If there’s one thing that stirs the Happy Hoarder’s anxiety it’s wondering where my sources of heat and light are going to come from in the post-peak fall. Candles don’t just light themselves my friend, fire doesn’t grow on trees, and I’m no Ben Franklin. Anyway, I need my keys to keep my hoarded treasures safe.
So I started myself to thinking a long while back, “What sources of flame will I need to ignite the twigs to heat my storm kettle, light my backyard brick oven, or kindle the furniture in the wood burning stove come winter?”
Kitchen matches? Zippo lighters? Really powerful magnifying glass?
None of these is as resilient as an old-school flint, aka flintstone of the not-Fred variety. You know, the kind favored by George Washington. Get yourself some of these puppies toot-de-suite, hoarders. Give one to your sweetheart for Valentine’s. Get more for the kids’ Christmas stockings. Just trust me, stock up.
Between a rock and a hard place
A flint is “a very hard, fine-grained quartz that sparks when struck with steel” according to one of those online dictionaries.
Even the most die-hard city slicker probably has associations of the humble and ancient flint, maybe from Boy Scouts or camping when you were a kid.
Obviously you can just get some basic flint from a local rock shop and call it a day. Then you can learn the fine art of striking and sparking through practice.
But if you’ve got a hankering for something fancier, a little more precise, and well-contained (in its own cylindrical, watertight tinderbox), pick up the Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter. It gets pretty consistently good reviews on Amazon, is purported to work for years and at only $12.99 it’s affordable enough to order a bunch of ’em. Here’s a video of Bear demonstrating it.
Striking a chord
Now, the Happy Hoarder never goes anywhere without seeing if they’re giving away free matchboxes.
Sadly, too many places have stopped using matches as their giveaway marketing device. Some cool pubs still do it. If you visit one, hit ’em up for a pack.
But then don’t put any real faith in ’em because they’re not really of high quality, they easily collect moisture, and they do fizzle out over time. Still, hoarding being what it is, it never hurts to gather ’em up and toss ’em into a big jar as the ultimate back up plan, even if that only means you’ll be burning their cardboard covers. Besides, matchbox covers do look cool.
Heck, maybe in the downturn, places will start advertising on matchboxes again. If they do, keep a keen eye out and ask for matches often.
Obviously with matches, dry storage is the key, so I like to buy wooden kitchen matches in decent sized lots whenever they’re on sale, like after July Fourth, or at the end of camping season. Keep them in their plastic wraps and hope for longevity. You can strike them against any rough surface which’ll be handy if things get dicey.
…in a sealed vial (a bit smaller in diameter than a 35mm film container and about as tall) [and] are the best available, if not perfect, and make for an easy and quick fire. Cotton packing can serve as tinder. The vial helps ensure they stay dry and undamaged and also that they don’t get lost or used up during normal fire starting operations. Each British made match is partially varnished and the incendiary material extends almost halfway down the match stick. They burn ferociously and very hot for about 11 – 13 seconds and are virtually impossible to put out, no matter how bad the weather.
The Happy Hoarder likes the sound of that.
Another idea Equipped to Survive has is to keep a few boxes of trick birthday candles on hand. Damn that’s funny. Totally evil genius, too.
The end of the age of oil
The Happy Hoarder doesn’t like to hoard fuel for obvious reasons — he doesn’t want to be the target of The Road Warrior, and doesn’t fancy the family farm going up in a final blaze of glory either. Nonetheless, like all good peak-ocalyptic preppers, I keep a drop or two of black gold on hand in its various forms, including for lighters.
Being a man of some distinction, if I may say so myself, I appreciate my formidable collection of vintage and new lighters. When one of the boys comes over to help with the harvest and then sits a spell to enjoy conversation and a home brew, we, on occasion, might enjoy a cigar while chilling in the glow of one of my oil lamps.
But anyways, enough about my entertainments.
What I really want to say is getting into lighter hoarding might prove a bit of a project for the greenhorn so might I suggest you find one, two or maybe three lighters that you like, from today’s long handled BBQ style jobbies to an engraved sterling masterwork of yesteryear. Then put aside enough of the butane or lighter fuel to insure that your lighter has some life in the permanent peak oil downturn. And of course, as with any collecting for an unsavory future, discretion is the better part of valor. A gentleman doesn’t need to brag on Facebook that he’s just walked five cases of charcoal lighter down to the basement.
C’mon baby light my fire
Back in the day, say the time of Shakespeare, some folks made a meager living making and selling spunks, a crude form of matches.
You laugh now — partly because your mind’s in the gutter — but this sounds to The Happy Hoarder like a career of the future. So you ambitious young people might want to do your research. Apparently making a spunk involves wax, some sulfur and a whole lot of chutzpah. You figure this one out and you’ll be ready to open a 21st century business hawking fire on a downtown corner.
Like the Happy Hoarder always says, you might be the only game in town if you were the one smart enough to figure out how to make, package and sell matches while everyone else was wondering just how the hell to light a fire anymore.
Now that’s just common sense.
Until next time…
–The Happy Hoarder, Transition Voice