Kindling in the Snow


You let the fire die and there’s no kindling left because you didn’t pick up enough. What did you do that for? Good thing kindling grows native here!

Even in the snow.

Most kindling grows underground in winter weather, but wild patches ready for harvest stick out above the frosty coverlet. Come on, I’ll show you! Get the buckets.

What do you mean, I have to get the buckets? YOU’RE the one who let the fire go out!


What do you mean I’m talking to myself?

Maybe I’ve been marooned too long.

This is what our driveway looks like, which is why I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere:

I’m not the one who made those tracks. The Queen of England made the tracks when she visited me with her entourage. Wait, that didn’t happen…. Yet.

At least I have dogs for company. The dogs are real. I think!

They run out ahead of me. Harvesting kindling is their favorite thing.

Here’s the pond. They walked straight across it. They walked on water!!! They are gods among dogs!

I can walk on water, TOO!

I hear a CRACK and back off onto solid snowy ground. I am not as divine as dogs.

Or I’m heavier.

Hark! I have discovered a hearty brace of kindling blooming forth from the snow!

I claim the finest pieces for my buckets, but find it too green for my liking.

The best wild kindling is dry, inside and out.

The dogs have reconnoitered a better patch further on.

I knew there was a reason I brought them with me.

Never mind. Knaves, all.

Boomer: “Eat his head, Giant Puppy. Your mouth is big enough. I won’t look. There will be no witnesses!”

I harvest the kindling on my own, but it’s a good patch. Gourmet kindling! Dry and sturdy.

I fill the buckets with my bounty.

The river is down below, partially frozen.

The house is way back that way.

Also frozen due to lack of kindling.

But ’tis frozen no more!

It’s warm! I have kindling! I’m ready for the Queen. When’s she coming? She’s not coming? WHAT?! Hello?


  1. Linda says:

    That was cute… ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Nic, SD says:

    I am not as divine as dogs.

    Or Iโ€™m heavier.

    Got a good lol from that one, thanks ๐Ÿ˜†

  3. knancy says:

    Must be some good smoke that native kindling puts out! hehe

  4. glenda says:

    When we build a fire, we do the search for kindling thing too….but it is usually in the wood shed where we pick up pieces of bark or twiggy, rotten wood pieces. The woods are too far off!

    The dogs seem to be enjoying the snow!

  5. CATRAY44 says:

    As the old ad says, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!” Remember when you couldn’t start a fire?

  6. Mary says:

    Yes, a fire fit for a queen. Thanks for starting my day off with a Big Smile.

  7. Dianna says:

    Beautiful photos! Love the ones of the dogs frolicking in the snow.


  8. Yankee in NC says:

    I am so glad that I do not have to hunt for wild kindling! Although, a walk in the woods with that wild pack of dogs looks like fun!

  9. joycee says:

    “The snow is beautiful and the walk in the woods was really nice,” she said as she sat close to the fire in her pink fluffy robe!

  10. jfdavidson says:

    just wondering how did you break your dogs from killing any of your chickens?? especially the terrier looking one!!! share your trick with me please.

  11. lilac wolf says:

    lmao – that was so funny – specially the little dog “go ahead and eat his head” ๐Ÿ˜† :happyfeet:

  12. Patty says:

    Walking with dogs is so fun!! I have 3 dogs too and they LOVE to walk with me all over our farm. Sometimes I put the kindling in empty feed sacks, the ones without the plastic in between the paper layers. That helps me start a fire, I’m not to great at starting a fire though. I just LOVE your blog, We do a lot of the same things. Kindred spirits I never would have known about except for your wonderful blog!!

  13. Lisabeth Olson says:

    Poor Queen of England, look at all she missed. What a great day you have being the Queen of Stringtown Farms. :woof: :snoopy: :hug:

  14. Diane says:

    Her Majesty the Queen sends her regrets. There is snow on the ground at Heathrow again and all air travel in Europe has been suspended until they can find the shovel.

    I could go out in the forest and hunt for kindling. Or….I could open the box of fatwood from LL Bean. And cheat!!!!! Hahahahahahaha!

  15. Yankee Gal says:

    Where’s the Dookie Dog? What a pretty day to go harvest some sticks. Hugs.

  16. brookdale says:

    Loved this! Are you sure Queen Elizabeth isn’t stuck in the snow at the end of your road? Better send out a search & rescue party!

  17. Linda Segerson says:

    Better that you were out of kindling than FIRE WOOD! I see the dogs are not much help gathering kindling, kind of like children…..they had rather play, but maybe someday!

  18. Ramona says:

    No thanks on a dunking in freezing water in January. I’ve been initiated into that club once and that was enough of this girl.

  19. texwisgirl says:

    Love those pups in the snow!!! Nothin’ better! Except maybe baby goats in the goat house…

  20. Joy says:

    Oh my, Suzanne….that was delightful!!! lololololol…, so cute! I LOVED that real-life story! :happyflower:

  21. joycee says:

    Suzanne, I shared my Happy Card today and blogged about your great post last week…come over for a visit!
    joy c.

  22. Carmen C. says:

    I love how much fun your fur babies have:) the fire looks warm and cozy too, especially after that view of your drive;) Stay warm and enjoy the day!!!

  23. IowaCowgirl says:

    I think we have the same kindling hobby.

  24. Nancy K. says:

    I am embarrassed to admit that I thought the title to your post was referring to reading on a “Kindle” (electronic reader), out in the snow. Perhaps I’m a bit TOO connected???

    Glad you got the fire going!

  25. Brenda E says:

    I love your stories Suzanne. They are so enjoyable and I feel like I’m right there with you. Love your photography also and how you put comments to the animals’ actions. You are a great writer – yep you are.

  26. claudia w says:

    Fun pictures. It looks a little too cool for my old bones, I’m sitting here slightly spoilt in 45 degree weather.

  27. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Cute post but I couldn’t help noticing all the snow on your steps.Do you have a shovel to clear those off? It doesn’t take much of a misstep to get hurt and where you live it’d be difficult to get help.Maybe I’m paranoid but the older you get the more you think of your physical safety.

  28. Linda Goble says:

    You are so funny. thanks for a laugh. We are having miserable weather here today. no school. If you lived closer I would bring you lots of kindling. Our woods have lots of pines that keep falling over. They make great kindling. I take branches and whack them on the tree to break them up. Stay warm. :snowman:

  29. Susan says:

    Sounds like a bad case of cabin fever.
    You’d better get some cross country skiis and go visit your relatives before you start peeling and eating wallpaper, Suzanne.

  30. Lynne says:

    Silly puppies, everything is an adventure for them! :snoopy:

  31. phyllis says:

    Now if you could teach all 3 dogs to fetch, then you could just simple send them out to ‘fetch’ your kindling. lol

  32. whaledancer says:

    That’s a cold, cold world you’re living in. YOU LET THE FIRE GO OUT??!! Brrrr.

    That Casper is a troublemaker, no doubt about it, but it looks like Coco knows how to keep order. Up to a point…

  33. Miss Becky says:

    this was a delightful little kindling-gathering jaunt into your woods Suzanne! thanks so much. it was a whole lot of fun. :yes:

  34. trish c says:

    I have cabin fever just from the fact that I lost my job last week. It is tough not getting up and going to work in the morning. I miss my work friends.

    This blog helps me to get through. I also loved the pic of Boomer looking the other way!!! lol

  35. Marlene says:

    What fun, what beautiful snowy scenery, and beautiful, happy dogs! Lucky you, to be able to walk out in that lovely woods, instead of a paved street. Scenery worthy of a queen, for sure! I really enjoyed all the photos–just like being there myself. I Can’t afford a lot of pets–so seeing your dogs is just great.

  36. Window On The Prairie says:

    Just love a walk in the woods in the winter snow. My husband and I did that over the weekend.

  37. Laura Pintor says:

    I absolutely LOVE the pics. of the frisky dogs:)
    Glad you got some kindling, I keep an eye out for it when I’m snowshoeing.

  38. Jessica says:

    I clicked on this post thinking it said Knitting in the Snow.

    My 6 yr old likes to pick up kindling on our way home from her Kindergarten class. She’s so resourceful! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually, she just really likes sticks. I use them for kindling to keep the stick population down in our neighborhood. We have no trees at our house, it’s sad.

  39. lavenderblue says:

    Okay, I don’t know if it’s that I’m just not handling the cold at all well this year or what but all I keep thinking of is your freezing fingers while you are taking those pictures. Is there a secret to taking pictures in cold weather?

  40. brookdale says:

    Fingerless gloves, good idea! I’ll have to get me some.

  41. Journey11 says:

    LOL, too funny. Man, I hate it when the fire goes out! If you can get your hands on some, old pallets make wonderful kindling. And free too!

  42. Katharina says:

    Yes, we have very messy poplar trees that give us free kindling all year long….if someone would just pick it up! I end up taking a piece of our firewood and chopping it into little pieces of kindling. Watch those fingers!

  43. Morgan(Princess) says:

    Its post like this… and living with you, that makes me question your sanity.

  44. umstetter says:

    Morgan, you mean you still have QUESTIONS??? It is not OBVIOUS???

    lol Ah the things we parents do to embarrass our kids. Or perhaps, it’s just that our kids are easily embarrassed.

  45. Julie says:

    I am smiling at this post and pics….We attempted ourselves today to gather more wood, as the January blast of artic air has us burning ever more of our precious dwindling woodpile! But winds from the South at about 30mph drifted the once plowed path to that there patch of woods to getting-stuck depths. So, next weekend we shall attempt it again! We can hunt kindling, if we follow our black lab’s pathways around the windbrake! ๐Ÿ™‚ Say, your Butter Sticks look suspiciously like my Butter Dips recipe in ye old Betty Crocker Cookbook! I agree they are great as is out of the pan, are wonderful with soup…and are great sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze while still warm! They are awesome for warming up the hands of winter wood gatherers!!!

  46. Joell says:

    :woof: Suzanne-my Hubby does a lot of feeding of the birds and has to carry a couple of very large buckets, when there is snow on the ground it is difficult for him to walk carrying the buckets,so I took an old sled and attached a plastic storage bin on top of the bed, so he can set his buckets in the bin and pull the sled and it makes it easier and safer for him. It may work for you also when gathering your wood,—we need to get you a set of cross country skis and a back pack so you can visit your neighbors LOL what ever you do , be care and carry your cellie.

  47. kerri says:

    What fun foraging for kindling with you and the dogs :pawprint: It’s beautiful in your snowy woods. Loved seeing the dogs enjoying themselves. Great pics, Suzanne! Thanks for sharing.

  48. Runningtrails - Sheryl says:

    We have used a lot fo kindling and wood this year too! I gather the sticks in summer, as well as fall and witner and make a bit pile under the far oak tree. At least I know where it is when we run out. Going out to get it is another story…lol!

  49. Stephanie says:

    That ain’t no shack in the woods! Sure wish I was you!!!

  50. Sue Nugent says:

    :snuggle: Great trip for getting excercise for all, but age and all it brings does make one want to stay inside more.Do you live near any Amish?We get slabs from them for free. Bring them home and cut them in small pieces for fire starting(when it does go out or get low.We,like you,try not to let it get that low.)We keep our wood under cover and dry as much as possible.That helps with getting a quick fire going.Fire tending around her is a chore and a full time job in itself. The electric bills of local folks are 2,3, and $ would die a natural death if I got an electric bill like that. I work on mine constantly trying to keep it down.We keep our furnace off most of the time, and keep a steady fire going.With the ice storm, we had access to a lot of downed wood,too.
    Love yor posts and all of the great picturess,too.

  51. Gretchen says:

    Loved this post, especially the dogs!! We have a Great Pyrenese (sp?) too & she absolutely LOVES the snow!!!

  52. AspenFlower says:

    Hahaha…Ohhh I love this post. It sure was a good read! Made me laugh, made me smile. Made me wish I was somewhere in the snowy east coast gathering kindling to warm up my own home. Out where I live it doesn’t snow in winter. How I wish I lived somewhere where it did snow! Enjoy that winter experience for those of us who can’t! Blessings.

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