Saturday, January 5, 2008

Teeth chattering cold and fireplaces

This cold, cold weather just makes me want to snuggle in front of a roaring fire with a good book.

Miss Etta, have you ever chopped wood for a fire? There is an art to chopping wood. There is a finer art to keeping your toes attached to your legs when chopping wood. Somehow, while I never mastered the art of chopping wood like a pro, I did manage to keep all my toes and fingers.

I was a very hesitant wood chopper, although I finally did get the hang of it. The idea of that big old heavy axe swinging full circle into one of my body parts kept me from doing the smooth, heavy swing that I see so many others use.

I'm sure my attempts would have made a very funny video for one of those shows on TV where people do silly things. My way of splitting a piece of wood generally involved somehow getting the axe embedded into the wood and then picking up the axe with attached wood and banging until it split.

I have to admit I wasn't choosy enough when it came to which wood I tossed into the fireplace some days. When you're shivering wood is wood. If it burned it was going into the fire.

If you've ever put wet wood into your fire you'll never forget the sounds and smells. Then there are woods that burn so fast you stay warm just tossing it into the fireplace. Then there are some that never seem to catch, they just sit there like a piece of iron.

And oh, it's not just wet wood that can smell. Woooeee, some woods can have you sitting on the front porch wrapped in blankets with the house windows open.

I did so love having a fire burning during those cold winter days though. We don't have too many really cold days down here in our home of choice thank goodness.

These days most fireplaces have gas logs in them or they are just for decoration. We have a huge fireplace with gas logs in our home. I know I shouldn't tell on myself, but I have no idea how to turn those things on and I think I might freeze before I figured it out.

One time during the coldest of winter our electricity went out and I decided to give it a look. Teeth chattering, hands shaking, I opened the bottom and started peering at the instructions. After a few minutes of trying to decipher the words, I went and got a flashlight. It didn't help. Thank goodness the electricity came back on before I had to go looking for matches.

We have a total electric house so there is a separate tank that is hooked up to the fireplace. It has been sitting out there for so long that I would certainly imagine that whatever is in there has either evaporated or separated into water and goo.

But it is such a beautiful fireplace. And I never have to clean out the ashes or worry about the sparks burning little places in the carpet.

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