Posts Tagged ‘wood-burning stoves’

Our  Thursday Doors time capsule (no photo of the door available) hurtles us back this week past millions of doors to the year 2010, before TD was a tiny, hobbit-sized door idea in Norm’s mind.

Since I was in college, I’ve been going to Wyoming at some point during the summer, missing only a few years in all that time.  For many years, my parents were there all summer, so when our girls were very young, we stayed in the cabin of a friend of the family, giving everyone more space and privacy.  The cabin was heated only by this wood-burning stove and despite it being summer, there were often days when we needed that heat.  (There were years when it snowed in June!)  My husband or I would get up quietly in the morning, get the fire going, then head back to bed until the main room warmed up, although sometimes I would get dressed and sit outside with a cup of tea, watching moose or just relaxing.  This was definitely a working stove!

When our older daughter was old enough to take care of the fire, she would often get it stoked up before we went out for a horseback ride, which felt great in the morning.  However, the cabin roof caught the sun about mid-morning, so sometimes we would come back to a cabin so hot we had to open the door and all the windows in an effort to make it bearable.  🙂

© janet m. webb 2010


A fine stove

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Musings
Tags: , ,

A fine stove. I imagined the winter nights we would spend beside it. I’d read that the decline
of the American family was due not to television, as is commonly asserted,
but to the proliferation of central heating. With individual thermostats in every room,
it’s easy to hide in a remote part of the house, luxurious in seventy degrees of baseboard heat.
A stove is a different proposition. Set up a stove and we cannot avoid coming together.
Reading in a rocker or listening to the wind outside, this is where we would keep company in winter.
In a sense we had just delivered the heart of the house.

A Barn in New England; Making a Home on Three Acres
~Joseph Monniger


In the small house we were grew up, if Dad got the fire in the fireplace going strongly, it was so hot in the little living room that we either had to move to the opposite end of the room or leave it.  We loved having a fire nonetheless and it made the cold Nebraska winters seem much cozier.  They were certainly warmer when the fire was burning!  Although my grandparents’ farmhouse also had heat, although no fireplace, the upstairs wasn’t heated and probably not well-insulated, so the door was kept tightly shut.  Those times we’d stay for the weekend when it was cold, we didn’t waste much time at night getting into bed under all the covers.  In the morning, it was wonderful to thud down the stairs, open the door and feel warmth…and perhaps smell Grandma’s cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

The cabin in which we spent all our Wyoming vacations until recently was heated only by a wood-burning stove.  The first night we would fill the wood box, forage for kindling and get the wood arranged in the stove.  In the morning, one of us, usually me, would crawl out from under the warmth of the covers, hurry into the main room of the cabin, open the door as quietly as possible and start the fire.   Trying to avoid any squeaks, I’d close the door and hurry back into bed to lie awake until the room began to warm.  When she was younger, our older daughter like to stoke up the fire from the time she got up until we went out riding in the morning.  When we returned to the cabin around noon, the combination of stove heat and the solar heat from the sun beating down on the roof of the cabin often made it so hot we had to open all the windows and sit on the porch until the cabin cooled down a bit.

We had the pictured stove inserted in the fireplace of our Cleveland home.  With a blower, the heat was distributed throughout the large living room, into the dining room and seeped into the bedrooms above.  The coldest room in kitchen became the kitchen on the other side of the house. Even when the electricity went out, the area near the stove stayed warm.

With a stove, wood formerly thrown out as trash became valued kindling and the sound of a chain saw brought me out of the house, keen for the hunt.  The city workers who cut down trees in the neighborhood called me “The Tree Lady.”  The back seats of our van were constantly down, covered by one of my dad’s army blankets, in case I came upon a tree being cut down or wood on the tree lawn for disposal.  I take pride in the fact that we never had to buy wood the entire time we had the stove.

More and more stringent laws about what you can burn and whether you can burn anything at all threaten to take away the joys of a good stove or fireplace.  That would be a great loss. While uncontrolled fire is a frightening thing, the crackle of logs in a fireplace or stove calls to something deep inside us that makes a house feel like a safe, cozy home. Or, as Joseph Monniger said above, it makes the heart of a house.

Potential daffodils

Spring will be here March 20, eighteen days from today. Less than three weeks. Yet my soul is ready for spring today: ready for the re-birth of life, for growth, for the changes of weather, for the green of grass and leaves, crocus colors, grape hyacinth purples. In the area where last fall I pulled (and pulled and yanked and pulled) the ivy ground cover, except for an earth-holding fringe by the sidewalk, a clump of green daffodil leaves has appeared, seemingly overnight, tiny yellow buds wrapped tightly and protected inside. The primroses that I bought last year and finally, (after all the years of buying them, only to throw them out before I could plant them outside), planted around the base of a bush on the side of the house are green. I look forward to seeing which colors will reveal themselves. Perhaps the five I just bought for $.99 each a couple days ago will also thrive once they’re done gracing the inside of the house with their beauty. My mind’s eye begins to see color, imagines flowers that I haven’t even planted, envisions my lavender beginning to wake again and the flowering of the plants I saw, loved, bought and planted…but don’t know by name. (Unfortunately, it also imagines war with plant-devouring chipmunks and deer, but that, also, is part of spring and summer.)

The best thing about spring is the gradual increase in light, a definite mood-enhancer. When I wake in the morning and lie there, doing my prayers, light is beginning to creep in before I get up. At night, there’s still light longer and longer after 4:30 pm each day. I don’t think I could easily live where throughout winter there would be virtually no light. The large windows in our house bring the spiritual uplift of the light indoors to bless me each sunny day. What a joy to raise the blinds each morning!

It amazes me each spring that despite my best efforts in the fall, and perhaps aided and abetted by neighbors who didn’t clean well or late enough, there is always a glut of dead, crispy (if it hasn’t been raining) leaves hiding in the corners of where the house and garage meet, under bushes and in the trenches I dug when we first moved in to aid the runoff of excess water away from the house and down to the sidewalk and tree lawn. Today they’re a sodden mat of ugly, growth-killing material. Yesterday when the temperature shot into the 60’s, my hands involuntarily began to move toward gardening gloves, rakes and garbage bags, wanting to clean up and bring order to my lawn, despite it being too wet to safely do yard work without damage.

Maybe tomorrow when it’s supposed to be warm again in the yo-yo manner of almost-spring: 60 and sunny; 40, cloudy, spitting rain-snow periodically, ground soaked; then warm with rain, followed a few days later by just-at-freezing with snow showers, I’ll be able to pick up the sticks that decorate the yard. I used to think of them as trash until we got a wood-burning stove when, in mysterious fashion, they morphed into kindling. After too many accumulated, they changed back into biodegradable trash. Either way, while on the lawn, they’re messy and I want them gone.

I find myself pulling out pictures of gardens, thinking about starting seeds, something very difficult to bring to fruition when I’m traveling between two places. For several years when I had a garden, I asked people to help with it while we went on vacation. That ended the year my “good friend” was in charge and I came back to find a mini-version of the Sahara desert where my tomatoes and other veggies had been. “I started over to your place often but it looked like it was going to rain, so I didn’t go,” she excused herself. “Why didn’t you go once you saw that it didn’t rain?” my brain screamed, but my face smiled and I said nothing; thought about a drip system some day. Turned out that once my usefulness for her was over, we suddenly didn’t see each other again. Guess we really weren’t friends. We certainly weren’t garden friends.

It’s only the second day of March. Eighteen more days until the official start of spring. It’s almost certain that there will be more days of winter. But inside me, the seed of spring has started growing and I’m nurturing it all I can, letting the joy bubble up each day a little more. I can’t wait!