How to Cook and Heat With Wood – One Solution

How do you plan to heat your home (or BOL), cook food, bake or boil water if there is no longer a ready supply of natural gas, propane, fuel for Coleman type stoves, electricity or other power? It’s post SHTF and there’s nothing left anywhere to replenish these goods. What will you do in the long term? Cooking and boiling water can be accomplished using an outside fire or even an inside fireplace.

Pretty easy to do if there’s not 2’ of snow on the ground and a blizzard wind pushing the temps ever colder! For those of us that live where winter means snow and freezing temps this aspect of survival is a significant issue. I suppose if you live in a balmy climate your resolution to this question might be mitigated by the warmer temps.

However, after the storms of this winter that reached far into the south, I suspect that more than a few of you, living where you thought was “mild winter” territory, might be having second thoughts! Up here, in the great Northwest our winter routinely starts in October and runs through the end of March. It’s a long 6 plus months of short days and cold nights ……….. plenty of time to kick around ideas. This topic has been frequently discussed around our table as one of the prime problems we needed to resolve. I thought that you all might be interested our solution.

We live about as far north as you can go and still be in the continental U.S. It is about 60 miles to the Canadian border by road and 35 miles or so as the crow flies. Winter is the dominant season here! If it’s winter we’re coping with it and if it’s warm outside we’re thinking about the next winter. Even so, we manage to stay quite comfortable though the temps often go below zero and stay there for extended periods ……… That is, as long as the grid is up and the propane tanks are full. Our log home is a rather large 2.5 story that is extremely well insulated. We heat, cook, and heat water with propane. Our two 500 gallon propane tanks get refilled as long as the roads are passable.

Electrical service is fairly reliable but, without juice from the grid (or firing up our generator), we would have no furnace or hot water. Although we can still use our propane range top to cook, our oven is inoperative without electricity. We do have a gas fireplace that will work without any electricity (no blower) but it is very hungry and uses a lot of propane. Located on the main floor it will not provide much heat for the lower level.

We have a 12.5 KW gas generator and 175 gallons of gasoline in storage plus a lot of 20# and 1# propane cylinders. We’ve bought several Mr. Buddy propane space heaters and have multiple Coleman stoves plus a camp style small oven; but these are supplies intended for short term use. We’ve done about all we can as far as storing away extra fuels. The long term answer is not man-made fuels. Even the largest supply of non-biofuels will eventually run out no matter how well you manage to ration their use.


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