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If you play with matches, you might get burned. Or you might just have a damn good time.

Jessie lives in the midst of an apple orchard with her husband, three girls, two dogs, three cats and an under-appreciated dove. Some days she is a farmer. Some days she is a reader or athlete, photographer or baker, hunter or gardener and always she is a terrible housekeeper. She writes about it all at behindthewillows.com

Jessie lives in the midst of an apple orchard with her husband, three girls, two dogs, three cats and an under-appreciated dove. Some days she is a farmer. Some days she is a reader or athlete, photographer or baker, hunter or gardener and always she is a terrible housekeeper. She writes about it all at behindthewillows.com

Jessie Stevens has one of the freshest, most entertaining blogs on the net. Her material comes from observing a rich, complicated life through the eyes of a photographer and the heart of a mother. When I asked for guest posts on the theme of vacation and holidays, she replied with an essay on the joys of the perfect vacation fire.

 

Playing With fire

–Guest post by Jessie Stevens

 

Are you ready for your vacation? Have you packed, and re-packed? Made travel plans, and lined up all appropriate house sitters and pet watchers? Did you brush up on your fire tending skills?

Yes, that’s right, fire.

A nice fire doesn’t just make a campsite home. It adds to a night at the beach or a snug cabin retreat and almost everything in between. You don’t want to be the person who throws logs on a bed of coals and turns the cheery ambiance into a smokey smudge while you try to play it off as a plan to get rid of the bugs, do you?

Of course not. So, lets brush up on those fire skills.DSCN0449-(2sm)

It has come to my attention, repeatedly, that not much of the population was lucky enough to have played with matches and their subsequent fires as a child. While it’s possible this has prevented many an accidental fire, it also means that most everyone is terrible at tending fires.

Let’s just say that you’ve gotten your fire started, whether you planned it out like a Boy Scout and went with a tiny tipi of sticks, took the fire starter route or even the ill-advised throw some fuel, light a match and back up method.  One way or another you’ve got flames, perhaps even a bed of coals.

Now, when you go to add wood to your fire, the phrase to remember that will keep your fires burning bright is:

Firewood likes friends and fun.

When you go to add stick to a fire, remember that firewood likes friends like grade school girls like friends. The ones that are just like them. Oh, they can be a smidgen bigger, smaller, shorter or taller, but basically grade school girls and firewood like their friends to be just the same as themselves. This means that little burning sticks need more little burning sticks as you gradually work your way up to logs. Just as importantly, it means that a brilliant bed of coals will technically burn a single log, but that log will burn with cheery gusto if it has a nicely matched friend.

Firewood likes friends.

DSCN0407-(2sm)Not only does it want its friends to be just like them, but they want to be near each other. You can’t have any fun with your friend across the room. Nope, firewood likes to get right cozy with its friends. But here is the other really important part. Firewood wants to have fun with its friends.  Fun, in this case, is air flow.

Cozy is good but right smack dab against each other and you’ve no room to stretch your legs, dance and have a bit of fun! Close, but not too close. I’m afraid to say this is probably where your years of not playing with matches are going to rear their ugly head. Zen it a bit. Think like the air. Leave the wood a bit of space for fun but keep them with friends. Find a good stick and poke the firewood around with small movements while you find the sweet spot. When you see those flames between the logs flare up and dance you’ll know you have it right.

Now go! Enjoy your vacation with friends and fun for everyone, even your firewood!


 

What kind of fire belongs in your dream vacation–cozy apres-ski? Bonfire on the beach? Campfire for roasting marshmallows and making S`mores? Or…?

 

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