Here in the dusty dry state of Colo'frickin'rado, moisture cannot be found at 8,600 ft asl. Right now, the mountains are being hammered with tons of snow and we're getting squat. It snowed a little while ago, but I honestly don't rememeber the last time it rained. It is so bad, in fact, that I have gone out after a major downpour that lasted about an hour, scraped the soil with a shovel and within less than an inch, it was one dry. It had all turned to runoff.
Because of that, I don't have bonfires very often. I usually wait until it is pouring down snow and by the time I'm done, I shovel 50 lbs. of snow on top of what was the fire. Fire in Colorado should be taken very, very seriously.
With all that out of the way, I do make a winter kitchen for me and the oompa-loompas to cook on every once in awhile. You haven't had tea until you've had it black from an open fire. Sometimes I'll build a fire just to have tea. It is very satisfying.
When making the winter kitchen, the first thing I look for is to green aspens, 4-6 feet high with forks in them.
Find a couple of those. Chop 'em to length and sharpen the ends. with your axe.
Pound them into the ground. With our axes? No! With a sledge, of course.
Now we have two fork sticks driven into the ground.
Next, I pile up some rocks. If you play the right tune on your flute, the oompa-loompas will show up and help.
Find two or three sticks that look like this. These will be your pot hangers.
Then, cut a notch into the end of the stick like this - so you can hang your pot from it.
Then viola, you have your winter kitchen.
I'll probably finish it off with lining the bottom of the pit with stones and adding a fire grate. Last year we did lots of beans and hotdogs and we even tried bannock, which turned out well.
Here's to the first snow, and the first tea on the open fire. Can't wait.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike, Oscar, Hotel....out.