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First Fire

September 30, 2014
That time of year

That time of year

I was trying to hold out until October to light a fire, but you know, it was chilly and damp.  It’s time to get used to the usual sounds of the fire.  The hot water coils heating up and making the familiar clunk and the fire itself crackling a bit, and then the wood falling down.  My favorite though, is the sound of the poker being hung back on the nail.  Good iron has a ring to it, and this a hand wrought poker made by my blacksmith grandfather back in the day before crappy metal was the norm, is some good stuff.  Fire mojo for sure.

I have yet to figure out how to handle the firewood less…our normal is make up the wood, stack it in the woodshed for drying and storage until we need it.  We store a fair amount in the basement, but that runs out fairly quickly, and the work of wood and heating solely with wood necessitates that we store the firewood under cover here in the Pacific Northwest.  Maybe east of the mountains you could leave it outside under a tarp or some tin, but ugh, dry, cured wood pulls that humidity right back in like a sponge.  Nothing worse than starting a fire with damp wood, you get less heat, and the chimney is none too happy either.

First fire sometimes signifies the change in the kitchen too, somehow holding onto tomatoes and cucumbers on a drizzly day seems out of whack.  Dinner last night came from the woods, the pasture, the garden and dairy.  Rib eye steak slathered with romesco, a mess of Chanterelles cooked in ghee, and some tasty roasted green cauliflower.  I even made an apple crisp with some windfall Northern Spies, oatmeal and brown sugar not from here.  Yep, it feels like fall, trading garden chores for fire chores seems like a fair trade.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2014 9:34 am

    It ALL sounds so wonderful & delish! I love this fresh, moist season up here too, but we haven’t had our first fire just yet. Are those Chanterelles from this season?!?

    • September 30, 2014 9:37 am

      Yeah, the call of the wild, I swear I could smell them, but I barely found any. Last year was a record year, I dried so many, if we don’t get much this year, we’ll be fine. That’s the way it goes though, some years are good, some not so much.

  2. September 30, 2014 9:38 am

    i love a good wood fire! i am hoping we cool off soon. we are supposed to get rain today which would be the first time in over 6 weeks. we sure are dry!

  3. Chris permalink
    September 30, 2014 9:46 am

    Maybe the lack of Chanterelles was the result of a much drier and warmer summer than usual? Would love to see a photo of that old school poker…nothing like beautifull, old, handmade tools! Even your twine hook is beautiful! 🙂
    Yes, although we are also reluctant to have that first fire…there is something so comforting about it…the smell? Ahh!

    • September 30, 2014 9:48 am

      Chris, it’s the amount of rain after the dry summer that brings them on. We haven’t had much to speak of yet.

  4. September 30, 2014 11:16 am

    Yep – heat with wood, cook with wood – it’s nice to be able to run the cookstove in the house again – instead of the small one in the outside kitchen. I consider it the first day of fall when I can run the stove in the house for the whole day. Bread, wraps, pizza dough, cheese cheese cheese. Cast iron soup pot on the back simmering away full of smoked hocks for a pea soup 🙂

    • September 30, 2014 11:31 am

      You’re making me hungry!

      • September 30, 2014 8:52 pm

        😄 I wanted to mention – having always milked goats and not having the luxury of butter – and now having the cow – it absolutely floors me how much cream she produces! I’m getting a quart and a half off of every gallon – mind boggling. I’m wondering if this is a Jersey breed thing or do you banner out on cream with your Guernsey as well? I’m not complaining about the butter though….

        • October 1, 2014 4:39 am

          Val, isn’t it great! Jane is shy in the cream department, but Jerseys are high on butterfat content and Guernseys aren’t far behind. Wonderful stuff!

        • Bee permalink
          October 1, 2014 7:33 am

          My Maybelle is a Jersey; I get at least a quart of cream per gallon, and she is not a really heavy producer.

        • October 1, 2014 9:52 am

          Well I’m sure liking the glut of butter I can make – my grandmothers old electric churn though – I fear it’s going to meet it’s maker at this rate. I do have an old hand crank churn – but oh that takes so much longer 😊

        • October 1, 2014 12:21 pm

          It shouldn’t take longer if the cream is the right temp…

        • October 1, 2014 1:28 pm

          Now there’s a point…..maybe I’ll give it a try this weekend and see – mostly I’m spoiled – the electric one I can walk away from and just ‘listen’ for the change in noise when the butter comes – the hand crank one reminds me of my flour mill…..crank crank crank 🙂
          I do my butter at between 55 and 60 degrees. Do you churn at that temp?

        • October 1, 2014 2:10 pm

          Yep, and if it’s early lactation or grass, I can get butter in about 7 minutes. It helps too if the cream is several days old. No point in abandoning the electric though, it may get hurt feelings and refuse to work later 😉

  5. September 30, 2014 1:54 pm

    Nothing beats the first fire. I can almost smell the woodsmoke as those ribeyes sizzle away 😉 Cheers, Ben

  6. September 30, 2014 2:26 pm

    Here we’re hanging out for the first evening we don’t need to light ours…when Spring arrives you are so well and truly over getting the wood in 🙂

  7. CassieOz permalink
    September 30, 2014 3:02 pm

    We’ve had the first run of warm days here, but I still light the wood heater in the evenings. When we remodeled the kitchen some years back, I would have loved to put a wood range in but they take up more space than we had available and still get some gas cooking in too for the hot weather. We usually light the fire for the last time in October and then start the task (well at least DH does) of replacing the stacks for next year.

    • September 30, 2014 3:05 pm

      Just the opposite of us. I’m still holding out on not lighting the cookstove, that means I need to get all my canning stuff of of there to do that, and then it’s all down hill. So pretty soon, but I like to think I’m saving wood 😉

  8. October 1, 2014 3:12 am

    Looks like our first fire will be tomorrow night. Cool and drizzly yesterday and today, but the house was warm enough. But when it drops to 40’s at night and is overcast, that’s when the stove is lit.

  9. Bev permalink
    October 1, 2014 7:23 am

    We had our first frost this a.m. Wanted a fire, but know the day is supposed to warm up. It is nice to know that we are good to go. Wood and kindling. Wood is our main source of heat. It would be wonderful having a wood stove in the kitchen to cook on as well as keep warm. Having hot water is a plus. Looking forward to pot roast and all the trimmings. It is the season.
    I have fond memories of mushroom hunting with my grandmother. A hot frying pan, garlic and butteer. Yum!

  10. October 1, 2014 9:20 am

    We do our first fire as soon as we get a cold morning in September just to go through the motions of building a fire and to make sure the stove is clean and the chimney is clear. Things sometimes surprise us…mouse nests, bird nests, wasp nests…

    Looks like we’ll get to 40 this weekend. Maybe we’ll light a little fire again.

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