Fires at night at a lake camp in Maine with friends around it are a common past time.
Talking, gazing as the flame dances, crackles and gives off all those positive ions. You can detach, dream, and bath in the heat, the glow. And enjoy friendship with others around that fire. While your kids play hide and go seek, other games in the background. Drifting in and out of the camp fire circle. Picking up bits and pieces of the conversation. Building childhood memories, family traditions.
When you grow up in Maine, fire wood gathering, processing is part of the long list of chores you tackle once a year. Not everyone burns work exclusively to heat their Maine homes. But many go through a cord a year in a kitchen end heater. Or put stove wood through a cellar unit that at least heats the house floors. The nightly ritual of going down to check the fire. Throw on an extra log or two to keep a bed of coals going through the night. So there is something to work with the next morning when you wake. And it may not be as toasty warm as when you toddled off to bed eight hours before in your Maine home or farmstead.
Europeans, especially Scandanavians, give their woodlots to their kids, future generations in as good, hopefully better condition than when they received it.
That is good land stewardship. Deep seeded appreciation and respect for the woods. And trees which to me demonstrate the true meaning of the word patience. My dad always told me in the family 100 acre wood lot in Ludlow that an acre, roughly an area 208′ by 208′, produces at least a cord a year if managed properly.
But overseas, because of wars, burning wood for so many centuries longer than us, the natural resource is not so plentiful in those areas. Better wood burning stoves with higher efficiency come out of those places because of it. My dad used to sell Jotul wood heaters. And any time I have a Maine real estate listing with a Jotul stove of any model in it, the sellers invariably never ever leave the Jotul behind in the sale. They get that attached, bonded.
Depend on that wood stove, not walking out the door without it.
Causes a little arm wrestling in the Maine home sale negotiations. And someone never having burned wood, exposed to it wonders what’s all the fuss. Only a wood stove. Not to the seller who relies on it for warmth, comfort or even cooking.
Think of how valuable, how everything centered around the one old antique cook stove of early Maine settlers, farmers, lumbermen. A big part of daily survival revolved around that one “appliance”. Heat for living, fire for cooking. Hot water from the neighboring copper tank heated with coils in that wood stove. Or just a big pot on the old kitchen wood stove heating up water for the Saturday night one bath a week ritual. Whether you needed it or not.