The Stove Fairy

Every year, one rainy Summer day the flues and the stoves undergo a deep cleaning. A rainy day is perfect because I can’t do much else and the soot is kept down when I work on the pipes outside. This year Esther was interested, and even though it’s VERY messy work I involved her. She did great and we had a discussion about how she’d be able to maintain her stove in her cabin. Music to my ears. I like that this is a default for her, she might not even have the concept of a house without a stove.

I remove the stove pipe, to clean up the inside all the way out the roof. It’s messy even with great efforts to catch it all.

The pipes hooked to the stove are taken outside to be cleaned. Ben’s pro tip: mark the pipes with chalk where you’re separating them, it makes it easier to line them back up.

We go through all the insides of the stove and clean up accumulated ash. The first firing of the year is usually very hot because no ash is there to provide insulation.

We move very slowly to keep flying ash particles to a minimum.

Everything gets scrubbed six ways to Sunday, first with soap, then with baking soda, followed by much rinsing. We cook on the stove for most of the year, it needs it. When it’s all clean we protect the iron with stove paste, I’m not sure what it does to protect it but you can definitely feel some patches soak up more paste than other. I’d do it just because it makes the stove beautiful.

Esther has lots of very good practical question these days, she understands how a stove works now. Apparently I’ll still be the one sweeping her cabin’s chimney.

We still love burning wood with no end in sight. This stove is the most important thing in the house and I take pleasure in giving it its ritualistic pampering.

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