January 14, 2015
Since I am here now full time, I need a full fledged kitchen. So our latest project was to set up a kitchen in the house. It mimics the final layout of the kitchen and while giving me a place to cook now, it also allows us to determine what layout works best for us and make changes where needed. Below is a schematic of the draft kitchen layout.
Our Kitchen Queen 480 has been installed and running for the last several months and the alcove she sits in is the only completed part of the house. The stove provides the heat for the entire house, a cook top for cooking and an oven for baking. It also provides hot water for washing via a large pot on the stove top. We plan to install a water coil later, once the plumbing is all functioning in the house, to provide the domestic hot water. But for now the pot will do.
For washing water in the kitchen, I am using a galvanized 25 gallon water tank (a great garage sale deal) filled with melted snow water. Part of our daily housekeeping duties is keeping the wood box stocked and hauling in a couple of five gallon pails of snow to keep the water barrel full.
To create a temporary kitchen, we first installed temporary shelving all along the north wall. Although this seemed like an enormous amount of storage space at first, it quickly got filled up as I began to transfer my cooking supplies from the cabin, shop and apartment. And this was just the cooking staples – dried beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, grains, flours and dried fruit – and pots, not the casseroles, dishes and various other stuff I have stored away. This gives us a good visual of the amount of storage space we will need in the final layout.
Next, Ken built the cabinet shells for the island. We had purchased an island counter top on Kijiji that was pretty close to the anticipated size of our island and had a cut out for a sink. My original plan was to put a single tub sink in the island which I thought would be handy for washing veggies and water for cooking. We put in the island cabinet shells and the temporary counter top and found that I did not like the sink after all. So instead of using the temporary counter top, we decided to make and use the plywood base that will later form the bottom of the island butcher block counter top. For now it is covered with a plastic table cloth. I really like the big uninterrupted island. It is fabulous for working on and has an overhang on one side for bar stools so it can be used as a breakfast bar.
Having nixed the island sink, I needed a pace to wash dishes for now. I was using a couple of wash tubs on the island. This worked well but took away my working space. So we decided to build some of the base cabinets for the counter under the kitchen window – just the sink cabinet and two 18 inch cabinets on either side. I think both 18 inch cabinets will become banks of drawers but for now they are just the shell. We cut down the island counter top we had purchased, to form a temporary counter top for this section and installed our double tub sink (also purchased on Kijiji). For now, the drain is not hooked up so two 5 gallon pails collect the grey water.
Notice the candle chandelier in the picture above. We bought the chandelier about 15 years ago at an auction sale. I thought it could be converted to use with candles and used in the dining room. Oddly enough we have been storing it in our outhouse. Really. After building the outhouse years ago, my mother commented that it was so tall it needed a chandelier. So we put this one in. This week I wanted more light in the kitchen, so we removed the fake candles and electrical wires and installed real candles. It gave good light but last night at supper, Ken got doused with candle wax. I expect that by tomorrow I will have the island lights installed.
So now I have a stove, oven, sink, hot and cold wash water, storage space, work counter space and a spot to sit and eat. All that is missing is a fridge and my temporary kitchen will be complete. Our Vestfrost fridge is still housed in the garage. The pantry/cool room has been built, insulated and drywalled, but we still don’t have a pantry door. Once we get the door, we will be able to install the fridge and use the window in the pantry/cool room to keep the temperature low so that the fridge does not need to run much. However, for now I have been using the basement as a fridge. It is staying at about 2 degrees Celsius. I keep the veggies in a cooler and the condiments on temporary shelves. Crude, but it works, and it beats running back and forth to the garage each time I need something from the fridge.
I love my temporary kitchen. It’s big and roomy and everything is in one place. Yesterday I made a big pot of Red Lentil and Kale soup (from the Oh She Glows cookbook) and a batch of Whole Wheat Flax Buns. The oven was a bit too hot and so the buns, although not burned, are pretty toasty. Learning to control the oven temperature will take some practice, but I am impressed on how steady a temperature the oven stays. And the warming ovens on top are absolutely super. I make a pot of tea and store it in the warming oven and it stays hot. Also nice to make supper, dish it out and put in the warming oven until you are ready to sit down to eat. The shelf on top of the warming oven is the perfect temperature for rising bread.
Today’s supper offering was Cream of Mushroom Soup with Quinoa and Gluten Free Tea Biscuits. The soup was delicious. Hanna liked the biscuits, Ken did not. They were not too bad but need some improvements.