Friday, February 13, 2015

A Modern Pioneer Woman

When we went to bed last night, my husband said, "Don't make a fire in the morning, I want to take out some ashes. Wake me up before you leave."
I was heading out to have blood work done at seven o'clock but at 6:15, he was deeply asleep so I let him be. I covered the dogs with a blanket, made a travel mug of tea for my drive back from the hospital and left.
Dwayne wasn't up when I got home and Mum was just coming downstairs for breakfast, so I made coffee and fed the dogs. When I realized my nose was cold, I said to my mother, "Dwayne wanted to take ashes out before making a fire this morning but he's sound asleep and I hate to wake him if he had a bad night because of pain."
"Can't we take the ashes out?" she asked.
Well, holy crap.
In the nearly eight years I've lived here, I've never cleaned out the wood furnace; it was always something Dwayne did. Thanks to my dad, I make a mean fire and I keep it going throughout the day but maintenance is not my job.
Funny thing is taking out the ashes was my job as a child. The Franklin wood stove at our first cottage on Rice Lake and later the big stone fireplace at the cottage on Weller's Bay needed to cleaned out frequently and because I was a kid, my father asked me to do it. I don't remember what I put the ashes in or what Dad did with them.

"I don't see any reason why not," I said to Mum 38 years later. "We'll be like pioneer women doing this chore."
I drank another cup of coffee and checked Facebook and Mum went upstairs to get dressed and then it occurred to me: If you're going to take ashes out of a furnace, you actually have to go and do it. And it certainly doesn't take two people.
There were enough glowing orange coals left from which to start a roaring fire and by the time Dwayne got up, the coffee was gone and the house was warm.

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