A Wood Stove and Other Things

Organic tree fertilizerWhile we are busy trying to sell our home in the valley so we can permanently move up to our mountain property, we have been able to sneak up to the future homestead a few times these past few weeks to get a few chores done.

One important task to accomplish was feeding our fruit and nut trees.  We stopped at an organic nursery on our way up to the future homestead and found a great organic fertilizer. It has kelp and worm compost and other wonderful things in it, providing not just the NPK that you find in chemical fertilizers, but lots of micronutrients such as boron and copper that are essential for tree health!  We also raked away the last of the leaves and pine needles to prevent any pests from over-wintering in them, and widened the watering berm a bit because the drip line has expanded with the ever-growing trees.  We did a drastic pruning this year, so the trees are actually shorter, but we need to make sure that the trees have a strong scaffolding shape for the future. Unfortunately we got a borer in the largest cherry tree last year, so we cut out as much of the damaged wood as possible and are keeping our fingers crossed that the tree will survive.cap and vent for an outhouse

Another necessary chore was to put a rain cap on the outhouse vent.  When using a venting an outhousecomposting toilet (which is essentially what an outhouse is), excessive moisture is the biggest enemy!  Instead of human waste composting with minimal smell, excessively wet waste will stink to high heavens and become a putrid sludge instead of compost.

If you are eating right now, I apologize.  😉

We found several caps at our local hardware box store and decided on the one in the picture above one.  It appears that it will do a great job allowing for air flow, yet keep rain out of the vent pipe. Just what we need! Though we haven’t had much rain here in California this winter (we are in our fourth year of drought), the weather report said that quite a bit of rain was expected in the next couple of days, and they were right!  We got the vent on just in time!

february blooming almond tree

Almond tree blossoms in February

Speaking of the weather and the orchard trees:  it has been just too warm up on our future homestead!  Our almond tree is blooming and the pomegranate is starting to leaf out!  This is way too early.  We shouldn’t see this until at least the end of February and more often well into March.  Unfortunately, this probably means we won’t get any almonds this year because a freeze or very heavy downpour of rain will either kill the blossoms or knock them off of the tree entirely.  Oh well.  The tree is only starting it’s third year in our orchard, so I didn’t expect much of a harvest anyway.  Last year it had two almonds that fell off the tree mid-summer.

pomegranate tree leafing out

The pomegranate trees are already getting leaves!

Last, but by no means least, is our new wood stove!  Isn’t she cute?  It’s a little tiny thing, but just perfect for cooking on!  We decided to fire her up right away to burn off that new cooking on a small wood stovepaint smell.  Boy did it stink!  Phew!  According to the instructions that came with the wood stove, we will have to do this a few more times before the burned paint smell is gone, but that’s not a problem.  So now, when our home in the valley is sold and we move up to our mountain property and start building our new homestead, we will have a great way to cook outside without having to use up a lot of expensive propane!

While bringing some wood over to the new wood stove to burn, I found this mushroom on one of the logs!  Isn’t it beautiful?wood stove 7 This wood has been piled up for a couple of years and there were several other types of fungi growing on the wood – slowly but surely decomposing the cellulose – adding nutrients to the organic layer of duff on the forest floor.  Mother Nature at her best!

Thanks for coming over for a visit!



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25 thoughts on “A Wood Stove and Other Things

  1. We bought a pellet stove a few years ago. The motor shaft broke because the man that “fixed” it put a larger pin in it so the motor went. Funny but he will only come back if we pay him a lot of money. It is sitting in our fireplace like a paper weight. We can’t get anyone else to fix it because they didn’t install it. We looked into buying a wood burning stove but it would be another $4,000 that we don’t have. I’m sorry we didn’t go with the wood stove in the beginning.

    • Aw – that’s too bad about your pellet stove. It seems nowadays that customer service is just a word and not a promise, like it was in the past! Keep your eyes open for a used wood stove… you never know, you just might find a great one that only needs a paint job!

  2. Wood. Stove…best thing ever!!! I keep a cast aluminum pan with water on top to keep the humidity in balance. I am grow my orange peels and dried herbs into the water and mmmmmm smells good enough for people to always ask what smells so good.

    • Me too! I like to put cardamom or cinnamon with just a 1/8″ piece of vanilla in the water. It smells wonderful and the water helps to humidify the dry winter air! Thanks for stopping by today, Sunny. I always appreciate your wonderful comments!

  3. Hi Vickie,
    Just spent week with 2 granddaughters, second one Nieva Noel just turned one month old! Did you get the outside wood stove idea from us, I find it very useful, comforting and one of the big pluses to being out in the country. We have a small porcelon stove we will use inside. Coming up this Sat – Tues. Have not been up there in some time. I thought planning a wedding would be another job I don’t have time for – have a place and date. Renting Bennett Valley Grange — the oldest running grange in US! Come by and say hello if you are in neighborhood.
    Let me know if you are up for coming to SR at end of July for our celebration.

    • Hi, Linda! Congratulations on your newest granddaughter! We can’t wait for your wedding celebration – we would love to come! We hope to see you again soon.

  4. Found your blog via Wicked Awesome Wednesday and thought I’d say Hello! I can relate to your almond tree issue, that has happened to us in the past. Our trees aren’t very big but we either get a late frost or the birds attack the almonds!
    Oh and I love your new wood stove, what a great way to cook outside!

    • Yes, I think we will have to get lots of bird netting for our almond and cherry trees because we seem to have quite a few jays, mocking birds, robins and crows! Hopefully someday the trees will be big enough to give us all a decent crop. That little wood stove is so cute and really puts out the heat! The convenience of not having to trudge mud into our travel trailer where we will live while we are building our new home, just to get a cup of coffee or to stir a pot of beef stew, will make that little stove worth every penny! Thank you for stopping by, Kaylene!

  5. I love using a wood stove too! We’re so thankful to be able to curl up next to a warm fire in the winter when snowdrifts abound. Your pictures of fruit and nut trees with leaves budding has me almost wanting to move to California!

    • We would love to have you move here, Janeen – just bring some water! 😀 We have a wood stove in our home here in the valley also. There is just nothing as cozy as a warm fire in the winter – it warms to the bone! BTW, I love your site and am going to share with my daughters-in-law!

  6. Hello beautiful! Amazing post. Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being a part of our party and we hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. We can’t wait to party with you! Happy Valentines’ Day! Lou Lou Girls

  7. It’s nice to get things done, isn’t it? We have been having record warm temps here for a month. Our fear that everyone will lose their fruit harvest. We don’t have fruit trees, but worry for those who do. We really need some more snow or we will be in trouble this summer. Love your new stove! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  8. I think this is such a necessity. Though, my son was just in Italy where they had a grate for their fire place that they used to grill, bake, etc. I’d love to have a stove again.
    Hope to see you at the Homestead Blog Hop again this Wednesday.

  9. Wow you are sure getting a lot done! I loved seeing the pictures of your trees. I think it would be awesome to have an almond tree. When we lived in Northern CA there is a town called Vacaville and they refer to it as Nut City because of all of the nut trees there. I always loved buying fresh almonds each year.

    • I love Vacaville – not for their nuts, but for their shopping outlets! 😀 I saw a honey bee pollinating the almonds the other day, so I am going to cross my fingers that a few will “take” and not get nipped by frost. Thanks for stopping by today, Alicia!

    • Me too! I was just going to post the same thing. I know you were looking to sell your house and move so I’m hoping your busy with that. But I did want to let you know that I miss your blog entries so I hope you come back soon!

      • Good afternoon, Tami! I’m baaack! Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoy my blog posts – very kind words, indeed! My latest post will explain everything! I would love to hear from you again soon!

    • Thanks, Linda. Sorry – things have been crazy around here! I just got a new post up today and hope to start blogging regularly. See you again soon!

    • Thank you so much for your concern, Lydia! If you read my current post, you can see what I have been up to. It’s been a crazy three months here, but things are starting to settle down. I can’t wait to get back into blogging and catching up on my fellow blogger’s posts – including yours!

  10. I am trying to turn a tragedy into an opportunity. Having to move to my mother’s property without moving into her house (cats=scary allergies). What was an unhappy move I am trying to turn into a plan to have my own tiny house. So I was able to find an RV if any temporary, but now dealing with first winter issues. Can you tell me where you found the wood stove, type, etc? The only ones I have found so far that are small enough are hard to get and produced in Britain. Thanks!

    • Hello Christine! Happy Thanksgiving! We bought our little Vogelzang stove at Harbor Freight! I must tell you, however, that although the stove is relatively inexpensive, the chimney pipes can be very expensive! I would recommend looking on Craigslist or something similar for some used chimney pipe. We just finished installing the little stove in our bunk house and it works like a charm! In fact, it got too hot in the bunkhouse and we had to crack the door open! No issues with smoke leaking into the bunk house. We are very pleased with our purchase. I think the stove would easily heat a small cabin. I hope things turn out well for you, and this little stove might be a perfect solution for your heating needs!