Monday, July 13, 2009

The Chimenia

This lovely little addition to our backyard has quickly become a family favorite. I know it looks a bit strange. I'd never even heard of such a thing before. But truly, after my husband brought it home and we tried it, we were hooked. It's called a Chimenia. Now why a Chimenia? Let me give you a little background on my husband's childhood.

Steve grew up in a family that built fires a lot. His Dad was a woodcutter during his summer breaks from teaching and so they always had firewood around. That wood was enjoyed over many campfires in the summer and warmed their house quite often during the winter. My husband grew up splitting wood. If you asked his Dad how much he'd say, "Not enough. He hardly ever split wood! I did all the work!" If you asked Steve he'd say, "All the time! I used to chop up big rounds!". Ha ha. But anyway, what I'm getting at is that having a fire became something that my husband associated with family, in particular his family, and he loved it. Having his Dad build a fire was comforting to him and as he's acquired his own family, he's wanted to pass that legacy on. His Dad is still out cutting wood, by the way, whenever he can even though he's pushing 70. He really is amazing. But back to the story.

So sadly enough, even though our little farm house was built in the 1930s when most houses had and frequently used their fireplaces, we do not have one and this is something that my husband laments. Even though he's so thankful for our little home, I can't even tell you how many times he's told me how he hopes someday we can have a house with a fireplace. Over time, I tried to come up with a solution to this problem but continued to come up empty-handed. But then recently I started getting this little idea in my head that we could get a firepit and put it in the backyard for a sort of pseudo fireplace, if you will.

I've been doing a bit of work for my mom on the side and so I finally had a little wad of extra cash to call my own that wasn't spoken for by, you know, important things like diapers, food and gas. I started planning that I'd give Steve some of that money to buy a firepit. Before you all start thinking I'm totally selfless and noble, know the truth...I did use the bulk of that check to get my hair cut, but what was left, I gave to him to get a firepit.

So off he and his brother went to the great great land of Home Depot and they came home with this little clay contraption called a Chimenia. We were both a little befuddled with it at first (Steve's brother Dave had convinced him to buy it instead of an actual firepit) but have been so pleased with it. Thanks Dave!

We didn't have any firewood right at first and so Steve and the boys went hunting around campus for some. Lo and behold, a half an hour later, they were dragging back huge branches from the great beyond and had tales of rabbit sightings and branches that looked like bows and arrows. And not only that but our coffers were full of firewood, at least for the night. (We stocked up on a bunch more from his Dad the next day. He also gave Steve his very own ax and saw. So fun!)

That night, we sat, just my hubby and I, around the Chimenia and talked the night away roasting marshmallows and drinking wine. It was glorious. When we came inside, we couldn't believe it was 10 o'clock! There's nothing like it. Since then, we've built a few fires and have had some great talks. I'm telling you, my man can build a fire. And I'm starting to understand now, his love of fires. They're just earthy, comfortable and strong. They really are reminiscent of home.

But the best thing about this Chimenia, is that the smoke goes up out the chimney without blowing all over the people sitting around it. So not only do we get to have a blast around the fire, we don't have to go inside and take a shower. And that my friends is the best part of the whole deal!


  1. The whole thing about a fireplace bringing a sense of "home" totally rings true for me, too. I've been missing that since we sold the home I grew up in back during my first or second year of college... I'm glad that your family can now enjoy a fireplace, even if it's just outside. I'll keep this knowledge of the "chimenia" in case I ever find myself in a similar situation =-)

  2. You forgot to mention that they also look so classy!
    One warning, though; our neighbor has one, and Leif burnt his hand pretty badly on the side of it because he couldn't tell it was hot.

  3. The Chimenia looks like so much fun! I'm sure the boys love it too and now they will grow up with loving the family hang-outs around the fire too.

    (I suppose the shower went well since the post after the shower one was not about a fiasco during your 4 minutes and 45 seconds away from the boys outside! Yeah for mommy-time!)

  4. So many great times and stories shared around campfires, fireplaces, and bbq pits. So glad to see the tradition continue. Can't wait to heat up a marshmallow in your new chimenia.