Tuesday, November 6, 2018

And Hello ...Cold, Wet November!



A beautiful fall day in Pontiac Illinois
Last week

Followed by cold, frosty weather, the very next day

A little ticked about our lack of fall here. A few nice days in October but seems like we're spiraling quickly towards winter. The leaves have been stripped from the trees due to high winds when coupled with the Daylight Savings leap backwards into time and night falling that much quicker, it's obvious what's coming.

Can't complain too much though because we only fired up our rocket mass stove once so far, last night. With the recent damp days our concrete floors were getting cool and even though I bake and/or cook every day, which heats up the ambient air in the grain bin, it's not enough to keep the place warm for too long this time of year.

Still, we made it to November 4 which is over two weeks past our initial rocket mass firing of 2017. Not sure if the weather stayed warmer longer or we are just tolerating cooler temps better each year. Generally if it's 64 degrees or more in the grain bin we are comfortable. But last night the rain made it feel colder and so we broke down, cleaned out the RMH and set our first fire for the fall.

Prepping the stove for another winters' work does not take long. We removed the lid from the steel barrel and vacuumed up all the fine dust that accumulated in the fire brick tower (wrapped in Kaowool, a ceramic fire insulator) and down at the bottom of the barrel. Because the fire burns so hot, the ash is fine and a years accumulation equated to about a half gallon worth of ash.








Then we vacuumed ash from the take out point (black disk to left of barrel) which was minimal. That's the coolest thing about a RMH. There is very little ash or creosote build up in any of the stove pipes we have buried under our concrete floor, and by the time the heat/smoke gets to the main stove pipe leading out of the grain bin, it has been converted into a very clean steam.

It is the ugliest, most efficient heating device we have ever used.

After the cleanouts, we fired up the RMH and within thirty minutes the temp had risen 5 degrees and when we shut it down about two hours into the burn, it was 75 inside! Keith was walking around bareback and I found sleep uncomfortable. I love a cool bedroom. Now, over 24 hours later since firing up the RMH, the inside temp is still cozy at 68 degrees.



Freezing temps are expected later this week however, so we'll likely run the RMH some tomorrow night to keep the concrete floor "battery" charged with heat, which will be slowly released in the hours in between burns.

The stainless steel barrel, which acts as the primary conductor for the heat generated by wood burning, was hot enough last night for Keith to cook an egg on and warm enough today for me to rise bread and then finish drying a couple pair of jeans still damp from hanging outside.




Ah, if only I were so multi-talented.

Soon we'll be full blown into the routine of gathering wood every day to burn, stacking it in the mudroom to ensure a dry load for the next burn, scooping out the ashes from the wood feed chamber the day before, restarting the fire and then sitting close to the RMH for 2-3 hours every evening while feeding wood into it, but for now we'll probably only need to burn it every two-three days.

It's part of our ritual for bringing in the next season, and considering the person who stocks the stove ends up sitting/reading in the rocker next to it, we're not that disappointed to see this cool season arrive a bit early. Pros and cons, pros and cons.


15 comments:

  1. Wait - where is the picture of the cooking egg? I have a camp cooking book that talks about frying eggs on heated rocks which seems both usefully and flippin' amazing. Do you often cook on top of the stove? Like, could you put an iron dutch oven up there for soup?

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    1. Although the RMH does get quite hot, its difficult to regulate the heat so no, I don't use it to cook routinely. But, because we don't have a microwave it is handy for reheating food. And we will keep a pan with water on it for both the humidity benefit and for our tea habit.

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  2. i would melt at 64. i keep my heat at 52 all winter. my kids lips turn blue when they are here.

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    1. Yeah for you! I'm not quite that hardy...yet. Give me time :)

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  3. It's surprising that no Company has designed a more 'aesthetic' version of your stove, to compete with the sales of bog-standard wood burners.

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    1. There was one I saw online a couple of years ago. It was handsome indeed with a huge price tag to match. I did buy some heat resistant black paint which I intended to coat it with this past summer. Perhaps in the next warm spell.

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  4. Ah, the routine of winter is right around the corner. I'm really glad for it in some ways, but honestly wish we could have a mild autumn until spring! Your writing studio isn't heated though is it? Do you get to write much in winter? In some ways it's the best season to write, time-wise, I mean.

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    1. Nope, the studio is not heated but Keith did pick up a millhouse electric heater for me at Big R this week. We are going to try it out this afternoon. I can comfortably write in their (with heave sweaters) if I can get the heat to about 50-55 degrees. I can certainly write here in the warm grin bin house but I get distracted by food prep, laundry, you know. In my studio there is no internet, just me, my books, a desk and a bunch of blank sheets of paper. I write best down there.

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  5. Our autumn was way too quick too, just a few days and then boom snow. I love your rocket stove, it's really cool to read about it.

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    1. I love it too. Who knew one could have such strong feelings towards a steel barrel with no real personality?

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  6. The seasons are changing, in both sides of the hemisphere. Here's hoping we all get through it, unscathed.

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    1. I don't mind a little "scathing", I just hate it when it comes prematurely. :)

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  7. Thanks for all the info on the RMH, Donna, and it is indeed a multi-purpose steel barrel so it does have personality in some form. We always have a debate about heat as he preers it cooler inside and I like to be warmer.

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    1. After a few decades of marriage Keith and I are most simpatico when it comes to heat. We do not see eye to eye however on "inventory". I think less is more and he thinks one can never have enough "back-ups".

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