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Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.


While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wood Stoves & Charities


I've always admired the people who are equipped to cook on a wood stove in their kitchen. Glimpses take me back to my childhood to a few of those people. The first that comes to mind was my best friends Nanna. Nanna Humphries taught me how yummy mushrooms were, by dabbing a bit of butter directly on the hotplate and frying a freshly gathered mushroom right on the heat....a pinch of salt and ohhhhhh sooo yummy. I couldn't wait to run home and tell mum I finally like mushrooms. I'm sure she was most impressed as mushroom hunting was a weekend event we enjoyed quite regularly.(I never liked the way Mum cooked mushies back then...even though I cook them the same now)...lol

Aunty Milly (my Nan's sister) and Uncle Lindsay lived in Ardmona Victoria and ran a Dairy Farm. I always got up earlier than the others because if I was sneaky enough I could pour fresh milk on my cereal without stirring the cream in. "Did you stir the cream in before you poured your milk Narelle?"
"Yes Aunty", I'd reply.....I think she knew better though...lol

On childhood visits I recall cooking toast on the fire with Aunty and her always having a huge teapot of hot water on hand...even for washing the dishes. A good cook knows how many logs of Red-gum and how many of Yellow-box will make a good batch of scones; Aunty was one of 'those' cooks. She certainly knew her Slow Combustion Stove and she knew her cooking too. The taste of smokey toast after being 'blackened' by the open fire was delicious...or maybe it was the farm fresh butter.....even if I did have to scrape half the charred remains off. The mere fact that I was allowed to fork a slice of bread and sit at the fire to 'toast' it, was good enough for me. We certainly weren't allowed or able to do anything like that back at home.

I recently spent the weekend in Mudgee with Hubby and the family he is boarding with while away for work. What a wonderful family they are too. I never imagined that allowing my hubby to live with another family would be so hard.  BUT....all my fears and insecurities have now been washed away after spending the weekend with them. I felt right at home and am also able to join in the conversation now with Hubby when he talks of  the people 'I didn't know'...It's great, as I am able to relate to everything much easier...and I'm welcome back there any time as they say I'm now part of the family too.

While there I was able to cook on top of a wood stove all weekend ... which was heaven. I was truly in my element...only problem now is that I am looking for ways to incorporate a wood stove here....the family think I'm nuts..all that extra work....lol.. A girl can dream though hey!

Sure, the cooking can be fantastic, but the money saved in heating excites me big time. I heard on the radio this morning that electricity prices in the Illawarra will rise by 18% next month...and even though I have natural gas for heating, we have three heaters on our property that can all be on at once sometimes.....If I could limit the amount of gas used in the winter months, by rendering fat, brewing soups, drying clothes, enjoying the warmth, ect on a wood stove I'm sure we could come out in front.......

I figure if I have any chance of installing a wood fire in our house...I better get rid of some stuff! Lately it seems that almost every room in the house has become a spare room...so I'm decluttering the spare room and moving things around to get things fitting back in there. Maybe then I will be able to work on decluttering the kitchen and moving larger items into the spare room.
My larder takes up an entire wall of the dining room and it's hard to do a full day of cooking up and down the step that divides the two rooms. I'd dearly love to have the dining room floor built up to the same level as the kitchen...So I've kind of set myself a 12 month plan to be ready for next winter......but to do all that renovation...(as cheap as possible of-course).......
I first need to de-clutter....

If your local to the Illawarra area and are looking for a good place to recycle your old computers...look no further than the Illawarra Computer Bank.....they do a great service providing people with computers who can't afford to buy one......
Donating 2 computers & 16 boxes of books
Not a bad start to a dream

Also, if your looking for a good charity to donate books to...Lifeline runs a 3 day book fair every year raising thousands of much needed dollars. The profits of which go toward supporting Lifeline South Coast activities in our community.


Do you have a wood heater or wood stove? What tips do you have?
Maybe you have used these charities before....I'd love to hear about it. 
Do you attend the book fairs?
Maybe you know of another charity similar in your area.  

37 comments:

  1. How excellent to see you blogging Narelle! I'd love a fuel stove too. At the moment I'm fighting a paper war in the decluttering field, I don't know when I let it get so bad but my study is an embarrassment! We'll declutter along together eh?

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    1. Hi Rose, thanks for all your support over the last few months...Even though I'm more busy than ever; I do hope to get back into the blogging swing on a more regular basis.
      I too fight the paper war, but keep anything that has a plain back...this I cut into four for note taking....With all that comes into the house; we never need to buy notepads ever. I even did a post on note-paper once..
      http://justlikemynanmade.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/getting-organised-note-paper.html

      I think it's great to have someone to de-clutter with...thanks! Maybe I could come over soon so you can show off your new bread skills.

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  2. Oh I am so glad that your hubby is boarding with a good family. That will make all the difference to him being away from home for so long. I can remember visiting a German family when I was a child - they always had a pot of soup simmering on their wood stove, along with the kettle of course. Lovely memories

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    1. Thanks, it really has set my mind at ease meeting the family.

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  3. We've got a high-efficiency wood heater. I love it! It's not a stove, though.

    I really like the idea of wood stoves, and am always envious when Hugh cooks with one in River Cottage. I don't think they'd be practical in our climate, though. We only use our wood heater for about 3 months of the year, and the rest of the time the house is warm enough. Firing up a wood stove would turn the house into a sweat-box in summer!

    We are planning to build a wood-fired clay oven in the yard, though. That could be fired up any time of the year without trouble.

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  4. Hi Darren, I think if I was to go to the trouble of getting a wood heater, I'd have to be able to bake in it too. I wouldn't dream of firing up a wood stove in summer either. All winter dreams only my friend. I'd love a cob/pizza oven in the back yard too...wouldn't it be heaven!!

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  5. One of the best things about our wood burning stove is that I can fuel it with Alien Vegetation :) Three benefits at the same time - cooking / warming the room whilst not using electricity and getting rid of Alien vegetation at the same time :)

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    1. That sounds interesting too Dani, I never thought about that.

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  6. nellymary I have cooked on a wood stove in the kitchen for me entire marriage - coming up to 29 years! Our first house had one and this house has one too! I wouldn't be without it. There is a lot of guesswork in the oven baking but after you've been using it for a while you just know when it is hot enough and how long to leave it in there for. I cook on & in mine all winter long. I find about October it is time to give it a rest and then usually around Easter it is getting cold down south here and it is time to light it again! We are lucky as we have a free wood supply on the family farm as we have 4 wood fires all up (only 2 go all the time), but if we had to pay for wood then we would have to reconsider our heating. But if you get the chance to fit a wood stove in your house go for it! You will love it!

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    1. Hi Sandra, Hubby worries about the cost of fire-wood, but I always see wood on freecycle...I'm sure I would be able to get a few loads through there occasionally to keep me going.

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  7. Hi Nellymary, we have only wood heater to keep us toasty warm. I have no idea how much heating would cost us if we relied on gas or electricity. Buy here is a lot of work involved in gathering, chopping and storing the wood. We go through a trailer load of wood a month. I would love to have a wood stove for cooking too. I have tried using a camp oven onto of the wood heater. It kind of worked.

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  8. So glad that your dear hubby has accommodation with a nice family - that must be a load off your mind :) We've missed you so much in this space and at DTE. Hugs to you dear friend!

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    1. Hi Sherrie, Yes he is with a lovely family. I'm trying to get back to blogging and also DTE....just really busy around here at the moment...but I'll be popping in more soon.

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  9. Hi Narelle, im just in the middle of making a wood fire, potbelly stove for the entertaing area as the free standing gas heater out there just hammers the 9kg gas bottle. yes you will be able to cook on it, boil water etc. i will email some pics of my progress so far. im making it out of 3 semi trailer brake drums so it a decent size and sure will trow out the heat but all will be able to control the burn by the upper and lower flu's. if you like you can post the pic's up on here if you like as im all for help out where i can as someone else may be able to make one the same or different...

    Regards
    Lee

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    1. This sounds great Lee. I have now seen the first of your photos and it's looking fantastic. Your patio area will be lovely and cosy once you get it going. Sounds like you have thought of everything too. Yes, send on the photos and we will do a post on your DIY stove.

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  10. Good goals Nellymary and I think I came out of the same paper clutter mould as you !
    But as for the wood stove ...aaaaah, that is a dream worth pursuing. Have had my Rayburn
    for 26 years and I love it (despite its messiness which we have been discussing on D2E forum recently !). It heats the water, cooks food, warms the house (don't have radiators on my which I hope to do on my next move), great for deying washing in front of and is generally cosy and lovely. Cooking on it is a joy and the fact that it is on always makes me want to cook more. Check around for different brands etc. you may find a used one on e-bay - there was one recently for $100, it needed some fixing but for anyone handy it sounds like a bargain. A friend has a wood stove with the oven underneath the fire and she said its hopeless for doing a roast etc. cooking on the stove top was good, depends what type of cooking you like to do but its something to consider.
    Good luck with you decluttering and renovation plans, it sounds great :)
    Mabel

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    1. Hi Mabel, Thanks for your insight and tips. I definitely don't want to buy a brand new stove and need to do a lot of the renovation ourselves..so it's a big project to take on.
      It's interesting about the fire being above the oven...I'll keep that in mind too.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Up until a few years ago when we remodeled our old farmhouse all we had for heat was a flat top woodstove. On winter morning we woke up to 18" of snow and no electricity. Didn't slow us down a bit as we already heated with wood, all I had to do was pull out the cast iron pans and soon had bacon, eggs & coffee cooking away!

    I really miss that old stove and though we have another one, it's much smaller and doesn't have a cooking surface.

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    1. Oh, I'd have to have a cooking surface...maybe I'm getting greedy wanting both a cooking surface and an oven.....lol

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  13. When I was 2 and 3 yrs old, we had a wood stove. Mama was shocked I could remember when I was so little.

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    1. That's so nice that you can go back to childhood memories and put a smile on your Mama's face.

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  14. We've lived in a few houses that had wood stoves. I really miss having one. They can't be beaten for cooking, heating and hot water all at once. Talk about efficient!
    I say if you can manage to get one, then go for it! You won't regret it i'm sure.
    Sue.

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    1. Hi Sue, I don't think I would regret it either. But there's lots to do before one can be installed...so I better get back to work.

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  15. Hi Narelle , i myself have a wood heater which i purchsed secdond hand on the internet 18 yrs ago for $350 complete with flue and everything it was the best investment ever . I have spent this afternoon choping and stacking fire wood which i have picked up recently from the local tip for free . It warm my house so wonderfully and its a nice heat as well . There is always a kettle boiling away and its so nice to walk in from out side on a cold night and its on . Choping the wood is great exercise as well and all that ash can then go into your compost bin aswell chat soon your good friend Richard your practical gardener buddy.

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    1. Hi Richard..that's great that you can get wood from the tip...you will have to tell me your secret...lol. I was thinking of the ash for the compost too. You've taught me well.

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  16. Hi Narelle, we are soon to be removing a metters wood stove from our kitchen (as much as I would love to keep it, it just takes up too much room in a very small kitchen), so if you are interested, let me know.

    Tarnie

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    1. Hi Tarnie, I would love to talk more to you about this...could you please email me ....
      npe 09777 (at) bigpond dot net dot au
      No spaces of-course and no capitals....

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  17. We have the most wonderful library. A group of volunteers does a "Friends of the Library" sale a couple of times a year with hardbacks for 50 cents a pound and paperbacks 3 dollars for whatever you can cram in a grocery sack. The books that are just good for one read, I simply return to the library for the next sale.

    brenda from ar

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  18. The blog contains informational and educational material. The post enhance my thoughts and

    experience. So nice!
    I've got to scramble to keep up with your prodigious output!!!!

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  19. Pretty good post its an informative topic excellent and well written!
    Smartbox self storage on demand, we deliver, you pack, we collect and store - perfect for people looking to store their furniture when renovating. www.smartbox2u.com.au

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  20. Nice Article! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Charity in India

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  21. I am one of the visitors of your site. I hope you will show more such material or data to put in our use.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wood stoves is the perfect choice for most housewives. You can't miss it. However, most of them are cast iron stoves.

    I have a wood stove and when I'm young, I can be able to cook on top of a wood stove all weekend


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  23. The kilowatt output is usually mentioned as a Btu rating in the stove. This is the heat output the stove gives for any room of any dimension. If your choice for a stove is to reduce your primary heating expenses a lesser output will be sufficient.

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  24. One of the underlying benefits which I love about these wood stoves is that it brings the family together so that everybody could enjoy the warmth it provides for the entire home.

    ReplyDelete

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