Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wood Stoves

I was asked about the wood stove we use. We have 2 wood stoves. The first is a basic heating type with vents across the top and a large firebox that is loaded from the side. This one heats the front of the house very well. I love the vents on top which allow me to place a drying rack on top and dry quickly any laundry that needs to be done. One very cold mornings, we sometimes will place our clothing on the rack to heat it up before getting dressed for the day. I keep a small pot of water on the top to provide moisture in the air. Wood stoves are notorious for taking the humidity out of the air. This can cause many to experience severely dry skin. The water on the stove helps, but lotion containing shea butter is always on hand.

The second stove is the antique cookstove. I love it as it is antique and very sturdy. I must admit however that my dream stove would be one of the Amish made ones sold by Lehmans. Their wood stoves are much more efficient than the antique ones. They do not go through firewood as quickly. The cooking area is much larger and easier to clean/maintain. I also like the fact that they have a built in thermometer for the oven. The firebox is generously sized, as is the oven.

Cooking on the wood stove that we have is fun. I was a little uneasy at first when the little ones began toddling around. I was concerned that they would get a burn. To this date, neither of the children have received a burn from the stove. I love the convenience of being able to do double-duty and simmer the evening meal on the stove while also heating the kitchen area.

The stove are fairly easy to start fires in. The trick being to make sure that you have enough airflow through the stovepipe. The cookstove also has a side vent that can be opened and adjusted. If I ever have trouble lighting the fire due to the wood not being dry or seasoned enough, a chunk of firewood that has been soaked in kerosene makes an excellent starter.

Two recommendations to anyone considering a wood stove is to make sure you have good quality cookware. I prefer cast iron. Secondly, have plenty of metal trivets to use on the stove. These can allow you to simmer a pot of stew or other meal on a hot stove without worry of the food scalding in the bottom of the pot.

Overall, if I had my way about it I would probably only have a wood stove.