It’s the time for trimming back in the garden, so it’s also a good time to make kindling bundles for next year.
The best trimmings for these are those from fruitwood trees, hazel and vines – basically, trees whose fruit you eat. Avoid toxic woods such as elder, or any others you aren’t sure about. I also use the stems from my miscanthus grasses, which have to be cut back at this time of year, and whose stalks are a good 2m high.
You’ll need secateurs, newspaper or brown paper, raffia and scissors. Cut some pieces of raffia to about 50cm in length (30cm might do). Cut your stalks, twigs or grasses to lengths that correspond with your firebox – ours is 50cm but I make the bundles a little shorter. Take a good bundle of twigs and wrap them in newspaper and secure with the raffia – voilà. Store somewhere dry until needed.
These look quite fetching as they are, but if they’re on display, you can make them more decorative by using (uncoated) coloured wrapping paper, or paper tablecloth cut into strips about 30cm wide, and coloured raffia or thick cotton yarn or tape.
This is a nice job for a sunny hour in the garden and has the same meditative quality as stripping lavender in late summer. Yesterday afternoon I made enough to light fires for a couple of weeks.