Anybody who knows me knows that growing up, I spent my summers at a summer camp in the woods of Connecticut. During my eleven summers there, I made some of my best friends, met my husband, and learned all kinds of things. Many of the skills I picked up (how to sail, how to fill up the perfect water balloon, how to cliff-jump, among other things) are summer-specific, but here's a lesson that helps through the winter - how to start a one-match fire.
One-match fires were a pretty big deal at camp - once you got older, you were cooking your food over a fire twice a day, so getting that fire started quickly was important. Even though I haven't been at "cooksite" in years, I still find it so satisfying to start the elusive one-match fire...
Here's how to get started - gather a bunch of dry kindling (twigs and skinny sticks), sticks in increasing sizes, and logs. You'll need everything lined up and ready to feed the fire once you get started. Also, if you're using a fireplace, make sure your flue is open!
Set up a large log on the ground of your fireplace and lean some of the smaller kindling up against it, creating a triangle of space. Light your match under the sticks and wait for them to catch.
Slowly add more twigs as the fire grows (but be careful not to smother it), switching to larger sticks and eventually to logs.
Add logs as needed. There's nothing like a roaring fire on a winter evening and I plan on having many this year. Stay warm and stay homey!