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Homemade Fire Starters

Dec
5

IMG_7911
A cornucopia of fire starters!

I came home to a cold, cold house yesterday. I had a good fire the day before. I’d kept it going all day. I was proud! I never let it go out. I was tending a fire instead of constantly re-starting one. I need to practice banking the fire so it doesn’t go out when I’m gone for hours. I took the kids to the city for dentist appointments and was gone for four hours. The coals were still hot when I left, but I was in such a rush, I didn’t bank it properly. That won’t feel so good when it’s zero degrees, will it? (Next project: proper banking! And not being in such a hurry…)

Starting fires has been a big project up to now. All the kindling! And the paper! Starting and re-starting. While I’ve gotten good at keeping a fire going once it’s started, the starting has remained an issue. I took all your advice to heart and decided to hold an experiment in homemade fire starters yesterday.

I have plenty of egg cartons. (For now.)
IMG_7880
And a good many of them are cardboard cartons. I saved and saved and saved egg cartons last year. You know, for my abundance of eggs! From my 40 chickens! I needed to have plenty of egg cartons ready to give eggs to Georgia and who knows who else. Anyone I could pawn them off on because you know I was going to have TONS of eggs.

Lazy, good-for-nothing….
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….beautiful chickens. I’ll be lucky if I see another egg before spring.

I also have a great big bag of pine cones. Georgia has huge pines all around her house. I have an unlimited supply of pine cones.
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And I always have wax. Free or nearly free wax, from recycling candles.
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You can also get free wax by letting friends and family know you want wax. You’d be surprised by how many people have candles sitting around that they have no intention of using and they’re happy to hand them over for a useful purpose. You can also buy cheap cheap cheap votive sets–cheaper than you could buy the wax, dye, and scent separately. If worse comes to worst, you can actually buy wax or paraffin for your fire starters. But check around first for frugal alternatives.

Votives are really easy to re-purpose. Just peel the label off the bottom then pull the metal tab and wick out.
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(Save the wicks and tabs! You may have a candle project for them later.)

Place the votives in your melting pot.
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Melt wax safely. Read here for more detailed instructions on melting wax. You can see see all my posts about candle-making here.

I decided to make a few different types of fire starters based on the suggestions in the comments on this post so I could discover what I liked best and what worked for me. The fire starter ideas I tried were:

1) dryer lint and wax in cardboard egg carton cups
2) dryer lint and wax in toilet paper/paper towel tubes
3) pine cones with wax

I think you could also put dryer lint on pine cones then drizzle them with wax, too, but I was low on dryer lint. (A project for the coming year is going to be to collect dryer lint–all year!) I just had the dryer lint from the dryer right now.

I put dryer lint in four of the cups of a cardboard egg carton.
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Then poured a small amount of melted wax over the cups.
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I didn’t use much wax because I wanted to, in the next step of my fire starter testing, place the pine cones on top of the cardboard cups while I poured wax over the pine cones. That way, the excess wax would go into the cardboard cups. I put strips of orange peel on the pine cones and poured the wax over the cones as they sat above the cardboard cups.
IMG_7875
The wax attached the strips of orange peel to the cones. I wanted the extra fun of the orange scent directly on the cones.

Next, I toyed with a toilet paper tube. I couldn’t quite figure out how this was going to work. I didn’t want the wax to pour right through the lint to the bottom of the tube and out, so I did a sort of sloppy rendition of how I make bottoms in toilet paper tubes when I make biodegradable seed starter pots. (And if you aren’t saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes right now for fire starters, you should be saving them for seed starter pots! The time to be saving them for spring is now!)
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I stuffed my meager supply of lint into the tube.
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Then poured wax in there. The wax still went out the bottom so I finished pouring it over the cardboard egg carton cups.
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I have a lot of dried apple slices and peels in the freezer so I decided to stick a dried apple peel on top of each cup and adhere it with wax.
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This was a last-minute idea. If I was going to make these for gifts, I’d probably stick a couple of apple slices/peels into the wax in a more creative way. I think it’s a neat idea to add some scent, especially for gift-giving. I’m pretty loose with my fruit peels because I saved so many this summer. (Save your fruit peelings and cores! So many uses….)

The pine cones with orange peels would also make great gifts for anyone with a wood stove. Throw in extra orange peels and old cinnamon sticks for more scent and just to be pretty.
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And now! Time for the rubber to hit the road. I was ready to make fire.

I collected kindling. I made a teenager haul wood up to the house. (Yes, I’m learning!) I fought off Boomer while he tried to run off with my kindling. I stacked kindling and light wood. I balled up newspaper. I tucked fire starters in amongst the kindling and the newspaper. My test wood stove was prepared for ignition! (I probably used more fire starters than necessary, but I was testing them all out. More power!)
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I’ve never started a fire so easily before. It started up like magic. The fire starters kept going long enough for the fire to really take hold in the kindling, and then the wood. Unlike every other time I’ve started a fire, I didn’t have to keep balling up newspaper and lighting it over and over.
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And it didn’t go out. The fire took hold and it didn’t stop.

I want to say this for the girls out there–you know who you are, girls like me who “can’t” start fires. Make fire starters. We know the tricks men use to start fires. (Don’t need to explain. You all know what I’m talking about!) That’s too scary for us. We don’t like that. Girls, make some fire starters! They’re pretty and they smell good and they aren’t scary.

Oh–and which type of fire starters did I like best? For absolute ease, nothing beats the cardboard egg carton cups of dryer lint and wax. However, for me, I will most likely make more of the pine cones with wax because I have an unlimited supply of pine cones and a limited supply of cardboard egg cartons. (Though I will start asking people to give me their old cardboard egg cartons and keep up what supply I can.) Since I can acquire dryer lint on a regular basis, I’ll probably try drizzling wax over dryer lint on the pine cones. I liked least the toilet paper/paper towel tubes. They were just more difficult to work with. All three methods worked great, though, when it came to making flames.
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I have fire!

Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by David Bruce and Canning2 at Yahoo Groups. Visit them here!

To win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight. This post will be updated with the winner no later than 9 AM Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow. Return to this post to see if you won.

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

12/6 WINNER update: Comment #79, Victoria. Please email me with your full name and address for shipping! THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 5, 2009  

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  1. 12-5
    1:34
    am

    Great informative post! Congrats on having fire. :) I want that book too! :yes:

  2. 12-5
    1:40
    am

    I think my fingers did a no-no and I posted in the wrong place for the BBB giveaway. Hope I have covered all the bases now cause I sure would like to be a winner. mommafox :happyflower: :happyflower: :happyflower:

  3. 12-5
    1:48
    am

    What a great Idea! I have had an unlimited supply of fire starter logs because a customer of mine works at the factory. Recently we used them all up at the trailer in Gay, but we have tons of pine trees! I will have to remember about this!

  4. 12-5
    2:00
    am

    I’d love to have the Blue Ball book! I remember making fire starters when I was 12 years old and we used the fireplaces to keep our house warm. Good memories!

    Mel

  5. 12-5
    2:10
    am

    Good morning, everyone!

    Just went and voted. While on Sam-e, I read through the comments. You are looking good in the comment section, Suzanne! Good job, everyone!

    I really need a new Ball Blue Book! So put my name in, please!

    Love the fire starters. I played with pine cones and wax yesterday, too! The house smell wonderful…unfortunately, it looks like a tornado hit it! LOL

    Everyone have a blessed day!

  6. 12-5
    2:14
    am

    Suzanne: (is sorting laundry) Hum-dee-dum-dee-dum.
    Child: (enters) Gee, Mom, it’s awfully cold in here. I thought you said you were going to start a fire.
    Suzanne: I’m working on it.

    I’d love to win a Ball book. :-D

  7. 12-5
    3:48
    am

    No need for fire starters out here (it rarely drops below 65 degrees F) but I’ll be sure to pass the info onto my sister who is always freezing cause she can’t get a fire going.

    I would love the book!

  8. 12-5
    4:08
    am

    Yeah fire! Save the nice big knotty pieces of oak, maple or other long burning hardwoods and shove one of them in the stove just before you leave next time. Knotty wood is hard and burns slowly. Then turn the dampers down on the stove. It will take hours to burn down and leave a ton of hot coals that will still be there when you get back home.

  9. 12-5
    4:11
    am

    Yaayy! I knew you would like the egg carton cups and dryer lint. LOL Nice job on the fire! When I lived in Georgia and the pine cones were abundant I used those too. Not many pine trees up here where I live in Va. now.

  10. 12-5
    4:23
    am

    Yay, Suzanne! One more “gotta learn” project ticked off the list! I offered to make some for John for his workshop wood stove…..and he looked at me funny! Hon, I don’t need firestarters….ok, just sayin’.

    Sign me up for the BBB!!

    Off to vote! :woof:

  11. 12-5
    5:00
    am

    It smells so good!!! I can smell it from here!!!

  12. 12-5
    5:10
    am

    If you ever run across anyone giving shavings or wood chips away ..like lumber mills or wood working shops .. grab you some bags of them.They can replace dryer lint also. They also work great for kindling. You could fill your milk can with them and keep close to wood stove. One thing we did to keep fire going when we were gone was add a small pipce of coal. I didnt like to burn it all the time cause of the dirt it makes..but a small piece added to our fire when we went to bed or out for the day kept it banked nicely.

  13. 12-5
    6:06
    am

    My wood burning days are from my early youth. I didn’t ever put wood in the fire, but I do remember hauling wood, cutting wood, and throwing it into the basement through a window. We got electric heat when I was about 9 years old, which my dad thought was the best thing ever!!

    Good fire starter ideas for the fireplace or a summer bon-fire, too.

    I do think I should start do some canning! But I need a good how-to book to get me started!

  14. 12-5
    6:08
    am

    Way to go! The orange slices are a wonderful touch. Just a little note if you want your chickens to lay through the winter they need light. Put a light in the chicken house on a timer. Chickens only lay when they have 14 (I think that is the right amount) hours of light. I’d love to have the Ball Blue book. :)

  15. 12-5
    6:15
    am

    We have a light with a timer! They’re just lazy….

  16. 12-5
    6:19
    am

    I am happy that you have been able to get and keep your fire started and going! Some of those fire starters look good enough to eat lol. One way to get alot of dryer lint..go to the local laundry mat they wont mind you taking all of their lint.
    post script-would like to be in the BBB giveaway.Thanks
    Sara

  17. 12-5
    6:24
    am

    There’s nothing like the scent of a wood fire, and scented with orange, apple and cinnamon only adds to the deliciousness!
    I’d love that book.

  18. 12-5
    6:35
    am

    YEAH suzanne made fire :snoopy:

    BTW I would love to get the canning book.
    Crickett

  19. 12-5
    6:39
    am

    I want a book!
    Another trick to hens laying is to sing to them. The faster the song the faster the laying. “Camp town ladies sing this song, Do-Dah Do-Dah…”

  20. 12-5
    6:50
    am

    :woof:
    I am so happy that woman has yet AGAIN made fire, after all, we dont really know who made the first fire do we? I just bet——
    Only you could could put so much thought and love into making fire starters, and adding the fragrance–that is a wondeful plus.
    As far as the chickens laying eggs are concerened–thay have most likely decided not to mess up their perfect fluffy-butted feather-dos. Besides it is a full time job being “staff”, maybe they need to be told that not only can a chicken help earn the eggs, but lay them too!
    JO.

  21. 12-5
    7:19
    am

    A pyro after my own heart. I love to have a fire and sit there in front of it getting baked. It reminds me of when I used to come home from skiing all day. I’d come home, eat like a cow AND a pig, shower and fire-bathe until it was time to go to bed.

  22. 12-5
    7:23
    am

    I miss my wood stove! The stove was in the basement of our old ranch house. Often in the middle of winter I would have my back door wide open because it would get too hot upstairs. There is just nothing like heat from a good wood stove! Using the teenager…yes you ARE learning!

    My chickens are being lazy right along with yours Suzanne…light on timer and all…ugh!

    A new BBB would be grand! I am a self taught canner…read the BBB and jumped in…that was about 16 years ago. My BBB is falling apart…pages are missing…pages are sticky with jelly drippings…you get the idea.

  23. 12-5
    7:45
    am

    Makes me want a fire place or stove. I do anyways. I have a cold drafty house. A wood stove would be so nice. But I have no where to put it. :(

    But I can still learn how to can!!!! Blue book of canning please!!! For me please. So I can make pretty cans of food. lol.

  24. 12-5
    7:51
    am

    Hurray, Suzanne! I’ll have to make some of those, too. We don’t have a woodstove, but they would make really great gifts for friends who do.

    In our fireplace, if I’m the one making the fire, I use toilet paper tubes with nothing in them. The airspace in them is great for helping a fire catch. My husband likes to use wadded up newspaper on TOP of the big logs, but underneath the kindling. It’s pretty much foolproof. That’s where I put the toilet paper tubes, by the way, in the middle.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about what you learn about banking, since our fire at the farm always goes out in the night. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  25. 12-5
    7:53
    am

    Good morning! It’s snowing here in Ritchie County – hope your stove’s keeping a good fire today!

    Voted: 29588 votes.

  26. 12-5
    8:01
    am

    Great job on the fire starters! I would like to be in the drawing for the canning book too! Have a good Saturday :snoopy:

  27. 12-5
    8:02
    am

    Suzanne,Im getting the impression that the wood stove is getting to you just a little. You obviously need a little boost.Try this for size;
    The future belongs to the few of us
    still willing to get our hands dirty

    Then take a deep breath and go and harang the Staff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. 12-5
    8:09
    am

    I love the dried fruit with the fire starters. What a great idea.

    I would love to be entered in the BBB contest for today, please?

  29. 12-5
    8:19
    am

    I love the fire starters, never thought of using the huge stack of kindly donated (in the hope of getting them back full i suspect)egg boxes like that.

    I would love to win the canning book!

  30. 12-5
    8:22
    am

    Good job on your fire starters. We used to have a wood burning fire place and I would use twisted and tied newspaper as fire starters. Your pine cones are a lot prettier and they seem to really work.
    Please enter me into the drawing, I’d love to win the book.

  31. 12-5
    8:28
    am

    Please enter me in the drawing, I want to start canning!

  32. 12-5
    8:30
    am

    Great ideas on the fire starters! Never would have thought of any of them!

    I would LOVE the canning book! I need help figuring out how to do more than jelly and green beans! =)

  33. 12-5
    8:32
    am

    I’m going to remember all these tips because one day we will have a fireplace. I’m in Florida but it still gets cold enough for a fireplace. That top picture of your fire starters looks like a picture! All those colors and textures going on.

    And I would love to win the Ball Blue Book! Can’t wait to start canning!

    Deb

  34. 12-5
    8:33
    am

    The Pine cones are so pretty! What a great idea for Christmas. I would love to win the Ball Blue book, since my original is over 25 years old (got it before I was married – lol) Off to collect pine cones…

  35. 12-5
    8:37
    am

    WOW! I’m impressed!! But what amazes me the most from this entire story is that you actually SAVE DRYER LINT? You have dryer lint collected and saved just in case you may need it??? WOW!

  36. 12-5
    8:40
    am

    Your post makes me want to get rid of our pellet stove and get our woodstove back! (sshhhh, don’t tell my husband, he was the woodcutter…lol) I would love the Blue Ball canning book for a smoother canning season next year!!

  37. 12-5
    8:41
    am

    oops when I left my earlier comment I forgot to say how much I’d LOVE to have that little blue book!!! :)

  38. 12-5
    8:42
    am

    I miss having a fireplace in the wintertime, I’ll just have to come here and enjoy your wood stove.

    Add my name to the list for the BBB book.

  39. 12-5
    8:48
    am

    I love the look of the pine cones and I bet it smells wonderful. We have two old wood stoves stored in the garage. I’m thinking we need to get ‘em down and get ‘em going. New project. I would love the Ball Blue Book on canning. I voted ..29700 votes now! I read all the Suzanne comments on SAM-e yesterday. They were wonderful and so true! Great job readers. Have a great Saturday. :sun:

    Kathleen H in Indiana

  40. 12-5
    8:49
    am

    If you resume writing romance novels, surely, there is a story here, “Passion among the Fire Starters” or some such title! On another note, your have got to stop by Greensboro Daily Photo and see this photo that soooooooooo fits with the title of your blog! We thought of you when taking this photo!

    http://www.greensborodailyphoto.com/2009/12/why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road.html#comments

    We think your mean rooster has been reincarnated! And rest assured, he is about to check himself into the spay and neuter clinic!
    Jan
    Mrs, GDP

  41. 12-5
    8:57
    am

    I just KNEW you’d like the dryer lint, wax, egg carton combo the best! I just knew it! They are fantastic. I always tease my husband that I’m going to walk around and sell them when we go camping. We watched a guy try to light a fire for a half an hour before my husband walked over with a fire starter and gave it to him!

    Stay warm girl.

  42. 12-5
    9:01
    am

    That’s a great idea!

    I’d love to get the book!

  43. 12-5
    9:03
    am

    I so stink at starting fires in our wood stoves, but its super cold out and that is our only heat source, except for the electric ones in bedrooms! thanks for the ideas, I need to use them!

  44. 12-5
    9:03
    am

    put it on CraigsList, and with friends and family, that you’d like egg cartons. I found that a lot of folks save their egg cartons for recyclers.

  45. 12-5
    9:04
    am

    Yea Suzanne!! I guess you know how the caveman felt since he didn’t have the scary-fire starting implements that man has today. We are all so proud of you. Oh, and I would love to have the BBB.

  46. 12-5
    9:05
    am

    So, Suzanne, do you need those of us that are fairly close to you to start saving our dryer lint and cardboard egg cartons? I do not save those things right now, but I live in Charleston and could easily save it and get it to you when you’re in town or meet up. I wouldn’t care to save it a bit! Especially if it would help you keep a fire all winter!

    Soooo, Lori suddenly gained thousands of votes and is neck and neck with Brigitte again? Someone on the sam-e comments actually alluded to Suzanne’s followers somehow having macros set up to vote. If we did why would she be in third place??? Good grief!!! I’ve voted on every machine I could get my hands on… no fake votes here!!!

  47. 12-5
    9:08
    am

    Fire starters, wow! Seems that in the recesses of the mind the idea of stuffing tp tubes with lint, then dipping the ends into the paraffin worked well. Not very pretty, but easy and effective. Dip one end, let it cool then dip the other.

    Dipping the pine cones would get into all those teeny tiny innards as well.

    Love the idea of adding some scent!

  48. 12-5
    9:12
    am

    I saw that! I have to think stuff like that is just funny. Wouldn’t I be in first place if I was doing that? LOL. (Let me sees how it goes–thanks for the offer! We do a lot of laundry here and I’ve only now figured out I should be collecting it!)

  49. 12-5
    9:16
    am

    I use the TP rolls with dryer lint stuffed in them and have never tried wax and they seem to work just fine. Maybe if you cut the TP rolls in half lengthwise and then put some lint on and tried pouring on the wax that way? Or maybe just cutting off a small top portion of the roll (still lengthwise). It sure would be nice to be able to use them. We seem to have an unlimited amount of TP rolls in this house!

  50. 12-5
    9:17
    am

    My husband and I are saving for a wood stove insert in our fireplace and this wil be a great way for me to have a fire when he’s not around. Please enter me for the canning book.

  51. 12-5
    9:25
    am

    The BESTEST firestarter of all are, wax, wick and sawdust in muffin cups! They work great! :sheepjump:

  52. 12-5
    9:29
    am

    Thanks for being a tester for us. I think I’m going to try some of these just with the older grandkiddos for the fun of it. :-)
    I’d love to win the BBB for my DD2–she needs her own copy! Thanks for having coffee with me every morning!!!

  53. 12-5
    9:29
    am

    I would love to have a wood stove, but one day . . .

    I love the pine cone and fruit idea – nice scents along with a nice warm fire starting. I never had problems starting a fire growing up. My dad still uses the wood stoves.

    Please enter me for the BB canning book! (I swore I would never can again after being FORCED to as a kid, but it looks like I am changing my mind. Thanks, Suzanne).

  54. 12-5
    9:31
    am

    I have certainly enjoyed your adventure with the woodstove. It brings back memories of trying to light the fireplace..until I dicovered the dryer lint, egg carton and wax. Those three things changed my life.

    I would like to submit my name for one of the Ball canning book.

  55. 12-5
    9:43
    am

    Good going with the firestarters! When I get my woodstove (wish,wish) I’ll have to try making those.

    Regarding your chickens: I tried the light trick for 14 to 16 hours each day for months and they did absolutely nothing. My husband said, “Just turn it off. Maybe they’ll start laying?” SO, I did. Within a day or two I got and egg. Then two. Then three. It’s been about two months and I get 7 to 9 eggs each day from my 10 hens. So, if all else fails, try turning the lights off. Can’t hurt and who knows, maybe they will start laying. Might as well save on the electric bill anyway.

  56. 12-5
    9:47
    am

    I think I would like to win the Ball Book. I really need it.(just like everyone else!)

    And thanks much for the links and community info.

  57. 12-5
    9:47
    am

    Suzanne, it never occurred to me to use old dryer lint in fire starters. What an ingenious idea!!! I always love finding ways to re-use what most people would simply throw away.

  58. 12-5
    9:53
    am

    You go girl…..so glad you conquered the fire, so now you will be known as “fire starter” lol Do you get a citrus aroma or a burnt aroma? I would like to get the Ball Blue Book

  59. 12-5
    9:53
    am

    Interesting and useful information Suzanne! I just started canning this year and would like to be entered in your contest. Thank you!

  60. 12-5
    10:02
    am

    Way to go Suzanne! Yet another informative and useful post with beautiful pics! I do so love your blog!

    I voted!

    I need that Ball Blue Book!

  61. 12-5
    10:10
    am

    Suzanne your resourcefulness is amazing. I wouldn’t think to make firestarters although your post is so timely for me because just this morning I was lamenting the fact that my kitchen candle has no wick left and this particular candle/fragrance is no longer made anywhere. So…my husband suggested that I melt down the remaining wax, (there is a lot left because it is a wide candle in a jar) insert a wick, and then I would have another candle just like the original. And now I am going to do just that, following your instructions of course. thank you. Now, I really would be pleased to win that BBB; that would make me jump with joy. :purpleflower:

  62. 12-5
    10:13
    am

    Loved this article. Now if I could only get my fireplace fixed so I wouldn’t burn the house down.
    Hopefully waiting for the new BBB book.

    Ardisjill

  63. 12-5
    10:18
    am

    Suzanne, while you’re gathering kindling you might teach Boomer to fetch some sticks so when the teenager isn’t around you can send him to the woods to fetch you some kindling. Ha!

    Wish I had a wood stove and some wood to go with it right now. Just looked out the window and there are huge snowflakes falling here in Charleston. It’s beautiful but if it keeps this up we’ll soon have some significant accumulation. Hmmmmmm! Wonder if that weather person is wrong again.

    Another Chickens Fan

  64. 12-5
    10:23
    am

    Since egg cartons are a commodity, I cheat. Though we don’t eat much “fast food” whenever we do stop for a burger or drinks, we ask for a drink holder. They make great BIG firestarters and are free. :)

  65. 12-5
    10:30
    am

    I was having the same problem this week and to top it off the fire alarms where going off when I (My H) finally got the fire started. I’m gunna try your starters.

  66. 12-5
    10:42
    am

    Oh my God, I love that fire ….
    Oh my God, you set fire to a bunch of pine cones ….
    I had wanted a few for my home decoration and had to actually go to a hill station in India to be able to get my hand on them. Those were precious.
    Keep the fire going …
    My hearts bleeding …

  67. 12-5
    10:46
    am

    I knew you would get it down pat. Practice makes perfect and fire starters are a breeze. Here is the way my husband makes his….a paper muffin cup in a muffin tin….some sawdust for filler, your dryer lint would work fine too…melt candles or parafin and pour into cups…allow to dry and remove from pan. He stores his in one of those holiday tins that the long fireplace matches come in….They fit perfectly and look so nice.

  68. 12-5
    10:51
    am

    I wonder what would happen if you just lit the votive and put it in there.

    Not as crafty and interesting, but…………

    ??

  69. 12-5
    10:53
    am

    :moo: I plan on giving the dryer lint and pine cones a try this afternoon. And I would love to win the Ball Book!

    Beth aka oneoldgoat

  70. 12-5
    10:54
    am

    :wave: Hi Suzanne…This is an awesome post…I’ve been saving up the tubes and egg cartons to try this as well as old half burnt candles and of course lint…Now that I actually see the pics you put up I’m going to make some! Thank you so much for sharing…and yes, I too want a chance at the BBB…now on to find that subscribe link again! Keep up the good work!

  71. 12-5
    11:18
    am

    Yay!!! It so satisfying when you get a fire started and it just keeps going! Your dryer lint look suspiciously like mine…full of cat hair! Gotta love those hairy beasts. :)

    And put me in for the Ball Blue Book.

  72. 12-5
    11:28
    am

    I learned about firestarting from many years of camping with my family. There’s nothing better than a lovely fire! I’d love a copy of the Blue Book!

  73. 12-5
    11:29
    am

    Your post brings back happy memories of childhood. My mother alway started the fire using only wood and twisted newspaper as a starter. I always took her skill for granted. And I agree with another poster, it probably was woman who started the first fire!

    Please enter me in the BBB book contest. My mother may have been great at starting a fire but she never canned. Never! I am self taught. The book sounds like the definative source.

  74. 12-5
    11:36
    am

    A LITTLE WORK THAT PAYS OFF BIG TIME, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S SO COLD! GOOD JOB LADY! Come say hi :D

  75. 12-5
    11:37
    am

    Goodness, I got so excited when I read the “Vote, Vote, Vote” I ran over and did that and forgot to read this great post.

    Now that I have finally gotten my act together to let Suzanne know I would sponsor a BBB book, I can try to win one too!! So please enter my comment? It would be so much more fun to win one than to buy one. Thanks for doing all the leg work, Suzanne.

    Temp here in MO is about 15 degrees right now. Our chickens are still laying eggs and one is even broody. I have no idea why they are so perverse. HArd enough getting water out to all with out worrying about finding eggs here and there.

    We don’t use one, but you do know to turn the light on in the morning, not the night time right? Extend their day early, not late?

  76. 12-5
    11:42
    am

    Living in Florida I seldom have the opportunity to start a fire other than dousing the charcoal with a liberal dose of starter fluid. Would love to coax a rip roaring fire up in woodstove on a cool rainy day.

  77. 12-5
    11:49
    am

    WOW! Suzanne, you have done it again! Let me present to you “The
    Woodstove Inferno Award”! In the past I had used pine cones, but
    egg cartons, card board toiltet paper holders and dryer lint? Who knew! Thanks for sharing that knowledge. I love it… recycling purposefully! (oh, I want a woodstove so bad!)

    Isn’t it great to master a new skill after intimidation and repeat trys? That’s what country living is all about.

    Please put me on the list for the Blue Ball Canning book.

    Have a great day!

  78. 12-5
    11:49
    am

    And how is it that YOU can photograph DRYER LINT and make it look PRETTY!!!???

    I’d love to win the BBB. I used to can a lot but stopped for some reason. Now y’all have me inspired to have another go at it!

  79. 12-5
    11:51
    am

    Wow, what pretty fire starters! Love the orange peels.

    I know just what you mean about men and their fire starting tricks. I have a husband and two sons, no other women in the house. Fire starting methods are a big deal with the guys.

    Have to go north for a day (make sure the lake is still there, I guess) but I already voted today and I’ll be back tomorrow to vote then (is that the last day)? I’d ask my house sitter to vote for me here, but she doesn’t like computers.

    By the way, I read the latest (well, what was there two hours ago) comments on the sam-e blog, and…I have to say I love the people here. Some of your comments brought tears to my eyes. And your stories are wonderful.

    There is so much arguing in the world that I love coming here where we all get along, no matter what our backgrounds and beliefs are. Just a nice, friendly place where people can find common ground.

  80. 12-5
    11:55
    am

    A perfect gift! You are ever so clever.

  81. 12-5
    12:01
    pm

    Thank you Suzanne and Bruce for a chance to win the book. Please enter my name in the pot. Still voting and keeping my fingers crossed for you.Do you know how hard it is to type with your fingers crossed, haha?

  82. 12-5
    12:08
    pm

    :woof:
    Suzanne–heres a thought, should we all save our lint and send it to you?
    Think of all the firestarters you you could make, and when you have enough, you would end up with the world’s largest lint ball!
    —–just a thought :lol:
    JO

  83. 12-5
    12:11
    pm

    Please include me in the drawing..Glad you figured out starting the fire with a morning like this…

  84. 12-5
    12:18
    pm

    1) You are one of the most creative people I’ve ever seen! I LOVE those fire-starters. Must smell incredible!

    2) Please enter me for the Ball Book.

    3) Blessings from Ohio… :heart:

  85. 12-5
    12:21
    pm

    Is it snowing in West Virginia? Here in northern PA it’s coming down pretty steady and everything’s white. I’m sitting here with a big mug of hot tea and a big sugar cookie I just made using lard as the shortening. Boy, is that good! Reminds me of the times Mom made cookies using Crisco and lard.

    Anyway, won’t be long till the contest ends. I wish you the best…besides, you’ve already won the hearts of the best bloggers on the net! Have a great day!!!

  86. 12-5
    12:30
    pm

    Suzanne, now that I have pulled myself off the floor and out from under the desk from laughing over the “men starting fires” quip. My first (EX) used gasolene ONE time in an Ashley wood heater. My present BELIEVES in diesel fuel or kerosene. I do fine with “normal” kindling, but the fire starters would sure make it simpler. Me thinks that the Egg flats that bulk eggs are shipped in would also work with kindling of choice plus wax. (Dryer lint is in short supply here – no dryer).
    Please put me on the BBB list. I have a relatively new BBB myself but also have a good friend that really NEEDS one. He is getting too many “old school” instructions from family and some are not safe. And our Wal-Mart is OUT till next year.

  87. 12-5
    12:33
    pm

    Yay for you! :snoopy:

  88. 12-5
    12:57
    pm

    We just bought a house a few months ago with a wood burning stove. I’m so afraid of it. But pretty smelling pine cones with orange peals makes me a little less afriad…..my heating bill makes me afraid too. Hmmmm…..fire….gas bill….fire….gas bill…. Nothing can make the gas bill pretty….let’s try a fire.

  89. 12-5
    12:58
    pm

    Hey Suzanne!

    Great post! I’m going to have to make some of those for my mom since I don’t have a real fireplace. Just gas logs for my free gas!

    Hope your fire is going good and steady today! It snowed last night :snowman: We have around 3 inches already! I’m in the Hurricane area of West Virginia!

    I’m off to vote! :shimmy: :shimmy: :happyfeet: :happyfeet: :happyfeet: :shimmy: :shimmy:

    Angela :wave:

  90. 12-5
    1:10
    pm

    I never in my life thought of starting a fire this way, but the idea of scents really appeals to me. Too bad I don’t have a wood stove or fireplace currently! :lol: Please do include me in the drawing.

  91. 12-5
    1:16
    pm

    YAHOO!!! FIRE!!!! So glad the firestarters worked for you!! All my friends think I am CRAZY for saving dryer lint and pieces of candles…I tell them I have NO problem whatsoever startin fires around here…and for FREE!!! oh, and I want the Blue book please :)

  92. 12-5
    1:29
    pm

    I remember in one of your earlier posts that you had a fall arrangement with a scarecrow from the dollar store? You did not know the name of the dried prickly pod that was with the scarecrow? That is teasel & it was used at one time in the process of napping wool or flannel. BUT it is great in dried arrangements, either in its natural state or spray painted or glittered. It grows along the roadsides where I live & in fencerows. We gathered it one year & sprayed (just needs a light misting)in every color. We used it in arrangements & sole bunches @ garage sales. One really cute idea is to pick (dried of course)with long stems, trim off till you just have the top most branches of pods, spray what ever color (or leave natural) & jab in among the branches of your Christmas tree!But I digress my comment was originally going to be about ‘fire starters’! In their dry state they would work great on top of your starters.

  93. 12-5
    1:41
    pm

    I would love to win the Ball Book.

    I live in a house with all boys, so your fire starters will come in real handy. Fire is a big deal around here. :sun2:

  94. 12-5
    1:51
    pm

    I want da book! I want da book.

  95. 12-5
    1:54
    pm

    Last year my mother spent I-don’t-know-how-many-dollars on a container of wax-dipped pine cones from one of those hoity-toity catalogs (i love those catalogs, but no longer can justify spending that kind of money!!) Your pine cones with the orange peel are so much prettier! You could start a little cottage industry with those!

    Beware the egg carton request…we asked a few friends and neighbors for theirs, and one of them put up a request at their church. We are literally up to our necks in egg cartons now! Our girls can’t come close to laying enough eggs. People are so generous these days, it surprises me sometimes :o

    btw, would love the BBB!!!

  96. 12-5
    2:07
    pm

    I wish I could give you all my lint lol. At least I recycle all the toilet paper rolls. We don’t have a fireplace or a stove (sigh). And it’s snowing in southwest PA too.

  97. 12-5
    2:23
    pm

    Really happy for you that you found something that works for you. Adding scent factors makes it even better! :woof:

    I would love a chance to win the Blue Ball canning book.

  98. 12-5
    2:28
    pm

    I really wish I had a wood stove so I could try your firestarter ideas. We have a fireplace, but we’ve never used it before. It’s our first winter in our own home. Maybe we’ll get brave and give it a try.

    I’d love to win a canning book!!

  99. 12-5
    2:33
    pm

    Suzanne, I am loving your blog!!! I came here by way of Christine of “Front Porch Indiana” (she has a great sense of humor!).
    And I’m voting for you too! It’s so easy the way it’s set up, with the little button on each of your posts, and I don’t have to “register” or anything (coughstoopidcough) like that on the Sam-E site.
    Thanks for a great blog!
    =-)

  100. 12-5
    2:36
    pm

    Pick Me! Pick Me! I want the book! :woof:

  101. 12-5
    2:50
    pm

    I would love to win a Ball Blue Book

    Looks like fun (the fire starters) I have a couple of questions for you or any of the folks who have used them….

    I have plenty of similar looking sap covered pine cones….do you need to first remove the sap? I am wondering about gumming up the chimney over time. I would be using them in a fireplace, not a wood stove.

    Did you smell the orange rind when the starters were burning?

    Does the wax evaporate/burn off? Again, wondering about gumming up he chimney over time,

    Finally, ITS SNOWING HERE IN PA! WOO HOO!

  102. 12-5
    3:21
    pm

    Finally, now I know how to start a fire. Thanks! k

  103. 12-5
    3:23
    pm

    and i would love the Blue Ball book. and it snowed here in Alabama last night too!

  104. 12-5
    3:36
    pm

    I like the idea of the pinecone firestarters because they sound like they would smell good. The TP roll ones would be handy in a pinch tho.
    I would like a copy of the BBB!

  105. 12-5
    4:03
    pm

    I love this site and read it everyday. I would love the canning book!

  106. 12-5
    4:22
    pm

    Is all that wax okay for your chimney?? I’m hyper about our chimney. (g) I know those logs they sell in stores are supposed to cause build-up & I thought that was maybe some waxy stuff. ;;shrug;;

    I was asking Ern about the wax & he said tell her to use more sticks. (You must be SICK of the word “sticks!”)

    Really, sticks work great. I know you all have tons of free time (g), but we take feed bags (bird seed, dog food, any big bag) and on dry days fill them with fallen sticks. We store the bags on a porch and in the garage. And sometimes a spare room. Lots and lots of sticks.

    A little bit of paper, a lot of sticks, one nice log–woosh! Soon as the sticks are red, I add another log, maybe a few more sticks or some cardboard. Let that all burn good, then add another log or two and we’ve hit 500 & can close the dampers.

    Ah, well, I’m being bossy. Sorry!! You’ll find a routine that works for you & for your stove. Love, love, love our wood stove. Ern just made himself a pizza on it in a cast iron skillet.

  107. 12-5
    4:27
    pm

    By the way, what kind of chicken is the buff colored one in the picture? I’m sure lots of folks here can tell me. (g)

    I think it’s so pretty.

  108. 12-5
    4:29
    pm

    When I was a kid, my dad & I made fire starters with toilet paper tubes, sawdust, and parafin. We’d dip string in wax, run it thru the TP tubes, and stuff with paraffin/sawdust mixed together. Looked like a candle. We’d cut the tubes in 2″ chunks and use them to start charcoal in my handy-dandy tin-can stove! The string was the wick to start the sawdust/wax on fire. I can’t remember them ever failing . . . Congrats on your fire starters!

  109. 12-5
    4:29
    pm

    Buff Orpington! They’re beautiful chickens.

  110. 12-5
    4:37
    pm

    Pick me for a Blue Book. I want to do more canning.

  111. 12-5
    5:07
    pm

    Thanks, Suzanne!

    They’re going on my short list. :happyflower:

  112. 12-5
    5:50
    pm

    Way to go, girl!! Congratulations on the fire starting! And on the way the amount of votes for you have grown in the past day! I’m doing my bit every day, on every computer I can access. Also hope to win a Blue Book.

  113. 12-5
    6:57
    pm

    You never cease to amaze me! I have a wood stove and have been afraid to use it….I will try now. So far I have tried canning, making bread and now soon making fire! And I am “new” to your site. Thanks for the encouragement! I would love to receive the canning book. :woof:

  114. 12-5
    7:17
    pm

    I love the pine cones and orange peels – am thinking those would smell great with cinnamon scented wax … wish I already had some made up since there is rain due tonight and I’ll be using the fireplace. Guess I’ll use the usual ton of wadded up newspaper :?

    Would love to have that canning book – a Christmas gift to me!

  115. 12-5
    7:29
    pm

    I really need a BBB book Suzanne. Draw my name…PLEASE!! Love these fire starter ideas too. Going to make some tommorrow! You’re the best!

  116. 12-5
    7:42
    pm

    Thanks for a great post! My mom and I make these when we go camping. We wrap ours in newspaper after we put the wax over the lint in the carton.
    I’d love to win the book!
    I’m still voting everyday! I hope you get it, you’d be awesome for the job!
    :chicken:

  117. 12-5
    7:50
    pm

    Im going to remember these ideas for the campfires this summer. Please put me in for the ball blue book.

  118. 12-5
    7:56
    pm

    I would Love a Ball Blue Book!! Thanks Suzanne!

  119. 12-5
    8:13
    pm

    Okay, not trying to throw water on the fire, so to speak, but I am concerned about a waxy build up in your chimney. I guess enough of your readers have used these with out incident or they would have warned you.

    That said, the pine cone ones are beautiful. Do you smell Christmas when they burn?

    My mom saved dryer lint in a pickle crock next to the dryer when I was a kid. Can’t remember a single firestarter being made though. Hmmm, wonder what she did do with the stuff.

    Would love the BBB. How will you tell all us Debbies apart? Quick somebody, help me think of a clever, unique nickname. This is the same problem I had in 7th grade, a whole class full of girls named after Debbie Reynolds (Oops, did I just date myself? Or Debbie Reynolds?)

  120. 12-5
    8:32
    pm

    It’s drawn by comment number! So if a Debbie wins, it will also be attached to a comment number. :)

  121. 12-5
    9:17
    pm

    Congrats on passing fire starting! Nothing beats a wood fire to back up to when it is cold.

  122. 12-5
    9:47
    pm

    Great article! I also use wood shavings from the chainsaw in the cardboard egg trays along with the wax.

    I’d love to be in the drawing for the book also! Thanks for having it and to the sponsors for supporting it!!!

  123. 12-5
    9:52
    pm

    Great Idea…..why didn’t I think of that….only trick you have to buy at least two to get a holder…LOL

  124. 12-5
    9:55
    pm

    Am absolutely loving your blog, and I would love that book!!

    Natalie O.

  125. 12-5
    10:09
    pm

    Cake….
    Did you ever used the dried teasel…break off the stem (this is the nose)…leaving just a tiny bit..glue two small googly eyes on either side the nose..then glue four lttle pieces underneath for little feet..use a touch of paint to accent the nose and feet if you want…now you have the cutest porcupine…..for decoration and a fun project for kids..

  126. 12-5
    10:22
    pm

    In the olden’ days when I had a rip roaring fireplace insert…I kept a basket of waxed pinecone and plain ones in the basket…They were always so pretty and smelled good…I also kept in it dried orange peels…I saved them on top of the fidge until they dried and then dumped them in the basket with the pine cones…Once in a while I would add a few clove punched into the peels as they dried…also a few cinnamon sticks…but didn’t want to waste them so I was careful not to grab many of them to burn…It was hard for me to part with my large potpourri of fire starters…since they were so pretty by the fireplace….and smelled great….occasionally I would wrap colored paper twists…just very small ones and toss in the fire for the wild colors of fire that the ink makes…

  127. 12-5
    10:23
    pm

    I do want it! I need to keep learning the best procedures for canning and preserving what I grow!

  128. 12-5
    10:29
    pm

    Very creative! I really didn’t know that people used aids such as firestarters. (I’ve never made a fire.) So, thanks for teaching me something today!

  129. 12-5
    10:31
    pm

    PS….yes I did make my own waxed pine cones in many colors….
    I think one could not exsist in the country without pinecones….they are sort of like the Bubba Gump shrimp thing….you can make Christmas wreaths, cut them in half and paint or use for flowers in natural woodsy wreath, used year round in a jar for decor, firestarters, bird feeders, break them a part for making little fridge magnet birds, glue on birdhouses for shingles,…etc. etc…LOL

  130. 12-5
    10:39
    pm

    The fire starters look great! I am glad you made some. I have been talking about it for awhile now but haven’t actually made any yet. I have a box of pinecones, and hubby has been mentioning that I should be getting some wax scraps from the candle factory to make some with. I just haven’t done it yet. I have been busy making all kinds of other things. I have been using the pine cones to make grapevine wreaths.

    We had a minor snowfall this past week. Its coming soon! I had better get those pine cones collected!

    I thought about making some fancy pinecones ones with glitter (does glitter burn ok?) for sale but I think I am going to stick to just making them for us. I need more pinecones. We have a pine woods beside us so there is no shortage of pinecones, just time to collect them.

    I am reluctant to burn good pine cones as they make such great wreaths and I have few enough egg cartons as it is now. I will have to think of something else to use. I have more acorns than I know what to do with…naw, they’re too small. I could use sticks and cut them smaller and dip one end in wax. That would work too.

    I would also like that Blue Ball book.

  131. 12-5
    10:54
    pm

    The fire starter is very interesting.

    I would love a chance at the book as well. I live in a suburb and most do not know how to can and since I am just starting off, it would be very helpful.

    Thanks

  132. 12-5
    11:04
    pm

    still want a BBB!!! the fire starters are very good-great ideas :shimmy: people have!!–but still not good enough for me to want to go back to the building of fires EVERY day!! :happyflower: rain

  133. 12-6
    10:07
    am

    yay suzanne! love the colors in the first picture….& i can just imagine the scent of the pinecones and orange….

    please enter me in the BBB drawing ~ thanks!

  134. 12-6
    1:27
    pm

    Only in my dreams are chickens, donkeys, wood stove, snowy winters, and the new Ball Blue Book. I need that book NOW so at least part of my dreams come true here in ol San Antone.
    Thanks for providing a place of inspiration for me.
    SusieQ

  135. 12-6
    2:59
    pm

    What a cool idea! I’d love to have a Blue Ball book! It would totally give me a reason to go out and find equipment for canning :)…and plant more tomatoes this summer.

  136. 12-6
    4:50
    pm

    Thank you so very, very much. I am both surprised and thrilled at the same time to be the winner of the Ball Blue book. Whatta a treat!

  137. 12-6
    9:22
    pm

    A Homemaker’s Club I was once in made firestarters with pinecones and sold bags of them at a craft show. Wish we had thought of the orange/apple/cinnamon sticks!

    For years my aunt has saved all her dryer lint, then places it in the edge of the woods for the birds to use for their nests. Glad to hear of a new use for it.

    I came from a family of reclyclers long before it became popular. My mom and aunt never threw away anything if it could be used for another purpose.

  138. 12-6
    10:49
    pm

    I am going to definitely try the homemade fire starters. What a very useful idea and seems very easy as well. And, yes, I want the Ball Book, too, LOL!

  139. 12-7
    8:47
    am

    I was at Sam’s oen day last week and saw bags of pinecones that were wax covered and scented to use as fire starters and they were like $19 a bag!!! Instead of drizzling the wax over the pinecones they emerged the entire pine cone and coated them with probably three coats of wax…..they were almost too pretty to burn!!

  140. 12-10
    10:45
    am

    :fairy: Chickens need vacations too, y’know! Actually, I think it is just this time of year. Dark early, cold, sun comes up late, lots of cloudy days…I wouldn’t want to lay an egg either! Just watch, end of this month or early January, things will pick up and you will be back in the egg business! :heart: :duck:

  141. 12-10
    4:45
    pm

    Chestnuts roasting on a open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

    The fire in the fireplace makes me feel so lazy . :? :moo:

  142. 12-11
    7:06
    pm

    I dont generally have a difficult time starting the fire, just a lack of kindling, so thanks for the great idea, have pine cones and lots of dryer lint and candles.

  143. 12-14
    12:43
    am

    Try mixing sawdust in with your wax and then filling the egg cups about 1/2 to 2/3 full. A lot of sawdust and enough wax to hold it together I would say, not soupy.

  144. 1-9
    8:10
    pm

    I used to have to worry about having some sort of fire starters on hand…..wood heat is my primary heat at my 3 acre piece of heaven.
    One day outside I lit a waxed produce carton and the flames shot 7 feet into the air. I instantly knew where my neverending source of FREE and easy fire starters was….any grocery store produce dept.
    Even if wet, the waxed cartons dry soon and are great starters as they are parrafin treated, and just a small strip works. I cit the boxes into strips about 3 by 12 inches. I have never had a store unhappy at my request for these cartons, either, as they have to go in the dumpster otherways.

  145. 1-11
    2:24
    pm

    Great idea, as usual. After reading your post, I was pondering what else I could use that I already had saved and I came up with walnut shells. I just smack them on the countertop and they crack open as two complete halves, not a bunch of little pieces. You can also just crack them slightly using a nut cracker and then using a pick, pry it open. They would be small, but with enough dryer lint and wax, would probably work just fine. I’m adding some dried orange peal per your suggestion. Funny, I had saved them to help the fire along, but hadn’t thought of adding all the yummmmy smelling stuff. Very clever, you are!

  146. 2-10
    1:40
    am

    Love your fire starters!! We made the egg carton/lint/wax ones when i was in girl scouts a LONG time ago! So much fun and easy to make! They work wonderfully, dont they?! I really like the pine cone idea too!

  147. 6-14
    11:06
    am

    I made these with the cardboard egg cartons. One set with wood shavings, newspaper, and melted wax. The other set with wood shavings, Dryer Lint, newspaper, and melted wax. They both worked excellently! A single egg cup burned for 10 minutes! These work Great! :sheep: :pirate: Thanks for the idea!

  148. 11-27
    1:33
    pm

    Great ideas, nothing warmer than a wood fire. A friend I had used walnut shells in her fires. She said they burned forever. Gee, I hope I win this time. ;o)

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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