A Wood Stove –
the Living Heart of the Home!
A wood stove really is
the heart of the home.
There’s nothing like the
feeling of radiant heat,
whether it’s damp and
penetrating outside, or
just plain cold.
If your heating system is ambivalent, your home isn’t very welcoming. Many of us have to lay aside aesthetics and sacrifice comfort for practical reasons, with forced hot air heating systems. When warm air is blowing, everything’s fine, but when it goes off, it’s cold.
So what do we do? Turn up the heat to keep the warm air coming, or pile on clothing layers and live less relaxed than we’d like.
With a wood burning stove, things are different. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches. When you’re chilled, you can cozy-up to the glowing heat, and feel warm immediately. And the rest of the time, even a small stove can give you that delightful sense of comfort and relaxation.
You can positively indulge a feeling of 19th-century romance. To paraphrase an old saying, a wood fire warms you thrice: when you cut it, when you burn it, and when you watch it.
And it’s not finicky about the air-tightness of your home -- in fact, it likes extra fresh air to burn more efficiently. (And you will, too, when it gets hot and stuffy!)
COOKING WITH WOOD
A wood stove is more than just a source of heat -- with all the benefits it offers, it’s a lifestyle in itself! And you’ll find yourself within the circle of a
During the winter, when the fires are hot, it’s time for cooking with wood. Our stove is only a small heating stove, not a cookstove. But we do ALL our cooking on it, including eggs and other breakfast dishes, vegetables, fish, soups and casseroles, and even making bread and cakes in a steamer.
We make toast by laying it directly on the cooler edges of the stove, broil meat on a grill inside the stove, and always keep a teakettle on the back, for hot beverages. One of the surprises we discovered is that food cooked over a wood stove actually has superior flavor. (I know you’re thinking, Bo-o-ogus! But it’s true!)
When the cooktop is not otherwise in use, we leave a 12-quart pot of clean water on it. This serves many purposes: starting a stew or other dish quickly, dipping out to make yogurt, for humidifying the room, cleaning up spills, instant foot-bath, and many other uses, such as boiling castor oil packs when they need cleaning.
Even if you also have a water heater and dishwasher, it usually takes such a long time for the hot water to get to the sink that much water is wasted. (However, when you must do that, fill up the stove pot or reservoir with that excess water.)
Indispensible Equipment - Most of these items are in the picture, above.
|Barbecue Tongs and long fork||Welding gloves|
|Andiron set||Metal woodbox (ours has a lid, for a warming tray)|
|Metal cans for kindling||Large water pot |
|Leakproof metal ash can, outside||Indoor metal ash bucket with lid|
|Grill for placing inside the stove (ours came from a Hibachi)||Warming racks or trays|
|Spacer/trivet for adjusting cooking heat||Durable tea kettle|
|Cooking pots with FLAT bottoms|
AND THERE’S MORE…
The warm air around a wood stove can dry clothes (even cotton!), saving dryer-time and money!
If you have a garbage pail, you’ve noticed that some food wastes, such as bones and egg shells, don’t lend themselves easily to making compost. But a wood stove makes short work of them!
We throw ours into the fire, and it transforms these difficult materials into valuable garden products: lime, calcium, and phosphorous, mixed with the wood ashes which were already destined for the garden.
Just realize that your wood stove is not a garbage incinerator, or mass converter. Don’t burn paper, grease, plastic, treated wood or other synthetic materials in it. They are not good for the garden, contaminating the ash, as well as the environment, by releasing harmful gases like cyanide into the air.
And paper, in particular, can crack your stove, unless you burn only a small wad to start your kindling. We actually did this, once. (Oh, the shame of it…)
You won’t get to all the things listed above at first. Be kind to yourself – grow into your wood stove lifestyle. You’ll still get the superior benefits of wood heat, and expansion will come naturally in time.
Using a wood stove does take some work and knowledge. You have to cut, buy or pick up wood; the stove needs tending; and the chimney system has to be properly installed for safety.
Also, insurance ramifications must be considered, otherwise, your insurer may not pay if something happens. In addition, chimneys and stove pipe need to be cleaned and inspected at least once a year. (More often, if you burn green wood!)
So pull up a chair at our wood fire, and
join us for a talk about burning wood.
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S e a r c h h e r e!
Paul's wildly funny memoir --
GRANDMA DOES HIS DUTY!
Dr. Sheila Miles is a Naturopathic Physician whom we know in Kentucky. She is Board Certified by the National Board of Examiners in Integrated/ Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Science, with a Doctorate in Natural Health Science. She is also certified in Nutrition, Homeopathy, and Herbal Preparations.
We had the privilege of editing her new book, Healthy Choices in an Unhealthy World. It's an excellent basic grounding in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and we are pleased to endorse it here. --
Paul and Justice