We've learned how to maintain two fires here - one in the sala, or living room, and one in the master bedroom. Both get lit at about 7 p.m. on an ordinary day (earlier if the weather is cooler). When we go to bed we leave the one in the living room to burn out and add wood to the one in the bedroom. I woke up at 4 a.m. and there were still embers. Hacienda Cusin delivers wood every morning.
I remember when I first lived in Oregon 30 years ago and how we'd go out into the woods and cut down a tree, then use a chain saw to cut it up. Once home, we'd split the wood and stack it. It was a virtuous activity. Now we have a gas fireplace and we just push the button. At first, here, I wished it were easier to get warm in the evening. Now I love how we can do it for ourselves.
Sounds: roosters from El Monasterio; a dog barking in San Pablo; horses clopping as Cusin guests embark on a trail ride; a grosbeak tapping on our window in the morning - maybe the light at that time reflects off the window so he sees himself; an Andean flute - maybe just over the wall in the mestizo section of the cemetery, or out on the road; the evening fire snapping and popping or the thud of a half-burned eucalyptus log falling from the grate to the bricks on the floor of the fireplace; a sound like hollow wooden percussion instruments - some kind of frog, I'm told; multiple birdsongs; distant chants from San Pablo; clock ticking; Art bringing in a load of wood from the porch; the voice of my Rosetta Stone instructor; Venancia cooking locro (potato cheese soup), made with papas, queso fresco, lechera y aguacate (potatoes, cheese, milk and avocado).