28 April 2011

Homemade Firestarters

This post is not about royal weddings or tornadoes. However, it is about wood stoves, the Portland weather, camping, and how to make your own firestarters.

One would hope, that since May is just around the corner, the need to use our wood stove or heat would stop, or at least slow down. Yet, last night we had a fire and today at noon, our heat kicked on. We tend to keep our heat between 59 or 60 and use the wood stove on nights when we want a little extra warmth while cuddling with the dogs and watching Heroes. So, if it kicks on during the day, it means it's pretty cold for a spring afternoon.

So, because the rain continues to fall and clouds continue to cover the sky, I can't wait for summer to come around and backpacking adventures to begin. But, because this is the Pacific Northwest, finding dry enough kindling to start a fire isn't always easy, especially early and late in the seasons.

So today, to prepare for our next backpacking adventure and to help out with starting fires in the wood stove, I made some firestarters. These are super lightweight and easy to make and you probably have the materials needed in your home.

Homemade Firestarters

What you'll need:
-Dryer Lint (tip: keep a brown bag next to the dryer to put all our lint into.  When it's full, just throw the whole bag in the compost - if I don't have any more bags, just re-use the same one).  You can also use old Christmas tree/pine needles, newspaper, or a mixture of all three.
-Pressed Paper Egg Carton (tip: these cartons are also compostable.  I try to buy eggs in bulk and re-use cartons).
-Wax or crayons (tip:  keep a jar around to put in old candles or crayons).

How to:
1. Stuff the dryer lint in the egg cartons:
Put in as little or as much as you want.
2. Melt the wax or crayons with a double boiler.  Use a container that you don't mind permanently being covered in wax, for example I used a mason jar.  You can also use a tin can.  Place the wax in the container and then place that into a pot with some simmering (not boiling) water.
Meanwhile, your dog will think you are cooking up something delicious and patiently wait.

3. Place the egg carton on some parchment paper to catch any spilled wax.  Some wax may also seep through the carton, which is o.k.  The wax should peel right off the paper so you can re-use it.

4. Pour or spoon the melted wax into the egg cartons.
My jar wasn't too hot, but just in case, use an oven mitt.

5. Cut them up and store them for later use!
I put mine in a ceramic container near the wood stove.
6. Compost any leftover dryer lint or egg carton (like the lids).  The worms and your garden will love it!  Save the wax for next time!

How to Use:
Just light a piece of the egg carton and build your fire on top!

Currently listening to:
Ida - Willow Tree

Ida: Willow Tree from Foglight Films on Vimeo.

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