Allow me to get sentimental for a moment. We burned out first fire of the season this week. I know some of you have had to burn several by this point, but this was our first. I believe there is something magical about the first fire of the season. This fire was extra special for me, it was not only the first fire of the season, it was also the first fire in our new home. The first fire always brings back lots of memories for me.
I have lived with wood heat basically my whole life. I do not remember the first time my dad had me help cut the firewood. I do remember that he always started cutting firewood in August, the hottest part of the year. Lord how we would sweat. I can still hear my granddad say "When a man cuts his own wood, it warms him twice". Never truer words have been spoken. If you have cut your own wood you know what I mean.
After the wood was cut the larger pieces still had to be split, and it did not seem to matter how much of the wood you split, we always ended up with too many large pieces and still had to split some in winter. I counted it all fun, even though it was very hard work. I always felt proud that even at a fairly young age I was helping take care of my family.
We did not have a fireplace when I was growing up. We had a King brand wood heater. The kind with the removable to that would expose a cooking surface. It kept up warm during the coldest times of winter. In fact many times it kept us too warm. My mother had the ability to get that heater so fired up that we would have the windows and even the front door open because it was so hot in the house and this in January in the middle of an ice storm. (Love you Mom, but you know it is true.)
We used that heater to cook soups and just beans during a power outage due to an ice storm. I remember baking potatoes in the fire box. I remember having to dump the ashes in the garden. I also remember coming home from school on a really cold day and being able to smell the fire before the school bus topped the hill. As soon as the bus reached the top of the hill ,I could see the smoke coming from the chimney and everything was better. Those memories are over thirty years old and yet they are still very dear to me.
As I am writing this I can look over at the fire I have built for tonight. When I look at the flames and hear the soft crackling of the fire it makes perfect sense to me that the hearth was so important to the Greeks that it had it's own goddess. Hestia was the Greek goddess of the hearth and home, she was described as simple "having a wooden throne and a woolen pillow", not ambitious "she never chose herself an emblem", but important to everyone.
In spite of all of the challenges we still face, my wife and I have built the best life I have ever known. We keep The Home Fires Burning and I hope and trust that you will too. Together we can help the world to ...
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