January 10, 2014
We are currently researching wood burning cook stoves. I love cooking on a wood stove and we plan to have one in our new kitchen. I have a big, bright 14 by 17 foot kitchen space – big enough for a wood cook stove and wood storage space. We hope to be able to install our new stove before October 2014, but first we need to find it.
Having Ken living at the Ponderosa these last two winters have taught us a thing or two about living off grid. Winters in Manitoba can be brutal. Last winter (2012/13) seemed to have an abundance of days without much sunlight. We struggled to keep the batteries charged, resorting to the backup generator more often than we liked. The only source of heat in the shop last year was the wood fired boiler, which although very energy efficient, still takes power to run the pumps. This year, the addition of the extra solar panels has helped the power supply, as has sunnier days. However, with those sunnier days came day after day of deep freeze cold. Thankfully, before the snow descended last fall, we re-installed a wood burning stove in the shop. These last two winters have brought home the importance of having a secondary heat source in the house that does not rely on electrical power.
The jury is still out on whether the wood cook stove itself will prove sufficient to keep the house warm on low power days. Hopefully we will have the cook stove installed for next winter and, although we won’t be living in the house yet, we will be able to judge if a second stove is needed. The house will be very well insulated (double exterior walls) and the main floor will be radiant heated poured concrete which should hold the heat.
So now we are searching for a good cook stove and hoping you can help out. Originally we had our sights set on an Elmira, but are now leaning towards the Margin Gem. Both are beautiful looking stoves. However, we have not totally ruled out the more rugged looking Deva 100 or Bakers Choice stoves.
Currently I am cooking on a McLary Royal Crown in the cabin. This was my mother’s first stove after she got married. After my parents got an electric stove, it was moved to the basement and I remember using it every fall to do the canning. Somewhere along the road the warming closet was lost but the stove still works beautifully and I love cooking on it. The oven is not even and you have to remember to rotate the dish; however, I have produced delicious cookies, pies and bread. Although I have already purchased a propane cooktop for my new kitchen, it is my future wood stove that I can’t wait to use.