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For the love of the woodstove!

Sometimes I think about progress and growth. Capitalism seems to have patented human ingenuity and sometimes it bothers me. Take the example of permaculture. Permaculture is a sustainable optimization of farming – growth and progress is never the goal in it self. Sustainability is. Balance is. Durability is. It´s farmers logic, really. You can´t sell any more tomatoes than you can grow on your field.
Permaculture is about moving, and optimizing, within the natural limits.

Natural limits exists. There are boundaries to our existence- and this isn´t a problem. It´s just a fact.

I´m NOT against progress- but I think that when progress becomes a goal for the reason of progress it self…. progress becomes dangerous. No need to get fatter than your legs can actually carry you.
Another example is the wood burning stove.

Sure, electricity came and it was fancy and all but the electrical stove really holds no superiority to the wood burning stove when it comes to efficiency and usability.

The only real advantage of the electrical stove is that you can turn it on without an effort and make food without being present before the stove.
That´s fancy allright- but it´s not BETTER.

This is my wood burning stove. I love it.


This is a very common Swedish Husquarna wood burning stove from the 50ies.
Older models in cast iron are still on the market, many Swedes actually still use wood burning stoves in their cabins or vacation homes.
We got this stove from our amazing neighbours.

In this model you find three hot plates made from rings, meaning that you can regulate temperature easily.
On the left where you see the tap is the hot water tank. The upper hatch to the right of the water tank is where you burn the wood, underneath is the ash box. Further to the right above is the main oven, below is the warmer, it keeps the dishes warm until you want to serve them.

The blue chair is my favorite chair.

In my mind the wood stove oven is superior due to these two factors:

1) When using the wood stove you need to concentrate on your cooking.
You can´t just leave the stove, you have to feed it firewood. It is my experience that this practically makes us relate to cooking in a different way. We simply pay more attention to it- and that has proved to been a good thing.
It´s changed the way we percieve our meals.

2) The wood burning stove has SEVERAL uses.

* It heats up our entire house. We have no other heating system-  we only need to use the extra wood burner when temperatures reach below minus 10 celsius.

* It heats warm water (in the water tank). We use this when doing the dishes or bathing.

* It has a heater (an exstra oven that never gets too hot)
You can use the heater  to dehydrate leftovers (thus reducing foodwaste)

* It´s flexible. You can use the entire surface of the oven, move your pots and pans around. Since it is always burning wood in the wintertime, you always have hot coffee!

* It is environmentally more sound that oil (= ordinary electricity)
Sure you have to chop a lot of wood and yes it would be practical if you could feed bigger logs to the stove.
This model is OLD and surely it can be improved but the CONCEPT of the wood burning stove is simply brilliant.


Storing firewood outside the door is the practical solution. We´re building a mudroom (and painting the door) on this, the north side of the house, but for now it works very well.


Dehydrating fruits and left over vegetables on top of the stove. When you get into the habit of doing this you dramatically reduce foodwaste.

Or dehydrate in the heater.


The top of our wood burning stove could surely need some rust treatment. It´s not a number  one priority though. This is me making butter and honey granola moving my pan around freely. Smiley.


AND a wood burning stove is cosy!
(to the left you see our other wood burning stove)

I´m not sure we, the people, should have stopped using the wood burning stoves.

In the name of progress.

8 comments on “For the love of the woodstove!

  1. Soltimus says:

    I used to love these stoves and I remember my great grandmother’s stove. She never fell for gas or electricity when it came to cooking. Thinking of her kitchen brings back many happy memories, but it doesn’t change the fact that burning wood is not eco-friendly or sustainable. Sadly 😦 These wood burning stoves are overtaking diesel engines when it comes to black carbon pollution. And imagine if all the world used wood as their energy source? We’d all be fucked. Just as fucked as we are because of oil etc.


  2. Christina says:

    I think there was a little freudian slip, when you wrote “I’m against progress” in your 3rd paragraph, not? 🙂


    1. andreahejlskov says:

      hehe. Thank you christina! a “NOT” is now inserted into the texst 🙂


  3. Jeppe Juul says:

    Soltimus, No we would not, because we weren’t 😉
    Calculate how much oil is needed to run a modern household with at all the trimmings and compare that to a woodstove that produces heat, baking, cooking and hot water. Thats a heating system, an oven, an electric stove and water heater. Keep in mind that when gearing down to a simpler lifestyle in nature (impossible without burning wood), we give up alot of energyconsuming aplliances and comforts, all of which pollute. So until you figure out an alternative free energysource (I’m all for it) firewood is acceptable.
    Also the whole C02 discussion is a waste of time, seeing as nothing will be done about it, but while the politicians talk about C02, we are killing off the planet in a multitude of ways. Most of those beeing much quicker and more effective ways of planet-murder…


  4. Cecilie says:

    I love my wood stove too. There is something romantic about lighting a fire in the morning or warming your hands by the stove when you come in from the cold. However it is worth mentioning that the smoke from burning (mainly unseasoned) wood can be a major health hazard and when a whole town burn wood in minus 40 degrees a stinky smog encircles everything and children are advised to stay inside. I love my wood stove, but in Alaska it is not always a ceaseless blessing.


  5. andreahejlskov says:

    No smog is never plessant. Are entire towns in Alaska using wood stoves? I´ve always dreamed of going to Alaska….


  6. We have the exact same model waiting down at the parkingarea/gardenshed. It has been standing there for 1,5 years now. Hauling its 200+ kg’s up the slope is one task that awaits us. Finding a way to install it will be another.
    I really hope we will enjoy it as much as you folks. Thanks for all the info.


    1. Yeah, it´s heavy all right… but it´s a real good wood stove, it really is 🙂


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