Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cooking & Warming with a Wood Stove

The last two days we had a big ole' spring snow storm that blew in enough white fluff and cold air to make the converted barn house I am living in pretty freaking COLD. It's a wee bit drafty in it's original DIY glory - possibly over 80 years old, the barn itself was transformed by some pottery slinging hippies well over 20 years ago. There are two wood stoves inside the house which (in spite of my chemical sensitivities) always makes me feel comforted, because with no electricity you can always be toasty warm and have a pot of soup boiling.
With the snow storm freezing the living shit out of the house, it was time to burn some wood - and try out cooking on top the old buck stove, which to my surprise worked out pretty awesome! I cooked a delicious organic root soup (I must give ya'll the recipe soon) and a pot of organic brown rice, both of which turned out so awesome, tasted so good and cooked so evenly and perfectly I am now wishing I could cook on this thing all through the summer too. The whole house got so warm in that lovely way you see in story books, made me think of images of hanging stockings over the fire place (X-mas in spring?)... I believe even those who are sensitive to wood smoke would probably do alright if they had the $$$ to invest in a truly tight & efficient style stove. I coughed a little when the doors were open to start the fire and add wood, but all in all it was well worth the warmth and hot well cooked food.
BTW- that white in the pic above is not smoke leaking from the stove door, but rather the hand of God touching the stove........... just kidding, it's the light reflecting from the glass door next to the rocks, so my MCS (Majorly Chemically Sensitive) friends need not quiver & choke looking at the pic!
And just for fun, check out the pic below of the icicle's hanging off the bamboo outside my kitchen window, very pretty!


Susie Collins said...

I love seeing how you are managing in your new abode. I LOVE my wood burning stove, and you're right, if it's efficient and the door seals well, there isn't any smoke in the house. The trick to keeping the back draft from happening when you open the door to reload is to fully open the damper first, then open the door just a crack until the air sucks everything up and away, then you can fully open the door to load new wood. Close up the damper, not fully of course, after you've loaded and closed the door.

Remember that small wood stove I wrote about awhile back, the one they were using in third world countries? Something like that would be ideal for you for summer.

The Oko Box said...

Hey Susie- thanks for the tips on smoke! What was that cook stove called again, do you have a link? I remember it on The Canary Report and thought it was awesome, I wonder if they sell it, or if it can be done DIY?!

Lou Cheese said...

Regular wood burning will make me cough but it doesn't trigger my MCS symptoms unless the coughing gets out of control.

Are those vents on the left and right of the stove? It might be a chamber designed to heat the air behind it. If so it will keep the carbon and soot from the fire separate from the heat. All you need to do is push some air through it and the room will be super-heated. My grandfather built a chimney like that when he added a living room to his place and that thing heats the entire house.

Another old pioneer trick is to heat some rocks by placing them above the stove and then take the rocks into another room to heat it, like the one you would sleep in.

Did any of the hippies leave an antique old bed warmer around?

Stephanie Rogers said...

Leslie, this place you live in looks so cool. I'm in suburban West AVL near Haywood which has its perks but oh, how I'd love to live in a place like yours! Wood stoves, rock chimneys, tin roofs... so adorable!

The Oko Box said...

Hey Stephanie -
Wesy Asheville is a fun place- i had fixed up two houses there back in the days of tip top economy, on Galax and Deaver St. :) ...
The cool thing about towns in Western North Carolina is each has such a strong personality that every time I move it's like starting a whole new exciting life.
But I love this kind of life and place the best, it makes me super happy.

Martin said...

Excellent Addup!
Wood Stoves