Fire and ice

Posted on December 29, 2010


First, a weather report for all you snowbirds huddled in freezing flocks at southern and eastern airports.

We had a beautiful day today. 

Sorry, but it’s true.  It was so pretty that I did all my errands with a big grin on my face.  Then I sat in a patch of sun and read a book.  (Aaron Stander’s Summer People if you must know.  I liked it a lot.  If you like mysteries, you will probably like it too.)  The dogs frolicked in the shiny day.  I took a picture of the lacy shadows dancing over the snow on the garage roof. 

Second, a useful household tip.  Several of them, in fact, accompanied by an impartial testing process.  Disclaimer: No Muppets were injured in the making of this post.  Just so you know. 

When Lois Dawson and I were up at the Haacks’ chestnut orchard gathering all that the deer had not gotten, we ended up with quite a few burrs.  “I’ll bet these would make good fire starters,” said Lois.  Well, I certainly had enough of them to undertake the experiment.  Once I’d managed to extract the chestnuts, it was either toss the burrs out or burn ’em.  On the other hand, they looked so much like dancing Muppets . . .  On the third hand, I always need fire starters.  I resolved to be ruthless.


I believe this is conclusive evidence that chestnut burrs make passable fire starters.  If you’re going to use them, though, you will need to wear a sturdy pair of welding gloves.  As it happens, I have such gloves already.  Big Bill Brandt recommended them for fire-tending, and he was right.  I can pick up a flaming log and put it just where I want it.  The only thing that might work better would be regulation issue firefighter’s gloves, but I am reliably informed that the welding gloves are less expensive.

There you have it.  A weather report, a book recommendation and household tips, all rolled into one concise post.  If I ever decide to spring for the audio package for this blog, we can turn it into a regular Torch Lake Home Companion, with guest appearances by singer/songwriter Louan Lechler.