Still going on the first fire, I'm beginnin to poke more after the fire is freshened up and be'fore shake. You can see the good areas during freshening where the blue ladies dance, still learning how to distribute the coal back to front after shaking, always try to get the full length of the grate to show a glow. I'm always trying to keep an area open that shows existing fire but many times the reload ends up being black for an hour or so, then a couple blue ladies show up. If I really open the damper when it's all black, the recovery seems a lot faster though I don't want to walk away. Sometimes I want to dump it but I keep on going, it seems to want to come back. This burning is a responsibility, like a 2nd wife that sorta has turned into a grouch cause you married her toooooo early in the courtship ifya know what I mean. But I've learned a lot in a week and a lot more to come. No stove coal, my 1st wife would kill if I bought more coal after buying a whole lot and then the oil goes down to 2.29. Oh well.... once the depression hits we'll be in style doing coal. Any more info on loading styles and air control is cool.