Winter best friends

Winter best friends
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).

So hopefully you now have ideas for keeping warm this winter a little easier. Now to go and stoke that shop fire. I’m sure it’s gone out while I’ve been writing.Odgers and McClelland wood fire

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