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Mid America Buckskinners Info Page
Stories

About Fire Pits


Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn




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One of the side benefits of being a 'skinner is all the skills that you develop. Not all of the skills are developed on purpose…

Several of my friends have reported the amazement of their non-skinner friends and relatives at their ability to not only cook over a fire in the pouring rain, but just for being able to start a fire in a downpour.
For the 'skinner this is not a big deal. Almost all of our food is prepared over an open fire. The skill is quickly developed because any event lasting more than a day includes rain.

Almost all doin's require that the fire be built in a firepit. A firepit is constructed by removing the sod and then digging a gently sloped surface down to the back of the pit. The sod is usually stacked up across the back of the hole. If a short dogleg is made in the sod wall, pans and coffeepots can be set on it to keep warm.
This method of construction gives a couple benefits. First, the back wall of the pit acts as a reflector, directing the heat back to the shivering hands held in front of the fire as we wait for the rain to slow down long enough to open the kettle holding the steaming stew.
Next, it causes the wood to settle back into the deeper area as it burns down. That both makes a good bed of coals in a protected area and contains the fire. Catching the grass on fire and burning down your camp is seen as being in bad taste. We do have some standards to uphold!
Because the front of the pit is only a couple inches below the top of the grass, and the fire naturally forms lower down in the back of the pit, a natural draft is formed. Air is drawn from behind you as you squat in front of the fire, is drawn through the bed and the smoke climbs the back wall, leaving your eyes clear and smoke free – most of the time.

On rain free nights, you wake up to a nice bed of ash covered coals snuggled in the back of the firepit. Stir the coals with a stick, toss some kindling on the coals, cover with a couple larger sticks and leave it to start the morning fire as you head over to the port-a-pottie.
On rainy mornings, when you get back from the "little blue tourist cabin", a piece of firewood is placed in the back of the pit and a platform made with smaller sticks by placing them on the log and extending out just short of the front of the firepit. Another piece of log is placed on the front of the platform. Behind the log, tinder is placed on the platform and kindling laid on the log, extending to the back of the pit, making a cover over the tinder. A layer of smaller firewood is placed at right angles to the kindling and the tender is lit.
The platform keeps the tinder out of the mudpuddle and wet ashes in the bottom of the firepit, while the kindling and firewood protects it while the fire is started.

After the fire gets going, all that is required is making sure to put at least two pieces of wood on the fire at a time. It seems that the period proper firewood used at 'Voos (wet and green) doesn't like to burn alone.

Eating is a regular part of almost everyone's daily schedule. Cooked food usually tastes better than raw. Like I said; all the skills aren't learned on purpose. Some are learned in self-defense.

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If you want to plaver, do so. Hey, jp!