Saturday, December 21, 2019

Winter Solstice

  Well, it’s about time!  

  When we bought our house in 2016 we were excited that it had a fireplace, albeit one that had been converted to gas.  Since it once burned wood, we figured it would be easy to bring it back to wood-burning once again.  

  It took us almost two years to find someone to remove the gas “plumbing” and another 6 months to find someone else to come and inspect it and clean the chimney.  We were so excited when Mr. Hoyt arrived a year ago this fall, anticipating a cozy fire last Christmas.

Jimmy Hoyt has been in this business for 35 years.  Laid off yet again during another of the regular closings of the Georgetown steel mill, he needed work that was steadier.  He started his chimney sweep business and has been climbing on rooftops ever since.  He is recently joined by his grandson.
(He still has his coat with tails but alas, it doesn’t fit anymore!)

   He spent a whole morning here and brushed and vacuumed and cleaned.  Everything seemed hunky dory, except one minor thing.  The damper needed mending.  No big deal, there was a welder right here in Georgetown who could fix it right up for less than $50. 

  Except the welder declined.  Or had closed.  Or something.  So Mr. Hoyt would order a new one for $175.  But it was backordered and never came.  Order again.  Something else.  Six months the texts and phone calls went back and forth.  Finally there seemed to be a damper for $300 or $500 or something ridiculous that might fit and we said no thanks.  

  This fall, The Writer took up the challenge and after much searching on the Internet found a damper that could be installed (by him) at the top of the chimney.  I held the ladder, and we held our breath.  It FIT!  

Voila ... we have a Winter Solstice fire in our fireplace tonight. 

And it is lovely!  


  1. You get full marks for perseverance and I have no doubt that your fire seems even more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. You are bucking the trend, however, most people are trading in the ashes and the mess for the convenience of gas. Our own gas fire place sits forlorn. I am sure it was installed when the house was built around thirty years ago, and parts are no longer available to fix it. One day we should replace it.

  2. Beautiful fireplace and after so long a wait I'll bet it feels wonderful. It's so hard to get things fixed these days. They'd rather we all bought new. but your perseverance paid off.

  3. What better to do than have a fire to celebrate winter solstice.

  4. Great story and glad it was safely accomplished. I do wish I had a fireplace but gas or log, they do take tending and upkeep. Well worth it in the long run.

  5. Oh to climb on the roof must have been frightening! But great it is fixed now!

  6. Happy winter Solstice. Enjoy the light!

  7. Sounds like a lot of hassle but worth it! I miss our fireplace sometimes!

  8. Looks like an elderly version of Dick van Dyke of Mary Poppins fame.

    Sure is not fireplace/chimney season here in Australia. Raging fires
    are too devastating for many to envision. Nothing but fire reports on TV.

    Have a great Christmas.

  9. Oh, it really is lovely! Your mantle looks so pretty too. There's just nothing as cozy and warm as sitting in front of a fire. We haven't had a fire in our fireplace yet this winter. Merry Christmas!

  10. A real fire is worth all of that - it will make you enjoy it even more.Your mantel looks lovely. That chimney sweep looks like a real character. Have a Merry Christmas Cynthia.