An invader from the steppes of Mother Russia. The Russian Thistle(sasoli kali) is a common garden pest. The weed is easy to pull, but a problem remains, what do you do with the massive amount of fibre material?
Simple, turn it into something you can heat your house with, firelogs.
Materials and Tools
1. Russian Thistle, about 1/2 cubic yard of freshly pulled will be enough for one log when its dried
2. Shredded paper from your shredder, any other type of cardboard or cardstock. The residual ligin in the paper helps bind the log together.
3.A 5 gallon plastic bucket and water
4. A plastic flower window box as a mold
5. An electric drill(1/2") with a stucco mixing paddle.
6. A piece of plywood that fits over the top of the window box
7. Cinder block
(Optional)A garden chipper and wheat paste .
Step 1: Do the Crunch
Take your thistle and let it dry until its crunchy. Then smash it up with whatever you have. Feet work ok, wear boots! If your have a chipper, grind up the big roots and stems.
Step 2: Some of the Stuff You'll Need.
Get it all together in one spot and the work goes quickly
Step 3: Mix the Shredded Paper and Water First
Fill the bucket with paper, then wet it all down and stir.
Step 4: Add the Dried Thistle
A little at a time if neccessary, add more water.
Step 5: Finished Mixture
It should be just easy enough to pour
Step 6: Pour and Fill the Mold
The mold should have a drain to let excess water out. Save the drained water in a separate bucket, because the oxygenating chemicals in the thistle are water soluble. After the solution evaporates, the solid residue can be rehydrated and added to the log to increase its energy content and make it cleaner burning.
Step 7: Apply Pressure
A piece of plywood fitting over the top of the mold compacts the mixture.
Step 8: Release the Block
You can do this when its still wet, let it dry in the sun until its dry enough to burn.