I am not Jack London, nor am I the man in his famous short story To Build a Fire.
But, I always did love that story of the man, in 50 degrees below zero, trekking through the Yukon, with a firm belief that if you keep your wits about you, you will survive a journey in the harshest conditions of nature.
Bear Grylls might have made it through.
But this man in London's story was proud, not fully respecting nature's abilities to crush a man.
So, he journeyed, slipped in the ice, got wet and realized he must build a fire to survive.
On his first attempt, he was able to get the fire going, but he had foolishly built it under a spruce heavy with snow. Snow dropped "like a death sentence" onto his fire and put it out.
In London's story, the man dies, frozen in the wilderness.
Now that I am a Northern girl, the skill of building a fire has become a necessity. This has become particularly evident in the last few days because our gas heater stopped working so we have had to rely on wood heat.
WOOD HEAT! Not a phrase I had even uttered before I moved to Montana.
You may recall my unsuccessful attempts to build a fire when we first arrived.
I fought the wood and it beat me.
I doused it with massive amounts of lighter fluid and it still would not light.
I feared I would never become a mountain woman.
The fire knew that I was a California girl.
It mocked me for my light switch fire- starting ways and my fake- logged hearth of the past.
But I have persevered. I have found the ingredients needed to build a fire.
First, you start with a mountain man.
You could learn to do this part on your own, but I recommend acting as if it is something you could never do or it could become one of your jobs and you already have too many!
and a good sharp ax
after all- you might cut off one of your fingers!
and a good, dry piece of wood.
Wet, heavy wood is a real stinker to try to burn- see how much I have learned.
Enjoy watching your mountain man be virile and strong as he
splits the wood.
You can also try this
but I am pretty sure that it won't create an awesome pile of kindling like this.
Kindling is by far the most important thing you need to get a good fire going, but it takes a long time to chop.
A little mountain man helper is also a good idea so he can do this
helping to get a nice storage cabinet of wood going.
And allowing you to avoid splinters and sap.
By the way, the best way to get sap off of your skin is with hand sanitizer.
I googled it and it works fabulously.
The nice thing about this cabinet is that there is a door on the inside of the house too. So you can access the fuel for your fire.
Such a mountain house I have now!
I know you are thinking-
Transparent Mama, you have not done a darn thing! All you have done is take pictures.
I will, I will already.
Geesh- I told you to go out and get your own mountain man, ax, wood and little mountain man helper- what more do you want from me????
So, here is where I know how to do some work.
First, start with some newspaper.
You may need to pick up free newspapers wherever you go all around town and stash them in your car.
I wad it up and make sure there is a plastic surgery ad I can watch burn facing the outside.
Then, I add the kindling in a pyramid form.
Light the newspaper and watch it burn.
If it is stubborn and goes out, do not give up.
It is still trying to mock you for your fake log days, but you can prevail.
Just add more newspaper and light again.
You may need to use your Christmas Decoration that had never been used before thingy that blows air on the fire to fuel it.
Did you know that fanning the flames is an actual thing that works and not just a nifty saying?
When your kindling gets going,
add the bigger pieces of wood.
Rejoice in your fire-starting abilities
and warm your cold, half-painted toes by
the warmth of your country stove.
Or you can just flip your switch on, turn your gas logs on or sit out in the sun if you must!
But me, I am a mountain woman and I can build my own fire.
I promise to keep shaving my legs though.
I am not that much of a mountain woman!