Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: Firepit

I've been eyeballing firepits for over a year now, pondering whether it was worth the money to buy one. I love a good fire, and can't always count on babysitting the nephews at Bro and Sis In Law's to enjoy one when I get the urge.

Mamaw and I saw this one at El Marto Del Wal the other day, marked down a bit as they prepare to clean out the summer themed seasonal items. The price was decent and we thought we'd try it.

Had a bit of trouble putting it together, but nothing a good ol' dose of RTFM wouldn't cure... turns out you need to attach the smaller support ring inside of the cast iron legs before you tighten the bolts that hold the leg to the larger base ring that the bowl sits in, or the smaller ring won't reach. Who knew?

This particular model is made by Better Homes, which isn't mentioned on the Wally-World website, and is one of the smaller ones I've seen, but it's plenty big enough to get a cheery little fire going.

I would have preferred if the log grate had crossed grating instead of just the one set of bars, but it's perfectly serviceable as is.

I was worried about the pups getting singed walking by, and the bowl might heat further if the fire were burning longer than we have been, but so far, the edge of the bowl is getting just warm, not hot.

It's light and easily portable- don't let the description fool you, the only bit that's cast iron is the legs, everything else is light weight, so you don't have to struggle to move it if you decide you want to take it somewhere.

We have a bunch of old cedar fenceposts that are no longer sturdy enough to use for fencing but which, once I cut them into smaller chunks, will be fantastic for the fire pit. That part made Farmmom extremely happy, since they're currently lying in a pile in the pasture.

It made me extremely happy as well since cedar is one of the more aromatic burning woods.

If you're looking for a big roaring fire, this is not the pit for you, I would recommend getting one of the deeper ones, but for a cheery little fire it's grade A, and reasonably priced.


I've been getting fairly stressed out about my house lately, what with every time I turn around there being another thing that needs done before we can move forward with it.

For example, the wall between the kitchen and the bathroom. It seemed fine, until we got all of the drywall and lath down, and discovered that not only was it not fine, it's not attached to anything at the top, and was a cobbled together crazy thing. So out that came.

On the electrical front I had a battle of wills that I lost, for once. Me versus the hundred-or-so year old oak framing of the wall that the breaker box is on. See, we ran out of places to run our wire down, and had to make a new hole to go through. So, I climbed my skinny butt up through the access hole in the bedroom (which is not much wider than I am) and picked my way across the house on the rafters, crawled through an access hole through the original roof into the first addition (the office) that is only about knee height on me, and went to work.

Two inches or so was fairly easy, considering the age of the wood. Then I hit the two-by stuff that had been being compressed since the place was built. Might as well have been trying to drill through iron with a toothpick.

I gave up rather than break a drill, because I recognized the level of frustration and determination I was reaching, and well, it wasn't my drill. Farmdad got up there later and got it knocked through. He agreed that it was some pretty hard stuff and commented that I just didn't have the technique.

Thanks, pop.

I didn't realize just how stressed out I was till I actually got away and went riding for an entire afternoon. When I came back I looked at my house and instead of mourning, I thought, "Hey, that kitchen is going to be pretty nifty with the cabinets we looked at. It'll take a while, but we'll get there."

And my kitchen is going to be pretty nifty. Or at least I think so. The things available in cabinetry these days are much more geared towards organization and maximizing what storage space you have than they used to be, and that's a godsend, because I may be going to have the most square footage in my kitchen in the family, but it's still a tiny kitchen, and as it stands the house has zip for storage.

Which isn't all that surprising considering it was originally built in the 1900's as a lawyers office, expanded on that theme, and only in the '60's (I think, I could be a bit off on that) were the kitchen and bathroom added in a lean-to sort of fashion on the back of the house.

We've framed in a useable size closet in the bedroom (not as big as I might have dreamed but as big as we can feasibly make it considering we're stealing square footage from the bathroom and still have to fit my loverly cast-iron tub, a vanity, potty, and stack washer and dryer in there) and I plan to use the office as an office slash tack room. It will wear a third hat as a spare bedroom at need, probably with a futon rather than an actual bed in there, just for space reasons.

Cause folks, I love my friends and I want to have a place for them to stay, but I am not giving up the antique oak sherrif's desk. Just ain't happenin'.

We still have a long way to go before it's done, but if fate allows, it will be put back together enough that I can move in (bedroom and bathroom finished, anyway) soon.

There's plenty to be done, and a lot of sweat and elbow grease to get there, but when it's finished, it's going to be fabulous.

It's amazing what an afternoon on horseback can do for my outlook on life. I gotta remember to take a dose of my furry, four-legged blood pressure medication more often!