Daily Life #’s 19, 20, and 21 – Last candle tests, a day off, and some actual work on the homestead

On February 13 (day #19 of my month of Daily Life posts), in amongst the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, and caring for family, I did my final burn tests on the candle wicks.

Unfortunately, the wicks still fell over, even after being carefully centered, held in place, and kept straight while pouring the wax. So that theory of mine was busted. Very frustrating.

But I decided I did like my new method for reusable wick stands and keeping the wicks straight. Paperclips and rubber bands. In fact, I also used the same to use a completely different kind of wick. A popsicle stick! In the picture below, you can see how I used the paperclip to hold the popsicle stick. I did the same thing with the wicks I tried. Theoretically, once the candle is burned, you can get the stand out and use it again.


Then, I wrapped some rubber bands around the jars and put the wicks in the middles, using the rubber bands to keep them centered. I was then able to pour in the wax. I did it in two pours this time. The first time I poured just enough that the wick base was submerged. I let that cool for a bit to solidify so that the wick wouldn’t move around when the jar was full of wax. Then I poured the jar the rest of the way with wax. This worked great to keep the wicks straight and centered till the wax firmed. Well, kinda.

One thing I learned is that when the wax cools, it will create a depression in the middle. This is no big deal with the small little jars I was using. However, when I tried to make a candle in a pint jar, the wax well was so large it pulled the wick down into the candle and rendered it unusable. This was not a problem with the popsicle stick since it is so rigid. With that one, I just filled the depression with more wax and let it solidify. I think if I was going to do a pint with a regular wick again, I’d have to keep it extra long and secure it somehow so it wouldn’t be sucked down into the well.

BUT, I don’t plan to fiddle with making any more jar candles in the near future. I was not impressed with the results. I’ll stick with tapers if I need to make my own candles without store bought wicks.

And the popsicle sticks weren’t really the answer either. True, they didn’t have problems with falling over, and they stayed burning for nearly 12 hours! So in that sense, they were great. And if you’re using the candles for ambiance or aroma therapy, then there you go. Use popsicle sticks as wicks. However, my reason for doing this testing was to know how to make candles in the event I ever HAD to make them for daily life. In that case, I’d want them as a light source, and in that area alone, the popsicle stick wicks were lacking. They burned steadily, but not very brightly.

I didn’t get any really good pictures of the burn test this time since there wasn’t anything to show. The picture below is of the popsicle stick candles (a small jar and a pint jar) when we were about to blow them out. They had been burning just like that all day. And since they burned with such a small flame, they hardly burned any wax.


So my final thoughts on all this: if you ever need to make candles in a survival situation, use a regular cotton string (no need to treat it with anything), and dip it in melted wax over and over till you have the size candle you want.

Experiment done!

On to Day 20 (February 14th). After church, we drove some friends out to a resort near the coast (they don’t have the transportation), and decided that since we were going to be so close anyway, we’d just keep going and spend some time on the beach.

Well, as usual on the Oregon coast in winter (or any time of the year really), the weather did not cooperate. But we came prepared and still had some fun.


Once it got dark, we stopped at a seafood place for dinner. Normally I stay away from breaded items since wheat affects my arthritis, but as a once in a while treat, I can tolerate it. We were going to get their clam chowder since we know it is dynamite, but they had run out. 😦

But let me tell you, The Fish Peddler has some killer fish and chips (well, fish, anyway. Their fries are good, but normal)!


I love the breading on the fish. Mmmmm…

It was sooo delish. And so far from what I typically eat that it really did feel like a treat.

It was a good day.

Day 21  (yesterday, February 15) was a momentous day, but also filled with frustration.


Know what this picture is?

That’s a backhoe.

On our property.

In Nevada.

Work has commenced!

We were so excited to finally be getting something done. My dad rented the hoe and tried to dig us our needed trench.

“Tried” being the operative word.

We knew it was rocky up there, but sheesh! He worked for a while with that thing and wasn’t able to get deeper than 3-4 feet deep. The trench needs to be 13 feet deep. Grrrr….

So now we have to have some engineers come up to the property, take a look around, and help us figure out what to do. And by “us”, of course, I mean my parents. Stinks to live so far away! But awesome to have such a wonderful support system down there.

So that’s where we are with the building. Can’t get our plans submitted for our permit until that trench is dug, and can’t dig the trench till we figure out how to do it.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

In the mean time, I’ve started the project of documenting our food consumption.


I figure if we’re ever finally in a position to finally grow most of our own food, we should know what we normally eat and how much. It’s staggering to look at these lists and think of producing all that ourselves. And the picture above is just the veggies! BUT, aside from the olives and avacados, I was pleased to see that we can theoretically grow all that food (eventually) on the homestead.

My next step is to start quantifying how much of each item we typically eat. Some things, like asparagus, we love, but only eat it when it’s cheap at the grocery store. So it shouldn’t be too hard to grow as much as we might eat in a year. Other things like green beans and especially onions…yeah, we’d have to grow (and successfully store) several hundred onions to keep us in a year’s supply. Definitely worth more data collection.

And lucky me, I love that kind of work. 🙂 And it helps me feel like I’m actually working toward our goals for the homestead, even while sitting here in Oregon.

So that’s it for the last couple of days. It’s now been three weeks of me blogging about my everyday life. Only one more to go. 🙂


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

This entry was posted in "Daily Life" journaling, Adventures, Building a Home, DIY, Portland Interlude 2014-2016, Skills and tagged , , on by .

About Maridy

Hi, I'm Maridy. I have many interests in life. Right now, my husband and I and our two girls (ages 14 and 7), along with a couple of dogs currently live in a 33ft trailer while we build our house on our homestead property in Northern Nevada (Castle Rock Homestead). Follow us on that journey to building our high desert homestead from the ground up! I also have a passion for hiking and have a blog for that, too. (Journey in the Wilderness) Join me there as I explore the beautiful outdoor landscapes of Northwestern Nevada and Eastern California. And finally, I love historical costuming. Though I haven't been able to do much of that in recent years, I'm hoping that "once the house is built" I'll be able to get back into it more. See what all we've done with that on my Yesteryear Productions blog.

3 thoughts on “Daily Life #’s 19, 20, and 21 – Last candle tests, a day off, and some actual work on the homestead

  1. Vickie

    All of your candle testing has been quite an eye opener for me! I would have never thought to use a popsicle stick as a wick – so cool! Thanks for sharing all your results! Too bad the weather wasn’t very good while you were on the beach, but I have always enjoyed myself when I have been on the beach no matter the weather, so I hope you are like me and had a good time anyway. We spent an hour at our building department this past week, trying to understand some of their requirements for submitting building plans. We left with more questions than we went there with! It seems they are geared more toward dealing with licensed contractors, and referred to form 287B or Code CA 135 as if we knew exactly what they were talking about! Well – I always knew building our own home was going to be quite a journey – now I realize it’s going to be a really big learning experience also. 🙂


    1. Maridy Post author

      Thanks Vickie! The popsicle sticks actually did very well, even though I forgot to soak them in olive oil like I read. And we definitely enjoyed the beach. I always do, no matter the weather. And I totally understand all the questions. Seems that I always think of three more as soon as I hang up the phone! It’s definitely a learning curve! Exciting that you guys are moving forward on your house as well.


  2. Pingback: Daily Life #22 – FINAL Final candle tests | Castle Rock Homestead

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