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My Woodstove Kitchen

When we moved in here we were certain we wanted a wood stove for heating our home because it would be much cheaper than our other option (propane), there was no risk of a shortage (we could be certain we had enough wood before the season, but last year our neighbors got shorted through the season on their propane), and in the event of a power outage (we are told it happens fairly often living out here) we could still heat our home in the winter, and cook on it.  Well we got to thinking that our main stove does a great job of heating our main home, but our school room is located in the three-season room off the back of the house.  considering how many walls and doors the heat would have to get around to heat that room we figured we should put in a small wood stove dedicated to that room only.  We could open the windows that go into our home and share the heat if the back of our home needed heat, but that wasn’t the main objective.  I wanted some place cozy and roomy where we could continue our homeschooling through the cold months without having to resort to the kitchen table.  With six kids, two who are too young to do school but certainly not young enough to not get into trouble and make messes, having a dedicated room for our schooling has always been a blessing.

We found a used stove (a boxwood stove) that heats up to 500-800 sq. ft.  has two cooking spots that lift out (the whole center can actually lift out for larger dishes, grilling, etc.) that also included a blower to help circulate heat, and some single wall pipe for around $200.  We had to purchase chimney pipe, flashing, storm collar, roof support and additional indoor pipe all with store rebates that came back from our wood stove purchase.  We installed it ourselves, with our recent first-time successful wood stove installation a few months prior still fresh in our mind.  The floor of the school room is cement, so we did not have to worry about a hearth pad or anything.  It had to sit 3ft. off the wall, however, we chose to put it kind of in the middle of the back quarter of the room, well over 3ft. off the wall because we wanted to put in a kitchen.

We will buy cabinets and counter top with a sink when the opportunity presents its self.  I will buy them used and am pretty crafty so I’m not too concerned about how they look.  The bathroom is directly behind the wall we will be putting the counter on, including the water access, so we should have no issues working the sink into the plumbing.  I have a small dorm-style fridge I will be keeping out there to hold ingredients for the next days meals so that I can prepare our supper as our homeschool day goes on.  We have a rather odd homeschool schedule and do our schooling in the afternoons and evenings, after my husband has left for work.

Considering 3 sides of the room are mainly window I think this would be a fantastic spot for my summer kitchen as well.  It can be completely shut off from the main house so if we purchase a cheap stove sometime between now and next canning season, I will be able to can out there without heating the home.  I am not interested in canning on the wood stove, so I would put an electric or gas stove out there (not sure what we want just yet)  next to the counter, open up all the windows and get to canning!  Or have another oven available for Thanksgiving dinner.  :)

Here are some pictures of the current arrangement.  I will be setting the little dorm fridge out here tomorrow.  once we get cabinets and counter top, all of that will be taken out.  I have trim for the window, just need to remind myself to do it when I have time, then I have a cute black bar to hang under the window that will hold my storage cups, trivet and anything else I can hang from a hook.  I have realized that the single wall pipe allows for a lot of heat to escape.  I would like to switch that out to double walled pipe to help with efficiency.  Also, this stove would benefit from a grate to hold the wood (and heat) closer to the top of the stove, I think we would use less wood that way.

I am still learning the art of cooking on a wood stove.  I often cook our breakfast over the main stove in the living room because that has been kept hot all night on the cold nights we’ve been having.  Then around the afternoon we fire up the stove in the school room so it’s nice and toasty for cooking when the time comes (as well as heating the room).  My personal goal is to not use the electric kitchen stove much this winter and rely on using the heat that is already created from heating our home.  I am very curious to see if our electric bill drops at all.  The wood is already going to be burned, so lets use that heat as many ways as we can!

I will be sharing my wood stove cooking experiences here, once I have a better idea of what I’m doing.

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