September Fires

wood shed door

Yes, it does feel somewhat odd to be building fires in the woodstove in early September when much of California is literally on fire and inland temperatures are over 100 degrees. But here on the Mendocino coast we’ve been cloaked in fog, cold fog, for five days and counting. We heat our house with a woodstove, and after shivering for a couple days in deference to the plight of those living inland, I resumed building fires in the woodstove so the air inside our house would be warmer than the frigid air outside.

approaching the shed and drying soft wood

Our wood shed is about a hundred feet from my office door through which I will bring in the kindling to start the day’s fire. In the winter I have a stack of kindling at the ready on the north porch, but since this is not usually the time of year we have fires, right now I’m making kindling as needed.

last of the bull pine

The wood shed is currently empty save for a few dozen pieces of soft wood I’m turning into kindling to start these end-of-summer fires. In another few weeks, I’ll begin bringing in wheelbarrow loads of seasoned softwood and tan oak and fill the shed completely, approximately five cords.


The firewood I’m making kindling from came from a mostly-dead 150-feet-tall bull pine we had felled three years ago. We hired a couple expert tree guys to bring the giant tree down and thereby ended the threat the tree posed to three neighboring houses. We were greatly relieved to have that tree down, and so were our neighbors.

Defer bucking up bull pine

Our neighbor Defer bucked the bull pine logs into 16-inch long rounds, which I then split into firewood.

kindling on the hearth

Once I have enough kindling chopped, I bring the sticks inside and set them on the hearth while I crumple up fire-starting paper and toss the paper into the woodstove. I’m currently starting our fires with old income tax stuff we hung onto for the requisite years, old bills and bank reports now serving to keep us warm.

ready to light
the match is struck

The house grows warm.

Broke My Heart

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