by our very own Viola

Coal stove in an Amish home.Hello! It is a pleasure to meet you. I am the family heat source. I am known as the Coal Stove and I take my job very seriously. As long as I am well care for and adjusted properly, everyone in my home is warm and comfortable during those cold winter months.

Sometimes though they forget to empty my ash pan and then I can hardly breathe, much less heat any amount of space. At other times they forget to adjust my so-called thermostat properly and boy do I get mad! All that air rushing into my head gets me riled! I release huge amounts of heat and all the human beings around me start shedding their layers of clothing and are busy opening windows.

Usually though, they adjust me properly and I settle right down to nice even heat. Once in a while they forget to feed me coal twice a day and then I almost faint from exhaustion. Someone generally takes pity on me and feeds me coal before I lose all of my fire.

Because I generate so much heat, the air in my home can become very dry for my family. To add moisture to the air a large kettle of water is placed on top of me, which creates just enough steam to humidify the air. Cuts down on itchy skin and burning eyes!

Coal skuttle in an Amish homeAdding coal to my belly is a noisy affair, usually done in the wee hours of the morning or just before bed at night. The stove needs to be “shaken” to clear out the old ash, and then new coal is poured down through the top shute to keep the fire burning.

Summer is my resting time. No heating, no temper tantrums, and no worrying if someone will be kind enough to feed me or empty my ash pan. I sure look forward to summer even though I pride myself on my very important job in the winter.

Gotta go! I have a job to do!