Yesterday was fairly reasonable in terms of weather (that is, it didn't cause physical pain to be outside). After a leisurely brunch inside, away from the barbaric mule, I emerged to sun myself against the side of the barn. The woman struggled out of the house, puffing, and dragging a variety of large boxes, some full of scrap lumber. I know what this means; we are going to have a fire. This is ALWAYS an exciting event.
The woman piles some of the material in a heap and then begins striking matches. Some four hundred matches later, a small flame manages to stay alive. The woman coughs and waves her arms and tries to avoid the smoke, which follows her whenever she moves. Personally, I enjoy inhaling smoke and edge up behind her until she steps back and falls over me. The others rummage through the unburnt pile and eventually the woman begins flailing her arms and yelling "getoutofhereyoumorons". We ignore her.
I stand as close to the flames as possible without actually spontaneously combusting. However, the best part comes as the fire dies down. When the fire has turned to embers, I wade in, pawing ,and creating lots of dust and smoke. And then - heaven. I drop to my knees and proceed to work the warmth into my entire body. It's similar to the compost, but much warmer. I must be careful to do this when the woman's guard is down or I get a lecture on fire safety. When I arise, I emit clouds of smoke and according to her, look like I've just stepped out of a volcano. A quick roll in the snow (or sand, depending on time of year) and I feel like a whole new donkey. She refers to the process as a Finnish sauna gone horribly wrong. Of course, I consider her an example of an experiment gone horribly wrong but am too polite to say so.
TJ climbed almost all the way into one of the large boxes and I prayed fervently that he would be tossed on the fire. Alas, my prayers went unanswered. With all the shavings that cling to him, I'm sure he'd go up like a torch.