RSS Feed

Tag Archives: wood stoves

Winter Fun

Posted on

You know the fun thing about living in an area where you get to fully experience winter in all it’s glory? We’ll if you don’t let me tell you how much fun it can be.

This morning it was a balmy 12F outside at 4:30am this morning. …and why did I know this? Well, I woke at about hat time wide awake ,checked the time realized I needed to wake in 30 minutes anyway to get moving so I could have some tea in me and have fed at least some of the beasties before I wake my girls for school. I figured with that much time till I was to get up anyway and I was wide awake I might as well get up. Granted… the ice cold eye balls kinda told me I had to get up because we just experienced the. “Oh my Gods the wood burner went out and the house cooled”. Now over half of our overnight piece of wood was still in the burner. Seems it didn’t like the wood enough to keep burning, go figure right?

It is always fun to have those mornings where you see the icicles hanging off your eyes and nose because at some point the wood burner went out and your head is the only part of you outside of the warm blankets. So you need to do the mad dash from bed to the wood burner to get it re-lit. Hoping the wood, and burner agree with your decision to make them work again. You know how inanimate objects get when cold.. they never like to work right.

It’s almost scary when the outside temps though colder than your home feel warmer to you (me heading out to feed the dogs who as soon as they saw me decided to wake up and make noise till they got fed). While feeding the dogs I poke my head in my goat house, I see my two ladies doing fine, but don’t see the buckling. Then he decides to say hello so because he didn’t get up I figured it was safe enough for me to not feed them till the sun decided to wake up .

..have I mentioned yet how much fun it is to get 2 teen-aged girls to collect firewood when they don’t feel the need to? I can’t even get them to look at the fire when they are near it. I am hoping some day they’ll learn. Fun parts about winter though are the soups/stews/chili/hot chocolate that gets made all the way through it.


Side note here, I have not been posting on here due to the fact that we’ve been having some issues here with Silver’s health. Over a year ago Silver wound up getting a unhealing wound on one of his toes (he diabetic). The VA doctor sent him to a specialist who spent the better part of 5 months trying to get it healed. During this process he was given an antibiotic that caused him heart problems… Enough “problems” that we wound up going to the ER numerous times. Thankfully 2 months after the prescription the doctors figured it might be a good idea to not use the drug on him anymore and the heart problems slowed. However I do have to keep an eye on him in regards to that. His toe did finally heal after over a year of being open.

Hope your year has had higher points…

Be Well, Be Safe, Blessed Be…


Weird Weather for all!

Posted on

So here I am with another update for everyone, with a minor bit of good(?) news. Due to the fact that we do receive food stamps, the state requires me look for work that will get us off food stamps. While I don’t have an issue with this I must actively 3X’s a week put in applications. I have to be able to prove it. So I will be online about once a week now, and I should be able to update this every week. I will also be able to update my pintrest photo’s too.

As for our wood stove, how many of you remember this picture of our cat Stormy from last year?


Well after we put the wood stove in the house and during the time it’s been too warm to use it, (60’s in December…yuck) Stormy -AND- Merlin have both tried sleeping on the wood stove. This lead to a minor problem for both cats the night we lit it back up again. Both boys wound up lightly burning their paws when they landed on the stove. Funny how they jump right back off.

We have been clearing the ground down to bare dirt for the house on these warm days. The dome is going to be 40ft in diameter, and we have set out some strings so that I could see the future room sizes. It does look like we may have to remove our largest dogwood tree as we are working on the house.

We have also cleared out a few other spaces. One is for an eventual pig “pen”; in that case we cleared out trash, downed trees, and branches. We also cleared out for a new compost pile by the current chicken coop. We have started it with some sticks and leaf litter from where the house is going. The third place we have cleared is where we are hoping to plant sun chokes next year, it’s in a low spot so I hope it works well.

We have gotten a trailer hitch for the van, and Silver has put it on; it looks really good on the van.

Well, that’s it for now folks! Catch you in about a week.

Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be…

Barrel Stove Version 2

Posted on

Ok, so remember the wood stove from last year the barrel stove that overheated our home. As you can see Stormy modeling it for us…




Now this wood stove did present us with a couple of PROBLEMS, I think the biggest was the use of space. It wasted tons of space, and going on the space theme, it also wasted space in the barrel. We only burned in the front of the barrel, so the whole back half was not being used. The other problem it presented was that we couldn’t cook on the surface of it due to the fact that it had no upright flat surface. I think Silver has effectively solved all of those issues.


We have built a pot-bellied barrel stove.

We started off with a new barrel stove kit bought for: $39.99





Got a new barrel that was food grade, and in case it had metal bungs a removable end on it. Silver was thinking if it had, had metal bungs instead of plastic we could just take the whole top off to clean it out once a month. We traded for the barrel but I believe it would have cost $15.



We bought some screws with nuts that were 1/4-20-3in, this was to replace the screw that came with the kit where the screws would not be long enough we made sure to get about half of them flat instead of a rounded top to ensure that they would not interfere with the moving parts on the kit. That was $1.29 per package, we bought two packages.

We bought a sanding disc for Silver’s grinder to take off the paint on the outside of the barrel. That was $4.99




We did find a really good furnace cement that is almost like a putty… this item we are going to remember for when we build our house and make the rocket mass heater, as it is like refractory cement. That was 16oz for $3.99.





We bought some (not wood stove) paint, for grills that are rated for over 2000 degrees at Loews for $5, to buy the stove paint would have cost us $10.


Now for the building process when we got the barrel at home Silver took the top off to see if whatever was stored in the barrel was flammable, I’m not sure if you want to call it good or bad luck; but our barrel had liquid vitamin E in it. …btw… it doesn’t burn. We had about half a quart of it still in the bottom that we smartly saved. Then Silver turned the barrel over to let what could drain out. Then we got a degreaser and washed the inside out.

Then Silver proceeded to use the sanding disc to remove the outer paint off the top first, and then painted it to make sure the top was done, then he did each section of the barrel separately to ensure that if there was not enough sand paper or paint it would not be partly done.

The next day, after the paint was fully dry (yeah I know it’s spray paint and dries almost instantly, but it was almost sundown at that point) Silver started the cuts. He first cut out the section for the door.

Then he rolled the barrel over and cut the hole for the chimney on the exact opposite side. He put in the chimney flange and screwed that in place. We spent almost twenty minutes putting the door on, as we started with it having a gap around it from 0-2 inches. We needed to shrink that as much as we could, so Silver kept on tightening the nuts on the screws in rotation. We discovered one thing, make sure you check that the door will close evenly, then discovered that our door did not close all the way after we finished tightening the nuts. So we had to go back and loosen the nuts until the door would close.



So the recommendation would be for anyone duplicating this to check your door as you are going through your tightening. Silver said if you don’t have it closing properly you might have the door crack when you light the stove.


After fixing the door into place we placed the removable side back on,which we kept to the bottom because the bungs were plastic instead of metal. Like I had said before if they were metal we would have used the removable side on top so we could just take that side off for cleaning. However as we cannot keep the plastic near where the flames would be for obvious reasons. That’s ok, it just gives me more cooking surface.




The next step we placed empty coffee cans on the bottom side of the stove, with the open end down. BTW the previous picture is after the cans…These are being used as part of an insulated “dead space” in the stove. Remember me mentioning the issue about all the wasted space? Well this way the extra space can be used to keep heat in the stove.

After putting in the cans we took a bag of course vermiculite and filled the spaces and just barely covered the cans.



Next we added another row of cans , these were the large fruit cans; smaller than #10 cans.


This was then followed again by vermiculite, that then we covered with a few cut pieces of concrete board we had left over from last year as a base for our burn chamber.   (the previous picture)We cut two pieces and set them inside in opposing positions.

On top of this we put down a piece of, I believe it’s goat panel cut to fit over it; to be the reinforcing for the concrete mixture we are going to use in the burn chamber.

Next we opened the container of fireplace cement and used it in the gap(s) around the door, fitting it on both sides of the door gap. Including the bodies of the screws, which; you will want to use a cut off blade and remove the ends or you may cut yourself on them.

I happen to like the fireplace cement, and I’m thinking it might have uses when we go to make a rocket mass heater in the house when we build it. As Silver said it is like a refractory cement, which is what is used to make fire brick. The cement will cure at high temperatures only, so it will only dry until then.




After filling the gaps in the door frame Silver mixed most of this bag of vermiculite:

And about 5 pounds of cement, he made the mixture fairly wet; to make it easier to get into the opening. Using a trowel he covered the fencing and concrete board with the cement vermiculite mixture.

He smoothed it as much as he could and left it to dry. Now a moment to talk about the mixture, we tried out vermiculite concrete in our normal barrel stove last year in the bottom to protect it verses using the sand that the person who makes the stove kits recommends. It worked much better and never cracked. This time we used fine vermiculite, I do not know if this will change how it works but we will see. BTW use PORTLAND cement there are no stones.. we used standard cement and the stones are now coming loose.

The original idea was to cover the sides of the burn chamber with the concrete mixture, but we didn’t. We did a test burn outside the second day after putting in the concrete. Yes, outside; do -NOT- test your ideas on stove making in your home, if you do you might burn down or blow up your home. The sides only blackened, the paint did not even burn off on the inside and the top surface heated nicely. We were sitting about 3 feet from the stove and we were getting hot outside the house. I’m sure it’ll be much warmer than we need it to be in here however that’s ok for me.

We have changed what goes around the heater as well, no concrete board this time as it’s flimsiness bothered Silver. We are using cinder blocks dry stacked instead.

So, lets see…

I now have a heater that has a use for all it’s space, I can cook on it. Also it takes up half the space it took last year. All for about $56.70 instead of buying a $180 small box heater with two small burner spaces… if you wanted to use them as such. …or of course going back to a standard barrel stove.

I think this will work out much better for us this winter and if there is a problem we do have our old barrel stove as backup.

Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be…

My Blog

Just another site

Throwback at Trapper Creek

An ongoing chronicle of meeting the expectations of the land...

Life on a Colorado Farm

Life on a Colorado Farm (All Rights Reserved)

Turtle Rock Farm

Observations, insights and news from our farm and retreat center on the Oklahoma prairie

When Did This Become a Farm?

Homesteading, Homeschooling, and Homemaking in the PNW

Middlemay Farm

Katahdin Sheep, Chickens, Ducks, Dogs and Novelist Adrienne Morris live here (with humans).

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Experiments In Aquaponics

Sustainable home food production / Twitter: @ARTaquaponics

Twigs In My Hair

~Funny and Impulsive, Prone to Become Scattered With Eclectic Tastes~


Dream With Me!

Urban Ag Guru

Urban Agriculture in the Heartland


Where Freedom Grows

The Zero-Waste Chef

No packaging. Nothing processed. No waste.

The Frustrated Gardener

The life and loves of a time-poor plantsman

Free Man, Born of Fire

My personal blog


Sustainible Living and farming on a Quarter Acre