Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why the Ashland Stove

I have a new wood cook stove. I pondered this decision for a long time. In the process of building our tiny house, I realized that I couldn't fit in a wood heating stove and a regular electric or gas stove and oven. I had to choose one or the other. Since I like to be warm in the winter, I chose the wood cook stove.

Why the Ashland? I am sure there are many good cook stoves on the market. It so happened that Michael and I were visiting an Amish home in the fall and I mentioned to Mrs. Yoder that I would like to get a wood cook stove. She took me into the house and showed me her Ashland stove. It had the feature I wanted: a switch-over apparatus that made the heat go around the bottom and up the side and then out the stove pipe, thus heating from the bottom. There are some other stoves that do this, but they are too large for my little cottage. I fell in love with Mrs. Yoder's cook stove.

We drove all the way to Jamesport, Missouri to buy it. You gotta hand it to the Amish - they've been doing this off-grid thing for a long time and they have learned to make it as convenient as possible. Mr. Ropp spent 2 hours explaining everything to us and helping us to get all the pieces necessary for the stove pipe set-up. He was so kind and offered to give us advice any time we needed it. He advised me, "Now don't go cook your husband's birthday cake first thing in the oven. Try some biscuits first." We sat and fellowshipped a while, discussing everything from religion to politics.

One thing about Missouri is that there are many Amish communities. They are a treasure in our midst. Michael told one Amish fellow who was working for a local farmer, "One day people will come to you asking you to show them how to live as you do." "They will?" asked the shocked young man. Yes, they will. People like us, people who want to change the way they live, to slow down, to eat well, to enjoy friendships and communities.

I look forward to having folks over to eat meals cooked on our Ashland cook stove. But first I have to bake those biscuits!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Home at Last

On Friday, December 10th, we finally moved into our tiny cottage. It took twice as long to build, cost two or three times more than we thought, and it was a lot harder than we expected. We will need to add on before too long probably.

Since we moved in on a Friday evening just in time for Shabbat, I suggested we call the little house "Sabbath Rest". Michael commented that it had been anything but a rest for him, working full time and house building full time. Time for some winter hibernation!

We celebrated by going into town to see the new Narnia movie, "The Dawn Treader". Why is it that the book is always better than the movie? It wasn't too bad, though the change up in the story flow and the overdone sea serpent were a little distracting. I wonder what C.S. Lewis would think.

Now that we are in our tiny cottage, and out of the apartment in the consignment shop, we are breathing a sigh of relief. We have downsized significantly - from a 4-bedroom villa near the Mediterranean, to a one-room house with a loft on the prairie. Needless to say, there is a storage room a few miles away with most of our household goods! Still, it is an adventure and a joy to set out on the agrarian road.

Thinking through our goals for the next 3 to 5 years, we realize that it will take a good while to get a barn built, animals added, fences mended, our own water supply, some form of off grid energy, and so on. The key is to prioritize and to be frugal in every way.

I must say we are thankful for the amazing Christians we have met here in our area. They have been helpful, and have shared their wisdom with us in so many ways. One men's Bible study group even met out here and helped us move in our Ashland wood cook stove one evening. That thing was so heavy! But we are sitting here enjoying its warmth, and thinking back on the dear folks who have been so kind to us, strangers in their midst.