Winter's Hearth

by Gramma Sandra Schneider

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There is a chill in the air these days up North in New York State. It has put us very diligently to getting our wood stacked and ready for winter burning. With this comes the thought of starting those fires and how frustrating it can become.

We have found some ways here on the farm to make very inexpensive fire starters that really work well. It can be a good family project for a couple of hours and you can stay toasty and warm all winter without the hassle involved with starting that fire.

Egg Carton Fire Starter

You need some paper egg cartons, the foam ones are toxic to burn in the house.

You will need some sawdust, or if you don't have that, some shredded paper works great too.

You will need some blocks of paraffin, you can get these in any supermarket in the canning supplies area.

Fill each cup in the egg carton with either saw dust or shredded paper. If you are using shredded paper, pack it down pretty good.

Melt paraffin wax in a double boiler or use a small coffee can inside a lager one with water in the larger one and wax in the smaller one. It will take about 1 lb. of wax for two egg cartons.

When wax is melted, use a ladle to pour over the sawdust or shredded paper in the egg cartons. Once cooled and hardened you now have an excellent fire starter.

Pine Cone Fire Starter

For this you will need some pine cones, any size will do.

Some shredded paper

Paraffin wax.

Melt your paraffin wax as described above.

Tie a string around a pine cone and dip into the hot wax. Then trail through some shredded paper, having it stick while the wax is still hot. Dip again and trail through the shredded paper again. Do this about 4-5 times.

Let cool and you can store in a bag away from heat.

Cotton Ball Fire Starter

You will need Vaseline

You will need some large size cotton balls

Take a cotton ball and put it in the Vaseline (best to wear rubber or plastic gloves to do this job) This is a job that kids can help with, unlike the melted wax.

Put the cotton balls in a zip lock bag once you have dredged them in the Vaseline.

Use one or two of these cotton balls to start fire.

Happy Winter everyone, and we will keep nice and warm here for the winter.

Visit Gramma (Sandra) at If you would like to hear about anything special we do here on the farm, please write us and let us know and we will write you back about it. Send email to:

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