Most of my content here is about the “nuts and bolts” of stoves and fireplaces. It’s about things to consider when planning for them, how they work, and how to get the most out of them. My goal is for it to be a place to find some tidbits of information that you might find useful. There is another side to them, however and from time to time I will touch on this as well. That’s right…..this is one of those times.
I grew up in Maine and I have had the joy of watching the seasons come and go every year. There is a
distinct change of seasons here and for me different memories come with the arrival of each season. The days of August bring flashbacks to long summer vacations playing with childhood friends, trips to the lake, and beginning to stack the winters fire wood in the woodshed. Fall brings the smell of wood smoke to the air and memories of hunting seasons spent chasing the elusive white-tail with both family and friends at my side. Winter snows make me nostalgic for times spent indoors, comfortably gathered near the stove as the storm rages outside. The green shoots of spring make me think back to just how big those mounds of fresh cut firewood in the yard seemed when I was a child.
I’ve come to realize as an adult that there is more to having a stove or fireplace than just keeping warm.
There are plenty of ways to stay warm that require less work, less mess, and less effort. More than the cost savings over other heating methods, for me it’s about the warmth that a fire brings on the inside. The smells, the feel, the glow of the fire all trigger something in many of us that just feels right somehow.
The exercise of getting the firewood in the spring so it will have time to season, stacking it away as fall approaches, those first few small fires on a cool fall morning, and gathering around the stove as it crackles and pops on a snowy winters day are really more about time with friends and family. It’s working together towards a common goal. It’s learning lessons of rewards based on the hard work put into preparing. It’s about making a lifestyle choice that brings those around you closer together all year long not just when the fire is burning.
Life tends to take you in many directions as time passes. I’ve been very lucky on so many fronts, not the least of which is stumbling on a way to make a living doing something I love. There are day’s when I’m sure the next “old time Mainer” who calls me up and wants a new pipe for his “chimbley” is going to cause my head to explode (true story and sadly a fairly common occurrence). Most days however I turn on my best Maine accent and reply “yes sa’ mista..we got some of them chimbley pipes right here on the shelf…ay-yuh.” Knowing that I’m a small part in the community’s culture of wood heating makes me happy and really does keep me warm on a different level.
By: Mark Higgins