The weekend of 2003-01-03 it snowed just over a foot. We went sledding, then stopped by the roundhouse around dusk. The plan was to light a fire, make some hot chocolate, hang out …

The firepit was filled with a 1 1/2 foot snow drift, which had come in the smoke hole. We piled the snow onto my coat and threw it out the door. Emma untwisted several pieces of rope for tinder. I walked to the far edge of the field where a downed tree made a nice lean-to, under which were dried leaves and sticks. I came back with an armful for tinder and fire starter. However even with this tinder, sticks, and matches, we weren’t able to get a fire going. Everything was too wet!


This picture was taken while walking to the edge of the field for tinder. That’s the toboggan and sled tube leaning against the side of the shelter.

The next day I came back and laid a tarp on the frame over the fire pit, so that more snow coming in the smoke hole would be kept off the fire we’d laid.

We were out again the weekend of 2003-01-25. I brought some loose hay and matches down to the roundhouse, to try fire again. The tarp over the fire pit had indeed kept the snow off our fire lay. The fire did start eventually, but only after stuffing several loose handfuls of hay into the middle, and quite a bit of blowing on it. The sticks were probably somewhat wet and then frozen — the burning hay was able to dry them.

The heat of the fire warmed the snow on the roof, which soon began to drip on the inside. Need some liners to channel the drips over to the sides!

Also the inside was quite a bit more smoky than in the summer. The smoke ceiling was down around 2-3 feet. I opened the door for a supply of fresh air. It may be that the canvas was porous in the summer, and air could get through. But in the winter it was wet and/or frozen, and so was sealed tight.

It should be possible to opening ventilation channels to the outside, by inserting 2 inch diameter sticks between the layers of canvas. This will let air in to replace the smoke that is drawn out the smoke hole. The hope is to keep the smoke ceiling up high. This design comes from tipis, which have a similar design to keep the smoke ceiling high. The canvas was too iced up to try that now though.

The next plans are to build sleeping platforms, workbench, and shelves for tinder, books, tools, etc. Also mats, chairs, bowls, etc. that make for a comfortable living situation.

Some liners are needed on the inside to route the drips over to the sides.

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