Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to Build a Campfire—Open Book Blog Hop

This week we're doing a tutorial on a subject of our choosing. It took me a while to figure out what to write about—there's lots of things I'm good at, but many of them are better taught hands-on rather than in written form. I'm a country girl at heart, and as a result, I know how to do things that people who never leave the city may not. So today I'm going to tell you how to start a campfire. No, I don't expect you ti rub two sticks together. Matched are allowed!

But safety first. In the words of the legendary Smokey the Bear, only YOU can prevent forest fires. Here's a few tips on how to do that.

First: have a bucket of water handy! Don't even think about having a campfire unless you have a good source of water nearby! And just like in the picture, you should have a shovel too.

Next, build a campfire ring. Dig away all the grass, leaves, etc. that are in your chosen spot. Then dog a little deeper. (at least an inch. Now you have your base. Surround your spot with rocks (not from a creek bed or wet. They have the potential to explode)  Take a look overhead. Any dead branches or leaves that might catch fire from sparks? Choose another place for your fire. The bigger a fire you plan to have, the larger area you need to have clear, both on the ground and overhead.

Now it's time to gather your wood. You are going to need several different sizes of fuel. You'll want to start with tinder- that's dry grass, dead pine needles, very small twigs, dried leaves, etc. Things that will catch fire quickly and burn hot. (Dried pine needles are the best!) But if you want to cheat a little, you can supplement your tinder with paper.

Next come kindling. Kindling is composed of bigger twigs and small branches. The largest branches and logs are called fuel, All your branches should be short enough to fit within your campfire ring. Cut them down to size if you need too.

Pile your kindling and fuel away from the fire ring. You don't want to accidentally  catch them on fire.

Now to actually build your campfire.

Start with the tinder. Put it in the middle of the campfire ring. Don't pack it down, fire needs air to burn, so pile it loosely.

Next add your tinder. There are several styles of campfires, the two most popular are tepee and log cabin. Tepee looks the easiest, but it can be difficult to get your sticks to lean against each other. The log cabin isn't a true cabin, because you want to place your bigger kindling at the base and build upward and inward. No matter which style you choose, make sure you leave an opening to get to the tinder.

Now you're ready to light the fire. Hopefully you're using the large wooden matched, nit the kind you get in the little paper matches. Carefully light the match, and reach in and light the tinder. If you're lucky and you're tinder is good, it should light the first time. If not, try again.

As the tinder burns, it should catch the smallest kindling on fire. That will, in turn, light the bigger kindling. Add more kindling as needed, and carefully add larger branches once the fire in going. You don't want to just drop them in and potentially spread sparks everywhere. You might get burnt! Same when you add the largest branches or logs.

Once the fire is burning well, sit back and enjoy. Add more fuel as needed.

Before leaving your campfire, make sure you put it out. Completely. And when you think it's out, dump another bucket of water on it. Stir the ashes and make sure there are no hot spots left. Now dump another bucket of water on it.No kidding.

And that's how you build a campfire!

Lela Markham is talking about how to quilt over on her blog.  Lela  Lela Markham is the pen name of an Alaskan novelist who was raised in a home built of books. Alaska is a grand adventure like none other with a culture that embraces summer adventure and winter artistic pursuits.

A multi-genre writer, currently Lela is concentrating on dystopian and fantasy, but you never know what her imagination might get up to.

Lela shares her life with her adventuresome husband, two fearless offspring and a sentient husky who keeps a yellow Lab for a pet.

You can find her books on Amazon. Lela's Author Page

February 8, 2016 - Tutorial or How-To
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