Editor’s Note: Doug and Stacy left the city life to live off grid like the pioneers. Today they’re their experience with us of how they heat their home.
After living off grid for eight years, it’s funny now to reflect back on how we thought we could heat our home with a small pot belly stove we found in an ad in the newspaper. We had sold our home and moved into a small one bedroom apartment getting ready for our new off-grid life together. Lots of ideas and ways of going off grid were discussed during our transition time. In the end, both of us decided to live without public utilities such as electricity, water, sewer services and even a few modern conveniences like a refrigerator and air conditioning. Besides, a good challenge would do us good!
Coming straight from the city to an off-grid simpler life had a few learning curves. The cabin build had started in July which put us on a time restraint to finish and find a heat source before fall and winter. We had found an old pot belly stove from an ad in the paper and drove three hours to pick it up and we thought we had found a real treasure. This was supposed to be the center piece of our new home, but we were in for a rude awakening.
To our surprise was a large Amish community within 10 miles of our home. During our build time, we became friends with many in the area. They asked how we were heating and cooking in our home. Needless to say, the pot belly stove gave everyone a big laugh and they said, “You will be feeding wood every 20 minutes in that thing because it’s not air tight and you will freeze in winter.”
After speaking with our Amish friends, who are experts in the field of wood cook stoves, the quest began for the perfect size stove for our 600 sq. foot cabin. We traveled from house to house to understand the differences of some of the most used stoves in the community. After seeing the different sizes in each home, we picked up our Lehman’s catalog off the coffee table and ordered the Baker’s Choice Wood Cook Stove because it was a good entry level price and would heat our house efficiently. I could cook and bake, it had a warming rack, and it even had a hot water reservoir that gave us hot water on demand. Who would have thought you could order a wood cook stove and have it shipped right to your front door? The Lehman’s employees even walked us through the delivery, set up process and were there to answer any questions about how it worked.
Our wood cook stove is the center of the house. It is the first thing everyone that comes to visit comments on and asks questions about. The most asked question is…”Is it hard to cook in that thing?” I say, “It’s just like a regular stove, but I can use the whole top to cook off and the oven is just like a regular oven.” I use the warming rack to keep food warm, dehydrate foods, and it’s a great dish dryer! It only took a bit to get used to regulating the temperature in the oven and stove with wood heat.
From pot belly stove, to Baker’s Choice Cook Stove, to the Pioneer Princess Cook Stove, we have enjoyed heating and cooking with wood. Our home would not be the home it is without it. It gives us beauty, heat, food, hot water, and wonderful memories. It is the favorite part of our house.
Originally published April 2019.