Meet Stanley. He is our slow combustion stove. Just a run of the mill Stanley Traditional, made in Ireland. You can still buy them new, just the same. We got Stanley second hand, in pieces, and had the interesting task of putting him back together. It was good as we now understand where the heat travels and can problem solve if things don't work right. But it wasn't fun, if you like your sanity intact!
So, Stanley is an amazing multitasking individual, with a perculiar sense of humour. He has replaced our kettle, toaster, hotplates, oven and microwave (we no longer have any of these in their conventional form), hot water service and he is also good at drying clothes and proving bread. I think that he replaces these better than the electric/gas versions, and we don't get bills!
The slow combustion stove is great for baking (there has been lots of scones, biscuits, bread and baked dinners around here) and slow cooking. You can leave things to cook all day without worrying about what the electricity/gas bill will be!
But there is one thing about Stanley that makes him challenging at times... You just can't rush the guy. He seems to know when you want to get the fire going quickly, say because the kids are up and whingeing that they are hungry and you need to go out in an hour. You try and put on some bigger wood too quickly, before he is ready, and its all over, you can start again! Then after you have had your lukewarm coffee and barely toasted bread you will have a roaring fire ready to go....
Slow combustion cooking is for a slower pace of life. Not really suitable if you work all day outside the home (unless you know how to keep it ticking over for 8 hours or so). But a slow pace of life is a good thing in my opinion. We are enjoying our new life here, its lovely to wake up to the chorous of birds, and go and give the horses an apple. Spending time in the garden, planning the spring crops and finding the time to do some of the things we never had time to do before. Its nice to not have a feeling of rushing, although there is a lot to do here, most of it can wait another day. When the weather is nice (which seems to be more often than not) its nice to go out and potter around. Our next project is to build a moveble pen for our chickens, so we can finally bring the girls home (and add a few more and even a rooster!).