"Cozy" Season is Coming!
September 10, 2020
As we enter September one of the first considerations I have is getting our fireplace and
wood ready for the coming colder weather. One of the very best things about our life in Sussex county is the use of our fire pits during the spring, summer and fall and our indoor fireplace during the cool autumn nights and frosty winter days. Our fire pits are a source of enjoyment most of the year, especially playing live music around the dancing flames at night (and with a son, partner and many friends in music..that can't be avoided) Cool cocktails, summer nights and star filled skies around a bonfire have been a treasure during the past months (especially with covid shut downs in place). However, the winter brings not only enjoyment but need, and the preparation for that need takes time. So in September we begin!
First, comes safety! Before we do anything indoors, I call the professionals. Our chimney is completely cleaned and checked for any damage. This should be done once a year. We also check the outside masonry for any damage or cracks that need repair. If you live in a wooded area any overhanging limbs or branches should be pruned. Of course the chimney cap should also be checked to avoid any critters or birds from finding a nook to nestle in.
Next, we order the seasoned cords of wood. Each cord measures approximate 128 cubic feet and weighs between 4000 and 5000 pounds. Yes, much heavy lifting to stack, but excellent exercise on a beautiful day. In the words of Henry Ford, “Chop (or stack in our case) your own wood and it will warm you twice!” We order numerous cords to get us through the cold autumn and winter months. Oak, maple and birch are the best woods to purchase or cut since they burn longer and hotter than pine. Once the wood arrives you should stack it in a covered area that has proper ventilation. A breezy, sunny spot is best, as it allows for the continual seasoning of the wood. John built us a terrific wood shed close enough to the house for easy access but with enough distance to avoid pests from entering the home. An extra bonus to stacking wood is it's beauty. Stacked wood is a functional art form. It is a simple beauty that appeals to our connection with the natural world. I love the way it looks and smells. A gift I appreciate every time I pass the wood pile.
Now consider the why. Why do we love a roaring fire so much? On a cold winter night nothing is better than the heat and light that radiates off a fireplace. A crackling fire appeals to our primal roots ...offering safety, food, warm and relaxation. An active hearth brings much comfort to a gathering room. Everyone feels the contentment and peace that emanate from the glowing embers.
I can't wait for that first heavy snowfall when we can spend hours outside tending to chores and then curl up in front of fire. Snuggling in the warmth of a blazing fire, after a day in the cold winter air , is an innate human pleasure. Remembering Edith Sitwell saying “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire.” I hope it is for you too!