One of the many chores for young children in ‘the olden days’ was to keep a plentiful supply of fuel for the Cook Stove in the wood-box that was located in one corner of the kitchen. Bear in mind that this chore was necessary winter and summer.
Since the firebox in the cook stove was quite a bit smaller (see small door at left of the front of the appliance), stove-wood was split from pine logs into thin strips to approximate 3 X 12 inches. One reason for use of the stove during the summer months was for heating water.
The water reservoir was attached to the stove on the extreme right side as depicted by the photo. The center door was where all the baking was done and the two doors at the top were the warming closets. Leftovers from the noon meal, “dinner”, was placed inside to be warmed by the built-up heat from the flue if desired.
Ashes were removed from a small door underneath the firebox and was usually done by an adult. There were generally two round lids (eyes) above the firebox and two above the oven. Removing or replacing these eyes could regulate the heat if needed. Note: A Cast iron pan was placed over on opened ‘eye’ to prevent smoke escaping, when changing Utensils.
If there was a supplemental heater in the large kitchen, it also required larger logs, therefore, this job was meted out to older family members. These logs were usually stacked on the porch, just outside the doorway for convenience as well to prevent loss of heat while stoking the heater.
During the summer months when the fireplace was not used, “Flatirons” were heated on the cook stove for use after wash day. They could be heated while a meal was cooking or water was heating.
Most farm families enjoyed a hot breakfast and a hot “dinner” at the noon hour but “supper” was usually cold leftovers or warmed in the warming closets if the stove was in use. Eating a cold supper, allowed the house to cool at night during the hot summer months.
I can still recall the afternoon admonishment to “Be sure to tote in enough stove-wood and don’t forget the kindling.” Also, I can remember ‘sopping’ molasses with hot biscuits early in the morning.
“Things just couldn’t get any better than this: Could they”?