Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It's a bit chilly here today.  The sun is shining so beautifully in the sky (if a little low on the horizon for my liking but you get that this time of year) yet the wind is going straight through me.  And the house.  And everything else.  Except the car strangely - I think I might go and sit in it in the sun with a good book for an hour or so to defrost my toes.

As you can tell, I'm not that big a fan of the cold.  Not a good way to be when you live in an area known for its cool autumns, freezing/rainy/miserable winters and cool springs.  But I no complain (not too much anyway!!).  

In preparation for the oncoming winter, which all the old-timer-locals tell me will be a cold one this year (and last year wasn't???), I got in and cleaned the combustion stove.  I found some instructions on the net (I love google) and worked out that there are little access points all around the oven and warmer sections which allow cleaning access - who'd a thunk it!  

Anyhoo, the other day I got in and scraped out a 10L bucket full of ash and soot and who knows what else.  I also managed to fix the flue lever so that it doesn't need to be held precariously in place with a piece of strategically placed wire.  Nice. And then I gave all the doors a good scrub to make it look as pretty as it is.  Pretty.
And wouldn't you know it, it's like a new stove.  We fired it up that night and it lit first time!  Fantastic!  And then, best of all, all the smoke actually went up the chimney, not into the kitchen, lounge, bedrooms and hall....even better! I'm in wood-fired-stove heaven!

I love this stove.  It is the exact same make as the one my Nana had - she used hers for all of her cooking and to heat the hot water.  I remember many cold mornings and cool nights sitting on the lounge she had in front of it (in the kitchen - how cool is that!) watching her mix and whip and bake.   When the LOML and I first looked at this house when it was up for sale, I fell in love with all of the fruit trees on the block (the LOML fell in love with the sheds) and then the deal was cinched when I spied this stove in the kitchen.  Right then and there we were buying this house (though I was under strict instructions to 'play it cool, don't look interested' so that the agent wouldn't know how keen we were!).  My charade obviously worked!
My Aunt had a stove like this as well.  She married a cane farmer (46 years ago yesterday!) and always had a kettle on the stove ready for anyone and everyone who passed through her kitchen.  That's her kettle in the photo - she gave it to me last year.  She long ago updated her kitchen yet this kettle had special memory and she kept it in her cupboard.  Makes it even more special to me that she chose to pass it on to me.

Speaking of kettles, maybe a nice steaming hot cup of something sweet will warm me up.....that and putting on another couple of layers!


  1. Let me get this straight- you have a wood-fired stove in your kitchen that you cook with?!?! Really? Do you bake in the oven? I am so intrigued. Seriously.

    Where does the wood go? How do you adjust the temperature? Do you have another modern oven/stove? I know, too many questions.

  2. It was freezing here this morning! I didn't want to get out of bed! I slept all night with a beanie on because the top of my head kept getting cold, even though I had the combustion lit. Winter is definitely almost here!

  3. Hey Tex,

    I do cook with the stove but only in winter when it is lit. During summer it acts as an additional storage bench! I don't use the oven that much because regulating the temperature is a bit tricky unless you have the knack and I don't really!

    Controlling the oven temp is done by the amount of wood you have burning (ie really hot with lots of flame or slow coal burn) and by using the two...I don't know what you call them but they are the two white metal things hanging behind the kettle (with the silver handles)....they are insulated and are placed on top of the stove over the cast iron cook plates to keep the heat in.

    The oven does have a thermometer but it doesn't work anymore so I use a free-standing oven thermometer hanging from an oven shelf. I have had the oven up to 200 degrees (Celsius) but that was when I had it packed full of wood and a roaring flame for an hour or so.

    Controlling the temp of the stove top is as simple as placement of saucepans on top - pan to the left (and directly over the flame) is hot, move it to the right and the temp goes down.

    The wood goes in the top door on the left - the ash and coals fall down to a metal bin accessed via the bottom left door. The oven is behind the top right door and the bottom right door is a plate warmer (well, that's what I use it for and it gets really warm!).

    I also have a conventional oven/stove that I use though the hotplates on it died before Christmas last year and I've been roughing it with a camping stove and gas bottle on the bench! At least the oven still works....!

    I love cooking on the wood stove - it gives a beautiful, slow cooked flavour that no gas or electric flame can replicate. During the cooler months I do a lot of casseroles and stews on it as well as porridge each morning for breakfast. Last night I did a risotto and it turned out creamier than any I have done on a conventional stovetop.

    The LOML wants to replace my kitchen eventually for me (woohoo!) but also wants to take the stove out (boohoo!) - I'm working on him to let me have both!

  4. I agree Sorcha - winter is definitely almost upon us though I reckon your temps are cooler than what we're having so I have nothing to complain about really!

    Apparently I give off a lot of body heat when I sleep so I shouldn't get cold but I do. I've found that sliding down the bed and completely covering my head with the blankets (leaving only my face poking out) keeps me warm all night - well, until the LOML pulls the blankets off me when he rolls over!!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial.

    I have an electric mattress pad on my bed for the cold winter months. My husband and I each have our own controls for the heat. Although I am well into spring here in the US, I am still using it because it's still chilly here.


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