Erin's Journal

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Just a thought... Walking in the hills, I was often able to smell a house before I could see it, because of the scent of woodsmoke coming from an invisible chimney. It is one of the most primitive smells in life, and consequently extinct in most cities.... [Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence] 

I thought this might be a timely journal for you, given that so many of the readers and listeners who come by here to share a few minutes each day are based in my old stomping grounds, which are covered in at least ten centimetres of snow. Here goes something to warm you up a bit: a nice wood fire.
 
I'll take you back to last December, when we arrived here on Vancouver Island at just about the same time that winter decided to make her snowiest visit to the Victoria area in two decades. We had storm upon storm (you can see video on my Facebook page that I posted in February) and we kicked ourselves for not having brought even one of our shovels from Ontario. We bought one this year!
 
The dog walks were hardest, though, and not because of road conditions. It was the smell in the air of people warming their houses. Our neighbourhood would be filled with the comforting fragrance of fires and our hearts were overflowing with, not only envy, but a real longing for the fireplace we'd left behind at our one-time heart home on the shores of Lake Simcoe.
 
So we spent part of the summer looking to replicate that experience on a much smaller level with a rustic cabin on the ocean's shore; something like we enjoyed in nearby Sooke at a resort called Point No Point. A woodburning fire, a hot tub outside and perfection!
 
But, in case you haven't heard, real estate out here is as outrageous as it is nearly everywhere else these days, so we gave up our search and decided to make our house that's not on the water's edge (but has a great view nonetheless) more of what we needed it to be.
 
We decided to buy a wood stove. But there were challenges: we needed something that would suit our modern décor and not block the long and narrow window in front of which it's placed. The Morso model we chose has the added benefit of glass on three sides so that we can enjoy the flames from many angles in both the dining and living rooms.
 

Morso wood stove

 
The fireplace was installed one week ago and we couldn't be happier. The chimney, which you see is black, will be painted white in high temperature paint when we get the time. About the only drawback is the fact that it has a very small firebox, so the wood is supposed to be only nine inches in length! You can get away with twelve inches if you lean pieces against the back wall, but they have to be tiny.
 
So that's how we ordered them from a local wood guy. But they still weren't small enough. Which leads us to Rob's self-described Christmas gift this year: a wood splitter. He found one on sale at Canadian Tire, picked it up Monday and now he's a happy little woodsman, out in the garage splitting firewood to warm our house and his wife's heart.
 

firewood

 
Yes, it's messy, the whole wood fire thing - more ash, of course, and tiny bits of wood in and outside of the house - but it's worth it to enjoy once again the comfort of something we missed almost as much as that post and beam home in Ontario itself.
 
Have a lovely day, stay warm and I'll be back with you tomorrow.
 
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