|Check out the new wide plank pine floor we laid in September. It feels so much better underfoot than the old 2x6 decking ever did. A lot warmer too...oh, and fewer scorpions paying us a visit through the cracks in the floor.|
But it IS the mountains, and cooler summers are generally followed by cooler winters, so when September rolled around we knew it was time to start preparing the tent for winter. Closing up the floor and installing the wood stove were the first items on our to-do list.
|First we moved the east side of the house to the west side, rolled out an overlapping layer of red rosin paper, then laid a 3/4 inch thick, 10" wide pine plank floor sourced from our bioregion.|
|Then we slid everything back to the east side and did the same for the west half. Thank you sister Julie for your assistance on this day! What a mess!|
|Next we laid a tile hearth and installed a small cast-iron wood stove. You can see that I've lined it with fire brick on the stove floor to add some thermal mass and make it a little cooler underneath.|
In our admittedly limited experience, extended cooking in cast iron over fire tends to pull a dash of flavor from every meal previously cooked in that vessel. The night before we started the pot au feu, we slow-cooked (as if there were a choice;) sweet peppers, onions, and Italian sausage for dinner. We swore we could taste hints of French toast, bacon, chanterelles, and grilled tomato, basil, and cheddar sandwiches, all combining to make an amazing, close-your-eyes-and-moan kind of dish. We gave up the microwave 4 years ago, then the toaster, the electric range this past spring, and now my wife is talking about down-grading the propane stove to bathwater- and dishwater-heating duty only.
Won't wood be hot for summer cooking, dear? We'll figure it out, she says...and I believe her. And the best part is, she's really into this wood stove cooking, taking on a significant portion of the fire tending in the process. Which I'm totally OK with;o)
Yeah, we sure are missing all those modern conveniences! Wow, we should have done this sooner. Wood stove cooking will be a permanent fixture in our household from now on, whatever happens to the world around us, and open hearth cooking is no doubt on the horizon, once we have a nice big fireplace with wrought-iron boom, in some future kitchen.
Soon on the list for our home comfort is the possibility of excavating under the tent platform and loading up 10-20 yards of wood chip mulch in the 16'x20' space below. I'm thinking that if we enclose the deck with some sort of skirt, buried slightly in the soil below, around the mass of composting forest waste, that the heat of decomposition might be able to keep that new pine floor toasty warm, and reduce our need for constant fire in the fall and spring.
My wife is obviously questioning the need to go to all that trouble...