A girlfriend was visiting at the ranch. It was cold and I thought it would be so awesome to have a fire. The fire is a gathering place. I may have the luxury of electric heat in my home but if there is a fire in the fireplace, that will be where we gather. To feel the heat, put more wood in, stir it around or just stare. I love a good fire.
Show me how you build a fire, my friend asked.
My son taught me the intricacies of fire building. He took me to his fort when he was a boy to demonstrate and I have been building it pretty much the same way since. My husband uses a torch and a propane tank. Very effective for a quick fire but the feeling of creation is lost for me.
My friend, Mary, wanted to learn how to build a fire in her fireplace at home so we set to gathering the supplies.
For my method, it’s newspaper twisted into tight rolls. On top of that, I place the kindling or small sticks, bark or a piece of “fat wood” Sometimes I might use a piece of fake log that will stay lit for several minutes. On top of that are a bit larger pieces of wood and when that has really caught and burning, I put a small log, very gently so as not to disrupt the fire in its beginning stages. I check back to tend it and keep it going but usually it takes on a life of its own and I can stand back and feel proud of myself once more. It’s never guaranteed that it will catch so each time feels like an accomplishment to me.
I’m sure there are all kinds of tricks and maybe easier ways to create a fire. I read about them in Outside Magazine or some other survival magazine, now and then. But for the time being, this is how I taught Mary to make a fire. There is something so satisfying in knowing that I can make a fire and be warm…as long as I have a match.