Like many of my friends who are homeowners, I refuse to turn on the heat until the weather makes up its mind and stays cold.
So to help stay warm on these random cold days, I build a fire in my fireplace and sit on the couch with my three dogs, and we all enjoy the warmth.
About three years ago, my former down-the-street neighbor, Charles Fraune, taught me how to properly build a fireplace fire. (In September, Fraune and his family moved from Cornelius to Mount Holly.)
Thanks to Charles, I am an excellent fire builder. I thought I was also an excellent fire extinguisher.
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Having been a Girl Scout years ago, I learned from Smokey Bear how to put out a campfire: Stir and drown the fire multiple times.
I assumed that procedure worked for fireplace fires. It doesn’t.
Last Saturday I built a fire late in the morning. An hour later, my son came over to take me out to lunch and shopping.
Before we went out, I dumped a cup of water on the fire and stirred the embers, repeating that procedure three or four times. I shut the glass doors to keep out more oxygen and went upstairs to get my coat.
When I came back downstairs less than three minutes later, the fire was burning so brightly that my son doubted I’d tried to put it out.
I followed the same procedures as before, waited about 15 minutes this time, saw no flames, so we went out.
I checked with both Charles Fraune and a Cornelius Fire Department volunteer about what to do to properly extinguish a fireplace fire.
Both said to stir the embers, then use sand or baking soda to extinguish the flames, then stir the embers again.
The only problem with this procedure is that before I build my next fire, I have to wait until the ashes cool and clean them out. But to keep my home safe, I think I can do this extra step.
From Dec. 1 until Dec. 20, drop off your letter to Santa in his mailbox at the Cornelius Arts Center. Include a stamped, self-addressed return envelope, and Santa will write back.
At 1 p.m. Dec. 6, be sure to attend the 32nd annual North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade.
From 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at the town hall, voice your opinion to design the future of the Cornelius park system.