I've warned you all that spring arrives late where I live, which is a more pleasant way of saying the winters are long. This winter has seemed especially so.
This past Sunday we hiked at a nearby mountain through calf deep snow. This is a local mountain, not one of the mountains deep in the middle of the peninsula where we expect snow this time of year.
Last week there was snow on the ground every morning. (If you follow my instagram you know what I'm talking about.) The snow would melt by the end of the day, but still. Snow every day.
To fight back the dreariness of late winter/early spring snow I've been making fire in the wood burning stove.
Wood heating is new to us. Last winter we lived in our first home with a wood burning stove. We used it sporadically. Our living space was tiny and the electric heaters warmed it up super quick and clean (wood heating is messy).
This is our second year, and second home, heating with wood. Or rather, supplementing with wood. Heating a whole house with wood is an homemaking art and science that we have not perfected.
To heat well with wood you need a good system; which includes sourcing good good, stacking, chopping, etc. We haven't become adept yet at the system and so we use our electric heat a lot. Thankfully electricity is relatively cheap in Quebec.
As we neared the end of March we were relying on electric heat more and more. The days were slowly warming and I think Damien was tired of the wood and fire management. Like I said, we're new to this and it's not yet an easy part of our living routine.
But I missed the wood heat. The house does not have the same quality, or quantity of warmth when we use electric heat only.
At the end of March we took a spontaneous trip to visit my parents for Easter. Thursday morning we e-mailed my mom asking if we could come ("of course!"). Friday morning we were loaded in the car ready to go.
My dad is a master wood burning stove man. Ironically, I didn't grow up with wood heat. Wood is a more precious commodity on the prairies than it is in Nova Scotia or Quebec. This wood burning routine is new to all of us since living out east, but my Dad has it perfected.
Each morning I woke up at Mom & Dad's to a roaring fire in the hearth and I was warmed in my soul as much as my body.
I came home wanting to create the same effect. I need warmth in my soul this time of year as
we wait we long for spring's warmth and color.
Something else I need this time of year is physical labor. I need to use my muscles and be in my body doing something grounding, something earthy.
So I'm chopping wood and making fire.
Not every day, but often. There is something so satisfying about an axe splitting wood. That heavy thunk, crack. And then the snap and sizzle of kindling catching flame.
I used to light a candle on winter mornings. A way of welcoming warmth and beauty into my days. Now, when I get up the sky is already bright. No candle is needed to break the dark.
But now, making fire has become my ritual for greeting and warming the day.
My kids, who love mythology, tell me I'm like the Greek goddess Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home. I'm not too sure about the goddess part but keeper of hearth and home sounds about right as far as my job description goes.
(For the record, there has been no snow this week, yet. Spring may be just around the corner.)