Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preparing for the Change in Seasons

       As the days get shorter and the weather gets a little cooler, we are starting to prepare for the change in seasons. My husband and father-in-law have been busy chopping wood that we can use in our fireplace.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. There is something so comforting about the sights, sounds, scents, and feel of the changing seasons. The blazing new colors of the trees add a glow to the horizon. The sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze, or the rhythm of the ax hitting the logs followed by the splintering sound of the wood are almost musical. The crisp cool air in the early morning and evening are energizing. Finally the aroma of scrumptious foods and baked goods drifting from the kitchen and the scent of burning wood from the fireplace offer a feeling of comfort and safety as the family returns home from a long day at work or school.

Our son presented Dave and my father-in-law with a unique  Christmas gift last year, and they began to utilize it this past spring and summer. It is a paper log maker .You are able to put all of your junk mail and old newspapers to good use. Rather than having all this paper end up in the trash or recycling, you are able to create paper "logs" or briquettes that are later burned in a fireplace. A few years ago we had a wood burning stove insert added to our fireplace, and each winter we burn quite a bit of wood to help decrease the amount of time that we have to use our oil burning  furnace. The guys were anxious to see if these paper briquettes could actually augment the wood logs that we typically burn.
The tool requires that you put your unwanted paper into a shredder
and then soak the shreds in water for several days to break down the fibers. You then you put the soaked paper into the maker and squeeze the extra water out. After that, the newly made briquettes need to dry for several days or weeks. We left ours out on the deck for several days over the summer. Once the briquettes become completely dry, they are very light. From the reviews we've read, they may appear dry to touch on the outside but might still be wet on the inside. In order to get a clean and longer burn, it is important that the briquettes are allowed to dry completely. We haven't tried to burn any of the finished logs just yet, and we will probably try one in our outdoor chimenea first, before we use them in our fireplace. We can't wait to see how effectively they burn. They are somewhat time consuming to create, but it's really quite simple. It's also a nice way to put junk mail and old papers to use while decreasing the amount of items that get sent to landfills. Once we begin using some of the briquettes I'll post an update to let you know how they work out. Until then, we will keep making the paper logs and will continue to chop more wood. 
Most of all however, we plan to spend our time enjoying this beautiful time of year by taking in all the sights, sounds and aromas that accompany the cool fall weather. There are pies to be baked with apples from the local orchards, leaves to be raked in the yard, and family memories to be made. 

               Happy Autumn

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