Specialists in Wood-fired Hot Tubs and Barbeques

The Backyard Bugle – Vol 1 Issue 1 Spring 2023

Aug 29, 2023

Welcome to the very first newsletter for our company Backyard Blessings. The purpose of the newsletter is to give our customers and potential customers information about what is going on in the business (including any special offers and new product offerings), pass on useful information in relations to the products we offer, and hopefully give people a bit of a laugh now and then.

We will be publishing a newsletter every 3 months that will tie in with the changes in the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere and that is important for us because we are not just a New Zealand based company that specializes in outdoor lifestyle products but we source our main products from South Africa which also shares our seasons with us (although one of us thinks nature has been kinder to South Africa than New Zealand on the front!).

We hope you will enjoy the information provided and, more importantly, it contributes to your enjoyment of any products you purchase from us.

Special offers/ New Products

As an introductory offer we will be offering our first customers a special deal which includes the Kolkol Hot tub with stove, chimney, and thermal cover (which comes as standard) PLUS a protection cover AND wooden stirring paddle. All of this for the special price of only $5,995 inclusive of GST. Check out our website at backyardblessings.co.nz for more details about how to take advantage of this if you haven’t already.

African Tales

We were lucky enough to travel to South Africa for business and to see Shirley-Ann’s family back in April of this year for four whole weeks.

We started out in Johannesburg and stayed at Shirley-Ann’s brothers place on the western outskirts of that massive city (The population of Johannesburg and Pretoria combined is over 14 million people). While there we had meetings with potential suppliers and also managed to escape for some relaxation at a couple of holiday retreats including Konka Family Adventure Resort (check out their website at https://www.konkafamilyadventureresort.co.za).

As we needed to meet up with the originator and manufacturer of the Kolkol wood-fired hot tub who are based in the Western Cape near Cape Town we drove almost 1500 kilometers to get there. We stayed at some amazing places on the way and trying out a couple of the many Spa and Beach resorts South Africa has to offer in places like Prince Albert, Hartenbos, and Knysna (The last two on the fabled Garden route of the South coast see https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/partner-content-ultimate-road-trip-garden-route).

We eventually arrived in the Western Cape and caught up with Rudi Oosthuyse, the inventor of the Kolkol wood-fired hot tub, and George Lotze, who is the manager for the manufacture of the Hot tub 4EVR Plastics. We were most impressed with the dedication to quality and professionalism displayed by the suppliers and cemented an excellent working relationship (other than a small disagreement with Grae over the likely victors for the upcoming Rugby World Cup).

An added bonus was that our trip to Cape town coincided with a family wedding at one of the amazing vineyards that surround Stellenbosch call Brenaissance (see https://www.brenaissance.co.za). After having a grand time at the Wedding we drove back to Johannesburg for a couple of additional meetings for some amazing products we will be looking to offer very soon.

South Africa is such an amazing country of so much natural beauty and human potential. Our trip confirmed to us our conviction to share and showcase some of this to people in New Zealand. We are confident you will feel the same way when you enjoy the many amazing outdoor lifestyle products we will offer.

Backyard Banter

I went into my backyard and I saw an eagle eating some avocado on toast.

It was a millennial falcon!

Helpful Hints

Creating and Sustaining a Cozy Wood-Fired Hot Tub Experience

There’s something truly enchanting about soaking in a wood-fired hot tub, surrounded by the crackling warmth of a well-tended fire. To embark on this journey of relaxation and rustic luxury, mastering the art of starting and maintaining a wood fire is key.


Starting the Fire:

  1. Choose the Right Wood: The optimum wood choice for maintaining the fire is seasoned hardwood like Manuka, Macrocarpa, or Blue gum. Softwoods like pine can be great for establishing a fire and can even be used exclusively but be aware you will use more than the hardwood alternatives. For efficient burning ensure the wood is dry as damp wood will burn at lower temperature and generate more smoke that can leave soot build up in the chimney.
  2. Gather Supplies: Collect kindling (small, dry sticks) and newspaper for ignition, along with larger logs for sustaining the fire.
  3. Build a Fire Base: Place crumpled newspaper or fire starters at the bottom, topped with a small pile of kindling in a crisscross pattern. This allows air to flow through.
  4. Light the Kindling: Ignite the newspaper or fire starter, carefully lighting the kindling from multiple points. (WARNING : DO NOT LIGHT THE FIRE UNLESS THERE IS SUFFICIENT WATER IN THE TUB)
  5. Add Larger Logs: As the kindling catches fire, gradually add larger logs, ensuring they’re spaced to allow enough air circulation.


Maintaining the Fire:

  1. Mind the Airflow: Adequate oxygen supply is crucial for a robust fire. Adjust vents or openings on the hot tub stove to control the airflow.
  2. Keep a Steady Supply of Wood: Plan ahead and keep a stack of dry, split logs nearby. Regularly add wood to maintain a consistent temperature. You can keep these on the convenient shelves next to the stove and chimney.
  3. Avoid Overloading: While it’s tempting to add too much wood at once, it can smother the fire. Add logs gradually for optimal combustion.
  4. Stir the Ashes: Gently stir the ashes to encourage airflow and even burning. This also helps in breaking down larger logs.
  5. Monitor the Water Temperature: Use a reliable thermometer to keep an eye on the water temperature. Adjust the fire’s intensity accordingly. It should take between one and one hour 45 minutes to reach the desired temperature of between 37 and 40 degrees Centigrade.
  6. Safety First: Keep a fire extinguisher and/or water source (luckily there is one right next to the fire!) nearby in case of emergencies.
    Remember, mastering the art of wood fires takes practice. As you gain experience, you’ll develop a keen sense of how different types of wood burn and how to adjust your fire for optimal performance. So, with patience and a bit of hands-on learning, you’ll soon find yourself basking in the soothing embrace of your own wood-fired hot tub oasis.

Till next time

Wishing you the best of blessings for your backyard from Grae, Shirley-Ann, and family.