Off-Grid Living

Easily Start Any Fire

When I was young our family had a wood burning stove in our family room. It was located in our basement, and it was the only heat source we had in the family room. We used it religiously. By the time I went off to college I was sure that I had perfected the art of building fires (although my father and brothers actually built most of the fires.) I would carefully build my fire first starting with crumpled up paper. Then I would build a teepee of kindling around my paper. Slowly we would add larger and larger pieces of wood building up our fire.

After I was married our third home had a wood burning stove and we used it often. We not only enjoyed the heat it produced, but we liked the security we felt at having an alternative heat source. The next four homes we lived in as we traveled around also had wood stoves. Although I was fairly good at starting fires I would say that it was less of an art and more of a chore. It was not uncommon to have to restart my fires several times as my attempts died out before the wood caught on fire.

One day my husband came back from a wood chopping trip eager to share with me that he had discovered an old stump full of pitch. Although I didn’t share his excitement for his discovery a few days later I was ready for a day out and found myself heading back to the forest in search of the stump he had found days before. His discovery was going to be a huge blessing to our family he had assured me several times. I was less certain, and I was worried that the resources we were using to get this stump were more valuable then the stump itself. However I did love a day in the forest so off we went.

When we got to the spot with the stump he eagerly set to work freeing the stump from its earthly slumber as I entertained our small children hoping the youngest wouldn’t need more diapers than I had packed. Slowly he dug out the stump in 3 sections and happily packed it away in the the trunk of our car and again we headed off, this time towards home. Again he recited to me how blessed we were to have this valuable stump. I was just glad that our son didn’t run out of diapers before we headed back home.

A few day later my husband again had some free time from work and began cutting pieces of the old stump off. The aroma was incredible. I loved the smell of the pitchy wood. Then he introduced me to the amazing properties that pitch wood has for starting fires. The natural resin in the pitch easily burns, but it also burns for a long time. Paper would easily start on fire, but there was a really short time that the paper burned in which you had to make sure your wood caught on fire. Even a small piece of pitch would burn for a lot longer and allow a lot more time for our kindling not only to ignite but to burn steadily before the pitch was gone.  Suddenly my chore started to look a lot more like an art instead of a chore, and starting fires was a lot less stressful. Indeed our stump was a blessing to our family.


Pitch Wood. Derived from Ponderosa Pines, this wood is full of naturally occurring resin. This allows you to start your fire easily. Use it in your fireplace or camping or with your barbecue.

[wp_cart_display_product name=”Pitch Wood” price=”8.00″ thumbnail=”” description=”Start up to 20 fires easily with this package.”]

Pitch Sticks. Our Pitch sticks are perfect for backpacking. Roughly the same size as a match, these little sticks are packed full of pitch and perfect for starting fires but light weight enough to tuck away in even the smallest spaces.

[wp_cart_display_product name=”Pitch Sticks” price=”6.00″ thumbnail=”” description=”Start up to 25 fires easily with this package.”]