It worked!

Ron showed me how to build a fire and tend the stove this afternoon. It’s 55 degrees outside right now and 79 in the house — too warm, but it’s supposed to drop into the 30s in a few hours, and we wanted to build our first fire on a night when it was warm enough that we could open the windows if the stove started smoking or the paint wasn’t cured well enough or something.

I sauteed onions and garlic in a little cast-iron skillet on the lower (hotter) level of the stove and added them to a pot of vegetable soup that is now simmering away on the upper level. The onions cooked so well in the skillet that I decided to try making a quick supper: scrambled eggs.

If I’d added more butter instead of trying to cook them in the residual oil left after I sauteed the onions, they probably would have tasted better, but even if they weren’t the best scrambled eggs I ever made, they were certainly the most fun to cook.

The soup smells good. I think it’s going to turn out pretty well. If it does, I’ll post the recipe later.


This mockingbird was hanging out on top of the chimney when we went out to make sure the smoke was coming out like it’s supposed to. (It was, as you can see in the background.) Our chimney sweep bird-proofed the flue, so hopefully we won’t have any feathered intruders this winter.

Hope you’re having a nice, cozy Sunday evening wherever you are.


UPDATE: The soup is done, and it’s really quite good. Recipe forthcoming in the next post.

Learning something new

I’ve got a busy day ahead of me. It’s my turn to work in the nursery at church. When I get home, we’re heading out on Route 66 to have lunch and then talk to somebody for a Route 66 Pulse story.

Assuming the interview doesn’t take the entire afternoon, Ron is going to show me how to build a fire in our woodstove when we get home. I am very excited about this, because it means I finally get to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: Learn to cook on a woodstove.

My first project is going to be something very simple: Vegetable soup. L-A-Z-Y vegetable soup: A jar of canned tomatoes, half a bag of frozen vegetables, and some garlic from our garden. The goal for today is simply to warm up the soup without burning it.

Our stove is just designed for heating — it’s not one of those fancy-schmancy Irish cookstoves you get for a zillion dollars from the Lehman’s Non-Electric Catalog. It’s a compact little woodstove my parents gave us in exchange for our freezer, which we weren’t really using any more. But my mom used to make soup for us all the time on our old Earth Stove, so I know I can feed us this winter, even if most of our meals just involve some kind of soup.

I have a LOT of soup recipes, so we’ll be in good shape. 🙂

I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, here are some links I found that have information about cooking with wood:
Sunset article
Mother Earth News article
Impractical but nostalgic article about somebody’s grandma
Bit of navel-gazing from Gardenweb, with practical tips sprinkled in

We’ll see whether any of this does me any good when the temperature drops down to 35 tonight. If this project goes well, I’m installing more shelves in my living-room-closet-turned-pantry and doing more gardening and canning next summer. The idea of living closer to the land right here in Red Fork makes me happy. I just hope I haven’t gotten so attached to my modern conveniences that I can’t bring myself to do it.


9 miles

I wish I’d had the camera with me this morning. I went to Owasso with my friend Terriann to run the “Great Pumpkin Challenge.” The Methodist Church up there sponsored back-to-back 5K and 10K runs that started next to their pumpkin patch this morning. You could run either or both. Since we’re training for the Route 66 Marathon, we went ahead and ran both.

The T-shirt and finisher’s ribbon were nice, but the biggest reward for getting up early to run in the cold was the sunrise. I don’t see the sunrise too often, but if they all looked like this, I’d get up for them more often — this morning’s was all golden and orange in the middle, with gorgeous pink clouds stretching out to infinity.

For those of you playing along at home, I finished my 5K in 30:45, which was my third-best finish time. Not bad at all, considering the way I’ve been running lately — my performance all season has been absolutely abysmal.

I’ve never run a 10K before, so any finish time I got was going to be a PR. I came across the finish line in 1:05:05. Not great compared to most of the other runners, but the combined times (1:35:50) would have been good for a middle-of-the-pack Tulsa Run finish.

Terriann posted PRs (and kicked my butt) in both the 5K and 10K. She’s worked really hard this season — much harder than I have — and has a lot to show for it. Up to this point, I’ve run stronger than she has in the races we’ve run together, so it was really cool to see her cheering me on from the finish line today. She’ll probably do it again in the marathon next month, too. She’s gotten her thoughts in order and run really well lately.

Next Saturday is a 20-mile training run. Yecch. We’ll see how I do. I may just Galloway it. I can’t see running the entire thing when I’m planning to Galloway the marathon itself. Especially not when I judge the success or failure of any run by the way I feel at the end, not the numbers on the clock. If I feel good and had a good time running, I’m happy. I’m not likely to qualify for Boston in this lifetime anyway, so why not just slow down and enjoy the course?

Speaking of Boston qualifiers, I am rooting for my coach. He’s looking to qualify when he runs Chicago in the morning. Tall order, considering he’s trained with my slow butt all season and is used to running 11:30 miles with Fleet Feet’s M4 group, but he posts some awesome times in the Tulsa Run every year, so I know he’s got it in him.