It has been a “warm” and wet winter so far in the Treasure valley. 7 Dec 2019 and the high temp. was 55 degrees F. The rain was an on/off again sprinkle and the winds were light to non-existent. The storm last week was breezy but the temp. was about 30-35 degrees F. That is warm for a “Winter Storm Warning”. I have no clue how winter will go into January but so far the forecasts suggest a mild and damp winter. That forecast can change quick if the cold arctic air shifts to the west side of the Rockies or the Sierras/Blue mountains of Washington and Oregon. I suppose it is human nature to forecast the “worst” potential weather. That can come back and bite the forecaster on the butt for raising the alarm and “crying wolf”. I feel for those people because if they down play a storm and a blizzard happens, they are destroyed on twitter. But if they hype a storm and nothing happens, they are destroyed on twitter!
I know I’m “preaching to the choir” but prepare for the worse and hope for the best. I was prepared for a normal winter in 2016/2017 when snowmeggedon happened in SW Idaho. I bought many tools from a propane “Dragon Torch” to melt ice, a snow blower, 100+ pounds of ice melt and sand. My 6 gallon Shop vac got quite the work out sucking up melting snow in my shop. I added mulch drainage rock and gravel to my driveway around my shop. While it is still early into the test I have not seen any water or dampness on my shop floor. IIRC, the shop almost always had a a bit of dampness or water on parts of the shop floor before I added the mulch and gravel. Often you are trying to keep things safe, dry or holding back the flood waters. You are building stuff to be more resilient, as you deal with any little minor disasters that come your way.
Perhaps I’m an outlier but why do so few Youtubers use leather gloves? I’m no “Safety Sally” to tell others they are being unsafe working with tools. But cutting/splitting wood with a good leather glove seems to be a no-brainier if just because of avoidable splinters. People go on and on about Chainsaw chaps, helmets, safety googles and hearing protection and no one mentions using a good pair of leather gloves. Well I’m going to say a good pair of leather gloves is required for working on a homestead! I have had my some what sharp hatchet/axe hit my leather gloved hand and no bruise, no cut and no splinters. Mink oil is great for keeping the gloves water-resistant, soft and flexible.
I made the first test batch of making fire starters in “muffin papers”. The volume of the muffin paper fire starters is about 2 x the volume of the egg carton fire starters and the muffin paper cups don’t have the dense cardboard that holds the egg carton type fire starters. I don’t see this being a problem as I use one sheet of news paper wrapped around the fire starter and placed under the kindling. I think cardboard egg cartons make a great base for making fire starters but if you have chickens or get your eggs from people that want those egg cartons returned. Burning those egg carton in a fire could be a bad thing. Muffin papers can be bought for about one dollar for 100 cups/papers. Much cheaper than buying egg cartons to make fire starters.
Update: So far the muffin tin works for making fire starters in muffin papers. I’m going to add some “white paraffin” dollar store candles for a test of the wax melting pot and if they are good fire starter fuel. Old fragrance and colored candles don’t seem work very well as fire starters wax. I found a bunch of strike anywhere wooden matches. Starting a fire with one match has been a thing I grew up with, you can do all the prep on the fire you can but you need to start the fire with just one match! Sure I have bic and butane lighters that can start a fire, but for me starting a fire with just one wooden match always seems special. I have paper, chopped kindling, dry/split fire wood. The only thing that compares is restarting a fire from last night’s coals.
It is a simple thing but being happy about simple things should be good.