It's eighty degrees, sunny, and slightly humid ... and I'm packing the drum with the first batch of pieces. These test pieces are some of my first pieces since getting back into ceramics after a 30 year hiatus and will be used for the first test firing. The pieces are loaded upside down, burying them about a third of the way, in sawdust. You can see three sagger pieces and three pieces that can touch the fuel. After they're set I continue loading pine needles, pine cones, small branches, and more sawdust around them. This type of fuel leaves a little more area for draft when the fire reaches this point.
At this point I start to use small pieces of hardwood placed across each other to start adding volume to the drum. More sawdust is added as well. There are multiple levels of hardwood, needles, pine cones, narrow sticks, and lump hardwood added until we reach about four inches from the top.
At this point a few sprinkles of sawdust are added and a cover of fine mesh wire screen is added to keep sparks at a minimum. The whole process took about forty five minutes.
We'll wait a few days for the marine layer to come back in to help with keeping the evil forces at bay.