The heart of any home is the kitchen. The source of warmth and life and nourishment. The other day we found a cast iron slow combustion stove at a rock bottom price. It has always been my dream to bake bread, scones, cakes, casseroles, roasts, pies and pastries by the heat of a wood fire in my own home. When I was a child I would help mum or Aunty Thora to stoke the stove, bake the scones, even clean the chimney when necessary. Sitting in the warmth of the hearth with the fragrance of wood fire and baking bread is one of my fondest memories.
Today I replaced the table top of our kitchen table. About fifteen year ago I made the table to fit into the kitchen of my home in Utsunomiya, but when we moved back to Mashiko it wouldn't fit into the kitchen and I had to cut it down to size. It was heart breaking, but even as tears welled in my eyes I took the saw to it. At last I have returned it to it's original size. I had to dowell several planks together to get the breadth.
Using iron oxide to stain the wood I finished it with mahogany oil to have the same feeling as traditional japanese furniture.
Yesterday, when I was bottling the lager, Sean, our youngest came and "helped", holding the syphon hose with me. When he grows to be a man, will he too look back and reminisce about bottling beer with dad, helping to bring wood in for the fire, sitting at the table that daddy made, sharing these simple joys with his family? I hope so.