Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Fireplace Makes Winter Worth Living

I love my fireplace. It's the first thing I think of when the weather starts to turn cold, and the thought gives me a little thrill --- like discovering a new hobby or getting a friend-crush. If the fireplace had not been invented, I would move to the tropics from December to March, yearly.

Getting wood.

You may not know it, but firewood is expensive, generally, and because I live in DC, the delivery fees are even more. The people who deliver large quantities of firewood from Craigslist usually live in the panhandle of West Virginia and have to drive far to make big sweeps through the city, dropping off wood to all us yuppies. But you pay the price in dollars and time waiting for someone who often never shows at the right time. Meanwhile, my cold, empty fireplace pushes my winter depression forward.

The best region to get wood is from the closest suburbs where someone has an old chopped-up tree in their front yard that they cut down last summer; this way you can drive up and fill your trunk for $35, easy.

Fuck gas fireplaces. Fuck 'em.

People who have gas-powered fireplaces probably also have never worn underwear two days in a row, own a lot of beige furniture, and use anti-bacterial soap. Having a gas-powered fireplace is like decorating your house with plastic plants.

A real fireplace requires work, lifting, skill, timing, and singed beard hairs, but the outcome is that wonderful smoke-smell and hiss-crackle of oak, hickory or cherry that's still got some hidden moisture from being cut just last Spring.

Think of a good scotch with that.

Getting old has been good to me. (I'm now 34). My winter activities include reading about sailing, thinking about sailing, figuring out new hobbies, drinking new brands of scotch, and wearing out the in-laws' basement sauna. Maybe I'll ski one day out of the winter or hit up South America. Through this cold-ass season, my mind is settled by drinking a couple nips of Famous Grouse while listening to the pop and crack of my fireplace. Helps me think.

Listen man, if you're a dude who's past 33 and doesn't like scotch and fireplaces, what is wrong with you? Really, what?
My wife wants a fireplace so bad in our little rowhouse -- all the neighbors who have put them in, though, have put in....gas fireplaces. There's something very antiseptic about flipping a switch to light the fire.
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Are you wishing for a time machine? You seem very nostalgic all of a sudden.
even worse than someone with a gas fireplace (me unfortunately) is someone who abuses their real fireplace with those stupid firelogs. or installing a gas fireplace.

Please for the love of god - if you have a real fireplace, use it the way it was built to be used - with newspaper and split logs.
All Rounder:

I will admit to using those firelogs but I only do that when I can't get real wood delivered --- it's just an interim measure, I assure you.
Damon, You can have unlimited firewood for free from my house. Chris
If you use firelogs be sure to get your fireplace cleaned yearly. The logs in particular leave a lot of crap on the chimney walls.

Wood leaves residue as well (duh) but according to the guys who cleaned my fireplace it's a big difference. (They told me "whatever you're doing, keep doing it." I only burn wood.)

I have city friends who have gone in together on one firewood delivery from the 'burbs and then divided the half cord amongst themselves.
A wood fire, like the sea, (and unlike TV) is something you can watch entranced for hours and come away enriched.
But a wood fire is work, either you pay someone to cut and deliver or you do it yourself. I try and do the latter as much as possible and inevitably find myself repeating the phrase, ‘A wood fire warms you twice, once when you cut the wood and once when you burn it.’ But in the aftermath of physical exertion that whisky can taste even better.
I'm having a hard time finding wood. All the Craig's List wood ads require me to come out there with a chain saw. I don't have one, which is probably fortunate.

Where do you find the people who deliver wood? I've been desperate enough to try and get decent wood at home depot and it's all shit and doesn't burn at all.

I tried to only use those little wee "firestarters" and not the whole giant duraflame log, but they burn hot for 30 minutes but still fail to catch the wood.

And yes, I'm allowing sufficient oxygen in betweent the wood, etc. I've built decent fires before -- I'm telling you it's the wood.

Where can I get me some of that suburban wood?
Hey Lonnie – Right on! Just Saturday I was sitting by the fireplace with a nice glass of bourbon. The kids were playing quietly and I was chatting with the Mrs. and looking at the Christmas tree – it’s a very satisfying way to spend an evening. Great post.
34? You look older. Seems to be a trend in the USA, what with all the drinkin', smokin' and not exercisin' that kids do these days.
I will agree with you on this point!
I Buy Wood Stoves
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