Spring is here. Well, a Michigan spring with a chance for snow flurries today.
Last night, I asked my boys if they’d like a small campfire in the backyard. “Yes!” they said before I could even complete the sentence. I finished up the dishes from dinner and went outside.
I carried the firepit to an open spot on the lawn and dragged a couple of chairs around it. Next, I grabbed a handful of dryer lint from the basement. Did you know it makes excellent kindling? We put it in a container whenever we empty the lint trap.
The next stop was the garage. I had some firewood left over from the fall. I also cut up any big branches that fall in our yard. There was one good sized limb that fell earlier this spring. It’s probably not as dry, but I figured it’d burn.
I built a small pyramid with the lint and a little bit of paper in the middle, then the smaller twigs and some dry bark that sloughed off the logs in the garage. I settled two large hunks of wood on the edges of the pyramid, funneling the slight breeze into the center of the fire.
I headed back inside to grab the lighter.
The fire caught quickly, flames climbed up through the lint and the smaller kindling quickly. Briefly, I worried that it would fizzle, but the intermediate sized sticks caught and it was on.
The rest of the family came out, my wife and our young pups sat around the fire with me. Our two boys grabbed a soccer ball and started improvising some kind of basketball game.
Of course, the dog was WAY more interested in their game than in our fire. He wanted to bark and chase their ball. He wanted to tip my wife (who was holding his leash) over in her rocking chair. He wanted to play. This went on for 20-30 minutes, but it felt like an hour.
It was tough. We tried pointing out that the boys were driving the dog crazy. We tried to let him run around with them. We tried to get the boys to sit around the fire with us. Then the dog was barking at folks walking by on the sidewalk. Then the brothers were arguing with each other. Then the boys were arguing with the dog.
It was not a relaxing night around the fire.
Finally, my wife gave up. She took the dog inside. The boys played ball for a bit more, and they went inside too.
I didn’t want to leave the fire unattended. It wasn’t really dangerous. It was in a firepit that had a screen I could put over the top. I wasn’t worried about the yard catching fire or anything. It was more about being a responsible fire-builder.
So, I sat and enjoyed the crackling of the wood. It was pretty dry wood, so there was hardly any smoke. Some guys (usually it’s a guy) like to constantly futz with the fire, always stirring the coals and rearranging the logs. I prefer to set it up well before lighting it and then let it burn without too much management. Once or twice, if a log burns unevenly and collapses the structure, I’ll intervene, but I prefer minimal futzing.
The weather was just on the edge of chilly, so the fire was just enough to make the temperature idea. I leaned back in my chair and
I don’t think I’d go through the work to build a campfire just for me very often, but I definitely enjoyed mine last night.