Prometheus may have stolen fire for mankind, and Elijah may have called it down from heaven, but I have a much more domestic relationship with fire. Yes, I gather fallen wood. There are some people out there who say that this is unethical. But at $5 a bundle, I am too cheap to buy firewood from the camp hosts.
We discovered quite quickly that fire can sometimes be a Shy Susan, reluctant to burst forth on the world’s stage and sing its song. Kindling is essential if you are going to encourage this Bashful Betty into a performance. Somehow, I always seemed to end up with green wood, which doesn’t split very well. Fingers do not split very well either.
In order to get a good fire going, you will want to make sure you have all the proper elements: wood is helpful, if you can find it; newspaper or some other paper can do a lot, too. Notice my piles of kindling and small twiggy things, close at hand. The last thing you want is for your fire to start up and die a premature death because you didn’t have the fuel close enough to keep up a constant feed. Also note the Citronella. You might think that’s for mosquitoes…
Things were looking grim until we discovered that melted Citronella wax burns like jet fuel. Pour a little of that stuff on the smouldering fire and presto! Bonfire. Just be careful of your clothing, eyebrows, hair, fingertips, forearms, and be sure to put the propane canister for the stove at least a hundred yards away. Also: do not to park the vehicle close.
Like pouring boiling oil on enemies besieging your castle walls.
If even the Citronella fails you, the best course of action is to get up close and personal with your Timid Tina. Everybody knows that combustion requires oxygen; it’s now time for some self-sacrifice. Give up some that oxygen you’re hoarding and puff away.
There are all sorts of approaches to blowing on the fire. Personally, I prefer getting close enough to where you feel your lips are getting singed and repeatedly emptying your lungs until you feel lightheaded. Once dizzy, you can do a much better job fanning the fire, while you try to get some oxygen back in your own body. The other benefit to intensive blowing on the fire is that you might pass out and then you won’t feel the lack of a fire quite so strongly.
Even when you get a good fire going, you can never rest on your laurels.
Smoke is pernicious. I consider it the vengeance of this Coy Kelly. Many of my fires expelled more smoke than heat.
These are the Fruits of the Fire. Remember to always keep your eyes on the prize, even when you are doing the pain dance because you bashed your finger with the hatchet, even when you are groping blindly for water to cool your smouldering face, even when the light fades as you pass out from hyperventilation.
The conqueror reigns.