Wood burning cuisiniere.....she's a beauty


(elaine brett) #1

My experience in self sufficiency went to a whole new level when this 1934 rosieres stove was installed. Off two small baskets of wood I cooked lasagne, chocolate brownies, boiled water for tea, made a pot of coffee and had enough piping hot water for the washing up!



Now it’s not an easy cook (more an experience) in that you have to build the fire up slowly and care for it (no light the firebox and leave the room) but once going - superb - easy to control temps with the use of slide vent, door and handle…very economical on wood and gives off enough heat to warm immediate area . I love it.


(Jane Williamson) #2

Hi Elaine, I think that awful orange is better than awful french brown everywhere, it is so depressing.
You will get there as you are so determined.
We had to update and renovate the sixties part of our home as there was no insulation or double glazing and we were usicng oil at a huge rate just to keep warm.
We have to retile a bathroom and loo and put down the oak flooring in the salon and the mezzanine and then we will have a house to our taste.
We knocked down a wall between a bedroom and the existing kitchen and now we have a kitchen dining room and a sink with a wonderful view.


(Ivan Blogovic) #3

Thanks for the detailed description .


The orange walls are something im familiar I get scared when I see properties with that 70's horrible aesthetics, if we can talk of aesthetics at all :)

But with some right mindset all can be brought to newer beauty, it just takes time. I guess you had a third-party inspector come in and check the state of the property? Or was it anyway 'wrecky' that you did not bother?

Your area sounds amazing. I'm still studying for the Creuse and Limoges trough some documentaries. Such a wonderful laid-back look and greenery and you can get properties for relative cheap cash!

Since we started this 'quest' i have been saying Auvergne or Limoges. In the early days they made bit of fun of me but now its actually my family that wants me to move in such areas, to an extent.


(elaine brett) #4

Hi Ivan, fortunately the house is liveable but electrics need updating and bathroom was awful but does have a modern ground floor shower room…Orange walls everywhere, kitchen from the 1970’s but generally okay. I had to have the two chimney stacks rebuilt as they were in danger of collapse but everything else I am getting to in time.

My priority was the land and cut back the overgrowth but again slowly so I could see what was growing. I used a pair of hand shears initially, my french neighbours called them scissors and I am sure thought I was mad…but forget me nots, scarlet pimpernel, golden rod…so many ‘fleurs sauvage’ are here and they would have been missed if I’d just mowed the grass…obviously I am organic …only feed I give my plants is tea made from nettle or comfrey but truthfully with a well fed soil I’m not sure they need it.

Yes infrastructure was very important to me and I am only 30 mins drive from the a20 and around 1 hour from limoges airport. The nearest train station is argenton sur Creuse, again 40 mins drive. You do need a reliable car here as no public transport. Cycling is relatively easy and it’s a underpopulated area. We are in the brenne national parc a nature reserve known for the bird life, lakes, I live near chateau Guillaume the birthplace of Eleanor of Aquitaine and les herollies medieval market and reputed to be the oldest and largest market in france is 3 kms away. Property here is pretty affordable. I do have electricity and running water but use a solar panel for my tack room and would like to investigate using more solar in time (I have lots of fairy lights around in the garden but want MORE) -) all will come in time.


(Ivan Blogovic) #5

Hi Elain, Sounds a wild adventure ! Sharing stories with leaps of faith always gives me shiver.

I concur that prioritizing land over house has its benefits, more long term.

Majority of us tend to see the house as the 'main' object. Just recently i talked to a guy who said: a house does not make me money. He is a tennis teacher and rather invested in a tennis field.

In terms of criteria I would go for access / availability of roads, then water and third housing.

Did you setup a temporary dwelling / cabin while working trough your restauration process?

I guess you are aiming to have all energy resources somewhat available there at no extra expense (when you say off-grid, you mean you are not plugged even in the electric?)

Wood harvesting for heating , building , water harvesting for garden and animals etc.etc

I'm more considering to include this priority in my selection. But its a work in progress. It much depends from price and availability. France luckily can provide this potential with so much land unused.


(elaine brett) #6

Wow I didn’t know that about manure…better not tell Rose she thinks she’s a princess as it is…I cannot imagine growing veggies without muck. It improves the soil so much…all those lovely worms…


(elaine brett) #7

Hi Ivan, the purchase of this place was definately an act of faith. I was actually looking in the haute vienne two days before I was returning to the uk having viewed over 20 properties with nothing hitting the heart when I got a call from an immobilier (horse mad like me) who said a property had just come on the market and she thought it was perfect for me. So I drove the hour north up the a20 thinking how mad I was as I knew nothing about where it was, what it was or how much it was…think was getting a bit desperate by then and knew it!

As soon as we got to the little road that goes up to our hamlet of 8 properties i started to get excited…by the time I had walked the land with the owner I was in…regardless of the state of the house as the land gave me everything I had been imagining for years…I never thought it would be within budget but it was right on the edge…the rest as they say is history.

And yes, to volunteers I have had some friends come over from ECOlonie and this year intend to accommodate a few more volunteers I am currently putting together projects for volunteers that have a clear learning and creative outcome (I have a background in teaching Art) but conscious that it would need to be a small group as facilites here are still developing.


(Ivan Blogovic) #8

A bit of a cob ;)

I know manure is very good to alleviate nuclear radiation might be in its milder or stronger form.

Building with and around manure can safe one's life.
There have been cases of people surviving contamination by using manure as it absorbs much of the waste and turns it in good.

I'm a manure fan :) Plus ridiculously as it may sound like the Horse Manure smell LOL

Right on they throw off heat too ! :) You can see the smoke in cold winter days :) Fascinating.


(elaine brett) #9

Ivan, I believe the manure was mixed with hay and used under neath beds as a kind of thermal heating…ask anyone who has a horse, when you are cold go stand in the muck heap…-)


(Ivan Blogovic) #10

Amazing and thanks for the help.

The places you went I know from name now, I have been to India in dharamsala for different purpose. We regulary purchased Aurospirulina i'm sure your familiar ? :)

I took a PDC in Thailand in 2012 and have been wwoofing / studying permaculture regulary since 2004 - 2011.

Q: Did you look in one of the ecologic immobiliers website, a magazine or was it by chance that you found a house like that ?

5 ha well that has enormous potential.

I guess your philosophy was more like setting in and getting things done slow but steady.

Do you take wwoofers by any chance? I know that many organic farms could not exist without them. Key is to have clear agreements and a sort of structure so you both can make the best out of it !


(Ivan Blogovic) #11

fantastic !

You mean Horse manure was used as a building material? Mixed into clay and to insulate?


(Jane Williamson) #12

We have one and a half hectares.


(elaine brett) #13

I bought the house with the reed bed, solar panels and woodburner in place off very green previous owners…the well water, veg garden, wildflower garden, and rosieres I have put in myself plus divided a very disgusting bathroom with no natural light into a delightful bathroom with a velux window (mine…yah!) plus an en suite shower room …in addition to Re-painting the kitchen, dining room, lounge, bedroom…

I contemplated buying land and building a strawbale but my circumstances didn’t allow for something on that scale. Besides, I like stone…and preferred to go for a moderate renovation knowing I would need to spend a fair bit of tme on the land


(elaine brett) #14

Glad to help Ivan I had been planning this move for years and asked lots of questions too, also volunteered at ECOlonie in hennezell and sadhana in auroville plus an ashram in andrha Pradesh and Lammas in Pembrokeshire uk. I took a permaculture 10 day design course 5 years ago also.

I actually have closer to 5 hectares comprising of 3h woodland and the rest divided into a wildflower meadow, grazing land for rose and a potential camping field bordered by a river. There are good outbuildings that could be developed at some future date.

My long term intention is to set up a retreat…as much off grid as possible with yoga, reiki, meditation, creative workshops.

But everything in time.

At the moment I have been cleaning the place up, culvitatong the land and making the house habitable. I would like to start with one room rented out for b&b to get going… As I would like to make the morning breads and confitures myself…

There is much to do here but I love it.


(Ivan Blogovic) #15

Thanks for the description Elaine !

Quite amazing what you have setup and that your managing so much land (3 Ha) .

Did you buy the land with that criteria in mind or was it something that eventually evolved?

Do you sell some of the products or do you just auto-consume?

(I read you are vegetarian and Its great to see that veg can be applied to permaculture)

Also: Did you buy land with house made up or did you build from scratch or renovate ?

Sorry if that sounds a lot of question Im in a similar thinking process and its great to hear what / how others have approached that dream.


(Jane Williamson) #16

Hi Elaine, you neednto see your Mairie and register your place.

We are not autopreneurs but declare all our income on our tax return. As we are retired we have our health care via the CPAM and would have to change to the RSI if we were autopreneurs.

Have a look at the gite and chambre d’Hotes section on here.

French hoteliers do not like competition and if you do Evenung meals as well as B & B you need to eat with your guests.
I am trying to get Jim to buy a small polytunnel as he wants to build a do e greenhouse, but it is taking so long and I am fed up with seed trays in the house.


(elaine brett) #17

Me too…for a poly tunnel to extend growing season…although I do believe back in the day horse manure was used in cold frames to built heat…horse manure…now that I have plenty of…


(elaine brett) #18

Pleased for you Jane. I am contemplating renting out one room via airb&b atm…any advice?


(Ivan Blogovic) #19

I've been studying the geothermal thing too. Quite interesting and simple concept using heat exchange thermodynamic laws to self-regulate one's home or greenhouse.

Theres a good vid on youtube about it.

Jane if you have any info you are able to share i keep my eyes close to it :)


(Jane Williamson) #20

Elaine, this will be our third year running the gites. It took a long time for the renovations of the little house. You can see from the pictures on our site.
We get Dutch and Belgian visitors quite a lot, so hopefully they will not be put off from coming. We already have a few weeks booked for this summer.