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I have a big galvanized can I haven't dumped yet, but I was thinking about sifting it over another can thru some chicken wire to get the bigger chunks to use for charcoal and putting the rest in my compost heap.
1. Compost - don't over do it. A little goes a long way in the garden.
2. Make soap. A lot of soap.
3. Insulation. Yes, really, but don't let it get wet.
4. Hearth cooking. Yes, really. See insulation.
5. Special effects for disaster movies.
6. Land fill - I hear fxpose is looking for some. Be nice and offer free shipping.
7. Diamonds - assuming you have a strong enough compactor...
Serious but offbeat uses:
1. Cat box odor control. A little mixed in sand or clay helps (never clumping - really icky things happen). Requires a lot of prep but can be used to line bottom of box (great with sand or paper) - not worth it for a cattery of less than 10 adult cats.
2. Drawing - charcoals. Very messy but can be very impressive.
3. Weed control in side walks. Fill in the cracks really well. The stuff makes lye - in high concentrations it does bad things to plants.
Arch,, are you serioous, can you really make soap out of ashes ??
Yup. Wood ash supplies the lye. It's actually the original way to make soap.
Originally posted by Mother Earth News
To make lye in the kitchen, boil the ashes from a hardwood fire (soft woods are too resinous to mix with fat) in a little soft water (rain water is best) for about half an hour. Allow the ashes to settle to the bottom of the pan and then skim the liquid lye off the top. You can do this daily and ? when you've got enough of the weak solution ? start the soap making process by boiling the liquid down until it'll float an egg. (One word of caution: DON'T use aluminum dishes or pots. The lye will eat right through `em!)
But by far the most common soap was made from potash and pearlash. Potash and pearlash are forms of the potassium based alkali present in plant and wood material. Potash and pearlash soaps were used by everyone from the reigning monarchs to the peasant or cottager, who made their own soap from the waste fats and ashes they saved.
ok did a little research and came up with the following.
Ash contains potash (potassium carbonate), phosphate, iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc and can be quite beneficial as a natural fertilizer... sometimes. Wood ash increases the pH or alkalinity of soil, so use sparingly. I made the mistake of applying a stack of it in an area full of limestone - and guess what else is in ash - lime (calcium oxide). It wasn't the smartest move and I don't think anything will be growing there for a while. Black charcoal is a little different in that it has a much higher ratio of carbon - so this can be used more liberally.
Dip a damp rag into ash and use to clean silverware, brass and glass. Ash added to a scourer can also give your scouring a bit more oomph.
No great stuff,, they did also say it makes a great ice melter, I dont know that I would be wanting to track it thru the house though,,,,
Here in SWVA, the soil can't hold its lime for nothin'. This in spite of being smack on top of some large limestone deposits. Go figure. I think a judicious amount of ashes in the compost heap will be fine here, but that doesn't take care of next year's ashes... maybe we'll get a lot of snow and I can use some up on the ice. It does work pretty well and I'd rather use that than salt.