The Woodstove is in Use!

We ran out of heating oil. Mind, that was our plan – but I’d rather hoped it would last until the end of the month. It didn’t. We have had high winds and some wintery conditions – so the oil got consumed faster than expected. At the same time, the woodpile at our landlord’s was still under four feet of snow. That meant using the electric heaters parsimoniously – I wore my fluffy bathrobe over everything, and Nicholas pulled on a thick North Sea sweater.

This is his idea of how to stay warm in a cold house.

Two weeks into the cold house situation, Milli called. Paul had taken the tractor with the front end loader down behind their house and dug out the wood – it was a bit snow and ice-covered; did we want it? Yes, and we went to pick it up, too. Nicholas and I have a lot of expereince loading firewood into the back of our pickup. I get in the bed and he tosses the pieces in; I stack it. The first time we bought a pickup load of wood, we didn’t pay much attention to how we stacked it, and we rather cheated ourselves. But I have a knack for fitting it together like a puzzle, and depending on how it is cut and split, I can fit at least 1/3 cord in the bed. This does make the backend a bit heavy, so I don’t want to go far with it.

Nicholas split some softwood scraps into kindling, and I have the fire going. It is woodheat warm! The hot paint smell (as expected of all new stoves) is apparent but not too strong. The carpenter who installed the stove said when he bought a new stove for his cottage, the burning paint smell was so strong that he had to disconnect the stove and take it outside to burn off the paint residue. I had a window open for a couple of hours, but it isn’t overpowering or unpleasant.

I got the oven up to 300 degrees (F) so I put some quesadillas in along with a pan of spicy apple slices. What I love about this Bakers Choice stove is the positive closing oven door. It is hinged on the side with real hinges, and has a latch to close the door completely. Most stoves, whether woodburning or modern, have a spring hinge at the bottom of the oven door, and eventually it gets weak and the door doesn’t close all the way. Or it sags badly when it is opened. This door seals tight, so there is no loss of heat around it.

Bakers Choice Stove by Suppertime Stoveworks, Aylmer, Ontario

I feel very contented to know that we have a source of heat and cooking that is independent of electric supply and oil companies. I bought a cord of hardwood at what I think is a good price for this area; we think in the course of a year we might use five cords of wood. This will at least halve our heating bill, as well as lower oour electric bill, and the stove should pay for itself in a little more than two years, while it is expected to last 20+ years. It wouldn’t be as practical in a place where wood is scarce or very expensive, or where air pollution is already a problem. But so far, the stove is burning this dry hardwood very thoroughly, and we rarely see a puff of grey smoke from the chimney.


13 thoughts on “The Woodstove is in Use!

  1. Here, the Air Conditioner is in Use! Was 89 Sat-Mon. Supposed to be cooler today, thank God. And did I mention humid? Be glad you’re where you are, in the cool. You can always put on clothes–there’s a limit what one can remove & still go out in public—yet another reason to loathe Florida.


      • We can have afew hot and humid days in August or so, we get black flies and mosquitoes, but I’m hoping that the wind will keep up here as it does on the mountain top nearby where I used to live. Otherwise, the outdoor fireplace will be used as a smudge!

    • Skeeters—heck they’re the official Florida State Bird. They get HUGE here. One landed at Tallahassee Regional Airport the other day and the fuel crew put 100 gallons in her before they realized she wasn’t the 12:30 commuter from Tampa! 😉

  2. Would it be possible if you would post some helpful tips about cooking on a woodstove? I have the Woodstove Cookery book but I still have questions that no one seems to know. Can you use regular pots and pans? Can you use copper? Do you have to alter your current recipes in any way? Is it the same as baking in a convection oven?

    I love your blog and I follow it regularly – I’m always learning something new!

    Elizabeth Ann

    • I try to use stainless or cast iron/enammelled iron on the woodstove, and no plastic handles! The whole surface is hot; it is hottest right over the firebox. So for frying or boiling, your pans go there; for simmering, they go on the other side. I use a copper kettle on the woodstove as it has a ceramic handle. I put a wire ring under any tempered glass or ceramic so it is not in direct contact with the hot surface. The dampers control the air flow to the fire as well as the damper on the flue controlling how much is vented up the chimney, so you learn to adjust temperature with that, with how much wood you put in at once, and with what type of wood – hardwood burns slowly, softwood hot and fast. Each type of stove is different, and your own household conditions affect how your stove will function.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, I’m glad to hear from you!

    • Easier than pie – slice an apple or two or three – cutting out the core, but don’t peel. Butter the bottom of a baking dish. Lay the apple slices in on top of the butter. Sprinkle with some cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice or nutmeg or all of them. Shake on some brown/golden sugar. Bake in a slow oven (maybe 300 degrees F) until the apple slices are tender and hot, but not mushy, maybe 20 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s