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When you enjoy the daily company of a wood stove you soon realize that the simple pleasure of a warming fire can be a challenging task to manage each day. It turns from a charming, nostalgic or dare I say, romantic event into a bit of a chore. I wouldn't trade wood fire warmth for anything, but I do find my friend the stove can be as temperamental and fickle as a teenager. I've learned that a cold chimney can stop a fire dead in its tracks, that good venting is positively imperative to get the fire going in the first place, that different woods catch and burn irregularly, and that a healthy supply of newspaper and kindling make the task exponentially more agreeable.

When we're in the throws of a sub-zero calendar month, and the fire burns nonstop, cleaning out the ash takes proper timing and finesse. And, of course, the biggest complaint from wood burners is the mess, in general, of a wood stove. From bits of bark falling on the floor around the wood bin and stove to clouds of ash threatening to plume into the air during cleaning, a wood stove can create an awful mess if one isn't vigilant and armed with a good vacuum cleaner!

In addition to a cultivating a deep understanding of wood stove and fire-managing how-to, we wood burners also ponder the head-scratching resultant curiosity called the "clinker." At the bottom of the stove, after many days burning, I find these lavarockesque bits of SOMETHING that have formed as waste from the newspaper, kindling and right now, elm and ash wood that I burn. These nuggets are somehow otherworldly - shocking spontaneous creations. How is it that wood, paper and heat create what feels somehow like metal, rock or glass? Some say that clinkers are the byproduct of heat and minerals in the wood, but I wonder if these clinkers aren't actually a mass of funghi brought to life by heat only to die and solidify when the fire cools. Who knows. All I know is that winter is here, and I love my wood stove, clinkers and all!

Speaking of WINTER, we've decided to host a weekly Saturday WINTER MARKET at our Plum City space. We're adding shelving and moving things around to make room for an expanded line of Lake View Organic Farm products. Our first market at 401 Main Street in Plum City will be Saturday, January 21. More about these events in the weeks to come, but first, a vacation!

The store located at Lake View Farm is physically closed for the winter as the little building is not heated, but, if you need hay, straw, cornstalk bedding, birdseed, animal feed, sunflower oil, syrup, or any of our farm products, send William a text message (715.222.8234) to place your order and arrange pick-up. He's happy to hook you up with whatever you need from the farm.

We won't be selling any round bales in Plum City, but you'll be able to shop all of our grab-n-go sized products once I transform the space into a retail annex for Lake View Organic Farm. Time to get creative again!

We'll see you all soon. Stay warm. Stay well.

Sending love from the farm,


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