My youngest son left a couple of comments on my last post. One was teasing me about going for a snowmobile ride or sledding, knowing how I detest the winter cold. The other reminded me of an old pot-bellied type stove that was the main source of heat in an old house where we lived in northern Minnesota, many years ago.
There is a gas furnace that provides heat for my building. It does a good job of keeping my apartment warm, even though my landlord regulates the temperature settings. The windows keep out drafts and the floors stay warm. But it just isn't the same as using a wood burning stove.
The air in northern Minnesota seems to get very dry in the winter. Most folks run a humidifier to keep the dryness at bay, but at that time I couldn't afford to buy one, so I kept a pot of water on top of the stove to add moisture inside the house. This worked pretty well.
My kitchen stove was electric, and to keep the bills down in winter, I would often use the stove as a crock pot. We ate a lot of venison then, for the price of beef was mostly outside my budget and deer were plentiful. A venison roast in a dutch oven, surrounded by potatoes, carrots and onions, slow cooking all day, makes a meal fit for a king. Having raised chickens, I would cook one for a meal the same way. I don't know what the difference is, but those meals tasted better than anything I roast in my oven.
I would make soup the same way, putting a pot of meat, broth and vegetables on top of that wood stove early in the morning, right after my kids got on the school bus. By the time they got home, the soup was done and all I needed to do was slice a loaf of homemade bread for supper.
During the time we lived there, I was gifted a knitting machine. The closest larger town had a woolen mill with a store of sorts attached to it. There I could buy wool fabric remnants and bulk yarn. The yarn came in hanks that had to be wound into a ball or a cone, using a small hand cranked yarn winder. I didn't mind doing this, for the prices of the yarn was so much less than the skeins sold in the stores. I took a class to learn how to use the knitting machine, bought some yarn and got busy.
My kitchen table was in the same room as the wood stove. Many hours were spent with my knitting machine on my kitchen table, making knit caps, scarves and mittens for my family, the stove keeping me toasty warm as the winter winds howled outside. At that time, a style of ski cap was popular with the school kids. It had the name of the town on one side and the name of the kid on the other, the letters embroidered on when the hat was completed. My kids were really good walking advertisements, wearing their caps, and I soon had more orders than I knew what to do with. I set a comfortable rocking chair next to the wood stove and there, in the middle of all that warmth, I sewed the knitted garments together and embroidered names like mad.
I wouldn't mind getting another knitting machine. The ones they sell now are computerized and can do all sorts of fancy stitches and patterns, but I really liked the no frills machine I had then. If I wanted a pattern on a garment, I just embroidered it on. I'm wondering if it might not be worth having something like that machine, for it didn't need electricity to work. And I could make sweaters and afghans with it as well as the caps and mittens. I might have to check into finding another machine like it.
It is funny how a simple comment can bring back memories like those of my old wood burning stove.
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