Quest for fire: Part one

If you find yourself in a survival situation, a fire not only keeps you warm, it’s a vital morale booster and can make all the difference between life and death – or so I’m told by TV survivalist, Les Stroud of “Survivor Man” fame. I’ve never personally been in such a position, unless you count chilling on the screened porch with a hankering for s’mores without a fire a survival situation.

My quest for a table-top fire pit didn’t begin with a s’mores craving per se. I wanted to achieve the ambience and coziness of a back yard* fire pit, only mini-sized and on my porch. There’s nothing quite like relaxing, gazing at the dancing flames of a fire while roasting a few marshmallows. It’s heaven and wouldn’t you know it? The mother-of-all websites where all dangerous DIY projects are born (Pinterest) had just the thing: the DIY Mini Fire Pit for S’mores by You can see it for yourself here:

After skimming the blog post, I figured how hard could this be? A terra-cotta flowerpot, tin foil and a couple of charcoal briquettes and violà! The makings for a table-top fire pit!

Only Brian wasn’t on board.

“Fire pits, however ‘mini’, belong outside. I know you think the idea sounds fun but you could burn the house down,” he warned in his fatherly tone.

“It’s not going to be a problem,” I said trying to assure him that I had it completely under control. “And besides, we are technically outside. I know what I’m doing.” The look on his face assured me he wasn’t.

Come on, I know how to put a fire out for heaven’s sake! How hard is that? My real problem was making sure my mini-fire pit had enough air flow to function properly. Sure it had a hole in the bottom of the pot but if it’s sitting on the saucer thing, how’s that going to work? I contemplated my options. I could set the pot on flat rocks but that could be unsteady. Maybe some small bricks would work but then I’d have to find some small bricks. What I knew for sure was that I wasn’t going to pay for a new flower pot. I knew I could find one for next to nothing at a thrift store.

“Remember,” I told Hazel as we scanned the shelves at Goodwill. “I’m looking for terra-cotta flower pots,” and almost immediately I heard Hazel say, “They have some small ones over here.” I turned around and feasted my eyes on this:

The Holy Grail of table top mini fire pits.

I carefully approached the odd little pot. Lifting it from the shelf as if I were a chieftain hoisting the infant prince to the tribal gods for blessing I exclaimed, “This pot is exactly what I’ve been looking for! This is going to be so much fun!” It was indeed ideal for the task – compact, with peculiar little vents perfect for air flow to my mini table top inferno. It even had the saucer thing. My Holy Grail cost a mere $3.44 and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I shot a text to Brian bragging about my discovery. His reaction was less than thrilled:

Hose! I don’t need no stinking hose!

A trip to Target for the s’mores supplies and the girls and I were ready for porch roastin’.** Well, that along with a cup of water handy in case the situation went from fun to fiery but I wasn’t worried. What’s the worst that could happen?

Tune in next week for “Quest for fire: Part two” when the mini fire pit gets lit.

*Our backyard is as private as Times Square. No fire pit.

**Exactly what Brian was afraid of I’m guessing.

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