Let me confess I am a terrible fire lighter. I was a girl guide, but I don’t remember lighting fires being part of that gig. Many a time Duncan has arrived, exasperated by my attempts at fire lighting. So with a wood fire at home and two at the shop ( one in the store and one in the warehouse), I have gathered my winter best friends to help me out.
Numero uno is the cast iron fire blower ($45.95), which I reach for when I have been distracted and let the fire struggle for too long. A blow on the end of the fire blower and it literally breathes life into a dying fire.
I am also a major fan of the Akuna Wood and Kindling Carrier ($54.95), perfect for saving favourite jumpers and jackets from chips of bark and dust. The Akuna Carrier may be used in winter for taking on a walk and filling with the day’s kindling (great for involving children in the work behind heating the house. One thing I have learned in this fire lighting business is that a healthy store of kindling is a good start. The Akuna Carrier can also be repurposed in spring and summer for harvesting fruit and vegetables. Clever.
A recent discovery is our enamel Matches box ($12.95). I usually reach for what ever lighter is lying around. Now I am switching back to matches, the extra long matches. They allow you to set your kindling (and a cheeky fire starter) and light the fire without burning your hand. And I am storing my extra long matches in a smart hinged-lid Matches box so they are easy to spot and the cardboard box is protected.
The other handy winter friends are a steel dust pan and cinder resistant brush. While the steel dust pan and cinder resistant brush are not fire proof, it is a good deal better than a synthetic brush or pan that melt cleaning up fireplace detritus with the slightest residual heat. I can imagine the fumes as I write. We have a Cinderella Special, of a galvanised steel and timber handled dust pan and cinder resistant brush for $17.95 (20 only).
If you really are a Cinderella like me, tidying wood fires here and there you might also like to consider a Romanian enamel five litre enamel bucket ($29.95) for collecting ash and using it on the garden (Hannah Moloney of Goodlife Permaculture has some suggestions for using wood ash here).