Mom! Where you running to?
Away Bambi, fast as I can.
But mom, it was just a question.
I’m not running from you Bambi. I’m running from him!
I though you said he was nice.
Not when he bathes in fox pee and flings razor-tipped sticks at us.
OK mom, but we’re like a mile away now. Are you avoiding me?
Well, after that “Is It Spring Yet?” fiasco, can you blame me?
Yeah but this is a totally different question.
Very well Bambi, what do you want to know?
Is it winter yet mom?
What kind of rut are you in? Look around. Leaves of yellow and red tumbling in the air. Fields brimming with yummy corn. Not to mention fox pee man pointing his razor at us. If you think its winter, then maybe those supposed antler nubs are just your brains falling out.
But mom, he told me.
You talked to fox pee man!
Not him mom! The nice man who planted all the tender trees for us to nibble.
What? You snuck into his house again? Clump, clump, clump.
No mom. He invited me in.
A complete stranger???!!! I just can’t fourth stomach this.
We’ve been eating his yard all summer, mom.
You have a point there. What did he do to you?
Nothing. He just showed me to the dining table.
Ah!!! He wanted a Bambi barbeque!
No mom. He offered me a pint of Belgian ale, Auroch’s Horn.
At least the Auroch grew horns before he went extinct.
Nice Neolithic sarcasm mom.
Thanks Bambi. It’s a mom’s job to run down their children so they don't have to.
The man just wanted to celebrate with someone.
The season’s first fire.
Yikes! He started his barbie to grill Bambi.
Not the grill mom, the heater.
So that’s what this is all about. Nice man starts his heater and you think its winter. Oh deer me.
But this ain’t no ordinary heater. He clinked my frothing mug, touched the ceremonial match to the kindling, and told me everything. It’s a wood-burning masonry heater featuring contraflow, meaning the chimney is not directly above the firebox, forcing the heat to rise, then fall, then rise again . The smoke, which normally escapes and pollutes, gets trapped above the firebox in the contraflow vortex and---like the catalytic converter in your car---reignites, driving 1700 degree heat into the surrounding 8 inches of concrete which, over the next 24 hours, slowly and evenly warms the home, much of it as sun-basking radiant heat. Never a damper on this fire, its raging inferno reduces 30 pounds of oak to mere coals in one hour.
I don’t have a car.
Way to obviate the point mom.
Don’t go using the “o” word with me, young man.
Great. Now I suppose you won’t answer my question.
Alright Bambi, why oh why---when autumnal crispness fills the air---do you wonder if its winter yet?
Because he doesn’t start the heater until its cold out for good. Due to the masonry’s high thermal mass, it takes days to heat up and days to cool off. When warm days are expected to follow cold days---or if sunny days lie ahead---then nice man doesn’t start the heater. And since he lit the season’s first fire today, he believes that cold and clouds are here to stay.
I see Bambi. You’re wondering if day after day of cold and clouds means winter?
That’s right mom.
And you’d like to know what season I think it is?
That’s right mom.
Did you know that if you play nice man’s words backwards you get a recipe?
For what mom?
For everything he had at the table: beer, brats and Bambi. Now do you finally know what season it is?
I’m not sure mom.
Hunting season. Run Bambi run!