Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Make a Campfire

We love to make campfires on the beach on the weekend, and in a stone chimney in our favorite park on cold weekday afternoons in the winter. After a few years of campfire fun I have finally found my favorite way to build a campfire. When we are at the beach we make a circle out of large stones and make sure the area is clear of fuel, to keep the fire from spreading. Tonight I used a metal terrace fireplace. I made three piles of sticks: tiny twigs, medium sticks, and thicker sticks. All of these sticks are small enough in diameter for me to be able to break them over my knee. I crumpled a piece of newspaper loosely, and built a chimney around it out of twigs, log cabin style. I lit the paper at the bottom with a match.

I soon had a lively little fire crackling. After it had burned for a few minutes, I added more twigs, criss-crossing them across the top of the chimney. I continued to tend my fire, adding larger sticks bit by bit. My little boy always wants to get close and help. Fire is very attractive and the children need some safety rules. I tell children that they should stay back from the flames and that they are not allowed to add any fuel without my permission. I also have a bucket of water nearby for putting out the fire.

Once it was burning wonderfully well with the largest sticks, I added two small logs. It is important that air moves under and through your fire, or it will smother. This metal fire place has a grate at the bottom which permits air circulation.

We waited patiently for the logs to get good and hot, because we had plans to make dinner on our campfire. I have never cooked anything other than hotdogs or marshmallows on a campfire, so this was an experiment. For cooking, we want low flames, and hot embers.

We put some fireplace pokers and clothes hangers across the fire once the embers were nice and hot and had been raked out, so we would have something to prop our skewers on.

These marinated shrimps smelled so good as they cooked.

We served them with pita bread, sliced tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and some (undercooked) skewered zucchini.

He loved it, and so did I. We are going to make it for my husband this weekend!


Amanda said...

I am rather boastful of my fire making skills. (probably makes me annoying to camp with) But I think even I picked up a few good tips! Also... tonight my husband and I were talking about our winter solstice plans (I'm a planner) and I was saying that this year I'd like our babies to stay up for a fire at sundown. After reading this we are SO going to make a dinner (or dessert) on our solstice fire.


Ariad said...

I absolutely LOVE camp fires too. Those shrimp are making my mouth water, they look delicious:)

Linda said...

There is nothing like a campfire:) Those shrimps look wonderful...

marcia said...

Awesome Beth. Kids do love fire don't they?

I plan to end each of my Earth School sessions sitting around a fire and recappign our day. We tried it in spring and it was way too hot and it was not enjoyable.

campfire cooking is also on my family's to do list. Thanks for the tips!

happy day!

(V.Kerr) School Time Adventures said...

I love building, sitting, singing, thinking, and staring into a fire. Having a fire is such an instant way to build unity. We had a camp fire last night and I haven't taken a shower yet today so I still smell like campfire!