There’s only one way to start a proper fire…at least that’s what our grandfather taught us growing up. Three pieces of rich pine with newspaper in the middle…very calculated…almost as if it was a formula. The process lasted about the length of time it took to sip a cup of coffee.

Papa was a military pilot, aeronautical engineer, and in his retirement a rancher…and calculated was just how he liked things to be, quite a juxtaposition to the magic of rich pine.

The folklore of rich pine was ingrained in us when we went on a trip to the back of the ranch and Papa showed us a fallen pine tree that had been struck by lighting. Always the great storyteller, he told us of how the rich pine was created (after researching we learned that it is not necessary for a tree to be struck by lightening), but ours was and that extra detail made the fire seem a little more extraordinary each time it was started with kindling from our family ranch.

Rich pine is actually created when the resin inside the stump of a downed tree hardens, the terpene evaporates, and the sap becomes quick to burn, wet or dry. The tree stump is cut into small pieces of kindling and when set on fire the resin bubbles out and ignites the wood making a great fire starter.

As we got older, we became in charge of starting and tending the fire without realizing that was his plan all along…to pass down skills by example; and as a singer famously wrote…”that’s the good stuff.”