We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I want one. I used to think they were silly, but now I realize that they are nothing but a permanent campfire. People love to assemble around them, the smoke keeps bugs away, and they are great for burning marshmallows.
And if you go pagan, you can put burnt offerings on it too. It won't hold an ox, but perhaps a goat or unblemished lamb.
I am planning to double the size of our cramped bluestone patio and already know where I want the fire.
This excellent specialty lumber place on Cape Cod, Stonewood, will deliver the cut stone on a pallet with the insert, ready for simple assembly. No mortar.
We've got something like that, probably a little smaller. Living on the edge of the woods we can gather an armful of fallen branches and the occasional larger piece and have an adequate supply of firewood. We don't use it all that often so it's no big deal to wait a day or two to scoop out the ash into a metal pail and wait until the next time you use it before dumping it in the woods. (The neighbor one time had an incident dumping some "cold" ashes in the woods - you never want to be too hasty in trying to guess when exactly the cold ashes are really cold.)
But there's just nothing like a fire to gather around and sip a drink or two, chat with friends or just stare quietly into the flames and be alone with your thoughts. Even if your only thoughts are how fascinating the patterns of flickering flames are.
Funny I just got done putting one in. In the Berkshires it was easy to have one because stones were everywhere. In Houston we had a chiminea we never used once. The joke was that to have a fire in the fire place on Christmas eve you had to turn up the air conditioning. You might consider a neolithic addition for that ox. Instructions can be found in the classic: https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Fire-Rediscovered-Techniques-Wood-Fired/dp/1612121586
I grew up in Houston, where we sometimes could get away with opening the doors so we could have a fire. My father, a chemist, would amuse us by throwing various chemicals on the flames to make pretty colors.
Outdoor firepits are great, especially if there's a good place to put your feet up without quite melting your soles. I've never known one to fail to gather a happy crowd. It's a campfire you can't easily stumble into, surrounded by a paved fireproof seating area. What's not to like? Give your guests marshmallows and oysters to roast.
They're great, as long as they're yours. The neighbours', not so much. When the wind is in the wrong direction, your whole house fills with smoke, and you haven't had the joy of toasting marshmallows. Have a neighbour - great guy - who heats his garage with a wood stove. Stopped hanging the laundry outside after one too many loads came back in reeking of campfire. Still have to watch when open windows, particularly spring and fall, as can find house totally smoked out.