Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Fires -a -burning

I resolved recently to become good at lighting fires. Not a pyromaniac-al aim but a green one. 

Time has passed and the fire is now a regular feature. 

Bring on the rebate. 

I’ve experimented with a number of fuels. 

New wood

We are now on a foraging exercise. In The Netherlands the tradition of ‘New and Old’ or New Year’s Eve also includes fire making. It’s not a glamorous or sophisticated affair. Generally the torching of any abandoned Christmas tree will suffice. 

This can lead to melted holes in the tarmac but fortunately most roads are paved. Hopefully we’ll get lucky. 

So to Forage

The plan is to collect a few orphaned fir trees so we can burn them in a more purposeful manner. 

Fire starters

It seems that both egg boxes and dried orange peel are very useful in the purpose. Colleagues are also a grand source of tinder from their tumble driers. (Is it wrong to be pleased that in requesting this material, i might be preventing a potential house fire?)

In addition I’ve learned that not only is belly button fluff all blue but so is the stuff from the dryer. Curious fact. I have many samples with which to prove it.  

I’ve been busy making firefighters the way I was taught as a child. 


The wood stove we have had transparent panels in the front. They’re not windows I hasten to add, but made of Micah, a fine transparent material that has thin layers like slate. It resists high temperatures. It’s good to find a source before one breaks. Looking after the fire itself is necessary. 

No smoke without…. ash

In so many self sufficiently situations it’s suggested that a circle is formed. Permaculture teaches us that too. The concept being that if you create something, a habit or a resource, it should have a closed loop. Fires create a good situation to explore this. 

We’ve used foraged supplies for the fire and used the fire to convert waste into energy. In turn the fire creates a byproduct of ash. 

Ashes to Ashes

So the ash needs a purpose. Ideally meeting a need we already have. So far we’ve used it on the allotment.  It can be a treatment for the allium family to prevent onion moths. It’s also good for treating the hen house. Ash helps to prevent mites and bugs in the bedding. I’m looking for other uses now as we are producing more ash than we did. 

Apparently we can use it to create the base ingredients for soap so that could be another route. 

Do you have good uses for wood ash?

How do you use it and store it? 

6 comments on “Fires -a -burning

  1. Rambling Woods
    January 4, 2017

    Happy New Year Lizard! Nice to see you again… I don’t burn anything so I don’t have any idea for ash. I am tempted to collect all the Christmas trees on the street and put them in the woods as cover, but I have a feeling that they are all pesticide laden in the growing phase… Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      January 4, 2017

      Hey there. I’ve been a bit absent. A year of blogging probably was too much. I’m not sure about pesticides.Here I think they grow without much of that.


      • Rambling Woods
        January 5, 2017

        I would think so too, but here in the US they spray everything and elect crazy people as President

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Eddy Winko
    January 4, 2017

    As long as you are happy that none of the wood burnt had chemicals (or nails) in it then wood ash is a substitute for lime on an acidic soil. It is also used, here in Poland, to spread over snow to melt it, a kind of grit if you like.
    I have a big pile behind a shed that will be spread on the fields in the spring.
    Making your own lye for soap making is probably not something that is practical to do, unless you are very bored 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      January 4, 2017

      Thanks Eddy. All of those should be doable. We have snow forecast for the weekend. Excellent timing.


  3. The Twisted Yarn
    January 5, 2017

    Hmm, the only use I know of is as organic fertiliser. We end up putting most of ours in the bin, which I’m quite ashamed of.


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