Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spring Flowers and Firelogs

 A package came in the weeks before Christmas with my name on it. Inside was a basket surrounded with packing peanuts and Christmas wishes from my sweet friend, Debbie.

 It did not look like this! But, a little water and sunshine .....

 A heady fragrance was in the air this morning. These popped out overnight! They smell so good.

 Red tulips are struggling forth and will soon be rising up.

I love flowers. I am not a fan of cut flowers, though. I have not decided which garden these will end up in yet. They will be in a garden outside, though. Debbie knows me well!

Everyone who knows me, knows I love to recycle. I compost everything I can and end up with good soil to add to my gardens every spring. I always have some project going that results in saw dust. I suppose I could add it to the compost bin, but some of the boards are treated and I don't want it in my vegetables. 

One year, some helpful campers decided to clean out the barn and tossed a barrel of saved sawdust on a bonfire. I must confess that I was unsure of what exactly I was going to do with it, but I mourned the loss of my sawdust (I complained about it). In the back of my mind I was sure that this sawdust must have a good use.

I watch HGTV. I saw one episode that spoke of a man mixing sawdust with glue and using it between rustic timbers much like grout. Intrigued, I thought about this in the wee hours of the morning during a bout of insomnia. Now, it sounds like a good idea, but I am supposing you would have to have some sort of device to "pipe" it between the boards. Otherwise you would end up with a sticky mess that would be hard to remove should you get it on the face of the boards. I vetoed this use of my treasured sawdust. He who loves to try new things was all ready to give it a shot on a floor installation. He who likes to learn by experience is more adventurous than I am.

In addition to sawdust, I have lots of candles with no wick left. So, I put the jars holding the leftover wax in a pot of simmering water. When the wax melted, I poured it in an old dutch oven with a broken handle (I knew that old pot would come in handy one day). While the wax was still liquid, I poured sawdust in until it was too thick to stir. I let it cool a little, then tried to use my hands to shape some fire starter logs.

Don't do this. The wax will stick to your hands and you will waste a lot of it. I took several sandwich size zipper bags and spooned the mixture in, then shaped it into a log and put them in the freezer. We took the first batch out of the freezer before we tried to use them. They crumble apart when they thaw and really don't do much to help get the fire going.

Next batch was left in the freezer. This helps them burn slower. But, it distressed me to burn the plastic bag. I pondered thoughts of saving bags from food packages, but, that had a grossness factor .......... So, we carefully removed the frozen sawdust log and saved the bag to reuse.

But, today on the third batch of fire log making I hit upon perfection! Newspaper. I spooned the mixture onto a half sheet of print and rolled it into a log about the size of a pecan roll, then flipped the ends around it and rolled it again on the remaining half sheet and twisted the ends.

They are in the freezer now. No need for crumpled paper now, it is all in one tidy package. Just light one of the ends!


Brian Miller said...

oo nice hit on the newspaper...makes sense...um, yeah the sawdust grout might get a bit mess too...nice flowers...cool taht you grew them...that is a very cool gift...

Kathy G said...

I got a similar basket a few years ago. I tried to plant the spent flowers in the garden, but they didn't come up the next year...

Jo-Anne Rambling said...

Cool this sounds like an interesting use for the sawdust and wax.

Venom said...

Beautiful posies - I too like those indoor winter bulb garden pots (whatever the hell they are called...)

I also confess to an obsession with HGTV... but with this candle-log creation you have just left me in the (saw)dust here Kathy.
And not just by a little bit either.
I bow to you.

jojo said...

beautiful basket! I have some paper whites blooming now and the fragrance is a little too much for me but they sure go a long way to cheering up a dark day.
you are brilliant..;j

Cathy said...

Happy New Year Kathy!
Could you use all the middles of the toilet rolls to contain the sawdust and wax - that way it would be in log shape before you rolled it in newspaper
Take care

Mamma has spoken said...

I am so going to try that!

Anonymous said...

Isn't a fragrant flower just the thing to beat the winter blues away. I didn't get a plant this year and really miss the wonder of watching it bloom. thanks for sharing.

SkippyMom said...

We use that mix and pour it in cardboard egg cartons to use as fire starters when camping. Works awesome.

I love your flower garden indoors. Nice present Debbie! I can only imagine how great it smells.


Sextant said...

Clever use for sawdust. Why do you have so much sawdust?

The basket is lovely, the sun is returning north, life is good! Best wishes to you and he who remains for a great New Year.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

the flowers are lovely!

love the idea of the fire starters. my sister used to make these and they can be quite the bugger to get started. paper and sawdust is a great idea.

Whitney Lee said...

Interesting...I don't know that I have the patience to experiment like that. I prefer to benefit from the trial runs of others!

Those flowers are gorgeous!

Colette said...

I was going to suggest the egg cartons (paper ones, obviously), but SkippyMom beat me to it. Another option (should you be short on newspaper) is to use wax paper.