100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 22 – Make Fire Starters

flame-fire-campfire-bonfire-brand-hearth-1001091-pxhere.comWhen it’s cold and you want a fire to warm your home, nothing works better than fatwood or a firestarter. Fatwood isn’t always easy to come by and buying it isn’t an inexpensive option.

We make our firestarters with leftover ends of candles, paper scraps, wood chips, pine cones, and even dried orange peels. A lot of folks use dryer lint as the combustible material but we live on a farm, so dryer lint is full of animal hair which smells horrible when burned.

Another popular item to use as a vessel for the firestarter is cardboard egg crates. Since we don’t normally have to purchase eggs, this isn’t an option for us. Toilet paper rolls, muffin tins work well as vessels, or rolled tubes of heavy paper work just as well.

Our three favorite fire starters are wax dipped pine cones, wax and sawdust/shredded paper filled orange peel halves, and muffin tins filled with shredded paper/sawdust and wax with pretty dried leaves and pine cones on top. They all look pretty in a container next to the fireplace and make nice gifts for friends or family.

Still, fire starters don’t have to be that complicated. When camping, we’ve found that a few highly combustible leaves from a resinous plant stuffed inside a wad of paper or leftover paper lunch bag work really well. You might be able to stuff rolls of paper with something like manzanita, bay laurel, or pine, and tie the ends with a burnable raffia. Stored by the fire they would make a quick fire starter without the aid of wax.

What do you like to use to start your warming fires in your home?


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