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Country Discussion Topics
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Wood Cook Stoves and Hemlock Trees
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Oldpaths    Posted 06-27-2004 at 18:09:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I am just starting to work my way off the grid as a homesteader with a young family and am looking for some advice on Wood Cook stoves. My home is well suited to heat with wood and my wife would love to learn to cook with a wood stove. I have seen several models that work dual purpose -- Pioneer Maid, Tuvalaki (very expensive), Northdoorway, Waterford Stanley. Everytime we see a positive aspect of one stove there are 5 places that say it is bad. Any advice would be helpful. Also I have aproximatly 10 large dead hemlock trees on my property and would like to cut them down but am unsure as to what purpose they should be used. I would love to use them as firewood but am unsure of what problems I would run into. Thanks in advance.

Willie J    Posted 06-28-2004 at 07:00:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Just my thoughts,although you will disagree with me.
I remember when my Mom cooked with wood. House got hotter than a $2 pistol in a pepper patch. She had a kerosene stove for cooking in summer, but had to fire the wood stove to bake bread 2 or 3 times a week. House never cooled off during the summer. She saved pennies til she had $200 saved up to buy a propane stove. That was in 1946. Dad got some neighbors to help carry that wood stove outside & we took turns busting it up with sledge hammers.
Your wife will really love cooking with wood when she has to build a fire & it's already over 90 degrees in the house. Smoke fills the house when adding wood, ashes to carry out, dirt & bugs in the wood box.You will love it too the first summer night when you are trying to go to sleep & all that hot cast iron is heating the house long after the fire has gone out.
Living off the grid?? Stinky kerosene lamps, no hot shower, no phone, no computer, the list goes on.
If you really want to give up on modern technology, you also have to give up cars, trucks, tractors, store bought clothes, grocery stores. Raise your own meat , milk, vegetables. No refrigeration to preserve that food, so wood stove going all day in summer for canning that food to last until next harvest. Thresh your own grain for animal feed & grind your own flour for baking. Spend every waking hour to provide food, so no time for a job in town for cash, to spend on the few things you would buy. Sleep on a mattress stuffed with straw or corn husk. Make your own clothes after spinning thread & weaving cloth. Tan the hide from a butchered cow to make leather for shoes. No vaccuum cleaner, just a broom to gather the big chuncks while the dust re-settles on everything else. No washing machine, just a scrub board & tub of water.
Sorry to ramble, but that's the way this old timer sees it.

Betty    Posted 09-22-2006 at 20:40:45       [Reply]  [Send Email]
just wanting to know if you knew anything about an antique Red Mountain cook stoves.If while looking for your stove and see a red mountain please let me know.

Bkeepr    Posted 06-28-2004 at 08:06:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Willie J has some very good points.

As far as wood stove goes, if you can spare time and make a trip to Lehman's Hardware in north-central Ohio I think it may be worth it for you. They have a huge stove department and folks who actually use them regularly--they cater to the local Amish and Mennonite communities. They'll tell you all you need to know. If you can't get there, you might try corresponding with them.

We're not off grid and don't plan to be, but we do like to use a lot of older things because they're superior to many of today's. We use kerosene lamps during winter for at least a portion of our lighting (Aladdin's are best) and supplement our old steam heat with kerosene heaters. I have an old Kerosene cookstove for emergencies (when the power goes out) that compares favorably to a modern stove for cooking but does away with the downsides of wood that Willie mentioned.

If I could make a suggestion: take it slowly. We had studied small farming for decades before we got our little place and realized we didn't know much at all once we really tried living it. Takes a long time to get used to major changes like this, and the family may not always adjust the way you think. We found that we didn't even know enough to ask good questions until we'd been out here for awhile.

But good luck with whatever you do!

Tom A

Sue from B.C.    Posted 06-27-2004 at 22:10:54       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Good luck off the grid. I lived off the grid for 8 years and loved it! We hauled our water in buckets from the purest mountain spring and there will never be anything like that again!

We burned dry standing western larch for the best fires - and for overnight keepers we burned green larch rounds. We had an old oil drum stove that was the best - but you'll never get insurance with one of those!

We had a propane fridge and a propane cookstove and propane lights - cost us about $580 Canadian dollars a year for the propane.

I used to cook roasts and baked potatoes in the oil drum stove - build a good fire, get lots of red hot coals, push the fire to the back of the stove and set the roast pot and /or the potaoes (double wrapped in tin foil) right on the hot coals. The roast I did in a cast iron pot and wrapped it (the roast, not the pan!)in tin foil. Our oil drum stove was built with a flat top and I used to cook pancakes on that - no pan.

Good luck!

Alias    Posted 06-27-2004 at 19:59:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Old Paths, Can't help you much on the stoves. When I was young the stove of choice for most cooks was a "Home ComfortKitchen Range". Some body had one for sale here a few months ago. Don't know if they still make them or not.

Now about those trees. Because they are dead, they may be hard to mill. But hemlock is ideal for sheeting and if you can control the splitting they make very nice rustic cabinets. many years ago, my father used hemlock for the exterior of a barn he built. It lasted a long while until it was torn down to make way for developement.

Good luck.......gfp

Salmoneye    Posted 06-27-2004 at 19:17:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nothing wrong with burning hemlock other than it is hot and fast...Works good if you can sit and stoke all day, but is not great overnight...

Damping down for longer burn is not a great idea with most softwood due to creosote concerns...Hot and fast is best and recommended for softwood...

Works well in an evaporator arch for making maple syrup, but in that application you are stoking every 8 minutes...

Clod    Posted 06-27-2004 at 19:22:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
musqueet.If you can spell it or not it is the better burning.

Burrhead    Posted 06-27-2004 at 22:05:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
yep mesquite is good wood. we usta go thru the woods and find pine hearts to start a fire.

I'd vote for the Home Comfort stove too. That's what we always had and the wimmin loved it. Most all of the H-C have a water jacket that's real handy plus that you can keep the fire box regulated better than some other brands.

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