A lot of interpretations exist for this type of focus - in-depth, hidden, fossa, Polynesian. But in vernacular it’s still more familiar - the Dakota hearth. This recess in the ground is connected to another recess, the walls of which are lined with logs or stones, a fire is made inside.
A bit of history
At the beginning of the 19th century, once a large friendly tribe of American Indians, the Dakota "friendly" broke up into seven communities of the "Otset Sakovins" - seven bonfires, most of which began to lead a nomadic way of life to breed horses and hunt buffalo. Experiencing constant persecution and oppression by the Americans, capturing more and more territories and pushing once united Dakota into the steppe. Scattered communities had to survive in difficult conditions and hide from the constant attacks of soldiers. It was then that a new kind of hearth appeared, which was placed underground and retained the name of the tribe - the Dakot hearth.
Such a bonfire did not require a large amount of firewood, burned well, did not smoke, and if necessary easily hid from prying eyes.Dakota hearth during the campaign
The location was chosen under an overhanging rock or large tree crown, helping to hide the fireplace from above.
This is what the Indians did, taking their herds of horses to distant steppes.
We used foci for cooking and overnight in the steppe.
Modern bonfire arrangement
Since ancient times, the Dakota hearth has not changed much, but has become very popular among tourists.
Having chosen such a device, it became much easier to make a bonfire, perhaps clear technology is not always preserved, but the principle remains constant.
These are two pits, interconnected by a small passage, in one of which the hearth is bred. The second hole serves as a blower, from where oxygen comes to the fire, causing the flame to burn.
At such a fire it is quite easy to cook food, without fear, you can leave the fire burning for the night, and without additional warming it will settle near it for the night. The flame will burn slowly, warming the earth around.
In such a fire chamber, you can safely leave the embers for a while, and then, adding fresh firewood, make a fire. This device is convenient for hunters who leave their lounger, going for prey. After time, having returned, there is no need to make a fire, just throw a few branches and the flame will flare up with renewed vigor. Where, without problems, you can start cooking.
Given that such a structure requires certain physical efforts, not everyone does not always resort to such a device of the source, although not deservedly.
But first things first.
Where and when appropriate
Like any construction, the device of the main attribute of a tourist - a fire takes some time. For this reason, not everyone is burdened with such work. And without skill, such a device is beyond the power of everyone. But if you decide, then it's worth it.
- Due to its safety, it is good to arrange such a bonfire in a small tent city, where there are not many people, and there is no one to follow the bonfire. But it will be necessary to provide firewood with such a hearth, the benefit is that they will be required much less than for raising an open fire.
- If the need arose for a long time not to indicate your location, such a bonfire will not only not give out, but will also be a good companion for cooking and heating. If necessary, it is easy to hide it with earth.
- You can breed it in a shelter and even in a tent, without worrying about security.
- A small amount of firewood can also be compensated by the device of the hearth.
- A strong wind will not allow to make a fire, it will be a dangerous undertaking, only not a Dakot hearth, the wind is not terrible for him, it will burn in any weather.
Such a bonfire is good during a period of long fishing or hunting, because food can be prepared not only on the surface, but also successfully baked inside. This is what the Indians did.How to make a Dakota hearth
Pieces of wild buffalo meat were placed on sticks and lowered into a burning hearth, the meat was languishing heated from all sides by the heat gained and retained all the juices. Thus prepared game exceeded any gourmet expectations in its delicious qualities. So cooked ear and baked fish on evening fishing will be welcome.
The best place for the hearth
The best place for bonfire is rock, where there is strong and stable soil, which not only does not crumble, but also warms up well. Of course, it is necessary to tinker with the device of the center in such conditions. But here there is a very acceptable solution, it is enough to find two large stones that lie a short distance from each other, rolling them back, the freed cavities can be used by connecting an underground tunnel. Or lay out the stones like a hearth.
It will also be difficult to build it on terrain with close groundwater and marshy soils, due to the constant filling of water in any recess.
It is strictly forbidden to make bonfires and all the more to arrange underground structures on peat soils and in dead wood. The occurrence of fires in such places is extremely dangerous and it is sometimes impossible to extinguish it for years.
Summing up, we can say that the best soil is one that allows you to keep in shape. Where there is no need to worry about the collapse of the connecting channel. These are clay soils that not only keep their shape, they do not allow walls to fall off and retain heat well.
Making a Dakota hearth
Turning to the main thing - the construction of the outbreak, you need to stock up on the tool, this is a shovel. In its absence, you can use the pointed end of any branch. In extreme cases, build a digger from a conventional tin can, by the way, it can be used as a tunnel between the pits, after removing both covers.
The principle of the device is one, these are two pits connected by an isthmus, one should have a pear-shaped in-depth shape, where a fire is made, the second pit is smaller, it serves as a blower that allows air to pass through the channel. There are many options for the device, consider some of them.
It is necessary to dig the main hole, the deeper, the better, of course a meter hole will be useless. The optimal depth is half a meter. It is necessary to dig a hole in such a way that the neck is as narrow as possible compared to a recessed cavity. The principle of the jug is respected.
With such a device, it is good to place a pot or kettle for cooking on the surface. The walls and bottom should be laid out well with collected stones to increase the temperature and the duration of heat generation.
The second pit is done at a small distance, and it is necessary to dig it observing the slope to the first, at a distance of at least 20 cm, inside we dig a connecting channel that will pass underground, connecting both pits.
If you can’t dig a connection tunnel underground, you can do it easier. Dig a trench to the main hole, cover part of it with a cardboard box, it is better to use a metal sheet, but in field conditions it is difficult to find it, so we will do with improvised materials.
We throw the cardboard on the ground and gently tamp, on top you can lay the sod for reliability. Such a device will not allow the groove to fall off and will serve as a good connection. Even if cardboard burns, the already compacted and burnt soil will not crumble.
Without bothering with the installation of pits and isthmuses, we dig a trench, while observing the slope, it is good if the relief is still contributing to this. Then, the part that is intended for making a bonfire is covered with stones or quarried bricks, narrowing the opening to the upper base. The rest, as in the first case, is fixed with cardboard or branches, or we use empty cans, we fill it with soil. The hearth is ready, it remains only to make a fire. When encasing the inner walls with stones, there is a chance of cracking, thereby injuring yourself with a flying stone fragment, therefore, in this case, care must be taken and, if possible, such devices should be avoided.
This method is more suitable not for field conditions, but for manufacturing a hearth in a summer cottage or in a place of constant rest. Due to the fact that special dishes are obtained inside the hearth, such devices are increasingly being used in the construction of gazebos for recreation, modernizing and making improvements, but the principle remains. A pit is lined with bricks inside or serious structures are built, and then they are covered with soil, instead of a diversion air channel, pipes are fitted. It turns out such a tandoor underground. All these improvements are made for cooking meat and fragrant baking. Nothing beats your own stove in the area, especially of such an exotic form.Dakota hearth in the country of bricks
How to use and what can be prepared
When the hearth is ready, then it's time to start the long-awaited cooking. There are many ways to do this.
- The use of open fire while firewood is most effective for cooking rich soup or camp porridge. It is enough to hang a bowler on a stick and start cooking. With the accumulation of coal, you can proceed to cooking meat or fish on skewers, but prudently tacked foil will allow you to bake not only vegetables, but also meat on coals.
- The use of gratings or a metal sheet will increase the heating area, then you can use several containers and at the same time prepare a single dish, warm the kettle. But at the same time, it is necessary to maintain the possibility of free air movement through the channels. The complete shutdown of one outlet stops combustion, due to the lack of oxygen.
- If you are not too lazy and have prepared the pit of the hearth deep enough, then inside with a good amount of coal a good piece of meat or chicken is placed, this can be done using a hook or skewers located in an upright position and suspended from a horizontal bar. This arrangement does not allow the product to burn. Thanks to the good heating of the walls and the heat inside, the meat is baked perfectly and an amazing dish is obtained that everyone should cook and dig a Dakot hearth at least once in a lifetime.
You can use such a structure not only for cooking, but also for good heating, especially if the campaign is planned for a cool autumn.
Having built the hearth inside the shelter, it is better to use an awning, of course, rather than a tent, you can warm yourself near it by arranging a couch in the immediate vicinity, without worrying that the flame will spread to the clothes. Slow and prolonged burning will ensure long-term heating of the soil.
Advantages and disadvantages
All the advantages of the hearth are described, but summing up we can say that this is the best device for solitude, culinary delights and creating mystery. Also, such a device is applicable in the forest and in the steppe, where the cultivation of open fire is extremely dangerous. Another positive aspect of the application of the focus is the rapid elimination, which is extremely effective in nature. In it, you can burn all the waste and bury it, and such a place is much faster to recover than scorched earth after a huge fire.
Like all good things, the hearth has disadvantages:
- a lot of time is spent on manufacturing, in the absence of skill, it becomes a difficult task;
- not everywhere can be arranged, not all soil soils are suitable;
- calibrated fuel, small branches and small firewood to be cut;
- small heating area, does not provide large heat transfer;
- eliminates the possibility of drying clothes and keep warm company.
Everyone has a choice what kind of fire is applicable, but in this case: - knowledge is power! Therefore, once in conditions that are close to extreme with skills and knowledge, you will never disappear.