Cookstove! The Beginning

Sometimes things work out. Yeah, I know. I’m as surprised as you are. I think I’ve had an actual documented homesteader success. I should quit while I’m ahead!

Here’s the story. Curmudgeon Compound’s garage came with a useless, warped, rusted, soot encrusted, sorry excuse for a woodstove. Rather than mess with a dangerous smoky box of failure I tossed it. I figured I’d rectify things when I had the time and money.

I never had the time. Never had the money. You know how it goes.

I’ve spent years muddling through with kerosene heaters and propane heaters and my all time favorite solution… denial. End result is that my garage is cold all winter and therefore mostly unusable. Life is like that and it’s a first world problem anyway.

But I had a plan.

Some years ago a friend purchased property with a cute little woodburning kitchen stove. It looked functional and I was jealous. How lucky can one be? A woodburning kitchen stove is a rarity!

“You want it? Get it out of my house and it’s yours.” Quoth the new homeowner.

Challenge accepted!

I drafted my long suffering and very patient father to help move the little beast. Let me tell you that “cute little stove” turned into a finger bashing, back bending, metallic rhinoceros of density. Moving it took the two of us and every trick of leverage, balancing, fulcrums, ramps, and (on my part) lots of swearing. I’d never have managed it without my father’s vastly superior problem solving ability. (Age and wisdom really are inseparable. Who knew? If only someone had told me that when I was an idiot teenager in daily contact with my father. Bah, I’m sure they did and I’m sure I ignored it. All kids think their parents are idiots and very few are correct. I’m lucky to have a dad who’s still around and I appreciate it… especially when he keeps me from dropping heavy things on my foot.)

Eventually we wound up disassembling the thing just to reduce weight. After several hours of brutal work it was on the trailer and headed home. We unloaded the stove (or it’s core) onto some cinder blocks (my garage floods) roughly where the old chimney was located. The we heaped what felt like ten tons of miscellaneous components on top of it. After that I promptly avoided the whole “installation” process for several years.

Fast forward several years and there’s an abandoned wood stove in the corner. It’s covered with a couple boxes of “God knows what”, which is under another pile of assorted garage shit, which has over time been heaped with sedimentary layers of old boards and tractor bits and ladders and dull sawblades and all the other junk that accumulates in a homestead workspace.

But the clock was ticking. I, unwise fool that I am, embarked on a project which will require a warm winter workspace. It was time to fight back against entropy. It was a long hard battle… lasting most of the summer. I was only partially successful. Entropy is a brutal enemy!

This week I found myself with some time. Other conditions were bleak. Physically I was (am?) out of commission with unexceptional but undeniable ailments… meaning I’m in no shape to run a chainsaw (my favorite “spare time activity”). In fact I’m in no shape to lift anything bigger than a cup of coffee. I tried to hunker by the fire in our house and let time pass. I tried to ignore the woodstove.

Nope. Can’t do it. Time to fix that cute (but heavy stove). Lucky for my dad he’s well out of range or he’d be drafted to assist with reassembly.

Wish me luck.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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6 Responses to Cookstove! The Beginning

  1. Paul says:

    Most excellent! This is the type of possibly ill-conceived adventures for which I follow this blog.
    In the words of Jeremy Clarkson: “How hard could it be?”

  2. Everything looks easy, until you run into the first of 20 corroded solid bolts and nuts that take an hour each to remove -grin-. I for one will be tacking a complete exhaust system removal/install on my son’s car over thanksgiving….” How hard could it be?”… and yes, my barn/workshop also needs heat and more insulation……… no flooding ….so far. Good luck and as always, will remain tuned to the next chapter of existence in the mid west which for some fool reason we choose to live in.

  3. jon spencer says:

    I can still remember my grandmother frying doughnuts on the wood stove. Hot doughnuts sprinkled with sugar, were they good. Used lard for the grease too. She used to bake bread in that stove that with all of us around the first loaf or two never got a chance to cool.
    Hope you get a chance to try some cooking on the stove.

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