I enjoy smoked turkey. Thinly sliced. Between bread. Or inside a wrap with Swiss cheese and lettuce and mayonnaise. Maybe even some slices of pickle. Yes, slices of pickle and salt and pepper.
But a smoky fireplace on Turkey day?
Half an hour before my in-laws arrived to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at Rosslyn I began to prepare the dining room fireplace. Logs, kindling, newspaper. The usual. But before lighting the fire I undertook an unusual step: warming the flue.
“Wait,” I can hear you say. “Isn’t the fire supposed to do that?”
Yes. And no.
While I’ve blathered on often enough about the quirky fireplace situation at Rosslyn, I’ve neglected to explain the importance of the dining room fireplace. Despite having six chimneys and nine fireplaces, there’s only one “usable” wood burning fireplace in the entire house. And it required to small parade of miracles to ensure that we would be able to restore and use this one fireplace to actually burn logs.
Long story short: the majority of Rosslyn’s chimney flues were either built for coal burning (and are too narrow) or are too old and deteriorated for burning wood fires. We discovered this after we’d fallen in love with Rosslyn and her nine fireplaces. We bought the stately-but-sagging home anyway, and before long many of the fireplaces had been converted to gas. Efficient. Easy. Pleasant.
But I love fireplaces, real fireplaces, with logs and crackles and the faint fragrance of smoke and oak or maple smoldering away. And so we managed to find a mason who assured us that