Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lessons from the hearth

One of the things I started to do after reaching NJH was to use a traditional stove using wood to boil water. In summer, we need about 10 litres of drinking water for our home and to get it boiled, it used to be quite cumbersome till someone advised to use a stove using wood.

Initially, it used to be a very difficult . . . the major part being to get the fire started. 

Then I learnt to do it fast. And I learnt quite a lot . . .

  1. You need to have patience to start a fire.
  2. One can quick start a fire using things like diesel or kerosene, but it is expensive and dangerous.
  3. The best way to start the fire is to start burning small twigs. The twigs look very insignificant. But, they contribute a lot to start the fire. But, they will not give the amount of heat or burn for long to be of use to you. But, you cannot do without them.
  4. The bigger wood .. .. .. Of course, it is the larger wood pieces that give the heat that matters. But, they are of no use, if the twigs do not help them get afire.
  5. Once the big wood catches fire, one needs to supervise it. You have to be around the fire. Many a time, it burns too fast that it does not serve it’s purpose. In addition, one needs to push them deep into the stove to ensure that the fire stays.
  6. In the beginning, I was really enthusiastic and used to stuff the stove with quite a lot of firewood. I wanted to have a good fire. Then I realised that it does not work. The wood, smaller twigs or the larger wood pieces need space to catch fire. Congestion causes the fire to die down.
  7. You need to give some space between the stove and the vessel to ensure that the fire burns well. 
  8. When I start the process next day, I need to ensure that I clean the stove of the ash of the previous day.
Quite a lot to lessons to learn from such a simple activity. Issues about giving space and freedom to achieve your objectives . . . contrary to what popular notions are . . .  

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