Month: November 2019

3 Reasons To Love The Cold

As the nights are darker and the days can seem very gloomy and cold its hard to see the appeal of winter and the cold. However, there are some benefits and true pleasures to be had in the winter months.

  • Cosy by the Fire

This time of year is perfect to get your log burners going and enjoy the warmth. Your fireplace can create a festive atmosphere especially when decorated. Make sure you stock up on wood get your chimney swept a minimum of once a year.

To give your fire that extra bit of Christmas spirit you can add spices to your fire. Cinnamon sticks create a lovely spicy and sweet smell. Just place two sticks with the logs alternatively you could add a few drops of essential oil to your logs, allow them to dry and then burn away.

  • Warm drinks

There are so many lovely hot drinks to enjoy this time of year from hot chocolate to mulled wine. These are perfect to enjoy in the cold gloomy weather and a great pick me up. Here are some classics that’ll get you in the Christmas spirit;

  • Coconut milk hot chocolate
  • Eggnog
  • Hot buttered rum

If you’d like more ideas and recipes click here

  • Food

Winter brings around all the best food that you can enjoy. From roast dinners and mince pies to cheese boards and lots of chocolate. This Christmas why not try something new at a Christmas market like the chimney cakes or strudel.

Do you like winter or summer?

Four Common Mistakes When Using Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are a great way to reduce your heating bill as well as providing aesthetic value to our homes.

However, burning wood takes some preparation and you have to make sure it is ready to burn safely through the winter months.

Below are 4 major mistakes people make with their wood stoves!

Not inspecting & cleaning your stove

You need to make sure your stove and chimney are ready for the season. There are a few things you’ll need to check

  1. Examine the firebrick lining and see if it needs replacing  – the lining will keep the stove from overheating
  2. Make sure the chimney is cleaned. This will prevent chimney fires and help your stove burn more efficiently.
  3. Check the sealed door. You want a tight seal to make sure smoke doesn’t enter your house. The cord that’s around the door may need replacing on occasion.

Don’t neglect these steps as you could be at risk of a chimney or house fire.

Not having enough fuel

Running out of fuel in the middle of winter is not ideal. It is best practice to have too much wood than too little. How much you’ll need will depend on several things;

  • How large your house is
  • The efficiency of your stove
  • They type of wood you’ll burn
  • How often your light your stove
  • Not storing your wood properly

Once you have your wood you need to make sure it is stored in the correct place it could affect the performance of your stove.

You don’t want your wood to get too wet as burning wet wood reduces the efficiency of your stove.

The best practice is to keep the wood out of the way in a dry shed and on a pallet so the air can circulate. Check out another blog about storing your wood!

Not having a backup plan

If something happens to your wood supply then you need alternatives. Some will burn quickly while others with smoulder for a while.

  1. Rolled old jeans
  2. Rolled paper logs
  3. Coffee logs
Bonus mistake

Not using the Firemizer winter pack! This will help you light your fire with an odourless firelighter and firemizer will increase your fire efficiency and reduce harmful particulates. 

Are you prepared for the winter season?

Brief History Of Fireworks

Fireworks originated in china around 1000 years ago by a monk. He was from the city of Liuyang in China, this is still the largest producer of fireworks in the world. A temple was built to worship this monk and the people of China still celebrate the invention of fireworks every April 18th. 

The Chinese believe firecrackers have the power to ward off evil spirits. Fireworks play a big part in Chinese new year as they are said to bring in the new year free of evil spirits.

Marco Polo is credited with introducing gunpowder to Europe in the 13th century. However many historians prefer the theory that the curators bought back black powder to Europe as they returned from wars in the middle east.

During the Renaissance, two separate European schools of pyrotechnic emerged, one in Italy and the other in Germany. The Italians focused on effects and stunning displays whereas the Germans stressed scientific advancement.

The English were so captivated by fireworks in 1487, they were used in the coronation of Elizabeth of York. Their popularity grew in Great Britain during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The queen liked them so much she created a position of fire master of England.

should we ban fireworks? 

Even with all the history and tradition, we cannot ignore the dangers of at-home displays for us and wildlife.

  • The loud sounds from fireworks cause distress for pets and in some cases have been known to cause heart attacks.
  • The fear they cause can often lead animals to flee into roads potentially causing accidents and vehicle damage.
  • Fireworks can also cause environmental damage through fires and the release of harmful chemicals.

Currently, there is not a ban on fireworks. However, some supermarkets have stopped selling them to the public for private displays. However, if you do plan to have a display please follow these tips;

  • Remover bird feeders several hours before lighting. This will stop birds coming into the garden.
  • Wait until late evening to ignite as there will be fewer animals in the area
  • Do not use fireworks near trees, birdhouses or nesting areas
  • Clean up all firework residue as this can be harmful to wildlife and the environment

For more information about fireworks and your pets you can click here 

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How To Build A Bonfire

As the 5th of November creeps up you may want to get ready and have the perfect bonfire!

Bonfire law

There isn’t any law in England and Wales about bonfires however there is a law about creating a nuisance. You can’t get rid of household waste if it will cause pollution or harm to health. Occasional bonfires are fine as long as there are no local bylaws in place that prevent it, you can check with your local council.

You must make sure the smoke doesn’t blow across a road and cause danger to traffic. You can’t burn anything that would cause pollution or harm public health. This includes rubber, plastic, oil etc.

Here’s how to build the bonfire:
  1. Make a circle with bricks or stones. If you want a permanent bonfire pit in your yard, you can dig a hole and then surround it with bricks or stones. Stand the tinder in a teepee shape in the centre of the circle.
  2. Make a teepee out of kindling around the tinder, leaving some gaps for oxygen to escape. This is also a good place to use any firelighters, why not use Firebuilder!
  3. Put some fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of the teepee.
  4. Repeat this process up to five times, building the teepee in higher and higher layers

Once the bonfire is set up, drop a match into the centre of the teepee (or stick it into one of the gaps) to start the fire. Make sure the match gets all the way into the tinder layer of the teepee.

Be sure to have a supply of water on hand. Put out the fire completely, before going inside.

Watch out for wildlife

Make sure you check your bonfire pile for any animals especially hedgehogs as they love a woodpile. To make sure you avoid harming wildlife build your bonfire the day ou plan on setting it alight.

What to do with the leftover ash

This will be warm for a few days so wait for it to cool down. A small amount of ash can lower the acidity of your compost heap and help create an environment for red worms which help the compost thrive.

 

 

 

 

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