Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's Really Hard to Start a Fire Unless You Are Daryl Hannah

This year we had a wood stove installed in our living room.  I haven't had a wood stove or a fire place since I was a wee princess living in my childhood castle ruled by the Evil Queen Who Loved to Nap and Burn the Pot Roast. 

Needless to say, I was just a tiny wee Princess, so I was not allowed to participate in the Burning of the Wood Ceremony, being born with the wrong genitals and all, so all I did was wait for the fire to start burning and then sit near it to get warm.

People. Listen.  I need to let you in on a secret no one reveals until your stove is permanently installed and you can't change your mind because there is absolutely no decorating solution for a big hole in the wall.  No, a distressed wooden sign with the words "Just Believe" is not going to do the trick.  Ok, here's the secret.  There is way more work to starting a fire than anyone originally expects.
Like Capital MORE.

There are different kinds of wood and different ways it can be cut.  It has to be "dry" but that doesn't really mean that it can't get a little wet but only after you have it for a while.  Or something.  There is wind and cold to consider, air flow, kindling, newspaper - lots of newspaper and for the cheaters (like me) fire-starters.  That wood part I found a little confusing so I just don't pay attention to the condition of the wood, just as I turn a blind eye to my own condition from time to time.   I just strap a cart to my back like a work horse go out to the wood pile and carry some wood into the house.

Yes, wood pile.  There is really no other way to explain it.  You see, to begin with, and most importantly indeed, we are not  Live On The Land types, but more the kind of people who take weekend drives to places where you can pretend to be, the places where they take you on hay rides to pick apples or pumpkins, places filled with people and crying children with wet, smelly, sagging diapers and ice-cream faces, overpriced hot dogs that are laced with some sort of mind altering chemical that makes you want nothing more than to live on the land, even though you haven't  been walking on the land for even 2 hours and you've been ready to call it a day for the last 45 minutes.

So you come back with plans, big life-changing plans, that you excitedly discuss on the ride home, as you look out the car window, and (still under the influence of hot dogs)  think you see God hitchhiking on the side of the road but then he turns into Jimi Hendrix.  At this moment, this beautiful moment, man, you are convinced that after your house sells you are going to buy 982 acres of land, build a small house with no central heating and buy a goat.

So that's why we have a wood pile, rather than a nicely stacked wood shed.  Because we are stupid and we do not know how to live on the land even if we think we can when we're dropping Oscar Myer.  (the street name for this is OM) *cue sitar music.*

So, we have a wood pile because nothing says White Trash Who Don't Even Know How to Live on the Land than a bunch of wood dumped in the back yard and covered with a bright blue tarp and sometimes 500 ft. of snow.

So.  It's hard to start a fire, ok?  There, I've told you.  The other day I actually took a beginners course in fire starting  at a very prestigious institution on You Tube and I discovered something that helped me a lot. After watching video after video after video, after video and after video, I realized that no one has figured it out yet.  We all think we've finally discovered the Fire Starting Secrets of the Ancients only to find out the next day that we indeed, had not - that it  is still a very safe secret  only the ancients will ever know and we can't ask them because they have turned to small pile of dust in a pyramid somewhere.

But I did, along the way, uncover another mystery.  You see, I now know why insurance companies make so much money.  Don't be fooled. They know how hard it is to start a fire.  They have access to the real odds and believe me, they are in their favor.

You see, wood doesn't burn.  This has all been a hoax. We're all told "You have to insure your house against fire, blah, blah, blah."  Yeah right. What -  do you think I'm stupid or something?   Wood doesn't burn.  It won't burn even when you're savagely poking it with sharp pointy metal thingies and you light little magic fire starters under it, fill the entire stove with the weekly flyers that are thrown on your porch every Thursday and now you won't know if Kraft Dinner is on sale this week.  It won't burn if you dance naked around it every Tuesday chanting and shaking a rattle.( I mean, I don't know for sure, but I heard that doesn't work either.)

It laughs at your threats.  It laughs at your postures.  Did you ever watch those movies, the ones where cave people are all bug-eyed over a tiny flame, like it's the greatest and most frightening thing they've ever seen?  Yeah, well what they don't show you is that that tiny blaze the size of a candle flame took them more than fifty generations to perfect.  God had to keep increasing the size of the human brain in order to properly equip them to deal with fire.

But as it turns out,  the task of fire-starting was simply given to the wrong gender.

Then Daryl Hannah was born.  When she grew to be eight feet tall, she walked into the woods, became the most intelligent member of a clan,  rubbed two sticks together, and the rest is history.

Too bad she didn't make a You Tube video. 


  1. No, I can guarantee that it doesn't work if you dance round it naked every Tuesday chanting and shaking a rattle. Oh hang on, I was banging a drum. I'll try the rattle on Tuesday and let you know...!

    1. Oh yes, please do because I'm not sure if the rattle wouldn't work - I mean if I had the secret of fire, would I tell the world? Yeah right. But yes - you try the rattle and if it works, don't tell anyone (but me) and we'll work out a partnership of some sort.

  2. The next time you have a "successful" fire make sure you do the dance that Tom Hanks did in Cast Away!!!!

    Wishing you luck for the remaining fire season :)

    1. Oh, thank you !! I will consult The Great Oracle of You Tube to research this mysterious dance and then I will practice it daily before attempting the ritual.

      You have great knowledge, Francesca. You should be crowned.

  3. I will post you a teenage arsonist , feed him Lambrini and he can torch anything including his brother .......address please

    1. Oh Kate, thank you so much for the offer, but I couldn't possibly accept. It is obvious that you are special in God's eyes if you were blessed with such an exceptional family member/. Arsonist is such a harsh title - perhaps "Keeper of the Sacred Flame" "Demon of the Fires of Hell" would be better....

  4. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thanks for the most supreme start to a morning I have had in a long while! Stay warm!

    1. Oh, my. A supreme start??!?!!! Well, now I am going to have to get fitted with a bigger crown! Thank you.


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