A Man and His Fire
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 by Frank Shortt
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To keep a good fire burning on chilly evenings requires certain steps to be followed. As with life itself, if we get out of order then things do not go so well.

The first thing required is to have a good stove, well protected with a clear, drawing flue and a hearth between the stove and the wooden walls and floor. Ours is a Lopi brand stove that has served us well through many hard winters in the lower ranges of the Sierra Mountains. With a little care, keeping the stove blacked with stove polish and removing the ashes occasionally, a good stove will last indefinitely. Sometimes hinges, grates, and the damper mechanism must be oiled with a dry lubricant that can withstand high heat. Our life requires us to maintain our bodies in much the same way. We must keep it clean and polished with the right vitamins and minerals in order for it to function properly. Also, we must replenish the natural elements of which our bodies consist.

To build a good fire requires certain steps. One must have some good dry kindling, a little paper underneath, and some heavier pieces of seasoned wood to finish the job. We sometimes use pine cones as kindling as they are to be had in profusion around our home in Grizzly Flat. Just light the paper, the kindling combusts, then add some smaller pieces of wood to allow a good flame to clean out the flue. After the kindling and smaller pieces of wood are burning brightly, add the medium, seasoned pieces on top to keep the fire going.  To maintain our lives we must have certain elements to keep us going. The majority of our human body consists of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. About 0.85% of our body contains a combination of potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All eleven of these elements are necessary for life. If these elements somehow become depleted, the body is said to ‘crave’ certain types of food. One lady craved onions constantly. There was something in her body that needed whatever elements the onions consisted of. One young boy was seen to crawl up to bicycle tires and begin to chew on them. When the boy’s father took him to the doctor it was found that the boy lacked Sulphur, which was in the rubber tires. The foods we eat must contain all these elements in order to maintain our bodies properly. Is it any wonder that obesity has beset the human race when most of us would rather have sweets, drinks and foods, instead of the wonderful vegetables, fruits, and meats that nature has provided.

A good fire area must be kept clean of flammable debris. To do this, keep a hearth broom handy. A smaller, short handled straw broom can be used to sweep the inside of the stove after removing the ashes. An occasional vacuuming of the area should be included in the cleaning process. Not only does it keep the area looking great, but it also keeps dust from accumulating that could be breathed causing respiratory ailments. Our bodies also must be kept clean and flushed. In order to do this, one should have at least two liters of water per day. This can be maintained by having bottles of water at each sink or drinking station and sipping them before and after eliminations or physical activities. Liquid can also be had from low-sugar fruit juices or flavored water. This is up to the personal preference. Fruit flavored water makes it more palatable.

To keep the home fires burning, follow these easy steps. You will find yourself enjoying life more, maintaining a decent weight, and presenting a greater picture to all that you encounter. What could be greater for maintaining our physical bodies? Now, what about your inside person? Feed it whatever it takes to keep the Spirit alive!