Appalachia

Boiling Water on Woodstove

boiling pot of water on woodstove

The Deer Hunter keeps a pot of water on top of the woodstove. While there’s no better heat than wood, at least in my opinion, the heat does have a tendency to dry out the air. Leaving a pot of boiling water on the stove allows for at least some moisture to be put back into the air.

We’ve always used the same pot on the stove. A few weeks back we were sitting around the stove when I suddenly wondered where the pot came from.

The Deer Hunter said it belonged to Miss Cindy’s aunt Ruth.

Ruth gave the pot to Cindy to use in her kitchen, but when she found out it was aluminum she gave it to The Deer Hunter to use as his water pot.

Sort of neat to think about how long we’ve used the pot on the stove and to think of it coming from The Deer Hunter’s great aunt Ruth.

Tipper

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 9, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Tipper,
    We have a humidifier nowadays but used to keep a kettle full of water on top of our woodstove. We don’t have the woodstove in use now. I however, think that (dry) electric heat has a tendency to dry out our rooms more than the wood we used. Both stoves had/have blowers to move the air around so guess that would be hard to determine without some type of measuring device.
    Our snow didn’t last long..here and gone in a jiffy…this Saturday the eighth…Reading this post a couple of days later. Supposed to be pretty today, but more rain next week. Wish we could save it for later when it dries out in late Spring or early Summer. Oh well, guess Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. Sure didn’t stop the “flying twitters” from singing. Almost, as if all the Crab Apples on our hill were in full bloom along with the Sarvis declaring nesting sites were getting scarce.
    Enjoyed this post.
    Thanks,

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    February 6, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    We like that bit of moisture in the air too….and it truly is so neat to be using something that belonged to others you love.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 6, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Tipper,
    My Favorite holiday is soon coming up. Valentine’s Day. It’s been my Favorite since Grammer School, I was in the 2nd grade and I fell in Love with a girl from Junaluska. I guess it was “Puppy Love”, but to me it was Real. Her dad was a Doctor who was in the War with Hitlar and two of his buddies were also Doctors. They’re all dead now, like my parents, but years ago, they decided to form a Clinic at Andrews. Dr. Charles Van Gorder, Dr. Rodda, and Dr. Blalock were the Doctors who cared for my Mama when she had a Stroke, when I was just a little thing. I remember Dr. Van Gorder telling Daddy to drop by and pay what he could. He knew we didn’t have no money and Mama had been in the Hospital for about 3 months. Folks were nicer back then and more understanding.

    Years later, I was at a Class Reunion and Cathy was there. We hugged and didn’t want to let go, although we had moved on. We graduated together. …Ken

  • Reply
    Quinn
    February 6, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I keep a big old kettle on my woodstove too, but I don’t recall where it came from. I cook in old Pyrex pots but pick up old metal pots when I see them at the town recycling shed and use them for feed pans for the goats. Maybe that’s where the kettle came from.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    February 6, 2020 at 11:27 am

    I use crockpot a lot to keep moisture in the air in Winter. Dry nares can cause us extra problems with colds and flu. I never use aluminum, but have often thought how good the cooking was back in the day when aluminum was commonly used. We were fortunate as a high pressure salesman talked Mom into stainless steel long ago.
    I like the Deerhunter’s pot. We Appalachian’s can usually repurpose about anything. We use to put potatoes on my grandmother’s stove and keep turning them. No luxury such as tinfoil, and we just used a saltshaker and what we called “cow butter.” I don’t know why we threw the cow in front of butter, but everybody did back then. Now I certainly haven’t heard that for years.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      February 6, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      Years ago a lot of people kept and milked goats and sheep. They got milk, butter and cheese from them. Perhaps “cow butter” distinguished it from goat or sheep butter.

  • Reply
    Gigi
    February 6, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Burning wood is my favorite too. It does dry the air out. Also my daughter and grandson and myself , our nose will bleed if it is dry. I will fill my pot i have hanging in front of the stove and it will put moisture back in the air. Our nose don’t bleed.

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    February 6, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Like Ron, I remember when we had no electricity on the farm where I grew up. Mother cooked on a wood stove and we relied on wood to heat the house. In my home now, I use a humidifier in my bedroom to moisten the air and raise the humidity. Most or our homes now are closed so tightly we have very dry indoor air. I believe that is one reason we have so many respiratory illness in winter.
    I opened my window a bit last night to listen to the rain and bring in some humidity.
    I cook in cast iron most of the time and I have a wonderful pan that belonged to my mother-in-law who made the best cornbread in the cast iron pan. The pan is likely over 100 years old. I don’t know who will have it next as most of the young in my family don’t cook in cast iron – and probably would not know how to take proper care of it.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    February 6, 2020 at 10:10 am

    We Had a gas floor furnace, and Mama kept a pan of water on it sometimes in the winter.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 6, 2020 at 10:05 am

    When I was growing up we had a wood cookstove in the kitchen and a wood heater in the living room. Mommy kept a kettle on the cookstove all the time, plus it had a hot water reservoir on one end. Those combined with cooking meant there was no lacking of moisture in the air. She did sometimes use the top of the heater to cook when space ran out on the cookstove. We used to pop popcorn on the heater too but not like you would think. We would but the kernels directly on the stovetop and then try to catch them when they flew through the air.
    The neighbors were different however. They kept a big pot of pinto beans on their heater over the heating season. I don’t think the pot ever left the stove except for one time. They just kept adding beans and water (and seasonings too I suppose). Beanie their third child earned his name because he loved those beans so much and the effervescence they caused. Beanie was my best buddy but I never got too close to him for fear he would launch a chemical warfare attack, if you know what I mean.
    Now for the one time there was something other that beans on the heater. I walked in the living room and there on top of the stove was a big cast iron pot with a pipe running out of it. Luther, Beanie’s daddy, and his brother were suspected of brewing up an extra strength tonic now and again, so not knowing what their apparatus looked like I assumed he was making likker right there in the living room. It turned out not to be so dramatic but nonetheless interesting. The pot was full of ashes from the woodstove and “Maw”, Beanie’s grandmother was making lye to use to make hominy. That’s the one and only time I have seen that process.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    February 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

    We have electric heat and keep a pan of water on a floor vent in the room we use most. It needs to be refilled daily. I have a humidifier on my CPAP machine. Otherwise the rest of the house is left to whatever happens. With all the rain we’ve had this Winter I can’t see anything drying out anytime soon.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    February 6, 2020 at 9:27 am

    We never use aluminum to cook in either except I do boil eggs in an aluminum pot. It’s never used for anything else. All other cookware is stainless steel or cast iron.
    It’s always nice to have things that are passed down from an older generation. My Wife has a huge cast iron skillet passed down from her Grandmother. Her Dad’s Mom. She was born in 1883. When our house burned 10 yrs. ago that was one of the things we recovered.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 6, 2020 at 9:11 am

    We did that also on our coal stove in the living room. Every now and then we would use the hot water but mostly it was just for the humidity. Keeping water in the heating stove was a common practice then, back before there was such a dependence on electricity. When I was small electricity did not reach all parts of the county yet. That we had it at all was due to the rural electric co-ops created by Roosevelt’s New Deal.

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