Heating the Homestead Cabin

When we decided to remodel our living room several years ago, we put in a gas fireplace.  Just flip the switch and we have a fire and a heat source.  While our primary source of heat comes from our gas furnace, this particular fireplace also came with a battery back-up.  We’ve lost power in the winter a few times and our furnace doesn’t work without power.  So a back-up source of heat was a wonderful selling point.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out quite as well as we had imagined it would.  For a matter-of-fact, I can only remember one time we were able to get the fireplace working during a power outage.  Not a good thing.

Our frustration with our gas fireplace has led hubby and I to some discussions on how we want to heat our future home.   We both enjoy watching the fire in our fireplace, but we do miss the sounds and smells that come with burning wood.  So as we consider features we would like to have in our next home, a wood-burning heat source is high on that list.  Power or no power, as long as we are diligent in making sure we have wood, we will always have heat.

Now the decision becomes fireplace or wood stove.  We discussed.  We researched.  Ultimately, we decided a wood stove is the best way to go.  No big masonry work required and less heat loss thru a chimney.   Twice a year cleaning of the wood stove pipe is recommended, but I’m sure that is something we can handle on our own.  The harder work will be cutting and hauling our own wood.  We learned a little about that last spring when the big Hackberry tree in our front yard got hit by lightning and fell.  Yet the thought of having wooded property that allows us to provide our own wood source and a  roaring fire in our wood stove providing heat to our home feels right.

And there are so many wood stove choices.  Like this one . . . . .

the Hearthstone 8012 woodstove.  It will heat up to 2500 square feet, will burn up to 10 hours with a heat time of up to 14 hours.  No need to get up in the middle of the night to put more logs on the fire.

Of course there is also the option of a wood cook stove.

But I haven’t researched them enough to know if I’m sold on that idea or not.

Making plans and considering all the little details of our homestead is part of the work that goes in to turning our dream into our reality.  Sometimes the decisions are easy and sometimes the decisions are hard work.  But it takes work and perseverance to turn dreams into our reality.  


  1. We have been thinking about heat a lot too (mainly because we are without for the time being…thankful for my gas fireplace today). I love the look and feel of wood-burning stoves. Unfortunately they don’t love me (allergies). Cook top might be neat if there is no power…

    • We had a wood burning fireplace in our home in Tacoma, WA. Little did we know that the little bit of smoke from burning wood was going to cause so many asthma problems for our youngest son. As he got older, the asthma problems just went away, but for those who have allergies/respiratory problem, burning wood may not be the best option.

  2. After I grew up and moved out, my parents bought and overhauled an old wood cookstove.
    A. Year or so later on thanksgiving,at about 11:00am, the power went out. For a week. My mother had chosen to cook thanksgiving dinner in The wood stove that year. Their dinner preparations went on, no interruptions. I don’t know what all the neighbors did, but unless they pulled out their turkeys and took them to somebody else’s house, outside the power outage area, their turkeys spoiled.
    Here in Ak, 10 yrs ago or so, we had a 6 day outage in winter. Not mid winter, somewhere toward one end or the other, so not bitter cold outside. We have a wood stove, and had wood then, and used that for heating and cooking. I even baked bread on top of that stove, with a large cake pan upside down over the loaf pan, which was set right on the top of the stove. I cooked a moose roast same way. (Road kill, honest). We heated water, made soup, cocoa, all on top of that stove. It was just an ordinary airtight wood stove, not even a cookstove.
    Our current gas oven stove top can be match lit when power is out, but the oven doesn’t work.
    We only get short, less than one day outages now. (Should I knock on wood fast?)
    April in Ak

    • Your story reminded me about the year our power went out on Thanksgiving. The turkey was in the oven and like you, I have a gas stove which allows me to light the burners with a match, but not the oven when there is no power. Hubby fired up the gas grill and the turkey went out to the grill. Unfortunately, the grill wasn’t the best and the turkey wasn’t making much progress. Finally, the power came back on and I was able to finish the meal. Had I had a wood cook stove, I certainly wouldn’t have been concerned about whether or not we had power.

      I must also admit that a wood cook stove would fit very well in my homestead cabin. Or should I say the cabin in my dreams 🙂 Just not sure I want to deal with cooking on a wood fire in the summer though. Will have to research that more.

      • that summer cooking is the reason folks used to have a summer kitchen, a bit detached from the house. I believe some of them used to even move the stove out there, then back into the house kitchen in fall. The summer kitchen lept the heat out of the house.
        Amish houses used to have a summer/canning kitchen in the basement, maybe they still do. I don’t know if this was to keep the heat out of the living floors though, heat does go up, so that wouldn’t have worked so well, or because they had their “fruit room” (canning jar storage place) in the basement.
        My mother in law remembers canning outside in the yard, over a camping stove of some kind, to keep the heat out of the house, when she was a little girl helping her Granny.
        I would be interested in the two kitchen house because I make cheese, and would like to keep those huge pots and press, colander, cheese draining, drying, waxing, marking equiptment out of my kitchen. It takes over when I have plenty of milk and am making 3-4 cheeses a week. My goal when we get to a farm is to have one milk cow and 3 goats, which would mean making cheese almost every day, and larger cheeses than I make now. Goal, to make all our cheese, and to be able to eat it daily if we wanted to. We do make all our cheese now, but can only use 2-3 a month, if it is to last till the spring freshening of our goats.

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