Magic Powder

A buddy and I were talking on the phone the other day, and he said something that stuck in my mind; if you have enough of anything, it can become a resource. While his statement didn’t make much of an impact on me at the time, I’ve since thought about it, and decided he was right.

We heat, cook, and produce hot water from wood all winter long. Making wood is a lengthy and satisfying project each year for us. When the woodpiles are finally full after some pretty hard work, and the air is scented with hard maple blocks curing, we feel like what we have is better than money in the bank.

magicpowderWood heat does have its drawbacks. It can cause the house to smell smokey, hot coals can fall onto the floor if one is sloppy, and it is messy; real messy.

When I cut and split the wood prior to stacking, I leave the chunks pretty large. The goal at that stage is to get them small enough to dry, but big enough so I’ll have big ones if I need them for an overnight fire. These chunks are carried into our entryway as they are needed and stacked in racks we’ve used for years. Much of this wood gets split inside our entryway prior to bringing it inside. Inevitably when these chunks are split, there are dribs and drabs of wood particles left over on the floor. Instead of just sweeping it up and throwing it away, we have instituted a shopping bag next to the wood rack where we store our “magic powder.”

This stuff burns really well. Sometimes I have trouble getting my fires going, and a handful or two of this lovely stuff added to the firebox will often trickle down to the bottom, find a hot coal or two, and before you know it, we have a cheerful fire burning.

Maybe we need to start taking a more critical look at our trash, and figure out ways we can utilize it rather than tossing it out. We’re often on the lookout for such opportunities, and the magic powder is one of our success stories.

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