With winter, just around the corner most people here in Canada turn their thoughts to staying indoors with a nice fire burning in the fireplace. No need going outdoors unless it is absolutely necessary; get more firewood, stock up on more beer or to scrape the windows on the car and warm it up before making those treks across our frozen landscapes. Outside bad, inside good is our mantra as we lay shivering waiting for our body heat to warm up the duvet to acceptable levels of comfort.
The biggest problem with staying cooped up inside all winter is the dreaded cabin fever. It doesn’t take too long before one gets a little tired with playing Cribbage and Euchre at the kitchen table night after night. It isn’t the game nor the people but rather it is the surroundings. The same four walls closing in on you, that is the real problem, space. But what are we supposed to do, go outside into the cold and the wet?
Why yes. That is exactly what you should do but don’t just go outside to stand around in the cold like a bunch of teenagers with no place to go on a Friday night. Have a plan and set the plan in place before the weather sets in to discourage you before you even begin. Just what is this plan you are asking? Well, in a word or should I say two words: Fire Pit!
There is nothing like a clear sky winter night for sitting outside around a nice fire and watching the skies with a few close friends or family. There is something magical about just how crisp the stars look on a frigid night. Imagine sitting around with the kids toasting some marshmallows while sharing a ghost story or two. For you this is top notch quality time with your loved ones but for the kids, these are the memories that will last them a lifetime. Does it get any better than that?
So, for fire pits there are two ways you can go; store bought or a do it yourself project.
Store Bought Fire Pits
For store bought fire pits you can get them from many source like Walmart for less than $100 or Lowes for around $350.
The lower priced fire pits tend to be made up of metal and generally are propane fed. The nice thing about these types of fire pits is that they are easy to set up and are ready to go by simply turning on the propane and pressing the starter. Another advantage to these types of fire pits or pots if you prefer, is that they can be set up on your deck with little risk.
The higher priced fire pits generally are comprised of specially made bricks that could also come with either a cooking grate or metal insert or both. These types of fire pits require fuel like wood or coals, depending upon what you want to use the fire pit for. Once again, these types of fire pits would require a little more planning up front and more time to set up.
Do It Yourself Fire Pits
For those of you who are more of the DIY types and like to use the project to teach the kids a little self reliance then simply follow these steps.
- Choose a spot in the backyard for the pit
- Dig a hole about 2 feet deep and around 3 to 4 feet wide
- Make the hole as round as you can
- Use stones from the yard or bricks from a building supplier to line the hole, creating a fireproof barrier
- Using more stone or brick you then rim the fire pit for extra fire protection and a nice ledge
- Take some of the dirt from the hole you had dug to pack into the voids between the stones or bricks
- Surround the new fire pit with whatever you find comfortable to sit on
Regardless of whether you use store bought or you make your own, there is nothing quite like a gathering around an open fire outside to remind us all of simpler times spent with those who are important to us. Who doesn’t remember that first toasted marshmallow on a stick? A fire pit in the backyard just might make that memory a reality for someone you know.