Scrounge Chronicles: Splitting Wood and . . .

Society of Scrounge Experts

We heat with firewood, and split the wood with a maul. Previously, we had a big tire on a stump to hold the wood being split. In spite of its size, it had a small hole, wasn’t very tall, and looked terrible. It was discarded, and we’ve been splitting the dummy way since. I got tired of it, and made this wire catch-thing around a chunk of wood.

It works great, much better than the tire. Not only that, but you can hardly see it from the porch, and I suppose not at all when driving by. The chunk of wood had a soft spot in the middle, so I removed part of that, and now use the hole to split smaller kindling. The wire looks like cattle panel, but fence wire or concrete reinforcement would also work. It’s held on by two bent over nails. I added the green area to the picture, so you would have an idea of where the top of the chunk is.

Next is a subject not for the uninitiated, but I saw something interesting; so I’ve included it here. I have an experimental composting toilet outside the house. Using an outhouse in the winter makes for some very realistic historic reenactments, but it’s not nearly as bad as it seems.

Anyway, I did a little research before starting the project; and one source said that the compost needs to age/process for months before it’s safe to pour out. I started using this toilet in March of 2018. In cold weather, I empty the toilet once a month into a blue plastic barrel, that has no lid. I cover the opening with metal window screen to keep flies out. I had to switch to metal because the (wasps?) kept making oblong holes in the black screen, presumably to get flies. I leave it lying on the ground, with the solid end raised a little, so that little rain water gets in the screen end. I occasionally roll the barrels to mix/aerate the contents. Also, these have only fecal matter, peat moss, straw, and a little dirt, the urine is separated.

If the first barrel went to processing in April 2018; and this is the third barrel I’ve emptied, then this should be May/June of 2018. What’s interesting is how well it processes. In the picture below, the ‘brown stuff’ on the upper right inside of barrel is peat moss stuck to the side where the rain got in. I’m really surprised how clean the inside of the barrel is. This has not been rinsed, only emptied in a hay field. There was no noticeable smell.

Scrounge Chronicles: Towels in a Kettle

Society of Scrounge Experts

A couple of our kids adopted a dog. It has a case of fleas and mites. I noticed that it had a great personality, in spite of its condition. We’ve been treating it, and it looks better, but it still needs an occasional bath to help it along. We had a nice Christmas celebration, but it wasn’t complete or tranquil knowing that the dog would feel better with a bath.

I washed it indoors, but didn’t want to put it outside in the winter, while wet. So I towel dried it, and let it stay next to the wood stove for a few hours. He also got treats and extra food, basically the royal treatment for a dog.

Then the problem was how to clean the towels, specifically, how to kill any mites that might be on them. One of my sons suggested using boiling water, and I knew that was a good idea. I have an antique kettle, but I needed a way to support it. I remembered that I had some steam heating pipes from a 1930’s RR coach. I pulled 3 out, and used some metal coat hanger wire to secure them together. That wire wouldn’t do much for some situations, but in this case, it was the tensile strength that mattered, and steel has very good tensile strength.

Starting the Fire

Those pipes were free, the trace chain came in a box of assorted things from a rummage sale at a church. I used some scrap wood that was too long to fit in the stove. Trace chain is easy to identify by its long links. It’s the chain used between a mule’s harness and the single tree.

Below are the towels, and the kettle with them in the hot water. I had to move several pieces of green Hackberry wood next to the fire to block the wind. It worked well. I think I read that when the old timers did laundry with a kettle like this, they first scrubbed the clothes with soap and cold water; the hot water was a rinse.

Introducing The Scrounge Chronicles!

I save a -lot- of money by saving material for future projects. This will be an ongoing series of pages to help others learn what’s practical about it, and what isn’t. Not only is there an economic benefit, it’s also a lot of fun solving problems this way.

The first installment is an intro page, with a nice picture at the bottom, the next installment will about those same garden stakes. Drop by to razor sharpen your own scrounge skills! Here’s the FIRST PAGE.