;

Practicing

Dec
2

IMG_7572
I got the fire started in the wood stove yesterday all by myself! TAKE THAT, Wood Stove. I even overcame the challenge of losing the long lighter. I had to use a short little lighter. I don’t like using the short little lighter. I’m afraid of it.
IMG_7562
Me: “I’m scared of fire.”


52: “That’s handy.”

Ha. I did it. And I kept it going for about two hours.
IMG_7579
Then it died.
IMG_7526
I added logs. I added paper. It kept dying. I emailed 52. “The fire keeps dying! The fire keeps dying!”

52: “Use more kindling.”

Me: “But I’m out of kindling!”

52: “You have 40 acres of kindling.”
IMG_7527
Oh.

What happened to kindling appearing magically on the porch? This picking it up thing sounds like a lot of work…..
IMG_7541
I called my staff together.
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They were as useful as usual.
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What am I going to do with this stuff anyway?
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It’s WET!!!
IMG_7551
And I got DIRTY!!!
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But I battled again with Wood Stove and her fickle fire. I found the most dry of the kindling. I used more paper. I added more wood. I got the fire going and kept it going.
IMG_7576
In between times when it went out. I struggled with it all day.
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If practice makes perfect, I’ve been practicing. And I have no time to waste on my way to perfect. Winter’s coming back and this time she’s not going to sneak in on tiptoes from the back.
accuweather
This time she’s bringing a battering ram!! I need fire!
IMG_7570
I want to hear ALL your homemade firestarter ideas!!! Please? I’m gonna need ’em…..

Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by RacerX Illustrated. 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.

P.S. Thank you to all the sponsors for the tremendous response to this project! The response has been so tremendous, in fact, that some weeks I will be holding more than one BBB Project day. Keep watching!

***Update 12/3–the WINNER is Jo, comment #68!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 2, 2009  

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  1. 12-2
    1:46
    am

    I do a lot of canning and would love the blue book!!

  2. 12-2
    1:49
    am

    Stack in more than a single log at a time after the fire has really caught, don’t shut the damper all the way as the fire needs to breathe, maybe even throw in a few lumps of a good hard coal….my grandmother was the fire builder in our family, not I. Are you burning seasoned wood?

  3. 12-2
    2:07
    am

    I don’t have any fire starting hints or tips. My grandmother and my dad were always the fire builders. Good luck, Suzanne!! I’m pulling for you!! And I’ll need all YOUR tricks and tips for my first fire building this winter :happyflower:

    I would LOVE to win a canning book.

  4. 12-2
    2:13
    am

    1 – Dry kindling 2 – Let it breathe 3 – Keep practicing!!!

  5. 12-2
    2:26
    am

    Lay tightly-twisted paper among your kindling (on top of shredded/balled paper). Add wood before fire burns too low – or start a new fire on top of your coals. I also agree that dry, seasoned wood is what you need for a nice hot, steady burning fire. We heat the main living area with wood supplemented with a portable in the bathroom.

  6. 12-2
    2:40
    am

    I would love a Ball Blue Book!

    Just voted :)

    Sorry, don’t know much about starting fires. I guess that is one more thing I will be learning from your blog. Thanks!

  7. 12-2
    3:24
    am

    Now that you’ve got kindling, bring some of it inside near the stove so it dries out quicker. Especially since you may have to be starting from scratch several times a day :)

    When I saw the combination of “Practising” and a milk can I thought maybe you had a chance to practice milking again . . . how is that lover-boy for darling Clover coming along? Will we be seeing baby goaties in the spring?

  8. 12-2
    3:56
    am

    I understand. A few years ago I went home for Christmas and my family had moved to a house with a wood stove. They left me home alone all day and were adamant about not using the heater and I didn’t know how to make a fire in that thing! In the end, I only ever made a few successful ones. I think the trick might be to not let it go out. Check on it often once it’s going and ad wood to it then.

    Anywho, I want the book, please!

  9. 12-2
    4:15
    am

    I have my mother’s canner and supplies. Really nice heavy canner from the good ol’ days when quality was the norm. Now I just need a how-to book to get me started!

  10. 12-2
    4:27
    am

    Hi Suzanne :)

    I would LOVE to have the canning book. Please enter me in the contest.

    As for your fire, I think you need a little hatchet to make your own kindling when everything else is wet. I keep a box by my fireplace of kindling so it’s always there, and dry :) Good luck with your fire skills.

    Renee

  11. 12-2
    5:14
    am

    LOL…..Love your staff……..It’s looks like you will be camping out by the woodstove. It seems like the advice has been covered here so I wish you luck with keeping the fire going.

  12. 12-2
    5:37
    am

    Hi Suzanne,
    I was a Girl Scout and did a lot of fires :) We used to make firestarters that were quite successful. We saved tuna fish cans. Then we cut corrugated cardboard into strips and coiled them tightly inside the can. Then we poured melted paraffin inside, let cool. They worked well. Good luck! :purpleflower:

  13. 12-2
    6:01
    am

    :shimmy: I have had a woodstove for years and some days I still have trouble..The kindling is the key. So love your staff!!
    Have a great day!!
    Hugs Trace’

  14. 12-2
    6:02
    am

    Lets keep the vote going. Sorry, Suzanne I can’t even start a fire with charcoal and lighter fluid!

  15. 12-2
    6:10
    am

    :D dry wood of course, but the kindling you use depends on the type of wood, like hard oak or softer birch, that you are using. We never used paper in our stove, but we did use what was and is referred to as rich lighter pine. We’d cut it about a foot long and then split into strips about the size of a thumb.It burns hot, but it will also burn longer than regular kindling or paper. If you have forest then you most likely have lighter pine. I’m sure Georgia or any of your older neighbors can give you some tips on where to look. You’ll know for sure if you have rich lighter pine because it smells like it’s been soaked in turpentine. Another suggestion is to stack your lighter pine like lincoln logs, two one direction, two more on top perpendicular to those. Place a couple of smaller logs on top of that, then ignite. Also, a bellows. That might make a good Christmas present for you from some of the family?

  16. 12-2
    6:26
    am

    I have tried these for campfires not sure about in woodstoves though-take the paper egg cartons and fill each cup with sawdust-then fill with melted wax. Each carton will give you 12 -18 starters. Or if you have nice pinecones there (here they are rather small and not so nice)you can dry them and coat them in wax and use those-they can also be prettied up for gifts.

  17. 12-2
    6:28
    am

    You can make good fire started using dryer lint and paraffin wax, or by dipping dry pine cones in paraffin. The pine cones look really pretty in a basket too.

    I’d like to be entered for the Ball Blue Book please.

  18. 12-2
    6:30
    am

    Hi Suzanne, In our old stove it helps when the stove is cold to place newspaper or similar fast starter on top of your carefully laid kindling near the flue. A cold flue won’t draw properly. Light the piece of newspaper that is near the flue and watch for it to start drawing (yes stick your head in there if you must) then light the paper and kindling for the main fire. Once going good, add larger logs. On our tempermental and leaky old wood cookstove, I had to go outside, stick newspaper up the flue, light it, then run inside and start the main fire or else the the stove wouldn’t draw and the house filled with smoke. I still miss that stove. Also, it is much easier to add wood and keep a fire going than to restart one. You’ll learn your stove’s quirks soon I’m sure.

  19. 12-2
    6:34
    am

    I would love to win the Ball Blue book.

    Off to vote!

  20. 12-2
    6:36
    am

    Good morning. I’m with you, I dont know how to make a fire or a firestarter thingey. I need the BBB because I dont know how to can yet either. :hug:

  21. 12-2
    6:37
    am

    I no nothing about a wood stove. I can build a great camp fire. Lots of sticks are useful. Make sure your logs are cut small and are dry.

    Hey I would like the canning book!!! Wondering what I can try next to cann. The whole cranberrys came out ok. I need the practice. lol.

  22. 12-2
    6:40
    am

    I would love this book. :wave: It would be most helpful as I learn to can. :snoopy:

  23. 12-2
    6:41
    am

    Ok, I know nothing of building a fire, but I asked John! Are your dampers open until a good fire is going, not just the paper and kindling burning? He said it will take a while, not just a few minutes. :)

    I WOULD LOVE THE BBB!

    Voted! Facebooked!!! Rally, rally, rally!

  24. 12-2
    6:43
    am

    Wait a minute. Once the fire is started it shouldn’t go out as long as there are two things…..fuel (dry wood) and oxygen. I flunked chemistry and physics in high school (well a C student which was the same as flunking according to my Mother)but I know that to be a fact as I used a woodstove for 22 years. Next year you are going to have to get your supply of firewood in earlier and put a tarp over the air dried wood. If the wood is dry then you need to open the air supply to fuel just a bit more.

  25. 12-2
    6:43
    am

    Forgot……….see that S in SNOW on the map??? Yep, that’s me!! Yikes, I’m so not ready for snow!!!

  26. 12-2
    6:49
    am

    I have used many things over the years and dry pinecones and dryer lint make really great fire starters. Good luck…I envy you! I’d love to have a wood burner!

  27. 12-2
    6:50
    am

    I’d like to be entered for a BBB.

  28. 12-2
    6:56
    am

    For a good fire started (girl scouts tought me this) take your dryer lint-save it till you have a good pile
    rip thin strips of news print
    …melt wax/parifin,
    make a hollow in tin foil – roll lint into logs mixed with the stirps of paper
    pour melted wax over lint not alot just enough to hold the lint paper together remold
    let dry
    we would have the girls make these for fire places and open pit burns not sure how it work in a wood stove
    but you can place the lint paper mix in a cleaned out tuna tin and then lite under the kindling thus the wax wont leach out all over they made these too
    Sara

  29. 12-2
    6:56
    am

    I love to hate wood stoves! I had one years ago, we have FREE gas now, and I love FREE gas, lol. wood stoves smell sooooo good though, and they give the most delightful heat. good luck.

  30. 12-2
    7:02
    am

    forgot to say I would love to have the blue book for canning. I want to learn how to can.

  31. 12-2
    7:02
    am

    Can’t help you with the fire, sorry. Would love that ball blue book.

  32. 12-2
    7:08
    am

    Here is one I found on line
    Vaseline and Cotton Ball Fire starter

    This fire starter is easy to make and cost next to nothing, it has the extra benefit of being nearly waterproof.

    Simply place a small amount of Vaseline in a microwave safe dish and melt on medium heat only until it begins to run. Place 6-10 cotton balls in the melted Vaseline and saturate them completely. Allow the mixture to cool and place the cotton balls in a used film container.

    When you need to use them, take several cotton balls out of the film container and pull them apart. Place the Vaseline cotton ball fire starter under your tinder and light. The cotton ball acts like a wick for the Vaseline and will burn intensely for several minutes.
    http://www.huntingblades.com/firestarter.html

    more:
    dryer lint
    used toilet paper roll
    wax paper liner from cereal box
    Loosely stuff dryer lint into TP roll. Place in the cereal liner, roll up, twist ends to close.
    –Those cardboard egg cartons filled with paraffin wax do work great to us saw dust or wood shavings instead of dryer lint
    Sara

  33. 12-2
    7:31
    am

    I urge you to have your chimney and stove pipes checked. If you burn the fire every winter the build up in the pipes can block the air flow and the fire won’t draw enough oxygen to burn. From the looks of it your stove is well used. Stove pipes are relatively inexpensive and I urge you to consider replacing the pipes. Clean fresh pipes will draw a good flow and your fire will burn bright and hot. The gunk that builds up over one winter in the pipes is unbelievable. This is how chimney fires start without warning. Please be safe and have your chimney cleaned by a professional. We heat by wood with two wood stoves. I have both cleaned annually and the kitchen wood stove we replace pipes every couple years to ensure a safe burn.

    My husband is NOT a firestarter. For him I make fire starting aids. I collect bits of old candles, drier lint, pressed paper eggs cartons, wood chips etc, fill the cups, pour over melted old candle wax, let cool. Pull apart egg cups to start the fire – with kindling.

    I sent you an email for the ball blue book giveaway just moments after you posted it and haven’t heard back with a reply. Did I miss something?

  34. 12-2
    7:33
    am

    Hi, Angie! I emailed you! Might my email have gone to spam? I will email you again! Thank you!!!

  35. 12-2
    7:42
    am

    Good luck with the fire it took me several weeks to learn how to do it well. I was always good at smoking up the house with it though. I would love to get the canning book.
    cricket

  36. 12-2
    7:42
    am

    I’ve been wanting to can something awful! This book would be awesome in helping me along my merry canning way! Thanks for the giveaway.

  37. 12-2
    7:47
    am

    I would love the canning book!

    I have no words of wisdom on fire starting. Good luck!

  38. 12-2
    7:55
    am

    Lots of fire starter ideas…nothing new here! Hope I get a chance at the Blue Book!

  39. 12-2
    7:57
    am

    Suzanne, do you have any pine trees on those 40 acres? Pine cones are wonderful fire starters and smell so good when they burn! You can us them as they are or dip them in wax to make super fire starters!

    Oh, and I would love the canning book!

    Off to vote!

    Thanks!

  40. 12-2
    8:01
    am

    Pine cones. Fat lighter. JUst not a lot of fat lighter.

  41. 12-2
    8:08
    am

    Oh how I miss my wood stove… It is currently sitting in my basement waiting for a chimney to be built (not likely this year due to our pitiful finances). Anyhow, before we moved to “the country”, we had both a fireplace and a wood stove. For quick and easy fire starters, I packed the little sections of the cardboard egg cartons with dryer lint and and melted leftover candle wax, which I poured over the lint. Let it harden and cut or tear into individual little fire starters. When my kids were smaller, I used pine cones dipped in melted (broken, leftover) crayons. Smelled really good. Looks like you got tons of great suggestions. I predict that you will master the wood stove with ease. Did I mention that I am a little jealous?

  42. 12-2
    8:09
    am

    I never used fire starter. Ash will burn hot and fast. I used to use that for kindling. Split it very fine and have a stack inside. Before the nasty weather hits you need to get as much kindling as you can find under cover. Until you get the hang of keeping a fire going you are most likely going to go through a lot of kindling. Oh, and add the new chunks of wood long before the fire is getting low. Especially if you wood is not completely dry. And as someone else suggested, bring a bunch of wood inside and stack it near the stove. Nice dry wood burns so much better.

  43. 12-2
    8:09
    am

    My original BBB is old :smilerabbit: and tattered-but we love it so!! My husband and I canned up everything we ate 37 years ago-but got too busy :shimmy: after children :snoopy: and jobs! But my daughter likes my book-so would love one fr you for her :heart: ! Have a great day! That DRY kindling is the key :sun: Rain

  44. 12-2
    8:12
    am

    This is what I do for firestarters, and I even make them and put them in cute flannel bags for gifts. The things that you need, you probably won’t have though! LOL…I don’t have them either, but I have friends that save them for me.

    Paper egg cartons (I have my own chickens, so I don’t get them!)

    Dryer lint (I hang my clothes on the line, so I don’t get that either! Although I think I will for winter)

    Left over candle bits. Got those.

    Stuff the dryer lint in the egg cartons, and poor melted candle wax over it. Let it dry. Rip the starters apart.

    These work GREAT.

    I have twenty four of them made and ready to go, if you want them, say the word (email me) and I’lls end them right out to you!

    Gotta keep you warm so you can keep blogging!

  45. 12-2
    8:19
    am

    I’ve always had a wood stove for heat–so I’ve built a lot of fires. I read an article in Mother Earth News and have completely changed the way I build a fire. It works! I don’t roll the newspaper like they say but it still works with tearing the paper. Now I’m thinking about making firestarters since we don’t get the paper anymore.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Wood-Fire-Building-Tips.aspx

  46. 12-2
    8:28
    am

    I want a blue book. Please :reindeer:

  47. 12-2
    8:28
    am

    Hi Suzanne,
    I would also love the Blue Book.
    And for a really radical idea for mastering the art of fire (and it truly is an art!), check out Mother Earth News online. There’s a great article on heating with wood/building and starting fires. Try the “top down” method. It sounds crazy, especially to someone like me who’s really good at fires, (I fire wood kilns), but it works like a dream. No, I don’t mean a nightmare!
    P.S. You’ll find the best and driest kindling still on the trees, not on the ground. Look for the low, twiggy branches that have been shade-killed as the tree grew, but that haven’t fallen yet. This is especially true of pine trees. And it beats all that bending.

  48. 12-2
    8:29
    am

    Suzanne,

    You could put some kindling in the milk can by the fire. Also, once your fire gets nice and hot, spread out the coals on the bottom a bit before feeding it more. They tend to like that.

    Christina

  49. 12-2
    8:30
    am

    I am TERRIFIED of fire (and heat, no curling irons here). We have a gas fireplace, which I love. You turn the knob and a huge fire pops out.

    I would love the canning/preserving book!

  50. 12-2
    8:33
    am

    Like Hedi and Jayme said with the dryer lint and wax trick, if you don’t have the paper egg carton use TP core cut in half and do your trick for seeding but use paper tape instead on the bottom. Pine cones covered in wax works (also do it to cinnamon sticks if you have old ones).

  51. 12-2
    8:36
    am

    I would love the Ball Blue Book!

    As for fire starting tips, you have lots of good ones here. Good luck and don’t give up!

  52. 12-2
    8:38
    am

    I feel like a parrot, but I echo the ideas of dryer lint and wax dipped ine cones! Both are fantastic fire starters. I used to take ziplock bags full of lint on Boy Scout Campouts and never had a problem getting a fire started.

  53. 12-2
    8:38
    am

    I really would like the canning book! I am sure you will become an expert at keeping a fire going. The last picture looks like there might not be enough air between the logs, but the ones before do, so what do I know?

  54. 12-2
    8:51
    am

    Back in the olden’ days….When we had a fireplace…I would use medium brown paper bags left over from the grocery shopping…
    Take my walk around the yard and thru the edges of of our woods…Pick up all those little twigs..redbud twigs I would just snap right off the trees..there are a gazillion of them…we had a lob lolly pine stand and picked up pine cones and pieces of that bark that is sometimes peeled off and fill my bags and take it back to the porch…I would have as many as ten stacked in the corner of the porch….when it was time to start the fire…I would grab a bag…place the bag with the twigs on the grate and lite it..as it burned add smaller pieces of kindling or little dry limbs…as they caught add on the bigger pieces…
    and finally the mother load..big one…close the flue a little, close the under neath air flow a little too and it would last all day…Wood stoves are work..no doubt about it…but are cosy…
    Old rotting forest wood is too wet for fire starters..or for cutting for the logs..My husband would lay down a few chosen trees usually oak and hickory..to season in the early spring..let lay in the woods to dry out by early fall..when the air cooled we would go to those trees and cut, split, haul and stack…keeping a on going stack dryer on the porch as it was used down..all the little side limbs the kids stacked in a separate area for the smaller kindling…then my twig paper stacks for starters…sometimes it takes a village to make a fire…LOL

  55. 12-2
    8:56
    am

    I’ve been trying to do as many things as possible at home than I ever have – vegetable stock and almond milk are my most recent, but I would love to add canning to the list! :) Good luck keeping the fire burning; I’ve never had a wood stove or any sort of fireplace so I’m no help.

  56. 12-2
    9:00
    am

    Another advocate of dryer lint/egg cartons/wax.
    It doesn’t take much wax, just enough to hold the lint in the carton.

    Good luck!

  57. 12-2
    9:02
    am

    my girl scouts say to put sawdust in an egg carton and fill with paraffin, as someone else suggested. I am the firemaster in our house, and it takes a LOT of trial and error! I recommend getting a chimney thermometer (mine is a condor chimguard thermometer) it is a magnet that sticks to your stovepipe to let you know what kind of action you have going on….I use it to tell me when the stove is to hot, so I can damp it down, and also to tell me when I need to add more love to it. I like to keep my ash pan cleaned out, although that may be my own woodstove voodoo – I think its easier to get her going when the ashpan is empty. I myself use ‘starter loggs’ (the extra ‘g’ makes them more flammable) and kindling – and I am assuming that your chimbley has been cleaned :) hope this helps!
    -patty

  58. 12-2
    9:03
    am

    I’m sorry, I have no firestarter tricks for you that you haven’t already tried. Just keep teh kindling and paper going til the big stuff catches. I got pretty good at the fires for a while there, but we haven’t used the fireplace for a while. I am afraid I might dislodge a family of birds who have made a nest up in the chimney if I start one now! (I don’t know that for a fact, it’s my imagination getting the best of me)
    I still would like to have that Ball Blue Book of Canning. I can taste the fresh preserves and fresh canned veges as I type this.

  59. 12-2
    9:03
    am

    I would love a Ball Blue Book! As far as the fire – I keep two 5-gallon buckets in rotation for kindling. One is filled and I start using the kindling (just sticks from the patio, yard, next to my car, etc) and then I quickly fill the other also, and store it in the garage or on the covered porch. Then once the first bucket is empty, I already have a bucket of dry kindling collected and ready to use…and can start refilling the now empty bucket with more, so it has time to dry before I need it. You will conquer this stove! I have every faith in you.

  60. 12-2
    9:07
    am

    Suzanne,
    You may have gotten this suggestion before but here goes. We use the top down method to build a fire. We have a country brand wood stove. We add 2 logs to the floor of it put larger kindling on top between the two logs and smaller kindling on top of that. We use “Strike a fire” starters. They burn for a long time giving your wood a chance to take hold. Close the door and walk away for 2 hrs until you need more wood. I don’t have time to keep tending the fire so this is the easiest and hands off approach I have found. Keep practicing. Ps. we don’t use a grate….do you have to use that grate? You wouldn’t need it with the top down method and it would not let you have a nice bed of coals with which to add more wood to.

  61. 12-2
    9:08
    am

    The canning book would be fantastic, Suzanne! Now, I shall share my secret to getting a fire burning…every time. First we lay down pieces of fast burning pine, and some kindling. Then, I turn on the GAS and light it with a long candle lighter. Yep, I am spoiled with gas. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…does it? Anyway, once that gets going good, we put the Oak on. Once THAT gets going, I turn off the gas!See? Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Don’t feel bad, Suzanne. Even with gas, I am terrible at it. My husband, the Eagle scout that he is, is the firebuilder in the house. He can even get it lit withOUT the gas on! I know that he sometimes will use the dryer lint and he uses a small hatchet to chop tiny little pieces of pine and we keep in inside in a little bucket. You see, he thinks using the gas is silly. I think he is silly that he thinks using gas is silly.
    Good luck, you will a hang of it! I am completely sure of it. Anything that you set your mind to…you get done! It is just part of who you are! That fire doesn’t stand a chance.

  62. 12-2
    9:16
    am

    See that red strip at the bottom of the weather screen that says SEVERE T-STORMS AND FLOODING? Yeah. Just drove/waded through some of it. Wish I had a roaring fire right now . . . :cry:

  63. 12-2
    9:17
    am

    I make fire starters with dry pinecones. Melt old candle wax, paraffin wax, whatever you have on hand or can find. Line your muffin/cupcake pans with muffin/cupcake papers, not foil ones. You can add fragrance if you like to the melted wax. Now take a pinecone and weave cotton string through it leaving a wick at the top and place it in the muffin pan and pour melted wax over it. Let it sit to harden.

    To start a fire, light the wick and tuck it into your kindling.

  64. 12-2
    9:17
    am

    I think everyone has given you very good ideas. Mostly it just needs lots of air,. Love the egg carton starters….if I ever get another stove or fireplace I will make my own. I used to cheat and buy the fire starter loggs.

    I would really like to get back into canning. I have done jams and jellies before. Please put my name in the drawing.

    I live in East TN and we are watching that weather system too. I hope you stay warm.

  65. 12-2
    9:18
    am

    Hi Suzanne,

    No firestarter tips here either ( I have a hard time getting the grill going – LOL!) We have a pellet stove and just need to press the “ON” button. I’m fire phobic too….

    Please enter me in the BBB giveaway – I would love to start canning! Called the library yesterday to see if they could find me one on the interlibrary loan to get me started – would love to have a copy of my own!

    Jen

  66. 12-2
    9:23
    am

    I have used pinecones dipped in wax, commercial firestarters, paper, branches, White pine cones, etc. I have found that a combination of White pine cones, paper and firestarter works the best. We can make a package of 3 firestarters from the store last about a month. I also made firestarters from cardboard strips rolled up, tied with cotton string and dipped in wax. They work very well too. However, your fingers will get sore. Good luck with your woodstove, I love mine!

  67. 12-2
    9:25
    am

    Great fire starting comments from pros already so just going to say…I would love to win the canning book! :)

  68. 12-2
    9:26
    am

    This will be my second making jam for Christmas gifts, and I’d love the Ball Blue Book to help refine my hesitant, neophyte methods!

  69. 12-2
    9:30
    am

    I can’t help but laugh each time I read about the problems you have starting a fire and keeping it going. Years ago my husband and I bought a house with nothing but a wood burning stove. I had no idea how to use it at all. Like you, someone would show me constantly and each day I would freeze if it went out. I could never get it going and keep it going. Dry kindling is the key along with seasoned firewood, however I still had major problems. My father rescued me however! He had cut down several pine trees and brought me a huge box of pine (nuggets and pieces) to use for kindling. It burns major hot and lasts much longer than paper of any kind. It doesn’t take much of it at all. This would be my suggestion to you if you have pine available.

    Also the way you arrange the logs and kindling is important.

  70. 12-2
    9:31
    am

    I think I’d rather just go out and pick-up kindling. But that’s me. :sheepjump: I just love how your staff is helping… :lol:

    I’d like to win the book!!

  71. 12-2
    9:32
    am

    Suzanne, I just love your stories because I recognize so many of them. My husband went through the same agony with his learning to use our fireplace….He’s really got it down pat now and I am sure you will too…

    Ruthie

  72. 12-2
    9:37
    am

    Suzanne – I would love to win the book! Looking forward to seeing suggestions on homemade firestarters. They can only help – sometimes I can get it started and sometimes not.

    Beth aka oneoldgoat

  73. 12-2
    9:39
    am

    Firestarter from my Girl Scout Days, and it’s rightup your alley. Dryer Lint, smoosh it together in a paper cup, as much as you can cram to about halfway. Then add melted candle wax, down the side of the cup, don’t saturate the entire top, to just below the top of the lint so that there’s some fluffy stuff still on top. Light the cup to start the fire! Goodluck!

  74. 12-2
    9:44
    am

    This might not work for you unless you have feed bags or salt bags from the feed store….but it is fool-proof for me. I take a paper feed sack, roll up some kindling in it and place it on the tinder and balled-up newspaper.

    And keep that Ball Canning Book tantalizing me…I need it!

  75. 12-2
    9:45
    am

    SUZANNE, you love candles, so prepare woodstove with paper, kindling and small log teepee, add a votive (maybe a tea lite) and see what happens. I am not a fire builder but this is what i would try because I LOVE CANDLES.

  76. 12-2
    9:45
    am

    The key to a great fire is your “stick bin”. My 7 and 8 year old son have to fill the stick shed every fall for this very purpose. (This takes about a week, several wagonloads daily) Each day one son fills the stick bin in the house, the other fills the wood box. We go through quite a lot of kindling, but it works the best for starting the larger split pieces and getting it hot so everything will burn. Also, we sometimes use the propane torch for starting the kindling. Works so fast!
    Would love to win your blue ball canning book too! :snoopy:

  77. 12-2
    9:47
    am

    What do you do with your “staff” when the winter storms hit? Do you have heaters in the coop? Our last two winters in Austin haven’t been cold enough to worry, but I’m afraid this year we’ll have a big storm. I guess I’ve thought we’d put the girls in the garage if it got cold enough.

    I would love the canning book!

  78. 12-2
    9:57
    am

    They go in the chicken house! And I can keep the light on all day to keep some warmth in there. Other than that, they just have snuggle up with each other!

  79. 12-2
    9:57
    am

    Please include me in the drawing. I am sure after a “few” attempts, you will be a “pro” at starting the fire. We usually have an outside fire each weekend. My brother that is on the volunteer fire dept is a good fire starter. It may be because he does what will put a fire out. Good Luck. :pawprint:

  80. 12-2
    9:59
    am

    I would love to be entered into the drawing for the canning book.
    I see you have received plenty of advice for starting and keeping a fire going so with my limited experience I’ll just say I will keep my fingers crossed for ya.

  81. 12-2
    10:03
    am

    Keep practicing Suzanne and you will soon keep it going all day! I would love the Ball Blue Book!

  82. 12-2
    10:06
    am

    We got a woodstove about 3 years ago. I went through the same thing you are. Now I am the fire builder and I mainly maintain it. My husband gets it sooo hot in the house we have to open a window. What is it with men and fire, they think the bigger the better. Pinecones are great firestarters. Your kindling and wood need to be dry to get a good fire. I keep my woodstove door open at first with the damper all the way open to get as much oxygen as possible. Keep it fueled with dry wood and it should keep going. You’ll get it. As far as the kindling I have my 12yr old son get 1 load of kindling a day and it adds up fast. Good luck!

  83. 12-2
    10:11
    am

    LINT from your dryer is great kindling! Point a tiny handheld fan at the fire… They’re perfect for feeding it oxygen without spreading ash all over your house. Orange peels have a very flamable oil in them. Try dried orange peel. Smells great too. Good luck.

  84. 12-2
    10:14
    am

    I’d love that book!!

    I wish I knew more about wood stoves. If Mom were still around, I’d call her and ask her how to keep it going. We seemed to always have a woodstove when I was growing up even though we moved a few times. My Mom had one in her kitchen that heated the whole house. Sometimes it got so hot even when we got together for Christmas that we’d have to go stand on the carport to cool off! I do know she threw just about everything in it. They had very little trash to haul off in the winter time. :yes: I hope you get some great ideas from everyone else today!

  85. 12-2
    10:25
    am

    Here are some things I learned last year when learning how to use a wood burner
    1. Light some newspaper and warm the flue of the chimney before you light the fire – it helps the chimney draw.
    2. Cracking a door or window near the wood burner helps it get started – I’m assuming because you need oxygen for fire – I sometimes do this when the fire is dying out to help restart it.
    3. If your wood burner is near your kitchen don’t run your vent or hood or air purifier or other things that draw air out near the wood burner it kills the fire.
    4. Dryer lint makes a great fire starter.
    5. Keep my Dad on speed dial for when the house fills up with smoke because I don’t know enough about wood burners. Good Luck

  86. 12-2
    10:29
    am

    My grandma uses vegetable oil. You douse the wood with it and pull your hand out really fast when you’re lighting it.

  87. 12-2
    10:30
    am

    I save my junk mail, my dryer lint and toilet paper/paper towel rolls. I fill the empty rolls with the dryer lint. I use my junk mail as kindling and cram the lint filled tubes around. Needless to say, my H is way better at fire starting than I. Errrr.

  88. 12-2
    10:41
    am

    I NEVER let mine go completely out. I feed it continutally, yes I even get up in the night to put a log on. With my stove, once it gets going if I shut it down completely, the the coals never completely die and it gives nice toasty warmth…..I feel your pain! Keep at it!

  89. 12-2
    10:44
    am

    I would love a Ball Blue Book! Mine disappeared several moves ago and it has never shown up again. This weekend, my friend and I are going to make pear butter and perhaps marmalade. Talk about a good time!!!

  90. 12-2
    10:51
    am

    I have the Ball Blue Book on my Amazon wish list! But since the family has decided that adults aren’t getting presents this year, I’m out of luck!

    I don’t have any fire starting words of wisdom, we had one when I was a kid, but my Dad was in charge of it, and I never learned! Shame on me!

  91. 12-2
    10:53
    am

    Lacey and a few others have really already said it. But I will add: You apparently KNOW how to START a fire. The pictures prove it. You are just having a problem keeping it going.

    If the wood you are burning is not completely wet and if your chimney is drawing well (and you really should check it every year) then I have to think you are just not paying close enough attention. It is so easy to get busy doing other things and forget that a fire in a wood stove is not like a furnace on the gas line.

    Don’t let it die down enough to need restarting. As someone mentioned, add new wood while the fire is burning strong enough to get it going especially if that wood is a bit damp. Don’t worry that you will make the fire too big (well, unless you just go nuts stuffing wood in there all at once) because the new wood will have to heat before it really starts to burn and while that happens the old wood will be consumed.

    A close look at your photographs also makes me wonder whether you are keeping the wood in the right shape to burn. It looks like (4th photo) the logs are spread apart (first thing Smoky the Bear recommends to put out your campfire, right?). There must be space for air to get between the burning logs but they need to be close enough together to maintain a high heat and to keep the air moving. Use your poker to pull back the logs that fall too far out of the main burn. If the logs settle too much together as they burn, use your poker to lift and stack the burning logs so air can get through. While you are at it turn the unburned part of a log toward the main fire so new fuel is exposed.

    You should not need kindling except to start the fire in the first place. Once it is started it is a matter of TENDING rather than RESTARTING.

    I’d just love to be able to sit beside that fire with you for a while. You’ve probably got lots more chicken stories! :happyflower:

  92. 12-2
    10:55
    am

    Does making your husband do it count as homemade? I always have to fall back on those little fire starter bricks. I know it’s lame, but it works for me…then it dies…then I try again. Oh, you know…

  93. 12-2
    10:57
    am

    Thanks for the weather warning. Its windy here but otherwise typical Florida weather. But since I’m just south of the ‘dot’ (lake Okeechobee) I can see it’s going to be rather nasty soon.

    I can’t light a fire, :no: I use starter logs when I go on vacation and we stay in a cabin.

  94. 12-2
    10:59
    am

    Hi Suzanne! I’m still voting everyday! Kathleen of fourmilesnorthofnowhere.blogspot.com described her homemade firesharters yesterday i n her Dec. 1 post! She saves cardboard paper tubes from toilet tissue, papertowels, giftwrap, and fills them with dryer lint & loosely crumpled newspaper. Sounds easy and good use of recycling! She ties them up with jute or yarn. Throw my hat in for the Balls Bluebook of Canning. Would love to win! V.

  95. 12-2
    10:59
    am

    Oh Suzanne, you are a hoot! :heart:

    Fire starting/maintenance tips:

    Start with a huge, and I mean, HUGE box of DRY KINDLING kept in your basement. I had a very old 5’x 5′ and 3′ deep wooden shipping crate in my basement where I kept a winter’s supply of kindling. keep a smaller box near your stove and refill from the HUGE box when low. You will need lots of dry kindling if your fire goes out.

    Build up a nice thick bed of hot coals and keep it in order to keep your fire going. when cleaning out your stove, leave about an inch of ashes and remove the rest, leaving, of course, any hot coals. this is important. stop down your damper once fire is going well in order to have a slow burn. fill the box with as much wood as you can get in there and control temp through damper. slow burn is important to save your wood and keep your fire going.

    pay attention to how long you get between stove fills. this will help you to know about how long you have before your fire will go out. ideally you want to keep it going so you don’t have to be concerned with starting over each time. throw another log in there to keep it burning bright. if you aren’t going to be around for several hours, keep it rather full.

    I hope this helps. Becoming familiar with woodstoves and fires is the best way to learn and that comes from practice which you are getting! Embrace your fear of it, let it go, and then enjoy that brightly burning fire you will have all day long. :hug:

  96. 12-2
    11:02
    am

    Here I am making grandmother bread, waiting for the lady from craigslist to call me to come pick up her 10 dozen canning jars, stareing at the unused canner my mother-in-law gave me, and crossing my fingers to win the BBB, which is really hard to do and stir grandmother bread……

  97. 12-2
    11:04
    am

    All these ideas to recycle things we have laying around to get the fire going are great! We have pine trees and LOTS of cones so I’m going to try the wax and cones tip. Good way to recycle the bits of candles left over.

    I would love the Ball Blue Book please :) I’m an eager beginner at canning.

  98. 12-2
    11:06
    am

    I would love to win the BBB. I have just started canning and I’m loving it. I even made your homemade cranberry sauce (it was delicious by the way).
    Now I’m off to vote.

  99. 12-2
    11:06
    am

    The damn damper………..I think it holds the secret.
    ;)~

  100. 12-2
    11:07
    am

    Wish we had a wood stove or fireplace. We have a brand-new furnace. Problem is, it won’t stay lit. Technician is coming out to “Take a look”.

    We live on the Texas Gulf Coast. Temps are in the mid 40’s, so we’re freezing. And SNOW Friday.

  101. 12-2
    11:12
    am

    BEST firestarters evuh!! take paper egg crate….stuff each hole w/ lint from your dryer….take leftover candles…melt them…pour over lint…cut each egg seperately and use as firestarter. we use them all the time camping and LOVE them. and I want the ball blue book please :))

  102. 12-2
    11:15
    am

    I would love to win the Ball Blue Book!

    Do you heat your home entirely by wood stove? Also, I am wondering about the smell….every time we light our fireplace, it smells like a camp fire in here if it’s a moist day outside…. :reindeer:

  103. 12-2
    11:25
    am

    For STARTING your fire, y’all best be gathering lots of kindling and putting it under cover so it can dry and keep dry BEFORE that cold front with snow hits! Wherever you pile up kindling, put it ON something so it’s not sitting right on the floor or ground. Good air circulation is the key to good kindling drying.

    For KEEPING your fire, you need to watch it close and learn when to move firewood around and when to add more. You’ll have to really get to know it. I haven’t read comments here, but I’m guessing there are lots of good ones! Hang in there Suzanne … one day soon you’ll look back and wonder why it used to be so challenging!

  104. 12-2
    11:33
    am

    I still wish we had a warm wood stove to warm up near. ANd yes we do want that book to take canning a step further here !

  105. 12-2
    11:34
    am

    I think that old dry bark for kinneling is a good starter !! But a better, fool proof one is…get paper egg cartons and seperate each holder so they are singles. Then place the lint from the clothes dryer in it. Place this under dry small twigs!! Let me know!!

  106. 12-2
    11:40
    am

    Wow I had to go a long ways to be able to comment today! That is awesome! I love seeing the following you have. Would love a book but enjoy just the ability to read your website every day. As for fires. I am not a girl scout, have never had a wood stove and if my hubby aint home – ME and the DIESEL go to town…. Diesel cuz its safer than gas. My hubby caught me trying to use gas and I almost got tackled! LOL. Good luck! I am glad someone else was here to give you advice.

  107. 12-2
    11:43
    am

    I’d like to win the Ball Book. We can stuff here and I hear the Blue Ball Book is pretty much the Bible for canning. So far, we just can the way it was shown to us growing up.

    A tip for your fire, it always works for me. Make layers. On the bottom, place a few tissues, then layer some paper or newspaper, then layer some torn up cardboard, then layer the small kindling, then the larger kindling, then place a few small pieces of dry firewood on top. Light the tissue on the bottom and it will catch up. Make sure you stove vent is wide open and that it is getting plenty of air. Once it catches up good, close your damper a little. My uncle uses kerosene on cardboard to start his fires. Also, another tip that you will like, take a small container, fill it with dry wood chips, pour melted candle wax over them to make a sort of tart. make sure some wood chips are sticking out of the way. Lay on top of your cardboard or kindling when you light the fire. The wax chips will burn slowly and help catch up the fire. You can add a little scent to the candle wax and it will even scent up the room. Don’t use more than two at a time or else you’ll wax up your stove.

    just keep in mind, once your fire is going, just add good dry wood every once in awhile, and you’ll not have to worry about it going out. Remember where there’s hot coals, there’s fire. You can lay dry kindling on hot coals at it’ll catch up most of the time.

    If you have to leave the house for a few hours, bank the stove. Fill it full of heavy wood, and shut off the damper to where it’d almost closed but still getting a little air. The wood will then burn slowly but you’ll still have fire when you get back home. A banked stove will last all night long too.

  108. 12-2
    11:47
    am

    This might already be posted but could not read through the 100++ postings!! WOW!!!!

    Get old candle wax – any scents and scrap is fine
    Melt it down, add wood shavings and pour into mini paper cups (non-waxed variety) or paper egg carton cup.

    Light the edge of the cup and it will act as a candle and keep you fire lit.

    OR… take newspaper, open it up and then at diagonal roll it up tightly, folding the length in half once fully rolled up. This will act as a wick to light your fire.

    ALSO…sounds/looks like your wood may not be dry enough to stay lit. Has it completely dried?

  109. 12-2
    11:53
    am

    I agree the dryer lint is the best fire starter there is.. That is why its so important to clean lint after every use of your dryer..Also run the lint trap under water to clean it good at least once a month.You would be suprised at how many house fires ther are a year and deaths because of dryers.

  110. 12-2
    11:54
    am

    My husband is a master fire starter. I agree with some of the other comments. You really need some “fat lighter” or “lighter knot” as the old folks call it. Take 52 out to the woods with you and look for an old pine that has fallen down and been sitting there a while giving the sap time to concentrate and then cut it up into small pieces and you will be good to go. On the inside of the tree the wood is almost a brownish yellow color and it will smell kind of like resin. Or find someone that sells firewood, they almost always have fat lighter, especially if there is an old-timer around. And if you can’t find any, email me and I will send you some. The other crucial thing like someone said above is the way you place or stack the wood. I don’t have a wood stove but when we camp, my husband stacks the wood so there is room in between for the fire to breathe and then uses the fat lighter to start it. If yu can manage to get a good fire going with lots of coals then you can keep adding new wood to the coals and it should last all day. Hope this helps – it is not fun to be cold.

  111. 12-2
    11:58
    am

    Why not call your staff inside for a meeting around the wood stove? Let them form a committee to figure it out!!! :chicken: :chicken: :chicken:

  112. 12-2
    11:59
    am

    I had no idea there were so many ways to light a fire. And each one using items we have on hand. I’d love to have a wood stove in my basement.

    Sign me up for the drawing. I’ll be canning a lot next summer

  113. 12-2
    12:06
    pm

    No new fire starting advice here-pinecones and lint work wonders-always got to have some seasoned wood mixed in with the green to maintain a good steady fire.
    I don’t need the BBB-my mom is a professional canner from way back LOL
    I just wanted you to know that I love your staff-every time you say you gathered your staff and then there is a picture of those chickens I just laugh out loud. Too funny
    Live long and prosper and gather your staff often

  114. 12-2
    12:08
    pm

    I use scrunched up paper (lots of it)and pine cones. Then come the twigs, smaller branches and on top the log(s); and it does need constant, loving care. But then I’m talking about an open fireplace. As someone pointed out, the damper is usually to blame for everything in a closed stove.
    Anyway, as we are going into summer here, and bumper crops of everything after the masses of rain we’ve had,I would love to have a blue book to help me along.

  115. 12-2
    12:21
    pm

    I haven’t read through all the above, but I make fire starter using sawdust-shavings and melted wax-candles. Just take a cardboard egg container and fill the holes with shavings and pour wax over it, let cool. Sometimes I cut them in half, don’t want too much smoke. Try this, and you could probaly use cut up corn husks instead of shavings.

  116. 12-2
    12:24
    pm

    I would LOVE to win a Ball Blue Book!(And the name still makes me smile.)
    Rys

  117. 12-2
    12:33
    pm

    I want this Ball Blue Blue Book!!! I taught myself to garden and preserve the harvest, with the infamous Ball Bluebook as my mentor, back in the 80s/90s. I lost touch with that wholesome way of life for awhile, but I’m back now…things are better than ever and my canning pot and jars are calling out my name. This new book will mark a new era for me and my canning pot. Even though I still have the old Book complete with scribbled notes, tomato droplets, and pickling spice crumbs preserved between its pages, it would bless my heart to have this anniversary edition. Hopeful-a Texas Hill Country girl

  118. 12-2
    12:42
    pm

    I was a Girl Scout, and the leader always brought “fire starters” on the camping trips (or more often, the “stay in a lodge with a fireplace” trips). They were made of dryer lint stuffed in cardboard egg cartons, and then filled up with melted wax. I don’t know what such a thing would do to a wood stove chimney, though. Check with 52.

  119. 12-2
    1:10
    pm

    I love how you kept that fire going! Finally, perhaps you have whooped the challenge of fire!

    I would love to win that Ball Blue Book!!! I plan on canning lots of things and this book would help me tremendously.
    So throw my name in the BBB pot and I sure hope to win!

    Deb

  120. 12-2
    1:17
    pm

    I’d love a copy of the BBB. 8)

    I was going to post the link to the Mother Earth News fire starting article, but someone beat me to it. Instead, I’ll just wish you luck.

  121. 12-2
    1:45
    pm

    I would like a copy of the BBB. Please and thank you! : )

  122. 12-2
    1:48
    pm

    Hey Suzanne!

    I sure hope that with all of those wonderful tips you will be able to have a good roaring hot fire today! I have free gas :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: so keeping my fire lit is really easy! It’s been years since I have lived at a house with a real fire place. Seems like I’ve always heard that pine does burn faster but it also does something to your pipes. I figure 52 would know something about that.

    Good Luck! :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy:

    Angela :wave:

    I voted and was number 25347 :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy:

  123. 12-2
    1:50
    pm

    HI Suzanne! I would love to own a copy of this canning book! Also, I recently saw a post on making homemade fire starters out of ….are you ready for this…drier lint! How thrifty is that?? I’ll find the post for you and send you the link.
    Blessings!
    BethAnn

  124. 12-2
    1:54
    pm

    HI again Suzanne,
    Here’s the link for the homemade fire starters…found it on Owlhaven’s blog

    http://www.owlhaven.net/2009/11/18/project-frugal-firestarters/

    Good luck!!
    BethAnn

  125. 12-2
    2:03
    pm

    I’ve used these for over a year,in the fireplace and camping.They work great and are made from 100% recycled materials!You need empty egg cartons(..sorry gotta get them from friends and neighbors)dryer lint and the remains of candles that won’t burn any more or are too short for your comfort. While the candle remains are melting on the stove stuff dryer lint into egg cartons that are sitting on old newspapers, carefully pour the wax over the lint and allow to dry/harden. break into desired size. I usually do 2 to 3 egg sizes. Have fun and happy burning.

  126. 12-2
    2:07
    pm

    I love your blog and hope you win the job. I would also love a copy of the Blue Ball Book. I’ve misplaced my copy and would love another one. THanks, kelley

  127. 12-2
    2:15
    pm

    Love your blog and all your beautiful pictures. Hope you win!
    I would love the canning book.

    bellcarol

  128. 12-2
    2:25
    pm

    I would love to have a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning. My mom & I used to can together. But since she passed away, I haven’t canned anything. But it is something that interests me and I’d like to start it up again. Thanks for the chance & I love your blog!

  129. 12-2
    2:25
    pm

    Sorry, no advises here. The only stove where I need to get the fire started these days is the sauna stove and that one has never given me any trouble. Our wood stove in the kitchen is no longer safe to use, anyway.

    I would love to win the Ball Blue book.

  130. 12-2
    2:35
    pm

    I’ve heated my house with wood for 30 years and there really is no need for gimmicky fire starters. The country rituals to prepare for winter do include gathering your kindling in advance. I start in Sept. and fill up cardboard boxes and 5 gal buckets with downed sticks in my yard, scraps and bark that come when we use the log splitter and odd pinecones or nuts that litter the yard. We pile all that up in the barn long before it’s needed and then keep several boxes of dried kindling on the front porch at all times. If your stove draws right, one piece of newspaper and handful of kindling will get things off to a roaring start. Just leave the bottom damper open to increase the draw and if it starts sounding like a freight train, time to damp down so as to not start a chimney fire. – Holly

  131. 12-2
    2:44
    pm

    Suzanne, I would suggest a fireplace bellows to work some oxygen back into the fire. When you start your fire, is your damper open? I love using the bellows, instant fire. Good luck.

  132. 12-2
    3:14
    pm

    Would love to have that canning book! Sorry no tips for the fire though. You are far better at that than I am!

  133. 12-2
    3:20
    pm

    I’ve got a miserable history for fire-starting. I always need a ‘helper’. Now, I’ve started saving the lint from the dryer, and the tp tubes, to fill with the lint once I have enough…not sure on using the paraffin yet, I think I’ll wait and see, since I like to use my ashes in my garden.

    I would *love* to be entered in the contest, btw.

    Your staff, while larger than mine (I had some cherry picked by another ’employer’–a coyote, to be sure), is about as helpful. Not only that, I’ve got some ‘middle management’ types (the geese) that are absolute petty overlords…

    LOL Love your blog…

  134. 12-2
    3:25
    pm

    Forgot to mention I would just love the Ball Blue Book!

  135. 12-2
    3:31
    pm

    I’m still working on overcoming my fear of water-bath canning — I’d love to read this book! Count me in for the contest!

  136. 12-2
    3:40
    pm

    Goodness, what a lot of followers you have. Hope the SAM-e people are paying attention. And it doesn’t have anything to do with giveaways, either. Some of your Clover posts get this much traffic.

    My suggestion about your fire has nothing to do with starting it, although I agree with whoever said starting is no longer your problem, it’s keeping it going. I bet you get busy and forget about the thing, dontcha? Uh-huh.

    My suggestion has to do with forgetting about lighters, big or little and getting you some wooden matches, either kitchen or fireplace. That way you can lay it right on a piece of paper in the stove and not worry about getting your fingers burnt. Don’t think it’ll do much for the fire, but it’s one less thing to be afraid of around a woodburner. Please take care to keep them dry and in a safe place, though. My husband insists that mice can chew on them and start a fire. Never happened at Mom’s house and she had them right out in a cute little wall holder. But what do I know!

    Oh, I know I’d love to win the canning book.

    P.S. If this message or something like it posted twice, I’m sorry. My cat sat on my keyboard and my first message disappeared.

  137. 12-2
    3:46
    pm

    I pretty much get the same weather as you – it’s getting colder and has been pouring all day – I guess we’re lucky that it isn’t snow yet.

  138. 12-2
    3:53
    pm

    I’d love the blue ball book! Go ahead and throw my name in the draw;)
    As for keeping a fire going, It’s been so long since i’ve lived in a house with a wood stove that I can’t remember. I’m jealous though!!

  139. 12-2
    4:03
    pm

    Yes, if you go to http://www.alexa.com and look up suzannemcminn.com, Suzanne has some pretty impressive traffic.

    I just have a great time stopping by here (and I don’t even have a wood burning stove, and my fireplace is gas)! I’ve sat around a lot of campfires, though, fighting to keep the wind from blowing out the flames before the fire could get going. And I’m thinking either buying or making an outdoor fire pit, so all these tips are great.

  140. 12-2
    4:24
    pm

    Dryer lint stuffed in toilet paper holders helps–but it really sounds like you are either burning green wood or there is some issue with the draw on your flue. Once you get a fire going, good and hot, there shouldn’t be any problems with it going out–just add another stick occasionally. If your wood was cut this year it’s likely green. It helps to ‘get ahead’ by a year and get your wood cut so it can season for the next winter. If you are burning green wood, you need to watch the creosote buildup which can cause dangereous flue fires. I burn wood that is seasoned a year, but will also add a stick or two of green wood to ‘hold’ a fire. They still will burn well, once the dry wood is good and hot. Hope you can resolve the problem somehow, otherwise it’s going to be a long, cold tiring winter, trying to tend the beast.
    Tammy

  141. 12-2
    5:16
    pm

    Would love to win the canning book!

    I’m with the lint and cotton balls dipped in vasoline crowd. You can also get fat sticks at the hardware store.

  142. 12-2
    5:19
    pm

    It takes time and attention to a wood fire to keep it going. If you’re not sure if you’re doing it right, spend a few hours with someone who does or ask that person to come and spend time with you.

    Voted today: 25526 votes.

  143. 12-2
    5:24
    pm

    good luck with the fire. I want the bbb so bad I can taste it.

  144. 12-2
    5:33
    pm

    It seems to me that your grate keeps the wood too far off the coals. To keep a fire going you need to have the wood laying on the coals.

  145. 12-2
    6:26
    pm

    WHERE did Mary, NC come from in the contest? From not even close in the vote to being in 1st place? Some of these votes seem… interesting. :hissyfit:

  146. 12-2
    6:53
    pm

    Out of cold desperation I learned to build & maintain a fire. Maintain is the key word. But I believe if you can bake bread Suzanne you can master the wood stove. Start with good yeast/kindling, high quality flour/logs & a sound oven/stove! Hang in there you’ll be an old hand soon!

  147. 12-2
    6:58
    pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I made the pull apart corn meal bread/rolls and it was everything you said and then some. WOW! it was super good and oh so easy. At my age >66 I sure don’t like hard…. time consuming recipes and this one is ever so easy that it was fun making it. Hubby sure complimented me on it :shimmy: Next I will try making the Grandmothers bread.

    I love your web site and I’ve been voting every day for you to win the Sam-e job. I sure hope you win. I know it’s not just who gets the most votes, so if any of the judges are reading your posts and the replys then please please please pick Suzanne’s blog. It has everything to hold everyones interest, not just the young but us senior citizens also. Excellent photos and animals and farm critters and beautiful scenery and really yummy recipes.
    To me your blog is a must read and it’s always a must read first thing in the morning with my coffee. Okay I’ve rattled on enough.

  148. 12-2
    7:00
    pm

    Hi, Suzanne.
    Wad your paper up tighter. Use those leaves you’ve got all over the place. They make the best “paper” of all … as long as they’re dry. Set your kindling up like a tepee with the paper in the middle. When the kindling falls, gently lay a small log across it, preferably one with a lot of loose bark. Breathe on the damn thing. Get down on your knees and whisper the thing into life — long, slow breaths. Sit back, pray a bit, and blow on it some more, but gently, gently.
    Make sure you add your next log before the last one has given up.
    How old’s your fire wood?
    And are you having any trouble getting the smoke to go up your chimney? If so, you need to start with a hotter fire to heat up your chimney right at the first.
    If you give your fire too much air at first, you drown it, but if you give it too little, you suffociate it. This is the bit you’ll have to practice.
    Good luck.
    Just B

  149. 12-2
    7:20
    pm

    The wood IS seasoned and it’s going up the chimney fine. I think it’s ME. (LOL)

  150. 12-2
    7:21
    pm

    I’m so glad you liked it! I love those rolls! Made them tonight!

  151. 12-2
    7:22
    pm

    I need to convince a Certain Person that I can get rid of the grate!!!

  152. 12-2
    7:41
    pm

    About the only thing I can think of is maybe save your dryer lint for use as kindling along with newspaper. Oh! And I know pinecombs are pretty good at starting a fire. You might have some in the woods you can collect and dry out. Good luck with that storm heading your way. I’ll be praying you’ll be safe with your little ones. Take care and God Bless you Suzanne!

  153. 12-2
    7:42
    pm

    I also forgot to ask to be entered in your canning book giveaway. Thank you!

  154. 12-2
    7:43
    pm

    Would love to have my name thrown in the hat for a chance at the Ball Blue Book.Nothing left here in my garden, but could sure put i
    t to good use next summer. No words of wisdom from me on fire building. We had one all the years I was growing up,but as I recall there was always a lot of smoke and dust involved. Probably that was because my Dad also used coal for fuel. :dancingmonster:

  155. 12-2
    7:59
    pm

    Uh oh! :o :o :o We have a problem! You’re in third place in the vote count! Don’t give up on Suzanne :cry: Keep voting! 8) 8) 8)

  156. 12-2
    8:45
    pm

    I would, of course, love the canning book! I don’t ever have to light fires at home, so I’m not sure that I’d be much help on that part… but I do wish you the best of luck!

  157. 12-2
    9:41
    pm

    This late in the posting, I’m not sure you’ll see this, but give second thought to removing the grate. If you build a very hot fire, and do it pretty often, you can warp the bottom plate of your woodburning stove. If the grate is the problem, may I suggest you get a welding shop to shorten the legs. Or do like I did, I took out the grate and lined the bottom with firebricks I purchased at the brickyard, used, very cheap. They will protect your stove and give you closer access the to coal bed. You’ll get it girl, it just takes a bit of time.

  158. 12-2
    9:46
    pm

    Oh, how I would love to win the BBB book! Maybe then I wouldn’t be afraid of my pressure cooker. Good luck with your fire – kindling is the secret to a great fire – dry kindling. I keep a stack of it in the back yard near the fire pit. Every time I pick up sticks in the yard, I pile them there to be ready when I want to have a good fire. You should have plenty of kindling on your property.

  159. 12-2
    9:49
    pm

    Hi Suzanne,
    I voted, would love to win the Blue Book. I have learned so much about starting fires on this post…wow! No new tips from me. :happyflower:

    Kathleen H from Indiana

  160. 12-2
    10:19
    pm

    No fire hints, but another would-be canner. I would love to win that book!

    Thanks,

    Julia

  161. 12-2
    10:40
    pm

    Oh my gosh…I went to that website that someone mentioned (alexa.com) to check out your stats, Suzanne, and there’s some pretty interesting information. But the best part is you can click on what is called the “way back machine” and it has an archive of what your blog used to look like clear back to August of 2000! :lol:

    I’ll put it to you this way….you’ve come a long way, baby! :shimmy:

  162. 12-2
    11:27
    pm

    No offense to 52, but more kindling is not going to fix your problem. Kindling isn’t even necessary if you use fire starters (sawdust or wood chips mixed with paraffin wax in cardboard egg cartons is a good homemade one) That, and grates are for fireplaces, not wood stoves!

  163. 12-3
    12:08
    am

    Listen to a “certain person” and don’t get rid of the grate. Keep the ashes clear from under it to the back where it needs to draw.
    You’ll be good at this in no time! Time to vote.

  164. 12-3
    1:29
    am

    I didn’t read the comments… so I am sorry if this is a repeat. I saw on some blog awhile back about using toilet paper rolls and stuffing them with the lint from your dryer to use as a fire starter. I haven’t tried it yet.

    We recently moved into a home that has fireplaces. I have never ever had a home with a fireplace, and we’ve moved more times than I can remember. I’m kinda scared of the fireplace. I haven’t made a fire yet, I’ve deemed that hubby’s chore. :p It was 10F today and I should have made a fire… I will hopefully have the courage tomorrow for our 15F weather!

    I am cracking up at 52’s “You have 40 acres of kindling” remark. LOL

  165. 12-3
    2:11
    am

    You didn’t let the fire get the best of you today!

    I’d love to win the Ball Blue book. I need some canning inspiration.

    Mel

  166. 12-3
    5:33
    am

    Oh, I’d love to win it too!

  167. 12-3
    7:26
    am

    I know I am repeating a solution posted above, but this works: take lint from your dryer and put it in empty toilet paper rolls.

  168. 12-3
    8:49
    am

    DON’T EVER HEAT VASELINE SOAKED COTTON BALLS IN A MICROWAVE OVEN!!! Microwave ovens should never be used heat anything but food. Cotton balls can catch fire in a microwave oven and microwave fires are very serious. I’ve been a microwave scientist for almost 50 years; own about 50 microwave ovens and have studied and presented papers on microwave fires. DON’T DO IT!!!

  169. 12-3
    9:43
    am

    we use to use pinecones or even lint from the dryer and and save the old candle wax and mekt and drizzle over the cones or lint balls. YOu have such an awesome wood stove !!! it should keep ya warm this winter

  170. 12-3
    12:22
    pm

    I want it, I want it, I want it!!! The Ball Blue Book, that is, LOL!

  171. 12-3
    7:01
    pm

    Good firestarters are anything dipped in wax. Dryer lint, pinecones, stickes, toilet roll holders. Anything you can dip in wax.

    I want that Blue Ball book too!

  172. 12-3
    7:06
    pm

    On a bad day, when you don’t have time and the fire is being stubborn, use a little BBQ starter fluid (NOT gasoline or karosene!). It will get the kindling going good so you can add the logs.

    It is hard to collect enough kindling. We go through a lot of it. I have huge piles at the base of the old oaks, so I can find it in the snow. I just pile it all up there when I am out there.

    There is a huge pile beside the shop, of the bigger stuff that I will cut on the saw as needed.

  173. 12-3
    11:56
    pm

    When you don’t have a long lighter or long matches you can use a match held at the end of a crescent wrench to get that extra reach. Saw a plumber do this to start the pilot on a gas water heater.

  174. 2-11
    10:53
    am

    We have a pot belly stove in our garage for heat. Used to have a Rotty who lived in the garage during winter. I built the fire by crumbling newpaper, putting it on the bottom and then layering the small kindling on top crisscross style. Light it and then when it is burning good add some thinner logs, also crisscrossed. From then the fire is going fairly well and you can open the door and add bigger logs keeping the crisscross fashion. Worked for me and the dog was grateful for the warmth.
    Dog has since passed and I have a nice pile of unused wood to burn in an “Earth Oven” I am going to attempt to build come spring. I will be able to make and bake the bread outside in the oven. Can’t wait for Spring.
    Kathy

  175. 11-8
    3:55
    pm

    I make firestarters every summer. I save old candles. I pick up cheap ones at garage sales and have friends look for them. I melt the candles in an old pan outside on my camper stove or the outdoor grill. I add wood chips to the melted wax and mix in. I pour it into small 3 oz. wax coated paper cups and let it set up. One of these added to kindling and wood will start a fire in the fire stove or in a campfire very quickly. Starts every time.

  176. 6-2
    3:52
    pm

    I can’t start fires either. My brilliant DH’s solutin, the year we heated the house with a wood stove (he got laid off and of course, the furnace died a couple of weeks later!) was to get one of those small propane bottles and a click starter. With enough kindling AND a reliable source of heat, I CAN start a woodstove.

    This thread reminded me, I need to get our woodstove cleaned this summer, so we can use it next year. Starting a fire is a skill I need to WORK on!!!

    Thanks for the reminder —

    Judith

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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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