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The Stove!

How can a stove become larger-than-life? How can a stove illicit so many grins?

The old slow-combustion stove….it was the centre of our domain, the catalyst at the start & the end, of all the tentacles of family life on a working farm.

Lately, with my siblings, I have been drawing on our childhood kitchen memories, & it’s funny how the stove looms integral in the majority of these fond & often humorous recollections.

It wasn’t all about the mountains of food that was constantly produced, or the amount of fuel that was required to keep this precious beast performing….but that alone begs a tale.


A herd of kids would pile into a huge trailer & head off behind the tractor, up the paddock. There could even be a couple of utes driven by young uncles as we always made a day of this wood-collecting mission.

Great trees would have fallen many months prior to this harvesting, dried-out & ear-marked for domestic heating, fire fuel for the home. Maybe a bon-fire in the making with the discarded bits…always an exciting event!!


A couple of active chainsaws would contribute to piles of logs, in diminishing sizes. Kids would leap into action & load the empty containers, tiring noticeably as the day progressed. Splinters, squashed toes, scrapes & scratches all part of the job.

Back to the house, unload, chucking logs into big piles, strenuous exercise, good, healthy fun.  Next day, choose the perfect chopping block & slam that axe down. Who’s turn nest? Boxes of kindling, small sizes to build a strong fire, large logs to sustain it off-peak. Neat stacks beside the house, high rows lined up under shelter of the verandah….


The pressure-cooker hissing contentedly away on top of the stove, warm, inviting, rewarding. Mounds of potatoes ready to be whipped into glorious fluffy mash. There was always plenty of food in our house, maybe not much variety, definitely not glamorous, but reliably, lots of good, hearty tucker.


Quite often, during winter, there would be a joey, in the back corner of the kitchen. Hanging on the wall beside the stove, in a hessian bag stuffed with straw, & cut with a slit like a mothers pouch. A little baby, perhaps rescued from a road accident, nurtured amidst care & awe, given a shot at becoming an adult kangaroo.


It was not unusual, once the stove was rested for the evening, to see socks drying in the radiating warmth. Eleven kids remember, & hard working people need lots of clothes. Lines of them would hang above the stove. Or oven doors open, racks covered in newspapers, & rows of socks steaming happily away…ready for busy feet in the cold, crispy mornings.

Because we also had breeding cattle, on a stud property, we also occupied many, many weekends in showing cattle. Our dad was an artist in his field, forward-thinking, clever & committed. He gained a well-deserved reputation for his beautiful show cattle, & consequent sales of said beasts.

Along with his army of little “helpers” & the constant support of mum, the cattle required special monitoring in the few months lead-up to the show seasons.


The stove became, not only the supplier of sustenance for the family, but also, overnight, in rest mode, would meld special dietary grains in huge pots, into greatly appreciated bovine goodness.


 You can imagine how essential our stove was…& how many stories it could tell!
  1. Morning Ronie, Reading this this morning has a made me want to book a flight to Australia so I can come do some cooking with you and also reminded me of a programme on TV I watched about a guy who rescues baby roo’s. What a fabulous start to Monday morning. Happy week!

    • Hey Anita-Clare…my goodness you are quick :)) And any time you can you are more than welcome :)) thankyou!! love Roni xx

  2. Love it! So good to see you again! xxx

  3. Marvellous! Makes me feel all warm and toasty!

    • Me too Caro! Although then I thought it was just bloody hard work :)) thanks for stopping by & as always much appreciation for your interaction, cheers Roni xx

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