Tuesday, January 17, 2006
soaking it up
After a long day (or night) of tomcatting outside, Whiter Biter enjoys a good fire. Any closer and we would be smelling burned cat fur.
My major accomplishment of the last couple of days (besides surviving chores) is becoming good at building a fire in the woodstove. Believe it or not, in over three winters here, I have hardly ever had to start a fire; usually that's the Hermit's job, and exactly how he does it has been a closely guarded secret. I have had some miserable attempts before; not enough kindling, not enough paper, too large of wood to start. My first couple of tries since The Hermit has been away were far from perfect, and very frustrating.
Like anything else, it takes practice, which you don't get if you refuse to set yourself up for possible failure. You gotta take a chance. When the incentive is warmth in the house (although I do have a Plan B, a propane heater), risk taking becomes essential. So this morning I hopped out of bed in the darkness and sat in front of the stove. It got down to 9 degrees F outside last night, and the fire probably went out about 2 or 3 AM, but it was still comfortably cool in the house; I don't like sleeping in a too-warm bedroom. But it was time to start a fire, so I placed a thick piece of kindling down, crumpled two sheets of newspaper over it, arranged about five sticks of thin kindling over that, lit a match, and held my breath. The paper ignited, blazed, died down a little, and...success. The kindling was burning nicely, in no danger of going out. I put in two larger sticks, and soon had a perfect fire going.
Shortly thereafter, Whiter Biter came indoors from a night out and about, and settled in his favorite place.