Mid January already, and my proclivity appears to follow the genetic memories of very remote ancestors: Feed the fires!
Hearths, where warmth radiates, food issues forth, and friends and families gather, are the heart of a home. In this coldest of the cold season, I keep both the Jotul (Oslo 400) and the Waterford Stanley Wood Cook Stove going. These are the hearths of our home.
It is my delight to, in the case of our Jotul, keep the same fire going for weeks at a time. This is a nourishing relationship. We Homo sapiens are the only species that have co-evolved with fire.
Its not difficult to image in times past, the terror of wild, out of control fire.
Having had a wood stove as my main source of heat since the mid-seventies, its also not difficult to image the joy of Grandfather Fire first coming gently inside as friendly fire; allowing ancestors to live and be comfortable in otherwise inhospitable conditions.
This season, I follow a natural call of going inward. Our hearth zone is like a winterized cave: nearby we sit, read, dream, work on small projects, talk and tell other tall tales.
Nearby, Chiwa has taken out an ancient sewing machine, and is making berets for me and other friends out of old cashmere and merino fabrics. Perhaps a neck gaiter will manifest too…
During extra cold times, our Irish Waterford Stanley wood cook stove keeps the kitchen smiley comfortable! At night, the kitchen’s insulating blinds are lowered, giving us a soft green, cozy and private space.
The delicious heat radiating from the cook stove invites and compels me to take advantage of all this available heat… and cook!
The large cast iron surface provides ample space for heating water for coffee and teas, cooking omelets and other breakfasts, slow cooking soups, syrups and other winter delights. From the oven comes artisan breads, pizzas, cinnamon buns, apple-blackberry crisps, apple galettes, and other baked goodies.
I have gained a few pounds this cold season…
Weatherwise, we are seeing the coldest temperatures in 25 years; multiple lows in the single digits. While I hope overwintering larvae of Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs and Spot-winged Drosophila are biting the dust, I wonder also which beloved fruit plants will not show up again in spring…