Flashback to six years ago when we lit our Kitchen Queen wood cook stove for the first time. We had our challenges trying to figure it out, but now it is easy. We moved into our place for two weeks during December of 2011 to see if we could manage the home with the extreme cold of a North Idaho winter. We managed quite well and decided to move full-time onto the property in January.
However, that first night was a very cold night. The home was hovering at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and by the time we went to bed, the home had warmed up to about 50 degrees. As we laid in bed shivering, with several blankets and a down sleeping bag as a bed spread. My wife and I huddled together for warmth and the thoughts running through my mind was, “Oh, no, I bought too small of a wood cook stove, we are going to freeze.”
Needless to say, I did not share these thoughts with my wife as she whispered, “Do you think it’s ever going to get warm?”
I said confidently, “Sure it will get warm; give it some time.”
The next morning our heads were sweating as our knees were freezing. The heat was trapped on the ceiling and hadn’t extended to the floor yet. By evening, the concrete floor had warmed up and the entire house was warm to a balmy 85 degrees Fahrenheit. My wife and I opened the windows to let the outside’s single digit weather balance our home’s temperature. My wife changed into shorts and a tank top. I just sweated and enjoyed the warmth.
Once we began to figure out the stove, controlling the home’s temperature has become very natural to us. Now, we know when to open and close the dampers when to stoke the fire, etc.. Living off grid has been a huge learning curve for us. However, I would say that it has made me a more rounded person. I have begun to develop a talent for fixing things that I would never have attempted before. My wife has also changed quite a bit as we have become more self-sufficient in maintaining and operating our systems.