Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Center

My wood stove has become the center of this winter home. It is a three-dimensional scrapbook of the day. Scattered about it - the gear, supplies, clothing, and work of the day. You can look at my stove and see what time it is, what I have been up to, and take measure of my mood from it.

Right now it is still early morning. I awoke around 5AM, almost three hours ago and when I checked the temperature outside from the comfort of my comforter… it was -3. Inside the house was a comparatively blissful 54 degrees. I lit the fires in the house and set a percolator of strong coffee on the top of my trusty BunBaker in the living room. This is how you know it is morning at Cold Antler Farm, the sounds and smells of perking coffee next to a crackling fire.

Last night I cooked dinner in the oven. It was my second night roasting a chicken breast over a bed of kale and carrots, all three brushed with a little olive oil and herbs. Last night the fire baking was intentional, but the night before it was not. I had left a plastic-handled spatula in the oven and pre-heated it without realizing. What resulted was a fire and angry petroleum fumes that made me open all the windows. So I popped the chicken in the cast iron skillet and cooked it right there in the oven below the firebox. I let it bubble and crisp while I chopped wood and did evening chores. About an hour later I had a perfect meal waiting for me in my living room. Brigit's Fire, I love that little stove.

Keep looking! Next to the coffee pot is a cast-iron kettle used to economically steam out water, not to drink tea from. It is a tank of a pot, replacing the humidity in the air that the fire dries out. At the Bunbaker's feet you can see drying socks and gloves, worshipping combustion next to an iron stag. The stag is one of the symbols of blessing on this little farm, and you'll seem them everywhere. Rabbit water bottles defrost from the night before. Hanging on a horse head shaped hook is a damp wool scarf and Merlin's bridle, which was drying from our ride up and down the road yesterday. There is a dutch oven there, currently filled with fire starters and small kindling and a cast-iron sheep sits atop it. On the right side of the stove you can see slightly damp wood drying off in little pryers. To the left, you see the same happening with some new-to-me boots a friend gifted when she got a new pair. They were Patty's and when I tried them on after our sledding adventure this past weekend, Joanna exclaimed, You fit into a size 9 boot? You're 5'2"?! And I exclaimed, "Yes! I'm 5'2" and wear a size 9 and I prefer to go barefoot. I'm a hobbit" And looking at this stove, it only promotes the evidence further.


Blogger Paul Molnar said...

Hobbits are cool!

January 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I'm 5'3" and wear a size 9 to 9.5 as well. I also call myself a "Hobbit" and my huband dubbed our neighborhood the "Shire" when we moved in 5 years ago. I love coming home through the winding streets and green hills in our area. Reading your post, I like the thought of little Shire-like places dotted here and there with other Hobbit creatures loving their homes and animals. I have met several other wonderful women over the years who call themselves Hobbits as well. We should all start a club.

January 2, 2013 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

How cool your Bun Baker is! How large an area does is heat?
Stay warm:)

January 2, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Thanks Jenna. The picture and message made my day! You give me strength. Shelley

January 2, 2013 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm glad to know that I'm in good company with a short stature and big feet. I'm 5'2" and wear a 9.5 wide! And I go barefoot almost all of the time, and when I don't, I'm wearing super thin shoes because anything else makes my feet hurt. I'm down for a Hobbit Club. :D

Love the Bun Baker. I think its the stove we'll get once we find our little parcel of land that we can plop a yurt on.

January 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger PansWife said...

My best friend is 5'7" and wears a size 6 shoe. She falls down a lot and we blame it on her tiny feet, but she does get great cheap shoes because that is usually a store's sample size and they always have at least one pair lying around at a clearance price.

January 2, 2013 at 12:13 PM  

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