With the onset of warmer weather, we’ve gone without fires in the woodstove some days lately. If it’s particularly cool or wet, we might have a small fire in the morning or evening, but the season of heating the cabin all day has passed. And, I have to admit, I miss it all ready.
It’s not the warmth I need. I noticed Tuesday morning that I’d broken out in a sweat just from eating a warm breakfast, even though the room was no more than 62°. What I miss is the convenience of an “always on” hotplate.
Every day during the wood heat season, even if we plan to use the hot water heater, we fill our big kettle and put it on the stove. It might be moved minutes later for the tea kettle, or a frying pan, but when those short term needs are met, the big kettle goes back on. From it, we’ll have several gallons of hot water if and when it’s needed. If not, it sits through the night, slowly releasing its heat to the room until the next morning’s fire.
Hot water creates the base line. Beyond that, many of our meals, especially lunches, can be prepared on a warm woodstove. If we need it hot, we can always throw on a few more sticks of wood and heat it up in a hurry. Wet clothing can be dried above it as needed.
I know that it won’t be long before I’ll hardly think about a fire. We always have the propane stove. I may begrudge using the gas right now, meditating on the cost and the inconvenience of hauling the heavy bottles from the road, but before long we’ll be relieved to be able to cook without the cabin becoming unbearably warm. As I work toward filling the wood shed for next winter, I will appreciate losing the attrition of daily fires. During the summer, the cabin itself is often warmed to uncomfortable temperatures (for us) by the sun. The only real issue becomes the paper trash accumulation, which helps start our fires in the winter. A little bit gets used starting the hot water heater, but not enough. We generally end up burning trash on the beach a few times from late spring through early autumn.
Continuing my wine and soda making will recquire adjustment, but I imagine I can handle most of the hot water needs for those projects with the Kelly kettle. We’ll no doubt use the hot water heater more often, which will give us a chance to clean up the yards of broken branches and other wood scrap that inevitably accumulates. As for the paper trash, we’re realizing that it can be composted well, so our excess will be converted to garden soil this summer.