I remember the ice storm of 1978. Michael, our son, was two months old. We went to bed with the sound of the howling winds and ice pellets pinging at our windows. In the middle of the night we were awakened by crashing noises on our roof as large limbs fell from our sweet gum tree which shaded our house lovingly during the hot summer months. Michael was also awake. Who could sleep through that racket. When I went to get him from his crib I realized the power was out. Thus began a week of deprivation. We had no heat, no water, and no electricity. But what we did have was a wood stove. You would be surprised at how well you can function with a source of heat to keep you warm and allow you to cook. We bought bottled water, stretched our sleeping bags in front of the fire and cooked all of our meals either on top of the stove or in the ashes. We even had neighbors join us on several occasions. I have never forgotten the value of having an independent backup plan when community utilities fail you.
Our Lake Lure cottage was built with several backup options, the first being energy efficient insulation that has be done by the First Defense Insulation – Certified Insulation Experts. We also have a gas stove for cooking, using a large propane tank which also supplies the gas for our living room fireplace logs. This past December the temperatures dropped to the teens and the winds were blowing steadily at 20 miles an hour. We discovered that our new untested heat pump was not wired properly to allow the auxilary heat strip to come on, so it could not keep up with the demand. We stayed toasty warm with just the gas logs and the kitchen fireplace. Plus we love to cook in the fireplace because it is such a gratifying process. I posted earlier about the hearth grill that was my Christmas present. We also bought a spider which is a dutch oven with legs. You place the spider directly in the coals and you can braise anything from roasts to stews. We tried a pork roast and vegetables.
I wish you had all been there. . . . We are back in sunny Florida now, but I miss our hearth cooking. We had a small fire in the kitchen fireplace right before we left and David said “I feel like I should be cooking something in it”. It is a primal urge to cook over fire.