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Fire Starters

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My partner suggested I write  a post about his fire starters as anyone we tell about them seem to not believe us on how simple they are.  All you need to make them is some old candles (thrift stores,yard sales,etc) wood pellets (like for pellet stoves) and cardboard egg cartons.

This is our bucket of wood pellets,  we go through about 1 bag of them every 2 years.  Which we have noticed is pushing it a bit as they start crumbling after a year.

When my chickens aren’t producing sometimes in the winter I buy eggs in the larger flats.  This gives me many fire starters once the process is done.  I wind up storing these up in the winter time.

You fill each “cup” in the egg cartons till they are level with the line of the carton.  We had tried pine shavings, but learned they do not burn as long as they do with pellets.  You could also use dryer lint.  Or even hair from your hair brush.

You melt the wax down in a sauce pan on the stove. (we have a dedicated pot for this as we come across cheap and inexpensive cook ware all the time)  Then you slowly pour the wax into the “cup” part coating the pellets.  Sometimes after they dry you have to go back over them again.

This is what they look like when dried.  You then cut each “cup” out and when lit they -can- burn for 5 mins, sometimes less if your pellets are starting to crumble.  These cost us about $0.25 USD per starter to make.  We tend to have a good many by winter start, which have taken us into spring camp fire-y usage.  These really do work, they are simple to make and don’t cost much over all.

Another post coming today!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…


Chilly, but a nice morning

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Such a nice morning out there even though it’s still a tad chilly outside.  We have one more day before the house guest/farmhand moves on to their new home.  They just didn’t work out here, I do hope their new place does work out well for them.

Any who.. I finally got the pictures from the first snowfall from this year onto the computer.  These are a couple weeks old so please remember this.

first real snowfall front
Doesn’t it look soooooooo…. pretty?  I always like watching snow fall and these were the big fluffy ones.  The funniest thing through was the two pups, neither of them wanted to go out into it.  Like they were afraid to touch the strange “white stuff” on the ground.

We have not had anything measurable since this  snowfall, though Arkansas did get some a day or so ago.  I wish we had gotten it, we could really use the precip.  Though we are ahead on the precip for this new year … so far, things can change and I do know it.



Now for a really cute snowfall picture:

road west with Merlin
That is Merlin enjoying his first snowfall, mind you when we saw him there he was jumping each step trying to not get his paws wet.  His sister handled the snowfall much better than him… or at least she didn’t do anything silly in front of us.

Well so far I can tell you that putting the chickens onto wild bird food does have a downturn in egg production.  It seems by at least half what we were getting before.  Live and learn is my opinion on it, and while I was hoping they would do good on it; I need the eggs.  I think we’re going to have to really ‘fiddle’ with the feed portions when I start making my own.



Wood stove update:

It is still working very well, the only thing that I have seen as a problem so far has been one… we needed to do some better sealing around the chimney with the cement.  We are also having an issue with the handle for the door not wanting to move, but I think that’s just a simple mechanical issue with the nuts.  It is still putting out a very good amount of heat, and we can simmer food on the surface, which next time I make my stew I may try putting it on the wood burner after the initial cooking.  The beef stew, my lentil stew already simmers on it.

I have also discovered a side benefit for me anyway.  We have all those cinder blocks around the outside of the burner.  It makes a lovely spot to proof and rise bread dough.  Since having it here my breads have risen beautifully.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Update 11-1-2012

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Heya Folks!


Been a while I know, but again with no internet we tend to have to chose what has a higher priority. Doing the blog isn’t as high up as say gathering info about our various projects. Also, seeing as how we tend to only stop maybe once a month for internet if I don’t get a chance to post something it’ll just have to wait.


…and yes I am sorry I don’t post more often. I certainly hope everyone out there that does read this is excitedly waiting on my next posting (Tink told me people have been asking HER about when I’ll be posting next).


As for our garden, I have started my fall tilling of the main garden beds; including the addition of some lovely compost from one of our large old oaks that got struck by lightning about 2 months ago. It was one of those really big oaks that gets hollow once it hits old age, then composts from the inside out. A bonus for my garden, also it was a tree that we had been wondering if we needed to cut down. The other big plus is that “mother nature” decided to be nice and drop it into the forest instead of into the clearing.

Even though it’s not really producing nice ones to eat my tomatoes are still churning out fruit, we have figured that even though the “pots” we are using are big… they aren’t big enough for four tomato plants apiece. Next year we’ll be doing just one per pot.

The jalapenos I planted did well as well and are still producing even though the plant got snapped by my luffa gourd when the remains of Issac came through. Silver thought the Brussels sprouts had a wonderful flavor. He anticipates it would have grown more and produced more if it hadn’t been for the drought.

My luffa gourd has tons of them on it, one is huge I think it’s over a foot long and really round. We do have a few more large ones but that one is the biggest. Once the plant is fully dead I’m going to find a way to hang them so they can finish drying. We did manage to get some dried beans from my Tiger’s Eye beans that I planted on a whim this year. Considering I planted maybe six seeds and got back about ½ a cup I think it was a good return. An odd thing though they were suppose to be bush beans but they wound up vineing.




We used the wood stove for about 3 days at the beginning of October, and it worked out well. The base did not get overly hot. On October 15th the lady bugs were swarming for their winter hibernation areas…. I have a question for everyone. On the main day for your local lady bug swarming did you have a large amount? I know that the whole front and side of the building was covered in them. This is the largest amount I have seen since we have moved here before winter starts, and I wonder if it will be a tell of a bad winter this year?


On the 19th we went out and did some “yard work”, we fell back to the premise that we need to stop waiting to do all our work when we have ever possible thing we need to build or work on something. So we went out and mostly cleared an area for the pig pen we are hoping to have next spring. “Mostly” cleared as pigs need shade and with oak, hickory, and butter nuts in the area the pig will eat those things on their own so might as well keep them so they have some browse in their yard. We also started the “finished” clearing for the good chicken coop that we will be building over the winter. We are also going to plan ahead for a barn and mixed pastures, and these pastures will have a lot of trees in them as we are not planning on many cattle. A dairy cows or two and a few long horns… which btw eat almost anything.


Well, we have finally done it here… we are now trying out the “no poo” challenge, which refers to no shampoo. This is because lately we seem to be getting more allergic to soaps that are commercially made than before and since starting the challenge The allergic affects have dropped. I will say there has only been one downside so far… it has been harder to brush my hair. I have very thick curly/wavy hair and getting a brush or comb through it after just using water and nothing else made it very hard to remove the tangles.

Now I know this might be a tad late when I post this but…

The hurricane Sandy as it approaches NYC and the shore, a local organization here; Convoy of hope. Has sent a semi full of water and microwaveable meals. While I applaud them sending food and water, I’d like to ask people to think a moment. If the power totally goes out what will the microwaveable meals do for someone who cannot cook it? How about pallets of canned tuna, and fruit? Peanut butter and bread? To me that makes much more sense.


Last bit of news is kinda a explanation, I am setting out 2 blog posts today; the second is about our wood heater this winter we brought it in and set it up on Oct. 4th. It’s very cool and we will keep info about how it does over the course of the winter.


Well that’s about it for now.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…





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