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The Hot Box

October 17th, 2012

Nothing makes a tough outdoor cat go soft and want to spend his days inside like a fire in the wood stove. We decided that the cats call it “the hot box”. Some mornings Dexter will even come in and look at it like he wishes it was on.

We’ve had a couple chilly mornings here, the house was down into the 50’s, so we lit a fire in the stove to warm it up a bit. It’s so cozy to stand by it drinking a cup of coffee. Dexter is loving it as well, if there’s a fire he’s in front of it until it cools down. No doubt, he won’t be much of an outdoor cat this winter.

We’re looking forward to heating with wood, something we were in the process of implementing at our house in Ohio until we decided to move. One of these days I’ll do post on the big wood fired furnace in the basement that will also heat our water in the dead of winter.

Do you, or have you every enjoyed warming up by the fire on a chilly morning?

35 Comments to “The Hot Box”
  1. Beegirl on October 17, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Oh Dex… Nothing like a wood stove to turn the cats to taffy! Our cats melt to the floor too! Love the picture..

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

  2. angie h on October 17, 2012 at 5:43 am

    It looks so cozy! We have an old radiant heater in our kitchen. It was my grandma’s grandma’s and we still use. It is gas and when you light it, the flames shoot up the front of these porcelain tiles. Thankfully we found new tiles a couple years ago and were able to replace them, the tiles were turning to dust. I love when it’s lit, we used to fight over laying in front of it when I was little. Our downstairs is block with a cement floor, it gets soooo cold down there and that heater saves us!

    Reply to angie h's comment

  3. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on October 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Our old man cat sits on his bean bag in front of one of our wood-burning stove just about all the time, just in case it suddenly get hot again. Mysterious hot boxes of wonder and warmth!

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

  4. Kathi Cook on October 17, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Our cat loves to lounge on top of our cast iron radiators that we have capped with granite. He gets pretty toasty. When winter arrives, he thinks he wants to go outside until I open the door and he sees the snow,then he whips around and comes right back in. We heat with oil, but with the prices now I wish we used wood.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  5. kristin @ going country on October 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I’m by the fire right now. It doesn’t heat our whole house–the house is WAY too big for that–but it allows us to delay using the furnace until much later in the year, and also use a lot less oil when we do have to use the furnace. Someday we want to put in a wood-fired furnace. Jealous of yours.

    Can you cook on top of that woodstove?

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on October 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

      I could cook on it, I just need to get a few big cast iron dutch ovens. I only have enameled dutch ovens which couldn’t take the heat I don’t think. I’ll be purchasing some soon so I can start making big pots of stew on this stove in winter. Eventually I may replace with with a real wood fired stove, but that will be much into the future.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • kristin @ going country on October 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        I’ve used my enameled dutch oven on my woodstove several times, though it’s maybe not the best for the enamel.

        to kristin @ going country's comment

      • Joshua on October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

        Wikipedia says that cast iron enamel is fired at around 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, so you would think it would be good to very high temperatures. Most guidelines say not to use cast iron at higher than 500 degrees, but I just turned my electric stovetop on high and used an IR thermometer to take its temperature, and it rose to about 900 degrees. Clearly, it’s okay to use enameled cast iron on the stove top on “high”, so while 500 degrees may be the limit in the oven (for some unknown reason), contact with a 900-degree cook surface is probably fine.

        For what it’s worth, I also use the IR thermometer to monitor the surface temp of our wood stove. It can be surprisingly easy to overfire the stove, and those magnetic thermometers only show the heat in one spot–and the heat quickly makes them lose their magnetism, so you can’t put them on the side of the stove. Once you know where your stove’s hottest spot is, you can measure just that location. If you have a wood stove, I recommend picking up an IR thermometer. It has a lot of other uses around the house too. You can get one at a reasonable price on Amazon.

        Our stove’s surface temperature usually runs around 600 degrees. If it is allowed to run away, it can approach 1000 degrees in spots, but this shouldn’t happen because it can damage the stove. Bottom line, I think you should probably be fine to use your enameled cast iron on the wood stove.

        to Joshua's comment

  6. Songbirdtiff on October 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Our kitties don’t even know what kind of goodness they are in store for this year. :)

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  7. Erika on October 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Our cats love our wood stove (we have the same stove) and know instinctively when we are going to light it. I have cooked on the top with my enameled cast iron dutch oven, but I use a cast iron trivet under the dutch oven. The top of the wood stove is sometimes too hot to do anything other than boil water. I have a couple trivets in different heights to give me different levels of heat. Good luck with experimenting with your stove.

    Reply to Erika's comment

    • Susy on October 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Good to know, I’ll have to took into those trivets. I know my pans say they can’t take heat above 500 degrees and I really didn’t want to risk it as they’re very pricey!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. daisy on October 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

    It looks like a great place to sit and read a book. So glad Dexter has found his niche.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  9. amy on October 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    We warm up to it every morning when it is cool….as it is our main source of heat:) We have no furnace. We do supplement with propane and kerosene…but very little. I cook on it(It is the very best way to cook bacon and percolate your coffee) and our cat and dogs love it. It is a behemoth but it provides the toastiest heat. I have never had anything but a woodstove in my 47 years…so I am not certain I could do without one.

    Reply to amy's comment

  10. Texan on October 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

    We put in wood stoves here and love them! We have a larger one in the living room for the main part of the house and a little one in our masterbedroom/bathroom in what was a see through fireplace.
    We got the kind with glass in the doors, its wonderful to fall asleep with the flames flickering all toasty warm.

    I have a cast iron tea kettle that I use for adding moisture to the air, I add essential oils to it for aromatherapy.

    I will have try the trivet tip Erika left. I cook in cast iron most always so I have the cookware, but found controlling the heat very difficult. I will have to get some trivets as she suggested and try that.

    Reply to Texan's comment

  11. Vicki on October 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

    When we moved into our house it had came with the old water heater set up that ran off wood. Though they had long ago used it. moved on to the electric set up. I think now if would have been neat to use a wood heating water heater. Though our main source of heat for our house is wood. We have a MONSTER of a wood stove in our basement that heats the whole house. I keep telling myself that if we ever move I would love to invest in another monster wood stove. Everyone around me has these itty bittys that they have to clean everyday. It also seems like there always putting wood on. We also really enjoy our over sized fireplace, its so big that you could have one of those pot stand and push a BIG pot of stew over the fire. :) But I dont know where I would get one of those. I always thought it would be a great coversation piece if we had company over though.

    Reply to Vicki's comment

  12. Katie on October 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Our cat does the same thing! She is normally outdoors unless it’s meal time, but once the woodstove is cranking, she suddenly becomes an indoor cat.

    I love your woodstove by the way. It is a perfect match to the linolium and knotty pine cabinets. It says “homey”!!

    Reply to Katie's comment

  13. risa on October 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Reply to risa's comment

  14. whit on October 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Our only heat is wood as well. For ambiance they installed a propane stove in the dining room. I wish it was wood to cook on.

    Our Sadie has much the same look as your Dexter from October to May. Even if the stove is crankin’ out the heat at 500 degrees. I noticed her whiskers look a little singe the other day. I might have to look into getting a screen for the woodstove to protect her.

    Lovin’ that floor tile!

    Reply to whit's comment

  15. Jaye on October 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I will live this experience through you and Dexter :) While I have a traditional fireplace, I don’t know that I’ve ever had it going in the AM’s. I will definitely try it though!

    Reply to Jaye's comment

  16. Jaye on October 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

    BTW, how are your other cats doing? Have you let them outside yet? (did I miss a post?)

    Reply to Jaye's comment

    • Susy on October 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

      The other cats are good, no post on that yet. Two are exclusively indoor, perhaps next spring I’ll start letting them out. The feral cat is in the garage and loving her new large quarters. She’s slowly making her way farther and farther into the garden. Must post about this tomorrow.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Mich on October 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    We have a big log burner in the living room which goes pretty much 24/7 in the colder monthes.
    No wood fire in the kitchen but I do have an Aga which everyone heads for in winter…lovely & toasty.
    Mug of fresh coffee leaning on the Aga front rail….bliss on a cold day.

    Reply to Mich's comment

  18. Sherri on October 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Oh, I lOVE wood heat and miss it terribly. We have heated 2 homes entirely with wood and I’ve always preferred the steady, even cozy heat over any other kind. The whole process, from tree to burn is VERY satisfying :)

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  19. Kelly H. on October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    My Gram, who I lived with for a time, had an old wood cookstove that I just loved and have wanted to have one for years (we’ll remodel the kitchen once we can save up some and there’ll be a spot made for one). We now have a big gasification furnace (super cool) that’s oil at the start/end of winter (when it’s on-again-off-again) and wood for the one-full-time weather. It’ll heat our water, too, once we switch it over. I love wood heat!

    Reply to Kelly H.'s comment

  20. Lee on October 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    It’s in the 90s here today so AC is running full blast. Good thing it gets a lot cooler once the sun goes down. That stove is going to be Dexter’s number one favorite this winter. He sure knew how to pick his slaves when he knocked on your door back in Ohio.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  21. Johanna on October 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Oh, I miss the coziness of a wood fire! My parents always had one (sometimes two!) going throughout the winter. We even used to move the screen aside at night and roast marshmallows over the coals :). I still enjoy gathering around the fire at their house when we visit and drinking our coffee. Their kitties tend to mimic Dexter and gather around as well.

    We decided that, whatever money we save on our electric bill from now on will go towards a purchase of our own wood-burning stove. Can’t wait!

    Reply to Johanna's comment

  22. Joshua on October 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I would add to my other comment that, if you are going to use a wood stove, please do some reading up and studying on how to properly run it. We overfired our stove the first year we lived in this house without realizing it, and ended up warping a piece of the stove and had to replace it. Fortunately, more damage was not done. Wood stoves are not complicated, but they’re not as simple as, “1) put in fire 2) light 3) walk away,” either. If the surface temp of any part of a cast iron stove is over about 600 degrees, the stove may be being overfired. At around 900 degrees, parts of the stove will begin to glow red (may not be able to see this except in a dark room), and the stove is definitely being overfired. I have been surprised at how easy it is to overfire our stove if I am not paying attention to the fire and closing the damper at the appropriate time.

    Reply to Joshua's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on October 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Great comments Joshua. Keep them coming. My grandpa always said, “Every wood burner has a personality” and I have found that to be true with our wood stove in the new house. But once you get to know it, and you work along with it, it can be a good relationship.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  23. Melissa on October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Dexter looks so cute in all the pictures you post on the blog! Seems like a sweet cat. Mine likes to sit in front of the fireplace too.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  24. Joan on October 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Our cat and dogs love the woodstove, as do us humans! Sometimes in the winter we’ll have a ‘campout’ in front of it (ours has a glass window), with sleeping bags and all.

    It’s our main source of heat in the winter, but we’ve only had to fire it up a couple of times so far this year – just a quick burn to take off the chill. In the winter it’s the first thing I do when I get up in the morning – rake the coals to the front, throw in some newspaper and either kindling or better yet, pine cones, then a few logs to get it going.

    Reply to Joan's comment

  25. KimH on October 18, 2012 at 5:23 am

    In High School, one of my friends lived in his great grandmothers old house.. It had electricity and running water, but the house was heated only by a beautiful ancient wood stove.
    I’ll never forget one winter when there was about 2 foot of snow on the ground (not the norm for North Texas) and it got cold in the house so my friend tossed on more wood..and the next thing you know, we had to open every door and window in that little house cuz it heated it up so quickly and so warmly, we were about to pass out.. Good memories..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  26. Sierra N Hampl on October 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    My in-laws (who live next door to us) heat their home with a wood stove. My father-in-law is 71 and still chops his own wood.

    Reply to Sierra N Hampl's comment

  27. Trace Willans on October 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    We have solar hot water for summer and a wetback in the wood stove for winter and we have planted a woodlot so we will always have wood.
    x te

    Reply to Trace Willans's comment

  28. Firewood For Life on October 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    We normally do not build a fire in the morning, but we love to cozy up next to the fireplace at night. Our outdoor wood furnace takes care of the heating, but we still like the look and feel of a nice hot fire in the fireplace.

    Reply to Firewood For Life's comment

  29. Olivia on November 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

    wood heat is the absolute best and i was looking forward to firing our stove up all the way through the last days of summer. we have some old cobbled together system which heats our radiators and hot water all at once and keeps our house nice and toasty :)

    Reply to Olivia's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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