very hilly, and our land was no exception. What a work out we would get hauling logs up a hill to the truck. I was in the best shape ever, not to  mention mowing with a hand mower, sorry a little detour. Once the truck was loaded it was back to the house to unload, and bust 'em up, as my husband says.

What I learned is how to tell dry wood from wet wood, this is important when building a fire because you need both. You also need some kindling to get it all started, that was easy we always had twigs laying around. But once again it does no good if your kindling is wet, easy if it doesn't break easily than it is wet. For the logs you could tell by the weight. Wet wood still contains water making it heavier, dry wood is lighter due to lack of water.

For a good fire start with some kindling and paper to get it started. Once you have a good fire going add some dry wood, than some wet wood on the top before you know you will have a fire like this one. The fire has to continuously be tended to, moving logs around, adding more kindling, and more logs.

In Tennessee we learned about a lumber yard that would let us get scrapes. We paid a set amount, no matter how we were hauling it, it cost the same. They would come and scoop up the scrapes, and dump them in the truck. If we could fit more it was up to us to fill it by hand. The kids hated this because once we got back it all had to be unloaded and stacked up. Up point no heating bill, and those scrapes helped us build fires that warmed that three story log house. Miss getting out of the shower and stepping on a nice warm floor. Gosh I sure miss those days in the woods, splitting it, stacking it, what a peaceful time.

While we have central heat here in Louisiana we don't need it alot. We made sure we had a fireplace at least to save on the electric bill. We are slowly clearing some trees, and use the wood for fire, but we still need some kindling, and dry wood. Wood left from the previous year is our dry wood, and the awesome gentleman up the road who does wood working gives us his scrapes.

I'm always cold in the winter, so for me building and tending to the fire is a great way to keep warm. You know what It's my life, and I'm living it to the fullest. I love my life, thank you Father, I am truly blessed.

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