Freezing rain hit us last night, knocking out our power this morning at around 7am. It wasn’t long before it started getting COLD and I called my dad to see if I could take the kids over for a visit only to find out that he was in bed with the flu. So I called my husband to let him know the situation, and went out searching for firewood. Across the street from our house, there is a wooded area so I grabbed the kid’s little red wagon and went to load up all the fallen sticks and branches it would hold. Branches covered in ice. Have you ever tried to start a fire with frozen wood?
Thankfully, we had lots of cardboard boxes on hand so my plan was to burn them with the wet wood I’d gathered in hopes that it would eventually dry. When that didn’t work, I went searching in the basement for other combustible resources and found tons of scrap wood, which I was able to burn long enough to dry what I’d gathered from across the road.
After that, my job was to keep the fire fed, and continue drying wood. For the next few hours, I made several trips with my little red wagon, gathering up wood and coming back to tend my fire. A few hours and several trips later, I realized that if I was going to keep this up for any long period of time I’d have to find larger pieces of wood to burn. In order to do this, I needed to bust up some of the dead trees that were across the road, so with this in mind I went downstairs to grab the axe. When it comes to tools, I barely know a Phillips from a flat head, so I had no idea that what I thought was an axe was actually a log splitter. I grabbed up my trusty axe log splitter and went back across the street to do a little lumberjacking. I soon learned that log splitters are not made for chopping up trees. I came back with all of three pieces of wood, and they were pretty puny!
At that point, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew I couldn’t keep feeding the fire scraps all day and there wasn’t any other wood available. I began to think of others who might have wood to spare, and then remembered that the guys who used to cut our lawn also sold firewood. It had been about a year since we’d bought wood from them, but I called them up to find out if they still had any. They did, and were gracious enough to run it right over. Soon I had brand new, dry logs on the fire… and a house full of smoke! How I’d managed to burn WET wood in that same fireplace with no problems is beyond me, but within moments of adding the dry wood, I had smoke billowing out of the fireplace and was running to open the windows.
I had NO IDEA what to do. I freaked out worked feverishly to find some solution, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, in a moment of desperation, I draped wet towels over the face of the fireplace, leaving about a foot open at the bottom. To my amazement, the smoke started right up the chimney and the house cleared within a few minutes. The kids and I then grabbed our blankets, huddled around the fireplace and spent the rest of the day looking through old pictures and singing songs together.
The power is on now, but I’m not sure whether it will stay on. We’re supposed to have another round of freezing rain tonight, and I just got a call letting me know that a state of emergency has been declared in our county until Thursday. Thankfully, my husband will be home tomorrow so I’ll let him handle any log splitting heroics that become necessary. This should be an interesting week!