Monday, September 16, 2013

First Use of the Wood Cook Stove

Day before yesterday I was moving stuff into the new house and I got it into my head to try out the new cook stove. So, I gathered some newspaper, some sticks and a couple sticks of firewood. First I covered the bottom of the firebox with crumpled newspaper, then the twigs, sticks, and some larger sticks and lit the newspaper. At first the smoke all came right out into the kitchen, but then I closed the firebox door and opened the draft and the ash box door to give the fire some extra air and then I could hear the fire going. After a minute or so I checked the fire and saw that it was going well so I added the sticks of firewood (just some old junky stuff that I found on the ground). Pretty soon I could tell the stove top was getting hot and it was starting to smoke. The people who sold me the stove warned me before that it would smoke quite a lot the first time, as the stove blacking burned off, so I turned on the vent fan above the electric stove and cracked open the front door to give it some air. I was surprised that it didn't set off the smoke alarms. As the stove top was getting pretty hot, I decided to put it to some use, so I got out my huge cast iron frying pan and put that on the hottest spot over the fire, and then I got some bacon out and cut that up and threw that in. When that was going pretty well, I figured I might just as well cook that venison steak in the bacon fat, and then I threw in a couple of eggs for good measure. About that time Brenda came home from work and she helped me to get some photos. September 16, 2013 We have three new members of the Pearson farm population, Pig One, Pig Two, and Pig Three. They don't have names because I have not yet decided whether to make them into dinner or to keep them and have them "make babies." Their mother died suddenly after they were born, so we are bottle feeding them. I can tell you for sure that after bottle feeding three baby pigs for one week, that I am not going to do this for much longer. These pigs are going to get weaned a bit early. So, this week I am going to be introducing them to milk from a dish, and after that, they are on their own. I just don't get anything out of hanging onto a wiggling squealing grunting muddy dirty pig and trying to get it pointed in the right direction while it sucks a baby bottle dry. The only good part, if there is any, is that once they get going with the sucking part they get the bottle sucked dry in about a minute. And you don't have to burp them aftewards. Last Saturday we didn't have to be anywhere so after I fed the baby pigs and let the chickens out I fired up the cook stove and made bacon and eggs for breakfast. A cold front came through on Thursday so Saturday morning it was crisp and cold, about 55 degrees. We left the windows open so it was crisp and cold inside too. So, once the stove got going the heat from the stove was very welcome. When Brenda got up, she stood in front of the stove to get warm. I can see how the wood stove is going to be a popular gathering spot for cold people this winter. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the stove works. It is very easy to get the fire going, and it seems to heat up fast and stay hot with just a small amount of fire wood. I didn't time it, but it seemed like once the fire was started, it took about ten minutes for the frying pan to start to get hot enough to cook the bacon. When I was cleaning up after breakfast I was putting the frying pan away and I checked the oven and found that even with the oven control off, it was about 170 degrees in the oven. So, it probably wouldn't take much to get the oven up to baking temperature. Last Saturday I put fence posts up to get ready to set up a pen for the pigs. I also want to put the chicken house in the same area. I don't know if the chickens will stay inside the fence, as they are accostomed to wandering all over the yard. We have been using an old Dogloo for the baby pigs, but it won't take long for them to run out of space in that. So, I plan to build a shelter for them under the trees so that it will be out of the wind and weather. I would like to have an electric fence also, but that will have to wait until I can find one cheap on Craig's list. We have eggs! We got two eggs Thursday and one egg each day after that. So, I think I have at least one chicken laying eggs. I think it is two chickens because some eggs are speckled and some are just plain. Eventually, the Americauna hens will be laying colored eggs, green and pink and blue. I have already had that talk with them so they understand what is expected of them. Anyway it is high time I started getting something for all that work and time and chicken feed.

3 comments:

  1. Mark,
    Thank you for all of your kind words about my blog! I'm always pleased when it is helpful to someone else and puts me in touch with another wood cookstove user. It's doubly rewarding when the other person is a brother in Christ!

    Your Glenwood looks great! Would it be all right with you if I wrote a post on my blog with a link to your blog? I think that it might be helpful for other people to see how you incorporated an old stove into a new-style kitchen.

    In one of your posts, you mentioned that the stove sits on a steel platform. Was that specially made, or was it an original part of the stove? If it was specially made, did the people at The Love Barn do that for you?

    Again, I'm glad you made the connection. If there is anything that I can do to help you continue to transition to cooking over wood during the coming months, please let me know. Please also feel free to chime in with your personal experiences from a Glenwood owner's point of view.

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    1. Jim,

      Thanks so much for your reply, I really do appreciate it. Our contacts with brothers in Christ outside of church come so infrequently, it's like a breath of fresh air!

      The steel platform under the Glenwood was custom made for the stove by a metal worker that our builder knows.

      Yes, you have my permission to use the information and link to my blog. I think those of us that use wood stoves should maintain contact, not just for our own enjoyment, but for all of those people who want to know more about it and need to locate information. When I was looking for information on the web, yours was (and still is) the only blog I could find that had the kind of information I needed. More and more people are looking for the stoves and the techniques and skills that were developed by our great-grandparents but then were lost (as in my case) when the elderly people died without passing on that information to the next generation.

      Mark

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  2. Mark,
    Looking forward to following your journey via your blog. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and lessons learned. Young family here, but we hope to quasi homestead one day.

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