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Is It Your Rule Hook Up A Mule To Drag In The Yule Log?

So, think about the Yule Log tradition - is it your rule to hook up a mule to drag in the Yule Log?

We've mostly all heard of the Yule Log tradition.  But what is the tradition of the Yule Log anyway?

It's a tradition probably extending back before medieval times, and said to be Norse.

In Scandinavia and Northern Europe, YULE  was/is the name given to Winter Solstice festivals.

Way back the tradition consisted of selecting a tree, tall and straight and true.  The whole family would go out the day before the day before the Winter Solstice (or in Christian homes on Christmas Eve Eve) and find the perfect candidate.

It would then be cut down, stripped of its limbs and measured and cut again into the perfect length.  The horse, or mule, or family would then drag it home!

A bit of the log from the previous year's Yule Log celebration had been saved and was placed in the fireplace.  Then the new log would be pulled into the house, doing no damage of course (wink), and the large end was pushed into the fireplace.  It was lifted up on a rack to be able to burn properly.

As last year's log remains were set underneath, it was lit to ignite the end of the new Yule Log.  And, as a bit of the new log would burn each day the remainder was slowly dragged into the fireplace.  The carefully measured and cut log would be long enough to last the Twelve Days of Christmas, with some left over to be used as kindling for the next year.  Imagine the living room!

Do you have the picture in your mind, with 18 or 20 feet of log sticking out into the room for twelve days!  Where did they put the Christmas tree and all the presents?  How did they watch football?  Wow, the mind boggles...

In France they would sprinkle the log with wine to make it smell nice.

But there are other recipes too, for fun Yule Log burning.

Sprinkling the log with salt would create yellow flames.  And with borax soap bright-green flames would result.  Adding potassium nitrate resulted in violet flames, and copper sulphate burned blue.

So the log was not only traditional and festive, but colorful too!  Those same elements are used today in the cutsie fire logs people burn that create the different colors.

Of course, if you aren't so inclined to have a long log sticking out into your room, or if you don't have a wood-burning fireplace, you can always settle for the lesser tradition.

The dessert Yule Log!

Made from various rolled cakes and icings, sprinkled with nuts to create bark or decorated with marzipan mushrooms and holly leaves, many people have the annual Yule Log dessert!

So, pick your poison - the mule dragging the yule, or eating a traditional dessert, you can celebrate the wondrous Winter Solstice.  Or consider it a Christmas holiday activity!

Burn it or eat it!  You see, either way, everyone can be accommodated!

Make the Yule  your Rule  this holiday season! 

Personally I pause to consider and be thankful for the birth of my, and your, Savior.  And I celebrate a Merry Christmas.

But if you want to go the dessert route, I might join you in that too!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 44 commentsJay Markanich • December 23 2013 03:58AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

I have not burned a Yule log since I moved back to New Mexico in 2007.

I would like to have a wood stove again. But then I would have to cut wood.

Have a great Christmas in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 5 years ago

Sticking a long log out of a wood stove kind of defeats the reason for having a wood stove, doesn't it Clint?

And yes, I'm kidding, you literal fellow you.

Thank you.  And Merry Christmas bakatcha.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay.... my dessert is no fat, no sugar pistachio pudding... 25 calories for a half cup.... but I will be carrying 40 lb bags of pellets up a stairway from the basement....we'll call that my yule log!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 5 years ago

That would be The Deconstructed Yule Log, Barbara.  Not quite so medieval as the original tradition, but very modern.

As a teenager one of my favorite flavors at 31 Flavors Ice Cream was pistachio!  But your pudding sounds, um, how do I say this politely, um, wonderful?

P.s.  Pistachios are very fatty, with 56g of fat per cup.  How do you get it out?  They are full of lots of other good stuff though!  I love'em!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

As it would be the only place to sit it would get rid of the guest as it wold be uncomfortable.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 5 years ago

Ans, if you tried this today, you'd get fines for cutting down the tree and hounded by PETA for making the poor mule drag the log through the streets!  

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 5 years ago

Gabe's answer is probably the most factual. Still, this is an interesting practice. My dessert is...drum roll...fruitcake. Yes, I am the last man in America to eat fruitcake!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Hello Jay,

I am betting that you wish you had a yule log in your fireplace yesterday that blocked out your view of the game?

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 5 years ago

I guess you'd have to sit there to have the best view of the game on TV, Raymond.

Especially if I dressed in a Redskin football uniform Gabe.

I have one of those, made by my grandmother in 1955, stopping a door in our house Gary.

Lisa - I was at church doing stuff and missed it.  But I knew what I would be missing anyway, and it wasn't much different than expected!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

I did not see the game either, only heard about it on the replays...I was surprised, as i thought Romo's December curse would do the Cowboys in.

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 5 years ago

Best figure a way to burn anything IN THE HOUSE.  The restrictions on outside burning of anything in Loudoun County preclude just about anything.  Certainly nothing within 50 feet of any structure. 

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

It will Lisa.  He was playing one of the worst defenses in the league.

Lenn - the Yule Log is inside the house!  And sticking out into the living room!  Or it's on the table, ready to be enjoyed for the Twelve Minutes of Dessert!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Now I didn't know that but what I do know is that the current 'Yule Log' might last 12 minutes, not 12 days.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 5 years ago

You need one big enough for the whole season Ed, from the Scanadinavia of the U.S!

Now, I did suggest to Lenn above that the dessert log might only last 12 minutes!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

I don't have a fireplace so I get my yule log in the form of cake (like the one you have pictured there).

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) almost 5 years ago

Have fun with it Suzanne!  I have never had one, but they look delicious.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

HA!  If it's sweet, it wouldn't last 12 minutes if I'm around.

My sweet tooth has been insatiable lately.  Dang.  Another mile on the treadmill.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

I remember throwing stuff into the fire and getting different colors, but don't remember what we used.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 5 years ago

More than a mile Lenn.  One mile on the old treadmill is only about 100 calories.  Unless you're running at a good clip.

That there is probably how you did it Than!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Jay, not to mention the problems associated with burning "green" wood

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 5 years ago

That just makes for the crackling goodness Charlie!  Be sure to salt it generously.  Seasoning is important!

See, green wood can be seasoned wood!  See how I dealt with that "green" issue?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Jay, it probably helped have all dirt and/or stone floors too.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 5 years ago

One of the images on line was of an old Norse castle, with the 10' fireplace and stone floor Charlie.  And dragging the huge log into the fireplace!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Then all they had to do was keep the drapperies 20 feet away from sparks and they were all set!  You have to wonder how many things caught on fire in those days--including getting sparks in ones long underwear.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Hey, I have a great idea!  Let's put candles on the dry pine Christmas tree!  It'll be like a lot of stars!

Some ideas are discarded quickly Charlie.  Like drapes and sparks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Jay, I can still remember the little metal candle holders that were ACTUALLY placed on the dead, dry Christmas tree--talk about scarry!

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Cute!  I have a lot of very old ornaments, like from near the turn of the last century Charlie, but none like that!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

I think I will stick to the dessert Yule Log.  Thanks for that information.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) almost 5 years ago

C'mon Grant!  Get out there, start cutting and dragging, and send us a photo! 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Since I don't have a mule or a horse don't see one in my future, I'll opt for the dessert.  Merry Christmas.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) almost 5 years ago

Jay, thanks for the history lesson! While we do have a wood-burning fireplace, and I believe the fragrance might be fabulous, the extension into the room would definitely be problematical!!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 5 years ago

Liz - that's the spirit!  At least you are participating!  Wonderful Winter Solstice Festival or Merry Christmas, whichever you prefer!

Tom - c'mon!  You can ignore it for a few days while you sprinkle wine and salt on it as it burns in the fireplace.

I post a little Christmas history every year.  Last year's was about the Christmas tree.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3563145/the-christmas-tree-bringing-in-the-green

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Jay, thanks for giving me (us) the link for last year's story about the Christmas tree. It's hard to believe it's relatively recent history! Very well done!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 5 years ago

That little Victoria really influenced everyday American society Tom!

My grandmother, by the way, born 1888, was VERY Victorian in her thinking.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Interesting information about the yule log Jay. I leaning toward the dessert though this week.  :)

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 5 years ago

A log dessert sounds a whole lot better than dragging a ton through the woods Tom!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

I just love history and today was a great history lesson.  thanks.  I don't believe I could get a 20' log into my home.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 5 years ago

I couldn't into mine James.  Inside one door is the staircase and the other the kitchen island!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Purple holiday flames..mmmm...wow...it couldn't get better than that...all the best Jay to you and yours...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 5 years ago

It would be fun, huh S&D?  I for one would be more inclined toward burgundy and deep yellow flames, but that's just me...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Jay, Thank you for the history lesson about the "Yule Season."  I look forward to reading your blog to my Grandchildren.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Posted by Bette Gottwald, "Bet"on Central PA Real Estate! (UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA) almost 5 years ago

Thank you Bette!  And Merry Christmas!

They might like this blog about the Christmas tree:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3563145/the-christmas-tree-bringing-in-the-green

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3563145/the-christmas-tree-bringing-in-the-green#sthash.f95GzBIW.dpuf
Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Interesting history. I knew a lot of the Christmas season had to do with the winter solstice but did not know about the Yule Log.  Thanks for sharing.  Merry Christmas. 

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Certainly Rob.  Shepherds weren't in the fields in winter.  The real event was certainly spring, and the tax season.  But that doesn't make for great songs and marketing!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

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