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Another hard frost. I let the fire go out last evening, and the woodstove cooled overnight. This morning, laying kindling in the firebox, I feel a cold downdraft. Unencouraging. My mother always wore a dustmask when she built a fire. Time I do, probably. Cut the asthma that much break.

I light a tiny fire, kept the stove door closed. A little smoke curls from the old gasket's edges, from the draft opening, until the fire's established. I open the door again, add more kindling. This went better than I expected. But I add too much fuel too soon, nearly extinguish the little flames. The stove smokes badly. I open doors, windows. Eventually the house clears.

Glad I felt the need to try a mask today. Every now and then I feel smarter for a moment, but that foolishness passes.


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