The Cook's Corner: Steva’s Sticky Box

Steva Dooley

The sticky box isn’t actually sticky, it is a box for sticks.
Let me explain. We heat with wood, so building fires is essential to our comfort in the winter. When cutting wood, I like gathering the little stuff that a lot of people would just leave behind because it makes starting fires easy and fun. We ended up calling my collections of small branches “stickies,” hence the name “Sticky Box.”
It actually started out as a sticky bucket. An old cat litter bucket was perfect to place them in, and they were easy to get out and ready for starting fires, but then Rick put other stuff in the bucket. It wasn’t bad stuff, but it wasn’t small sticks either. So, I went out and got a box. A nice box with handles. I added some other stuff to that box during the really cold weather so there were always some smaller pieces and some big stuff to build the fire up in the middle of the night. The next thing I knew, that box also had other stuff in it.
It became quite a joke that Rick had to quit messing with my sticky box. The kids keep our woodpile up with good split wood and rounds, but I cut the smaller stuff with my little electric saws. I have one that is a corded saw, which I keep near the wood pile to cut and stack the small rounds and sticks that I gather; I take the battery saw out with me to cut longer limbs down to a short enough length to fit into my pickup. So I am the sticky person, and I need my sticky boxes and buckets to keep them organized. I was forced to make quite a fuss.
My boxes and buckets mostly get left alone now. I fill them with sticks from less than an inch in diameter to those up to about 2 inches. The boxes hold them and they are not lost to the wood pile, and when I am ready to load the bucket, it gets paper, some tiny stickies, some bigger sticks, and lastly, a couple of bigger rounds and split pieces to start the fire in the morning. It is so handy to grab that bucket and take it to the stove, layer the paper, tiny stickies, bigger sticks and split pieces in there, then light the paper. In just a few minutes, there is a wonderful fire going, it warms the house and cooks our breakfast.
It also tends to keep the mess to a minimum when confined to a box or bucket, which Rick appreciates because he is the one that sweeps the floors every morning. And boy, do I appreciate that. I am a barefoot person in the house, and with a dog that can carry sand into the house faster than I can sweep it up, at least I have a clean floor to walk on for the first part of the day.
I guess we make a pretty good team, provided he leaves my sticky bucket and boxes alone.