Each summer we rent a house or cabin in a lake and spend a week fishing, exploring, and relaxing. They all have fire pits, but this is the first summer that we have had a successful fire. Even with sending the kid to go collect every stick in sight, we have struggled. The problem is that lakeside, everything gets and stays so darn damp that the firewood had trouble drying out and catching. It just occurred to me right now that we could go buy firewood. We have always tried to use the wood at the campsite. Cheapskates.
This year we again have the little kid collect sticks and we used the "wet" wood. Here is what we did differently... We used one of those fake fireplace logs under the real firewood.
For the first 45 min, only the fake log burned. The sticks didn't even catch. But the wood steamed and sizzled and slowly some cracks appeared in the wood. Finally, it went "whoosh" and everything caught. Until that point we had to listen to the little kid ask again and again when she could roast marshmallows.
We had a great fire. We roasted marshmallows. You can learn a lot about someone about how they like their marshmallows. The farmer likes his on fire. The kid does not. We made a wish on the first star of the evening. I think it was Venus. We listened to some big fish splash in the lake and the crickets. We saw the moon rise. We also had one "uninvited" guest. Maybe he liked the warmth of the fire. He got so close I thought he was going to hitch a ride home in one of the farmer's pockets.