Chopping Kindling

There are a lot of chores to get done before deep winter cold sets in here. One of those is chopping up a supply of kindling to make getting a new fire started in the wood stove when its bed of coals die out as easy as possible without tossing some chemical accelerant on it. A simple chore in the greater scheme of things, but one I find surprisingly pleasant to do out on the porch each year.

I chop two kinds of kindling. Plain, lightwood kindling easily split from nice, straight-grained blocks of well-cured pine, and Ocote (also known as fatwood or heartwood) which is a dense pine wood packed with gobs of resin. I use both kinds, depending on the situation and how quickly I want to get a fire going. By the time I've split enough of each, my axe-swinging arm is aching from the effort, but it is worth it.

Just looking at two buckets full of each kind gives me a warm feeling inside.