Friday, 8 October 2010

Fascination of Fire

Those of you that know me in real life will know that I have a strong fascination with fire - if I see a fire burning and have access to it, I can seldom resist from sidling up and poking a bit around in it.

So it's no wonder that I spent a good while (read: too long a while) on YouTube yesterday morning, looking at fire-making videos. I had actually thought about embedding one that shows basic firemaking in yesterday's post, but did not find one that suited my purpose. Instead, I learned that punk wood (rotted dead wood) makes wonderful tinder material, and that there is a technique called "floating hands" for using a fire drill.

There's oodles of videos about making a fire out there, but actually I always found that getting the spark to catch on the tinder material is the easy thing (just takes more patience when it's damp), and making a nest for the ember and blowing that into flame is also not really hard (might also take a bit of patience when it's damp, but we've done it successfully with half-dry grass); I found that the hard bit is to get a real fire going from the good and hot nest - and there was no video showing that. Getting a fire going from the embers is, of course, easy with the perfect materials and in nice, dry weather, with a ground and wood that is not soaked through and cold, but in my experience, that perfect setup is rarely there when I want to make a fire - so you have to use techniques that will even work in the cold and damp, and with less-than-perfectly dry wood. And that was just what I couldn't find.

Still was time well spent. And now I finally know how to mix up that scrambled egg or that pancake batter with a whisk twirled between my hands without having to stop every five seconds to bring my hands to the top of the whisk stem again.

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