Fire burning

As soon as we thought about hiking somewhere in this world, i immediately thought about cold weather, and the next thing that came to mind after that was … fire. I love fire! In Canada, men are in charge of everything relating to fire, from gas BBQ’s to rocket launches. Being Canadian, naturally I’m a well established member of this club. However, my experience also has a certain extra ‘richness’, starting with the frustration of years of watching quietly (while being forbidden to get near) a campfire under my father’s “supervision”, and graduating to some near disasters (cooking food on a BBQ with a leaking gas bottle) and actual disasters (setting fire to my parents’ kitchen). With such a track record, there was no way I was letting Clara start or babysit any fire we were going to have. And in fact the moment I suggested buying a wood stove she agreed, conditional on me being responsible for it. Perfect!
You may ask why anyone would want to carry a wood stove in the bush. The reason is for all the slow gentle cooking that sometimes food requires to fully reveal its flavor (gas being too harsh for this) but more importantly, for the joy of bending on the ground, carefully selecting and placing dry leaves and twigs inside the stove and lighting it up at a crack of a match 🙂 Yes, a single match, as using more than one or relying on fire lighters is not my style!  In recent years, Bear Grylls has raised the bar to a new level when it comes to starting fires and Clara is as yet unimpressed by my boy-scout stories and use of a match, so i have some serious demonstration of manliness to do (my knife comes with an in-built flint which could serve the purpose). We trialled our wood stove during our first camping day and cooked a tasty lentil stew, so the wood stove has already justified itself…

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Some other good news after the agreement for the wood stove purchase was the gas (liquid fuel) stove. Clara initially selected a reliable big brand stove that is “risk-free” and has great control for professional like cooking. It had one major weakness though: weight (400g). So, I searched the net for lighter options and came across one of the most extreme ones: a stove made out of a soda can. I thought it would be a hard sell though as it is more a blow torch than a stove, and all Clara’s previous bush experience was with a ‘proper’ stove. But to my surprise she agreed! What a lucky boy I am to have such an understanding girlfriend, and one who is so supportive of my love of fire! During our shopping spree in NZ, we found a replica of the stove, and bought it (thankfully we didn’t have to rely on my Mc-Gyver skills!). I (well, WE) are now the proud owners of a flame-thrower type stove from which we expect to cook beautiful meals (when wood is not available) and prepare our morning coffees. This stove is yet to be tested though as every camp site so far has had a fully equipped kitchen, sometimes even with an oven! While this may sound like good news, it means that Clara has unnecessarily been carrying a kilo of meth (1L) for more than 3 days now and she is losing patience with the gas stove. I, however, am looking forward to use the gas stove, and see how high the flame will shoot when i light it up! Before anyone starts to worry though, remember I am the Chief Risk and Catastrophe Officer so overall we should be safe :’)

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