Yeah, so last year, we installed a wood stove and use that as the only source of heating in our home. We did it to begin the arduous process of trying to be more sustainable with immediate goal of saving money on gas heat, the shorter-yet-still-a-long-ways-in-the-future term goal of being off the grid, and a much longer term goal of surviving the apocalypse. It stays a cool 64 degrees in here. It would seem like I would mind this, considering I can never catch a warm, but actually, I think I run a little cooler than the average dude. We are a tough lot. Kind of like polar bears. Perhaps growling, very tough and nasty arctic wolves. We howl and bite each other in the neck for attention.
At night, the ice weasels come.
Last year, we had to buy a few cords of wood, but this year, my husband has foraged for our entire winter's wood. Yes, something like five cords of wood, my husband has knocked on people's doors and asked for their logs, then hauled them off, then split them, then stacked them to dry and cure, then burned them. I was very proud of him. I did virtually nothing for this venture, and it has saved us a shitload on money. Our average gas and electric bill before the woodstove was something in the range of 300-400 bucks. And now, we barely break 100, and since wood is free, we are doing pretty well.
My problem is the starting of the fire when there is no coal bed. Which rarely happens these February days. But the other day, we went to the ReStore*, and I bought this cool Mason jar bird feeder. It came wrapped in newspaper. I rarely have newspaper in the house. I made a craft with it. And then I just stacked it in the office, and it occurred to me that I should use it for the fire. I remembered seeing something like this on a certain site I am not naming. I still have herbs in my garden. Well, they are drying, I suppose you could say. Rosemary. Lavender. And I had an old smudging cedar and sage bundle. So, I dug them out and created some fire starters that smell like heaven.
This is an easy one and it made a nice surprise gift for the husband. The kids loved helping with this craft. All you need are some dried herbs, pine cones, sticks, sage, cedar. I used rosemary, sage and cedar. You cut some square pieces of newspaper.
Then, you put some herbs in the middle, the sticks. Whatever. This totally looks like a doobie. Not that I know anything about that.
We used a large piece of paper to house the herbs as we were filling the smaller ones. The kids had a lot of fun breaking up the herbs, then smelling the packages.
Then you roll them. I tied them with sock yarn, which I use for everything. I have had one skein of sock yarn for four years, since I actually do not knit socks. But I use sock yarn for tassels, tying bundles, finishing projects, bookmarks. Well, anything you use regular string for, obviously. It is just prettier.
And basically, that is it. You can then hide it under some logs and kindling and start a gigantic blazing fire, and it smells good while you are doing it.
We put them in the kindling box. Just an idea for spare newspaper and herbs. Happy Wintering!
*which is the best place in the entire world.