Snow is Everywhere

backyard in snow

Our backyard

Snow is everywhere this winter. The cold weather and snow of winter is hard to handle here on our homestead. We don’t use snow blowers or tractors. Not yet anyway! Their time is coming. I see in the future we really need a tractor here to clean up the snow. As we get older, those jobs are harder. It will free my husband up from a job that takes him hours to complete. Then it snows again! Every winter we say this is the worst winter we have had. That is not true though. Winter is always cold and snowy. Always. The only thing to do is to find easier ways to deal with it. Paying someone fifty bucks to come to our house to plow is crazy. The next day the snow would be back. We’d go broke in a month!

Solar Panels and snow

Cleared Solar Panels

Snow has to be removed from the solar panels so the sun will hit them. Snow has to be shoveled from the driveway to be able to use the car or the truck. They have to be cleared off too. If you want to go somewhere, you don’t want to clean them off then. Keeping the snow cleared from the driveway and the vehicles makes life a lot easier. We have paths to our compost pile, so after the barn is cleaned the dirty bedding can be taken there in a wheelbarrow. The area around the well needs to be clear so we can use the pump for our water and the horses’ water (of which, they drink a lot in the winter). The path to the generator has to be cleared so that can be used too. It is used often at this time of year. The path to our satellite dish must be cleared in case the snow accumulates on it. Not to mention the path to the firewood. That must be cleared and kept cleared. We go through a lot of wood with two wood stoves going, one for cooking and one for heating. 

Paths Shoveled

Path shoveled to generator

A long time ago, in my previous life, living in cities was so very different than living in the country. Winter meant worrying about being able to get to work on bad roads. I could always take a cab if I had to, so it wasn’t that big of a worry. When I lived in apartments, the landlords took care of the sidewalks and driveways. Then when I lived in a house, I didn’t live right downtown, so our house didn’t have sidewalks on our street. I believe we paid someone to plow or shovel the driveway back then. It was cheap or sometimes it was a high school student who shoveled it for a few bucks.Times have changed since then. 

Driveway Shoveled Out

Driveway shoveled out

My husband has kept our driveway and paths cleared. It is  hard work, but he pushes himself to do it. He does a wonderful job. I hope we can get that tractor to make it easier soon! 

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole


Wood Cook Stove Cookbooks

My Wood Cook Stove

My Wood Cook Stove

I cook on my old wood cook stove most days. It is so much easier to cook on than an electric or gas range. I have cooked on all types of stoves in my life. Believe me, cooking a whole meal on this stove is a breeze. The only thing is that you must have enough wood split down to the right size for your cook stove. You can’t run outside to split some wood in the middle of preparing your meal. 

Woodstove Cookery

Woodstove Cookery by Jane Cooper is a cookbook I found to be useful when I first had my cook stove hooked up. Learning to use it is the secret to good cooking! My own stove does not have the water reservoir on it. To be quite honest with you, I don’t think I really need it. Some people might find it useful and want one.

Home Comfort Cook Book

Home Comfort Cook Book

When I started looking for some good cookbooks for my wood cook stove on Amazon, I found many! I didn’t think I would. The Home Comfort Cook Book 1925 Reprint caught my eye of course, as anything to do with old stoves is of interest to me. I would love to create a museum of old cook stoves. If I could afford them, I would buy them just to look at them, even though I’d probably be itching to fire it up and start cooking! I am not sure if this particular cook book is for wood cook stoves or just old cook stoves from 1925. I have added it to my wish list on Amazon and will find out all about it as soon as I can. 

Old Stoves Are Hot!

Old Stoves Are Hot!

Old Stoves Are Hot! was the first book on Amazon I spotted that was about old stoves. Now I may be weird or something but I love even the old gas and electric stoves such as you see in the picture on the cover of this book. Stoves look so commercial nowadays. I guess I like that “homey” feeling when a stove reminds me of the big white one sitting in my Grandma’s kitchen. 

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole


Cold Weather Makes Chores Tougher

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Cold Temp This Morning!

Cold weather is expected in January and February. This year is no different. Cold weather is here, bringing our temperature down this morning to -9. Then it went down to -12. Now it is up to 10 above. Here in NY we are used to below zero temperatures. That doesn’t mean we like them. We don’t and I am hearing many people telling about having two sources of heat going at the same time. Many have furnaces and are running space heaters or kerosene heaters for the added warmth. Some people have wood stoves and only use them in cases like this. Most of the people I am friends with though, use wood stoves as their main heat source. I say if you want to be warm, you really do need a wood stove. 

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Splitting wood!

For us, winter is always tough. Having to cut, split and carry in firewood. Clean the chimney at least every month. Sometimes more. Prime the water pump, which is not usually a big job, but in these below zero temperatures, it has become a chore. Then pumping and carrying water in the house and to the horses. They drink a lot of water, especially when it is cold. 

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Brrr! Cold!

These are the days when you think back to those hot 90 degree days. I remember my dog and I suffering during the summer in the heat. Next summer, I will remember how cold I was today! I am usually a hot person, always trying to get cool. Even in the winter, I am not one to sit right up beside the wood stove. I even wear summer night gowns during the winter. Not this year! Well, at least not this week. 

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Bundle up!

I have always picked up warm clothes at the thrift stores. Sweat pants, sweat shirts, hunting socks, heavy gloves, boots, heavy robes (especially the ones with zippers), flannel night gowns and pajamas, sweaters, knit hats, etc. I pack them away in a Rubbermaid container for the future. I like flannel sheets, heavy blankets and especially, crocheted or knitted afghans. Warm is better than being cold if you just picked up a few things in the off season. 

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Fire in the wood stove!

Keep Warm!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole


Creosote Builds Up In The Chimney Pipe

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The elbow is at the back of the stove.

Creosote builds up in the chimney of wood stoves.  That is what you hear fall down your pipe at times. If you are heating your home with a wood stove, cleaning your chimney should be a top priority. Do not put it off! My husband does it often. He does not have a set time frame of doing it. Since we burn a lot of wood and our chimney needs to be changed, he has to do it more than some might. We are burning a really dry hardwood this year. It makes a lot of ash in the stove which has to be emptied out when it builds up. 

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Creosote

Creosote collects in the elbows of the stove pipe. When it is cleaned up, an old feedbag is placed underneath the elbow of the stove. As the elbow is pulled apart the creosote will fall onto the paper bag. Then you have to reach up inside the pipe, and make the rest of it in the pipe, fall down through the pipe. Upstairs my husband drops a chain down into the pipe and moves it around a bit. It knocks more creosote down. It is a messy job!

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Worn out elbow needs replacing.

Our chimney needs to be changed from 6″ pipe to 8″ pipe. Our wood stove is very large and needs a larger stove pipe. That pipe will go straight up and out, through the roof from the first elbow. The second elbow upstairs will then be eliminated. Straight up through the upstairs, and out the roof. It will work much better that way. 

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Brand new elbows

Our rain cap needs to be replaced. Then we will not have rust building up in the elbow. The elbows and pipe are replaced from time to time. Triple wall pipe is in the areas where the stove pipe comes up through the floor and the roof. That way the hot pipe has no contact with the wood of the house. That is VERY important!

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Elbow connection

We buy extra elbows and chimney parts to have on hand, just in case we need to replace a part in an emergency. We once had our whole chimney pipe fall down from upstairs, on a Sunday night (when the hardware store was not open) and it was dark and cold! My husband luckily, had parts in the barn to fix it. The elbow had rusted and just gave out. Our wood cook stove has a straight pipe and hardly ever needs cleaning. A straight pipe with no elbows is the best. But we love our big wood heating stove! So we prepare and have plans to fix the pipe this year. That’ll make our job easier!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole