Good Ol’ Elmira

Their trusty coal stove gets them through win­ter.

Country Woman - - WELCOME HOME | KEEP IT - BY PATRICIA SYNER ED­MOND, WEST VIR­GINIA

She was sit­ting in some­one’s damp base­ment, lean­ing pre­car­i­ously while propped up on a stack of crum­bling bricks. She had only three legs, but it was love at first sight.

A new Elmira Stove Works stove costs more than $5,000; this one was marked down to $800. We knew a bar­gain when we saw one.

We or­dered Elmira (as we fondly call her) a shiny new leg, and she is now the cen­ter­piece of our large sunny kitchen at Short Creek Farm, our home nes­tled deep in the hills of West Vir­ginia.

We live in an area known for be­ing with­out power for some­times weeks at a time. Dur­ing the win­ter, you can’t let your wa­ter pipes freeze, and you have to keep your ba­bies warm and fed. We have a propane gas log we can use when the power is out, but its fan runs on elec­tric­ity.

Noth­ing, how­ever, beats Elmira when she has a roar­ing fire in her belly. Her left side has a yawn­ing mouth for wood or coal, and her right side sports a wa­ter tank with a spigot for in­stant hot wa­ter. You can heat cof­fee or tea on the stove­top and slide home­made bis­cuits into her toasty in­te­rior.

Own­ing Elmira is like hav­ing our own in­sur­ance pol­icy. With her by our side, we know we can sur­vive what­ever the up­com­ing win­ter dishes out.

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