In the summer we tend to use the woodstove as a work surface. It gets filled up pretty quickly - as do all the other surfaces in our house.
As we were expecting a lot of visitors this weekend I gave the house a dust and when I cleared all the pots and pans, gardening gloves, scissors and other stuff off the top of the cooker I realised that it had started to go rusty!
Woodstoves are made of cast iron and they need to be kept dry and over the years we've just got into the habit of not putting anything damp or wet on the cooking surface. It doesn't matter when the cooker's lit - the heat soon causes the moisture to evaporate but in the summer the stove is vulnerable unless it's covered and checked regularly or unless everyone is aware that moisture can be a problem for the metal.
When the warmer days come in spring and the stove is on its last few firings, I coat the surface with oil and rub it into the joints and round the handles to protect them.
To start getting the top back to it's former glory I rubbed gently with a bit of wire wool on the areas which were starting to bubble, then scrubbed beeswax into the top and joints. I need to light it soon to make sure the wax seeps into all the joints and the rust doesn't spread. I'll do that while this warmish spell keeps up because I'll have to keep the windows and doors open to get rid of the smoke and smell of the burning wax.
Once the stove's back to normal I'll start dying some yarn, bake a bit of bread, and do some sterilising because I'm just too mean to use gas for those sort of things. I can't wait to get on with it!