Monday, October 30, 2006

A Real Fire

Well, Fall is here and Winter isn't far behind. Here in the High Desert of Eastern Oregon it can get pretty cold at night. Thank Cascade Natural Gas we have heat on demand. When we first bought our home, one of its selling points was a floor to ceiling fireplace that opened into the living room and the dining room. I immediately saw an Irish Setter asleep in front of a crackling fire and me in my smoking jacket with my pipe surveying my kingdom. We bought the house on that vision and even though the renter whom we displaced said the fireplace smoked I couldn't wait until Fall so I could fire it up. My wife got to try it out shortly after we moved in in June. Early summer was cold and rainy that year and she found out that the floor furnace that was intended to be the primary source of heat didn't work. I was at summer school in Eugene and she was trying to keep herself and the kids warm. We talked on the phone, but no fire was forthcoming in our beautiful fireplace. I made it back home the next weekend and got it to work. It seemed that it smoked for the renters because they hadn't opened the damper and the only wood we had was soaked from the unnatural June rains. I found some dry wood and showed my wife how to start a fire and all was well. Actually she didn't need it any more because Summer turned on with a vengeance. The Irish Setter came a year later and he did make a great picture lying in front of the fire.

That was over thirty years ago and we still enjoy the fireplace. I have cut and hauled innumerable cords of firewood and enjoyed its warmth often. This year we bought a cord of wood from some ladies who cut and sell wood for extra income and I have officially retired my chain saw. As I sit here typing at the dining room table we have a nice Juniper fire going in the fireplace. By now, our primary heat source is a gas furnace, but the fire has a warming effect. The flames, the crackling, and the glowing embers give an indescribable feeling. Thank heavens we live in a rural area and there are no burning restrictions. I can't imagine living in an area where you can only use your fireplace on certain days. A gas log just doesn't cut it.

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