Holy moley, y'all! Right now it's 27 degrees and I'm curled up by our wood stove enjoying it's first fire! Yes! Three things about how exciting this is:
1. I lit it from kindling with no help from a 'starter.'
2. I actually got the fire to take and maintain and it is now working at "optimum efficiency," or so says the insert handbook.
3. It does not stink like smoke in here, and it's been burning for almost 3 hours!
I keep thinking about the first time we lit a fire in this big, then-unknown-to-us-dysfunctional fireplace. It was a dark and stormy night, I got a few giant logs started in there, and thirty minutes in to what I thought would be a nice cozy evening smoke started billowing out of the fireplace and into the room (which was apparently a chronic problem that no one thought to mention, as you can see by the stains on the stone behind the mantle). I had to rush out into the sleeting night, grab the wheelbarrow and snow shovel, cram them through the back door, scoop out the burning logs and evacuate them. We then had to open all the windows to air out the house.
From that moment we know something was wrong with this thing. It took us a year to figure out it couldn't be fixed, and we needed to just bypass it all together and install a wood burning insert.
So we did.
And then the weather warmed up.
For a long time.
And now, now it's freezing, and the insert is working!
So right now- and for the rest of the day I think- you'll find me near the wood stove (yeeeessss!) with whatever in hand that I feel like doing, reveling in the warmth and smiling from ear to ear.
Wishing all a little bit of coziness on this chilly Monday, too. Have a good one!