The is where all farm life centers, especially on cold mornings like this. It was -6 degrees when I woke up next to Gibson this morning. I heat only with wood now, the furnace only has a few gallons in it at a time to heat hot water for my irregular winter showers. The choice to heat with food is a serious one, and for folks who live alone on farms - a limiting one. But I love it. I love the dedication, the pull indoors, the fact I am literally needed as a human stove-feeder for the comfort of myself and the indoor residents of the farm - which include two dogs, two cats, and the occasionally hawk (he has in indoor perch in my office, too). And today with such cold outside and another 4 inches on the way, I am happy to have this hub of life to call the heart of my home.
It's a Vermont Bun Baker, a small stove but so lined with bricks it really pumps out heat. With dry wood it can get my small living space downstairs (around 600 square feet) ten degrees warmer in around an hour. And it doesn't just warm the house - it humidifies the air with pots and steamers, it heats hot water for tea or cocoa, it dries out gloves and socks, de-ices winter coats, defrosts the rabbits' water bottles and cooks sleeping cats at a low bake from just 5 feet away.
In a minute I'll head out to get the pigs more warm bedding, lots of feed (awesome feed update later!), and fresh water. They are due for the traveling butcher in a few weeks. Knowing they are not only helping the farm out financially but also the food of many close friends and neighbors - I am grateful and careful as I can be with them in this winter cold. Looking forward to bacon and piglets to replace them soon! Some of that bacon, by the way, will be cooked right on this hob.
Told you it was the center!