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Growing on the High Plains: Chimenea

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Get ready, because today’s Growing on the High Plains is on fire! In fact, we might even call it “Burning on the High Plains.” As you’ve surely noticed, autumn temperatures are descending across our region. It takes me back to memories of enjoying the brisk outdoors with my grandmother – a woman who thrilled at the prospect of lighting a warming bonfire. For what it’s worth, I seem to have inherited her “firebug” gene, though I’ve learned caution the hard way after a few close calls with careless burn piles. But now I have a tidy solution: my chimenea—an upright, clay patio fireplace that’s both front-loading and features a vertical smoke vent. This oblong oven allows for a well-positioned, safely-contained, and on-demand fire show. And as the evening glow grows dimmer, it keeps your outdoor relaxation station toasty and lit.

__________

 
ASHES denote that fire was;

  Respect the grayest pile

For the departed creature’s sake

  That hovered there awhile.
  

Fire exists the first in light,

  And then consolidates,—

Only the chemist can disclose

  Into what carbonates.

—Emily Dickinson, "Part One: Life ~ CXIII" (1924)

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit, Skip planted a garden. She began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains.