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I'm fascinated by the motion of flames.  I could stare at the fire all day.

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These cold winter days and nights, Mishka spends a lot of time by the fire. We have a great wood stove which we use for most of our winter heating. Here is Mishka in his most common fireside pose, draped off the piano bench which he has claimed as his winter seat.

I love fires and fireplaces. One of the things I always wanted in a home was a fireplace. Our previous residence didn't have one, so when we bought our house one of the important features for me was this wood stove.

I actually prefer fireplaces, but since we use the stove to heat its efficiency is important. The first fireplace I had growing up was a kiva-style (sometimes called beehive) fireplace. In those, you prop the wood against the back wall in a half-tipi shape. Building a fire in a rectangular box is a completely different operation. Either way, though, it's a geometrical art, one of shapes and spaces. A fire needs air and it needs a way to climb. "Ladder fuels" is a very apt term. When I first saw the stacked wood bonfires customary in Louisiana I thought them odd, but the other day when I was tweaking the fire in the stove, I realized they're a very efficient ladder for fire.

Needless to say, I don't care for artificial fires, gas logs and so on. I understand all the reasons for them, but give me the real thing, smoke, ashes, and all.

Here is a view showing the stove, so you can see why Mishka is dripping off the bench in that direction. I confess to a twinge of envy now and then as I go about my day and see him lying there. I've been moving a sofa closer to the stove lately, so I can get in a little basking time now and then, curled up by the fire with a book or a movie. I've been enjoying my annual viewing of The Lord of the Rings this week.

Mishka was kind enough to pose prettily in front of the fire recently, so I snapped off the photo below.

And now I believe it's time to go add a log to the fire.

May all of you out there have a cozy moment by some pleasant fireside soon. Stay warm.

(Previous Mishka posts: the first and the second)


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