I was able to head out and work on the fire pit area, including getting a fire going to clear the pit out for a future cook out.
I ended up being out there for about 2 hours!
After getting as much snow out of it as I could with it full of wood, I made use of the fire starter cubes I picked up while in town earlier. I figured it was the most efficient way to get a fire going, with all that snow.
I was right. 😀
The first thing I did was shovel a short path to the log building, where there is a pile of deadwood from summer cleanup. As a bonus, the cats now have another clear path for them to access it. 🙂
If you look closely, you can see a bit of smoke on the right side of the dry sticks I pulled out of the deadwood. I had tried to start two fires at opposite ends, but one of them never took. I used something like 5 fire starter cubes before one side finally took, and even then, I had to keep adding more and more twigs and small branches. I needed fast burning fuel to generate enough heat to dry out and catch on the larger wood that had been buried in the snow. The deadwood by the log building was too covered in snow to be much use, but I was already digging a path to the big pile we’d been slowly trying to use up during the summer, when there weren’t any fire bans on. I had considered using the little electric snow blower to clear the path yesterday, but I knew there would be too many buried twigs as I got closer. That thing’s auger is plastic, so I wasn’t going to risk breaking it. It wasn’t far to shovel, anyhow.
Since, even with the fire starter cubes, I only got it to catch on one side (it wasn’t worth continuing to fuss with the other side), the goal was to slowly get the fire to work its way through the entire ring. Every now and then, while I was shoveling, it would die right down and I’d have to grab more little dry things from the wood pile.
It eventually got to the point that I could lever my way under the base logs of the wood that was already in there, and free them from the ice below.
It’s remarkable how much it takes to melt snow.
It took about an hour and a half to get to this point!
Once I got the ring clear, I pushed the larger pieces of partially burned wood, as well as the smoldering coals, out to the very edge of the ring. This would keep the metal warm longer, and melt away some of the snow built up around the fire pit.
Plus, the outside cats might want to hang out by the warmth.
I still had to put out the fire, though, which meant…
Tossing snow on it.
That’s not smoke you see. It’s steam!
Thankfully, there is far less of a safety concern for any coals left. It was kinda nice to be able to use the fire pit with having to repeatedly hose everything down around it.
I look forward to when I can build the brick fire pit I have in mind to replace this. It might be in a different area, though. Even with the design I have in mind, there isn’t much I can do about the overhanging tree branches that are now an issue. At least I got the dead ones down, already.
So the fire pit is now all prepped and ready for future cook outs. I even dug a path to the fire pit sized logs we cut over the summer, though they’re covered in snow right now, which makes 3 paths I shoveled while I was maintaining the fire.
Now we just have to wait for some decent weather for our cook out. 🙂