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Category Archives: cookstove

Roll on the Floor Flooring

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..well, we opted for a quicker solution to finishing the floor. We know we are going to do tile but in the meantime we picked up some vinyl flooring in the meantime. With the rest of the place near complete we want a final version..at least until we finalize it. It being the season for people popping in we has a neighbor drop by with a guitar to play and some canned caribou (and a bottle of whiskey to wash it down) which we cooked up as per his instructions with boiled potato…very tasty! Does caribou give you a headache the next morning?

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Construction, cookstove, entertainment, food

 

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3 Hour Swing

In temperature..not a swing like a tire swing. Trying to capture some info on my highly technical gear. Below 0 most of the day and we are still burning softwood..want to see the difference it makes on a similar weather day when burning hardwood. The pictures are 1st – hometime, 2nd – outside, 3rd – inside after 3 hours. The upper 3 are c and the lower are f ( for those (me included) who are f to c ignant. Yes I spelled ignorant wrong. Hehe.

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in cookstove, heat

 

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..so that’s where I put the stapler.

..lost the stapler a month or so ago..right around the last time I cleaned the stove and pipes…oh, there it is right underneath the wire brush in the box. So simple (as I grit me teeth). Once the brushing was done I could not find the thin attachment for the shop-vac to get in the very back of the stove so I had to improvise with some pex tubing. Creosote buildup was minimal but I am not taking chances and I also wanted to time the operation while doing it solo. 1:10 with fabrication time..I think we can get it down to under 1/2 hour, although 4 ft of snow on the roof does tend to slow things down so I should not get too confident, hehe..

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in cookstove, todo

 

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Handmedowns

..birthday time! Not really big on gifts but Ma has some heirloom pieces from when she grew up and she gave me the cast iron humidifier. No, heirloom does not mean we can plant it and the kettle will grow a kettle tree or anything..Mom grew up using this as her mother had..funny thing about the humidifier/kettle..I once saw my grandmother pour a beer in it that my father was trying to get her to drink (she does not drink the devils ale) when I was 10..ah the memories..

The bellows I am considering it a gift but I liberated it from my brother last year..it was our bellows growing up and he ended up with it and did not use it. I did ask him but he had it as decoration and I wanted to use it. I wonder how many fires I started with this bellows growing up? The bellows ia getting fairly ratty so I might look to get some work done to it or try my hand myself (but this is one project I would not want to ruin).

Oh, and we repositioned the panels temporarily too until I grab some longer wire for the array to the charge controller. The tree shadows are worse than I thought and are the root cause of the battery issues. We moved them about 30 feet out but need 40 more and I want some thicker gauge wiring to go with it at the same time in preparation for more panels. With the sun issues one silver lining is that we now know where ALL of the solar panels will be installed next year on a pole mount system.

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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in cookstove, heat, power

 

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Full Bore Winter Cooking

Not a boar, sorry. We are back in full winter cooking mode as the bbq goes unused. Tonight is quiche. Using softwood trees/logs we cut last summer for now then when we switch over to hardwood sometime in December we will reclean the pipes..and create a new ash pile or oak barrel..we want to try to make some soap and I was reading of how you can use hardwood ash and rainwater to make lye so we might check it out if we can find a barrel. But for now the ecofan cruises along blowing hot air with homegrown heat..I need to get this temperature up though for the quiche…

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image we never usually take after shots as we generally savage the food once out of the oven..a quiche looks better without a bite taken out of the side.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Construction, cookstove, heat

 

This is That

..no this radio is not that cookstove griddle cornbread as per the pictures. ‘This is That’ is a radio show on CBC radio on Saturday mornings..since I started listening to it I tune in weekly for the comedic interviews that border on reality..really funny and deserves a plug. So does ‘Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein’ while I am on the subject. If you get satellite radio or cbc1 check them out. While we listen we bake some cornbread for breakfast..a great way to have morning coffee.

‘The Debators’ is good too for radio but the tv show is too produced.

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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in cookstove, fun

 

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Final Stove Prep for Burning

..darg. ok wood burning season is here..no need to deny it any longer..so today A* and I set to cleaning out the stove, pipe and choppping wood..the 3rd p is for pro. Anyway, up on. The ladder I went..we try to do this regularly so we can do it all in about 1/2 hour. Off with the exterior stove top and in with the sweep brush…vigourously plunge the entire pipe length for 5 minutes..remove and replace the cap. Then A* removes the inside access for the pipe soot..shop-vac until clean…replace access cover…the end…and then we light it up..

Now we get to burn some of the crappier wood until the real cold weather hits! I must admit..it is nice to have a working oven again..I put some potatoes in there to bake in july and they still were not done!

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image A* felt it prudent to make sure the oven still worked by baking up a batch of brownies..nice.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Construction, cookstove, heat

 

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making maple syrup from sap

..got 12 hours to spare?..do you like watching paint dry? Have you ever sat outside for a day just to watch the grass grow? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then boiling down sap to make syrup might be a hobby you enjoy. We collected the sap from the maple trees and now we wanted to turn that sap into sweet, sweet syrup.  To do this you apply heat and let the water boil off leaving the concentrated maple sugar..not a complex process..heat until sugary.
The first step was to filter the sap..there was some pieces of bark that had fallen in so we poured the sap through a piece of paper towel. If we had cheese-cloth I would have used that. We are not fancy when making syrup.
wow…what a fine filter you have there!

Since we were going to be boiling the sap I wanted to make sure we had a pot big enough to hold the initial liquid..you can see that there is a slight tint to the sap so it is not totally like normal water.

after filtering this is how much sap we have..the pot is about 1/5 full

Put the pot on the stove or heating source..let it boil..and boil..and boil. After it has boiled for a while let it boil some more.

the power of reduction at work for you!

The sap will gradually reduce and as it does it gets sweeter..and the color begins to get darker. When it got down low enough I switched to a smaller pot.

..after boiling down enough I switched to a smaller pot

As the liquid gets lower its viscosity also increases…I think that means that it gets thicker in cosistancy..like syrup.

almost there..it was sweet at this point

As it gets to the final levels you need to pay more attention..with lower levels of liquid it gets hot faster. If it boils down too much you actually get maple sugar or a burnt mess in your pan.

..almost there…

You can see how dark it is now..like maple syrup. Super sweet!

there. roughly 1 cup of syrup

GOLDEN! The finished product. Yummy! We started with 4-6 litres and got 1 cup from it..The whole process is not hard at all..I proabably spent 1 hour in total tapping, collecting and transferring to pots then it was a waiting game and occasionally checking the process ( I monitor sap levels in the collection areas with my binoculars ). If you ever run out of maple syrup and know that in a week you will need more then I suggest this..or you could just buy some..that might be easier. Maple sap will begin to ebb now so this might be the only batch I get..I should really go into business..I could sell this syrup for $4! hehe..no.

 

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in cookstove, fun

 

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Cookstove Cleaning and the Chimney Sweep..

( and an updated pic of the trim work from a couple of weeks back )

..we decided to clean the cookstove and pipes..Our wood was wet this year and sometimes we would get more smoke which leads to creosote so we want to keep on top of it and do maintenance so we don’t get into any issues with something going wrong that we could have prevented.

A* and I took apart the cookstove and cleaned out ALL the ash.

dirty!

The cookstove has an oven and the way it works is that smoke flows all around the oven and then out the stove pip..so ash gets everywhere inside and can build up.

out with the old..

The stove bottom is where things fall from the chimney so we scooped out all of the ash..there actually was quite a bit more than we have had in previous seasons.

my ashy muse.

Not a clean job as ash gets all over the work area.

After the stove was clean I went up on the roof..took off the pipe cap, connected the poles to the brush and vigorously plunged for 15 minutes. More ash and creosote collected in the bottom of the stove and A* cleaned it up as we went..I DID push the brush down too far and I got it stuck for 1/2 hour..too odd an angle to pull back up the pipe from the roof so I had to get A* to leverage the brush from below while I pulled from above and it finally popped free..

all clean!

..then the stove was clean, safe and ready to burn again!..or for next season as the burning period is coming to a close VERY soon! We also noticed that some of the paint in the clean out area is peeling..might need to get some touch up paint if I can find it..

OH..also going to include some pics of the trim work we did that I never posted up..forgot to follow up until I downloaded the pics from my camera:

and

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in cookstove, todo

 

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Cookstove Baking Bread Attempt #1

..there is something simple on my list of needed skills that I need to be able to do..it is not flying a plane or catching a jabberwocky..it is baking bread. Baking bread always reminds me of my grandmother..she did it everyday and when we spent time with her it was always with fresh loaves of bread for meals. When I was a kid my mother would bake bread for the family and us kids would complain because it did not look the same as the other kids at lunch..soon she stopped making bread and we used store bought bread..what a sin!

Anyway, baking bread is something I keep meaning to do but never got around to doing it..I have all the things I need in my kitchen but my ‘bread baking’ has been making mini versions in the cast iron pan that are a cross between a pancake and a pita. So Sunday I decided I was going to bake some bread…once again, I was not looking for perfection just a finished product that I could then improve upon it. While baking is not an overly time consuming task it does go in steps that need to be followed in order to get a good end product. Mixing all of the ingredients is the first step.

.I used soy milk instead of real milk but otherwise we followed the recipe in ‘the joy of cooking’..which I highly recommend. I have a really old version I use and it has all of the usual recipes as well as things like how to cook porcupine..not that I have ever used that one.

great recipe book and for someone like me who has never baked bread it went into the details for the things I was confused about..how long for bread to rise, punching down techniques, etc..after mixing I followed the directions and kneaded the bread,

covered it and set it aside on the top of the stove to rise for an hour. An hourish later the dough had doubled..so I punched it down, flipped it over and let it rise again. One more hour and I kneaded, made into 2 loaves, put it in pans and let it rise up again ( 1/2 hour )…then into the oven. Cooking in a cookstove is a little harder then it is normally..I can get it to the temperature I need (450 ) but it takes planning, timing and patience. I cannot just turn a knob for 10 minutes on 450 then 15 on 350..I need to get the fire going good with the stove door closed then open it partially for a minute or 2 to get it down to 350. I use smaller pieces of wood to get maximum surface area on fire for the wood about 20 minutes before I want to put the bread in after the fire has been going for a while. Usually I burn logs that are bigger so I don’t have to tend it as much. Also, for the cookstove the corner near the firebox is hotter than the rest so I switched the loaves after 15 minutes. We usually leave the stove door open when not cooking to get the extra heat too.

20 minutes later..and I had warm, delicious, moist bread..I gotta say, for my very first attempt I am quite happy with the outcome..it looks and tastes like bread..hehe. I am going to try to do this at least once a week now so we have bread for the week..I was actually shocked how quick the actual work was and besides the waiting it took no time at all! If you have not done it yourself then go try it..it is really satisfying to have flour and other basic ingredients and a couple of hours later have 2 loaves of fresh bread!

..also as a note let the bread cool before attempting to cut. I mangled one of the 2 loaves because I wanted to taste it and could not wait!

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Construction, cookstove, heat

 

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