It’s that time of year. Time to scope the outside of the house. Find a flat area to build a stand. Time to poke around, asking for whispered tips on whose is best-seasoned — I’ve heard folks are secretive about sources around here.
It’s time to think about firewood.
When we moved from Florida to Minnesota, I made a wish board for everything I wanted to find in a home. On the board, I wrote things like walking distance to the kids’ school, safe neighborhood, a place for a garden, and the thing I wanted most? A fireplace. The house we found had all of those things.
I loved our fireplace. Each fall we bought half a cord of wood. We stacked it under an eave, on a red brick patio, up against the house next to the kitchen door. The eave mostly protected it from getting buried by snow, and in winter I’d build fires in the afternoon when the kids came home from school. We’d drink hot cocoa and listen to wood pop, and we’d pull the bean bag next to the hearth and we’d read books and play Sorry!
I can’t wait to do that again. When we first moved to Virginia, we lived in a townhouse without a fireplace. In fall and winter, on my walks and runs through the hills, I’d smell chimney smoke in the cold air. I’d watch white puffs rise from the valley. I could smell the wood burning, and I imagined rocking chairs, blanket wrapped laps, quiet broken only by snapping, popping, and the soft turning of a novel’s pages. I ached for a fireplace every time I smelled chimney smoke. When it came time to buy a house, due to timing, pricing, and the small size of our town, our options were very limited. I feared we would not find a house with a fireplace.
But we did. And last night, as we worked on our September budget, I was thrilled to add in:
- Fireplace stand
- Fireplace tools
I can’t wait for our first fire.