Saturday, January 22, 2011

oil, buns, and radio shows

My mother is reading James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency, which is about Peak Oil and how he predicts it will change the American way of life. I haven't read it yet, but have read his two novels about a post-oil world. She did as well, and after doing so was intrigued in her very curious way to see how Kunstler found his characters in such dire circumstances. It's been kind of neat talking to her about it. I never thought we'd have such light hearted talks about the supposed end of civilization, but we have. Those novels and that book seem to make having a daughter with a small farm a little more appealing, and for that I thank James very much. I asked her what she thought about the book so far and this was her response. "Oh, God, it's going to be awful. We're all going to have to live like you, but without a DVD player."

I love my mom.

Two loaves of bread are baking in the oven. This kitchen smells heavenly. Lord in heaven, do I ever love hand-kneaded bread. I love eating it, but I think I love baking it even more. The house swells with goodness and butter-drenched comfort. It's one of those homesteading experiences we can all share. From Boston to Bolivia: we can turn grains into nourishing food. It just takes some flour, a little yeast, and clean water. You can get fancy like I did today and mix in a fresh egg and some honey, but really that's just icing in the dough. A good loaf needs little but heat and good hands. Try it, you'll like it.

I'm really, really, interested in this wood stove called the Vermont Bun Baker. It's a regular wood stove, but the bottom of the stove is an oven, and the top is a range. I'm already thinking about adding another wood stove to the farm for next year since I found a farm in Cambridge willing to trade lambs for cords of wood. The amount of heat a second wood stove could crank out in this small house would be epic, and to have one that takes up so little space. And I like the idea of being able to have a hot oven and a second heat source if the power went out. (Up here in Washington County, winter power outages aren't exactly a rarity.) So I emailed the guys who own this company to see if they would possibly be willing to work something out in exchange for advertising. I have learned it never hurts to ask. All they can say is no, but thank you. And even if they don't agree, I still want to show off this cool find. Any baker with a homesteading itch can't help but swoon a little at things like this, can they?

Also, I wanted to share a radio interview I did on the online show Beyond Sustainable. Host and Homesteading Supplier, Jerri Bedell interviewed me for the hour-long episode about homesteading, getting started, and why I made the choice to embrace this lifestyle. You can listen to the show here, but keep in mind it's the third show in a three-hour long series of shows on self-reliance and various other topics. I'm not sure what the first two hours are about, but you can stream ahead to Jerri's show and listen in on some of Cold Antler Farm's history.

Cold one tonight, way below zero and possibly as low as -20 tomorrow. Not a bad time to stay inside and bake to the radio. Not a bad time at all.


Blogger Jennifer said...

Eventually, I'd love to get something like this for my kitchen.

January 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Sprite said...

I really love the thought that we were probably kneading dough at the same time. I've got two loaves baking too!

January 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

I knew I was grown up when my mother and I could discuss books. My mother has always read widely (I do not remember her not having a book in her purse) but she found it hard to discuss sex, war, and drugs with a precocious teenager.
The day we really talked about why the priest had sex with Meggie in The Thorn Birds, I knew I had crossed into the adult world.

January 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Not at all a bad couple of days to be safely inside, upping the heat in this old east coast house any way I can..... Am now lusting after the stove you show - with soapstone, of course! Love it! I need another non-electric, non-oil heat source to be really comfortable next winter.

January 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger CallieK said...

It's minus 11 C here today and I'm making bread too! Also got a pot of beef stock on the go. I'm thinking French onion soup for dinner tonight with fresh bread- yum! I'm about to watch a episode of Edwardian Farm but I may have pop on your podcast when I have to do the dishes.

It's great winter day.

January 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great. Now I have stove lust. ;)

January 22, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Donna Lovesthe Farm said...

Wow, nice stove. Not only is it very useful, but it beautiful. I would love to have something like that in the big country kitchen of my future farm!

January 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

Hey jenna thats awesome about the woodstove! I know that wood stove is awfully cute but why not look into something like this?
Thats something my husband and I were thinking about putting into our house in a few years.

January 22, 2011 at 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my - it all makes sense now. We must be sisters. I think we have the same mother! And my fingers are crossed for you on the "stove endorsement" deal.

January 22, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

That is a really great stove. I think it would be hard to decide on the soapstone. It would take a while to heat up but would provide lots of coasting heat after the fire was pretty much gone. It looks so nice too. The price isn't that bad when compared to other high end stoves that don't have the oven. It is a combination of Yankee ingenuity and Vermont practicality all rolled into one very nice looking unit.

January 22, 2011 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Justine, i like that stove a lot but it would look kinda weird in the living room! If I can get something like this with the soapstone, i would feel safer since it's so contained.

that stove is awesome though

January 22, 2011 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

That looks like a fabulous woodstove. I haven't read any of Kunstler's books but I do think about peak oil and probably should check some of them out. I am always looking for podcasts and radio shows to listen to while I work at my sewing -- I'll definitely check it out.

January 22, 2011 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Love the wood stove, but I really love any wood stove so I'm unsure that counts.

One of my favorite books of last year, Julian Comstock, took place post-oil. It's very steampunk but definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a fictional take on the topic.

January 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

A post-oil homesteading steampunk novel.

I think I just got the vapors....

what is it?!

January 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer D said...

Jenna, it is so wierd you would bring up the stove today. I just finished 'Better Off', by Eric Brende, and was telling my hubby about the stove the Meninites used in thebook, the Pioneer Maid. I looked it up to see what it looked like. It is huge, but cool. I love this one you are looking at way better, of course it costs 2x as much. Did you know with the soapstone top, side, and hearth, it weighs 750 lbs??!!

January 22, 2011 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Sometimes it's a little too creepy when I read your posts because incredibly similar things are often happening in my own's odd but cool.
I am mostly done with that book too, and also read it after reading the two novels. And I've been ranting about that oven for weeks now. I'm just trying to figure out if we have a logical place in our home for it though.
You're mom is right...the book is good but it's definitely not a spirit lifter.

January 22, 2011 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

WOW! I'd love a stove like that! If the power goes out here...we're in trouble...period. There's no heat, no electricty, no gas logs in the fireplace, no stove, no toilet, no shower, no water period. This may be a tree farm but we're definitely not self-reliant out here in the woods!

I LOVE the smell of something (especially loaves of bread) baking in the oven!


January 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I can't think of anything that smells better than fresh bread baking. Good luck with the very cold temps tomorrow.

January 22, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think that the Vermont Bun Baker is this stove set in soapstone:

The stove lust is quite a consuming feeling, especially when it's as cold as it is now.

January 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

That is one cool stove. Yeah, nothing like homemade bread.

Whatever the ruckus was about the article, I'm sorry your feelings were hurt. You deserve better than that. I haven't eaten meat in over 40 years, but I respect the way you and others like you honor their food and make an effort to give the animals a good life. You gotta follow your own star, Jenna.

January 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love making bread. Eating it? Not so much -- it makes me sick. So I don't make it anymore, but I still dream about kneading and that yeasty smell that fills up the whole house, and the feel of floured dough on a cutting board. Making bread feels like making home, no? I miss it.

January 22, 2011 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Oh dear, I guess I am in the company of a much younger crowd. I had to Google steam punk as I had no idea, even from context, what it meant.

January 22, 2011 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

What a beautiful stove! I love that it has an oven too. That's going in the saved links pile :)

January 22, 2011 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger VTGrown said...

That stove looks wonderful. I also just took out some homemade rolls from the oven - although it was about 75 degrees here in CA. Growing up in Marshfield, Vermont my mom loved antiques and taught me how to make bread in her old wood cookstove. I have never had bread that tasted so good.

January 22, 2011 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Moose Nugget said...

Oh! We almost bought that woodstoe for our cabin! The VT stove company was also amazingly honest, and was willing to lose a sale to us based on the fact that we needed a primary heat source. They were honest enough to tell us to check into another brand -we bought a blaze king princess that had kept our 850sq ft cabin blazing hot even through our -40F winters and colder, without our auxiliary oil heat kicking in! Can you believe we use less that 200 gallons of fuel a YEAR?!?!

Now- if the Blaze King didn't already cook us out of here, AND I had room in my teeny cabin, I would totally buy one of those stoves. Or the big old fashioned wood cook stove.
My husband promises me one when we build a "summer kitchen house".... "one of these days".

That stove would probably make nice supplementary heat, but the guy from the company was clear that we'd be up adding wood all night in our cabin. Fire box is a bit on the small side, so keep that in mind.

January 23, 2011 at 2:19 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

You do have a point there. Ours would be in the living room too. The soapstone is so beautiful too. It really looks wonderful. Good luck with it.

January 23, 2011 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger Natural Mark said...

we heat and cook on an old fashioned cast iron wood burning cookstove - even has the bread warmer at the top (perfect to warm up kids PJ's before bed!). Its a bit hard to regulate the temperature for baking and the firebox is pretty small but we love it and can't imagine living without one now.

January 23, 2011 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger ward said...

After I read JHK's, "TLE" I tried to discuss it with my dad. He got angry and said that the rapture was going to happen anyway and we (us non-believers) were all going to burn so he wasn't worried about the post-petrolium transition. So the 'rents don't really understand the homesteading (doom-steading) impulse on our part. They prefer the post war, pre-fab, plastic, "American way of life" with a spiritually imbued habitat abandonment strategy unfolding when they're done trashing the place.


We have a cast iron wood stove. We had a chimney-sweep come out and inspect the set up and how much it would cost to set it up. He said we need a stainless steel liner in the chimney. That's code. The set up cost, $1,600. Does that sound right to y'all?

January 23, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I read Kunstler's Long Emergency book after your review of "The Witch of Hebron."

It really makes you re-think your retirement plans, that is for sure.

I loved your Mother's response- "Oh, God, it's going to be awful. We're all going to have to live like you, but without a DVD player."

January 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger MollyKnits said...

Oh, that is the stove I want! Please, keep us updated!

January 23, 2011 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Lauren Jones-Rabbitt said...

Something about making and baking bread that connects the senses to something ancient. Doing it, I feel I am in the room with my women ancestors!
We've tried 4 times to get a woodstove inthis house and this sign that it wasn't going to happen was in the cost. It leads me to believe that we will have a woodstove of my dreams on the small farm of my dreams, one day. Hopefully not too far in the future.
Stay warm up there. It a whopping 10 degrees here.

January 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

We've been looking at that stove too, for the tiny house we've bought in TN. It's in a Mennonite community, built by a member of that community 20 years ago and in need of some TLC. Anyhoo, we have a Mennonite contractor, who's happy to work with us incrementally as we can afford things rather than go in to debt, and his comment about that stove was exactly that: It looks beautiful but wouldn't be good as the primary heat source because it will only take small wood and couldn't hold a fire overnight. As a supplemental/decorative wood stove in your living room, it might be ok, although you're going to be splitting a lot of small wood for it. (Yup, I bake all our bread, and love the idea of baking it in a wood stove, although it would be hard to beat the way it comes out of my cast iron dutch ovens.)

January 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

A friend of ours in B.C. Canada has a huge Soapstone masonry heater. They heat their large home with it and bake in the oven it has on the kitchen side. At night time the stone glows from the fire within .. very cool.

January 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rachelle said...

Already swooning about that stove! I can almost taste the bread coming out of that thing. Mmm!

January 23, 2011 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger funkiefoodie said...

What a stove! It reminds me of a cast iron stove I had as a young girl - a cast iron toy stove. Sweet memories! Bread in the oven stimulates us on a cellular level and brings us into the moment. thanks for sharing. LA.

January 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

The Long Emergency is the reason we are living in the country. I highly recommend it to everyone. It's an excellent primer on Peak Oil and will give you a lot of insight into what's going on with the economy right now.

January 23, 2011 at 9:45 PM  

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