Seal on woodstove
We have a woodstove in our small cabin which is 700 sq. ft. Each year the seal on the inside of the door of the wood burner comes off and causes my husband lots of consternation. It was not a cheap woodstove and we were wondering if this is normal or if we are doing something wrong. How do you re-apply the seal to your stove and are there any hints you can provide so that we do not have do this again next year?
This is kind of common. However, there are some things you can do to keep it on for much longer than a year. The most important thing to do is to take a wire brush and hot, soapy water and scrub the tar out of the groove the gasket fits into. Of course, you’ll have to wait until the fire has been out a while so the door will cool enough to handle. Rinse and dry the groove. Cut the sealing gasket to fit. Then with a good stove gasket cement (a liquid), apply a decent amount to the groove. Firmly press the seal into place. Keep the door open while the cement sets so you don’t end up cementing the door closed. (Been there/done that!) Let it cure for at least 24 hours. Then it’s ready for a fire. When it comes off during the coldest part of the winter, you do have to rush the process but when you do that the gasket does seem more prone to coming loose much faster. — Jackie
Do you plant your peppers together or separate? I start two also to be sure to get one. Linda ordered the old German, Sweet Aperitif, and Bill Bean tomato. All coming up double. Will separate and plant. Should have enough for our canning.
New Douglas, Illinois
I often plant two seeds together in case one doesn’t germinate or one plant doesn’t look strong. But I’ll confess I try to save the plant I “weed out” if it looks good; I hate to waste! But when I transplant them I only put one plant per container and only one plant in one spot in the garden. I’m tickled that your tomatoes are coming up well! We always love to hear that. — Jackie
I am interested in preserving store bought cheese. I want to start putting up some can goods and other things too.
To can cheese, fill a saucepan about half full of hot water or about ¾ way up the side of a half-pint jar. Turn on the heat to low. Put an old jar lid on the bottom of the pan then set a clean, sterilized jar on it with a few cubes of cheese in it. As the cheese melts, stir it with a chopstick or some such tool and keep adding cubes of cheese. When the jar is full to about ½ inch from the top, remove the jar from the pan and go on to the next until you are finished with all the cheese. Then carefully wipe all the rims of the jars clean and place a hot, previously simmered lid on the jar and turn the ring down firmly tight. Water bath the cheese for 60 minutes. Some people only process for 40 minutes, but as there is no “safe, tested recommendation” by the USDA and other experts, this is just the way I do it and have canned cheese for more than 7 years now. Cheeses that are good canned include mozzarella, Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, and cream cheese. Bear in mind that some cheeses tend to get sharper with long storage so you might not want to can up a lot of extra sharp cheddar if you don’t care for pungent cheese. If you want to start canning in earnest, you might pick up my book Growing and Canning Your own Food right here, through the magazine. You’ll find it a great help and inspiration. — Jackie