Sunday, 4 November 2012

Keeping Warm

The nights are really drawing in now and things are starting to get a little cold. You can already tell the difference having insulation in the loft and walls is making to our little house though.
I don't mind the cold too much though - not like my wife anyway! I guess it's because I work outside everyday and I grew up working and playing outdoors more than most. When I lived at my parents farm they didn't even have central heating or double glazing (they installed both shortly after I left). The curtains in my room would blow with the wind and freeze up on the inside. I'd just put another jumper on though, knowing how to dress is half the battle.

Our open fire - We now have a second fire guard around it as well to prevent a crawling baby!

Heating our house at the moment we're trying not to use the oil central heating too much, although with a young baby our house is definitely kept warmer than it used to be when it was just the two of us. I'm trying to use the open fire as much as possible, being a carpenter I'm never short of wood to start the fire with and my tree surgeon of a brother keeps me stocked with logs. But the open fire doesn't give off much heat, most of it goes up the chimney, but it does warm the living room and makes it feel cosy. I'd like to fit a log burner at some point but I think I'd have to completely remodel the living room to fit one in and extending the house should really be our first job.
Having an open fire made me realise how out of practise I was at lighting fires, I've been on quite a few survival courses ad grew up being a borderline pyromaniac, I've started fire with friction using a bow, used fire steels and a battery with iron wool but I forgot the most important skill with something like this - practise! Now I up on my practise and limit myself to starting the fire with one match and I might even remove that luxury soon!
Mind you I'm much better than my wife - I've brought her some fire lighters so she at leasts stands a chance of getting a fire going!
How do you light your fires?

17 comments:

  1. What a beautiful fireplace! My husband swears by pine cones but i like to use the fluff from the dryer filter or a sheet of newpaper under a few twigs saved from the gardn between two logs. Never fails unless the logs are not dry enough

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    1. It's might be a pretty fireplace but its a little too deep and doesn't chuck out huge amounts of heat. After reading this I picked up some pine cones on a walk this afternoon and tried them tonight - worked great! Thanks for the tip.

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  2. I have a technique which works every time...so I am the 'firestarter' on our house. Our wood stove kicks out SO MUCH heat it's great and oh so much cheaper than electricity or propane.
    Jane x

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    1. Don't leave me guessing then! Whats the technique? Wood stove is on the Want list

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  3. Preparation is the key to firelighting. Being into bushcraft I am quite good at making fire. As I get older I definitely feel the cold more.

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    1. Yeah I remember being on a bushcraft/survival course and having to lay out all the different sized fuels first before you could start a fire to make sure you could keep it going once you got a spark to take. I don't knowif its my youth then that makes me not feel the cold, my parents seem to like it warmer that they used to as they get older!

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  4. A wood fire heats right through the walls and ceiling. When you turn off an electric or gas fire the heat just disappears. Wood heating for me all the time. i start mine with firelighters because i am a town girl and never learnt the finer art of starting fire by rubbing things together!!!

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    1. When doing building studies at college we learnt about s=using the "thermal Mass" of a building and how heating the fabric of a building gives you heat for so much longer. That said I hate underfloor heating and thats all about heating the building itself!

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  5. I save all my parchment paper from baking/roasting. Crumpled up they make excellent firestarters (along with some slivers of cedar kindling) and I only need one kitchen match to start my fires. There's nothing (physically or psychologically) warmer than a fire on a cold day.

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  6. I agree, I get hypnotized by a good fire crackling in front of me, they say you can just have it showing on TV and it makes you feel warmer!

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  7. We have a wood burning stove, and when lit it is magical. Could watch it for hours. Shame that we won't be lighting it this year as it is in the room which is having renovation work done this winter, so it is electric fires for us, but only switched on when icicles are dripping from our noses. Having lived in caravans for three years, we have become addicted to feeling cold, and have to be really cold before we resort to putting the fire on. Will miss our stove this year, though.

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    1. I think getting used to the cold should be something more people do! Mind you I love coming back to a warm house if I've been on a cold roof all day!

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  8. We bought a house for rennovation two years agao - the first job was to get some areas for sleeping and comfort, the next heating. Oil has gone through the roof - so we ripped it out and we went big multi fuel stove with back boiler running the hot water and rads. Was an expensive installation and not controllable like oil, so when it goes out - the house cools (even with cavity wall and loft insulation). But when its running high, the lounge gets like a sauna - but the rest of the house never gets "hot" - just comfortable (which is enough). All wood is from a local bench joiners, so its lovely have that feeling of a warm house with very little cost.

    Would definately recommend a stove, they are much more efficent, cleaner and they still give out heat long after they have gone out.

    As for starting a fire - rolled up newspaper, very dry kindling wood and my favourite item - a propane plumbers blow lamp. If the paper doesnt get it going, the blow lamp certainly takes hold on some of the kindling :)

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    1. The blow lamp is cheating though! We will get a wood burnig stove but its a little way down on the list! The house is so much warmer this year compared to before we had insulation!

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  9. We are lucky enough to have a wood burner in this rentend house, and it has decided us that wherever we go we will install a wood burner again.

    Easy peasy to light as long as you have newspaper and very dry kindling, we always dry the next nights kindling in front of the wood burner later in the evening.

    As in Max's comment pick up all the pine cones you can whenever you see them, they are brilliant and are even better if you melt all your old bits of candles in a pan, pour the wax into paper cake cases and then sit a pine cone in each one.

    The scent of the candle wafts around the room and the fire gets started with minimal fuss (and they make lovely little gifts for friends and family with open fires too).

    The rind off Baby Bel cheeses is a good frugal wax to melt!!

    Sue xx

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    1. We dont burn many candles anymore - my wife always gets annoyed with me as I end up playing with the wax like a big kid, so she's given up with them! I can't help it though! I am loving th pine cones though and I might go for a walk tomorrow with the baby to pick some from the enighbours Scots Pines!

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  10. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com

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