Last winter I think we had maybe 1 or 2 fires in our wood stove. We were super excited about finally having our own wood stove when we built the house, but we were worried about babies and toddlers touching a hot stove and we were too busy to worry about stocking up on the supplies needed for a fire, like firewood, tinder, and kindling.
This winter will be different! Yes, we still have a toddler (soon to be 2 toddlers) but they're old enough now that we aren't staying up late to bottle feed the baby anymore. Now they both go to bed at the same time, so we could simply use the wood stove once they're in bed without having to constantly police curious children.
The idea of snuggling up on the couch with a mug of Irish coffee, a fluffy blanket, a good book, and a crackling fire still sounds like the perfect way to spend a winter evening and this year I'll be ready!
We have some firewood from when we had some trees cleared - the company who did the clearing were willing to cut the trees into firewood and stacked the logs along both sides of our driveway out in the open.
I set up a shelving unit on our porch to give us a place to stack some firewood out of the elements so it'll be handy to grab a few, and also so the logs will be nice and dry (or 'seasoned') so they'll burn well. Green wood that hasn't dried will be hard to light on fire and if it does catch on fire will be very smoky - not fun!
In addition to firewood, you also need tinder and kindling.
Tinder is material that very easily catches on fire but also burns up very quickly. This will help start a fire going, but only for a little while. Tinder can be dried grass, dried leaves, pinecones, newspaper, dryer lint, etc.
Kindling is basically anything bigger than tinder but smaller than firewood. It's a middle ground that will somewhat easily catch fire from the tinder, but burn longer so that it can catch the actual firewood on fire.
|Kindling on the left (sticks) and tinder on the right (weeds)|
I don't get a newspaper delivered at the moment, and I'd like to use free materials for the fire. So I chopped tall weeds with thick canes into small 8" to 10" lengths and left the leaves attached. Once these dry out, they should catch fire very easily.
I also cut down some small saplings with wood no bigger than about the thickness of my thumb and cut them into short lengths, too.
I want to give both the time to thoroughly dry out before winter gets here.
I have no idea how much firewood, tinder, and kindling I need to prepare since I've never had regular access to a wood stove before. I'm not going to worry about preparing too much this year since I know I'll probably make the occasional fire at this point.
Now I can relax and look forward to a cozy fire this winter!