Fireplace

I love our wood burning fireplace. It gives off a great ambiance to the home. Recently I tried to figure out– How do you build a good fire in a fireplace?

With winter in full force for the first time in years, we have been using our fireplace to heat up our home more often. Here is what I was taught to do when building a fire:

  1. Crumple some newspaper and place under the grate and on the grate.
  2. Place wood kindling lengthwise with the grate. Put on two pieces of wood on top.
  3. Put two more pieces of wood perpendicular to the first two.
  4. Ensure the damper is open.
  5. Twist a long piece of newspaper and light it. Hold it carefully into the flue in order to create a draft.
  6. Light the paper under the grate.
  7. Enjoy the fire.
  • I have been lightning fires like this for decades. I found that I kept adding wood and burning faster thinking I needed flames to create heat. The other day I discovered a new technique and it really made the house much warmer.
  • Essentially you build the fire upside down compared to what I had been doing for years.
    1. Start with two or three large pieces of wood and lay them lengthwise and tight together.
      Lay three more pieces perpendicular on top of the first layer. Again making sure it is tight.
      Now add the kindling on top along with crumpled newspapers.
    1. Ensure the damper is open.
    2. Twist a long piece of newspaper and light it. Hold it carefully into the flue in order to create a draft.
    3. Light the paper and kindling that was stacked on the top.
    4. Enjoy the fire as it burns from the top down making more of a hot ember base.
  • The six or so pieces of wood burn slower and last much long than the old way. Going for ambiance- I’ll still light a fire my old way. But with negative temperatures- heat is the priority.
  • Here is a video that I found that explains the new way: Perfect Fire. I’m in no way connected with the YouTube video- I just found it very helpful and wanted to share.
  • I love living in the country and the lifestyle that comes with it. But one day we will move and I’ll have to enjoy a gas fireplace instead.
  • Are you keeping warm the winter with a wood burning fireplace or do you prefer gas?
  • N’Ice

    Oh man. It’s been cold in the Vancouver area lately. An unpleasant type of cold. The kind of cold that only the rest of Canada experiences. Hey Winnipeg-come get your weather, it appears to be lost.

    For the first time ever, the water on our downspout chain froze. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice formed from our roof or eaves ever. It’s not right!

    Someone can come and take this snow and ice away any time now. Our two days of winter are over. I really hope it doesn’t last much longer. Not experiencing snow and ice is the main reason we stay living in the Lower Mainland.

    Frosty

    I find the biggest downside to winter is warming up my car. I can deal with snow and even ice. I just hate waiting for my car to get warm and de-fog.

    This morning I decided to sit in my car and write this blog as I waited for my windows to clear up. I did my best to wait for complete visibility, but I’m cutting the blog short so I can start driving as the rest of my car warms up. My seat warmer works really well and I just feel like getting going.

    I can’t wait for warmer weather to return.

    Cold Room Warm Bed

    The weather has been getting colder these days. So that means time for warmer blankets and sheets on the bed. We’ve done fleece or flannel to keep warm and cozy while we sleep. It’s nice to crawl in to bed and feel the weight and warmth of the bedding as the room chills out.

    As I prepare for sleep, I try and burrito myself up like e.t. about to go on a bike ride. Turn up the heat? On the really cold nights we will add another blanket.

    I hate waking up and being uncovered. I can’t sleep if any part of my body is exposed. Especially my feet! I don’t want those monsters stealing my body parts. They don’t hibernate in the winter- instead they’re always waiting under the bed and in the shadows for an opportunity to grab you.

    So anyways, we have our winter bedding out and it was really nice to slide in and feel the warmth on my feet for the first time this season.

    Winter Won’t End

    It seems winter isn’t over quite yet. At least here it isn’t. I’m really happy about it as well.

    What is funny was our oldest daughter wanted to shovel the driveway after this afternoon’s snowfall. I didn’t want to stop her, so I didn’t. This snow may last only a day or two before thawing into spring. For my family though- this winter will continue for another couple of weeks. We just received some good news.

    Our son has earned a spot at the Canada West Speed Skating Championship in Grand Prairie, Alberta in mid-March. He successfully competed in Prince George last weekend to earn this spot. This time, I’ll be taking our son. My wife is thinking she may join me in order to avoid Airport Goodbyes. This is really exciting for us. Our son has worked hard towards this.

    So it seems winter will be lasting a bit longer- and I couldn’t be happier.

    Snow Day 2019!

    Today our children, as well as many of my friends’ children, are getting to experience a “Snow Day“. The snowfall finally hit us in the Lower Mainland yesterday. So many schools are shut down for today.

    I can see why just looking at my yard. Our side street isn’t plowed at all and even though the driveway was shoveled, it’s already half a foot deep again.

  • Some areas are worse hit than others. I left work at North Vancouver this morning and the roads were pretty decent. But by the time I had crossed the river and drove into Langley, it was getting treacherous. I’m glad my kids are having a “Snow Day“.

    Having a “Snow Day” means four things will happen to my kids.

    1. They will play in the snow.
    2. They will warm up by the fireplace.
    3. They will enjoy a warm beverage.
    4. They will play video games.
  • It should be a fairly enjoyable day that will make the kids exhausted by dinner. Just in time for them to start complaining about shoveling the driveway again.
  • Hope everyone out there stays safe and enjoys the snow!

    Scarves or Scarfs

    Scarves or scarfs, however you want to spell it- it’s cold lately so time to wear them. All with that “Polar Vortex” thing- and it finally hit us here in Vancouver. Let’s bundle up!

    I love wearing winter scarves. It’s one of the fashion accessories I enjoy wearing. I usually wear it one of three ways. Yes- scarves can be worn in different styles.

    First is the once around and drape. This is a basic style that many people choose to sport. I like it because it looks casual and keeps you warm. Depending how cold it is also changes how tight you wear the scarf. If it’s windy, you can also drape the scarf down your back instead.

    My personal favorite is the Parisian Knot. This is easily achieved with a longer style scarf. You fold the scarf lengthwise in half. Put it over the back of your neck and tuck the loose ends into the loop. This look is stylish and classy.

    Finally is the simple drape. This is great for when you want to show off some colour or team logo. Just put the scarf around the back of your neck and let the sides drape down your chest. Pretty simple.

    That’s my “Fashion Tips” for men regarding scarves. As you can see, I also enjoy having fun scarves such as my Harry Potter one or my handmade fox scarf. I have a black knit one as well which is super warm. Something about wearing scarfs in the winter just adds to your look.

    What’s your favorite winter fashion accessory? Do you like scarfs? Let me know in your comments.

    Winter Wash

    I don’t like the winter at this moment. It means my car is dirty more often than it is clean. It feels like I’m neglecting Rogue One because I don’t wash it. But there isn’t any point to washing it.

    First of all- it’s cold outside. So I don’t want to stand out there with a bucket of water and a hose.

    Secondly- the sun is only out for a brief moment or two. That means cold nights and a possibility of rain or snow again. Which means dirty roads causing dirty car.

    Thirdly- I’m not the only one driving around in a muck-colored vehicle. So I shouldn’t show off my bravery/stupidity of a washed car.

    However, it is a gorgeous vehicle when clean. Maybe I could survive some frostbite and freeze my garden hose for another evening of joy until it gets dirty tomorrow morning driving to work…

    It’d be totally worth it.

    No Power? No Problem.

    There is a severe ice storm at the moment in the Lower Mainland. We’ve lost power a few times in the past 24 hrs. As you can tell, I still have cellular service- so I can remain connected to the world. Life isn’t that bad!

    Today, we arrived home from shopping this afternoon to discover that there was no power in our home again. My wife and children rustled up all of our candles and placed them on our dining room table and throughout the family room. We made sure our camping lanterns had spare batteries for later use.

    Our oldest started a fire to keep our house warm. I love living in the country and still having a wood burning fireplace. Besides creating a warm ambience, it comes in very handy at times like this. We have an abundance of dry wood ready to keep us warm.

    The Christmas season also means that we have decorative candles and candle holders. Moments like this are a perfect reason to light them again. Why not enjoy their beauty a little longer?

    So stay cozy this winter season. And let the power failures bring family/friends closer to you.

    Celebrating Winter Solstice 2017

    Today we are having a feast with friends and family. Food, fun, music, booze and a celebration before Christmas break hits.

    I love entertaining people. Having guests over makes me feel like I’ve done some good in the world. Having everyone leave with full bellies and a bit of cheer makes me happy.

    Happy Winter Solstice everyone!