Camp Coyote Council Fire

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Camp Coyote Council Fire
by Kevin Wilbeck

Oct 2010

What vision do you get when you hear the term, "Council Fire"?  For me, it brings back memories as a Boy Scout at the old Scout Camp in Okoboji.  We did a little "scout business" around the fire, but mostly we told stories and poked at the fire with sticks.  We had a lot of fun.  What is it about a camp fire that promotes fun and relaxation?

We already have three fire rings with grills at Camp Coyote, primarily to cook food.  But, we wanted a place for guests to gather just to talk, tell stories, sing songs or act out a skit or two.  We needed a bigger, open and more rustic fire ring.  This was to be no piddly spot to burn leaves or warm your baked beans.  This is was to be a Council Fire! 

Those of you who have followed our projects know that we try to recycle as much as we can at Farmhouse Life.  Or, we get our supplies from neighbors who kindly give it away. So, we gathered the fire ring rocks from our friend Jerry Peckumn's farm.  The log seats were made from our felled pasture trees split in half.  Square paddock posts from our barn form the bases.  Round fence posts support the seat backs made from wood cross-bracing from our corn crib. I angled the log seats and backs for comfort.

I always like doing projects when I learn how to do something new.  With this project, it was learning how to sculpt with a chain saw.  After splitting the logs with the chain saw, the sides intended for seating were pretty rough.  So, I planed those sides flat by running the saw at a high speed, holding the bar perpendicular to the seat.  And - this is important - I kept the saw moving back and forth. Otherwise, it didn't take much more than a momentary pause to create a bigger problem than I was trying to solve.  I won't be carving our dead trees into bears or eagles anytime soon, but I'm kinda itching to try!

The Council Fire is now ready for our campers to enjoy.  So, get those fireside stories ready for telling, grab a warm cup of cocoa or your favorite beverage, and gather around the Council Fire to relax and create some wonderful memories.

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