Friday afternoon, Mike sauntered into the living room and inserted a new log into the little wood stove to keep the fire burning. Ordinarily we would expect no problem with that. We were getting ready to leave the house for a walk, but I was busy and we were delayed in leaving. It was a good thing, too, because the little stove commenced to smoke. A sudden windstorm was sending gusts hurtling down the chimney, and the resulting downdraft caused the fire to smolder. Smoke curled slowly but steadily through any crack it could find.
What to do, what to do?? First we yelled instructions at one another and then we propped open both the front and back doors. The little stove continued to belch smoke while the wind gusted wildly and . . . well, I digress to remind you that I’m not a good housekeeper, but that doesn’t mean that I wanted all this dirt in my house. Papers flew off the kitchen counter onto the floor while dirt and leaves hurtled across the floor.
“Can’t we put some paper in the stove and get the fire to burn?” I suggested.
“We could but I’m afraid to open the stove door,” Mike replied. “It will just put more smoke into the house.”
Really, at that point I couldn’t see that more smoke would matter. We already had plenty. About that time, the smoke alarm in the dining area went off, adding to the sense of urgency I was feeling.
Mike grabbed the ladder and climbed to the roof to see if he could shield the chimney and cause the stove to draw. That worked – and so I tossed some wadded newspaper into the stove to encourage the fire to burn and also added a small stick of wood. We were successful in our efforts to reverse the downdraft, and it was safe enough for Mike to come off the roof, but the wind had blown the ladder over, stranding him up there. I managed to replace it – difficult because of the wind.