The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

We are now the proud owners of a Kelly Kettle

Kelly Kettle in action

Kelly Kettle in action

Suddenly at the Milton Keynes get together, Jean and Roy (aka Gottaknit and Seth) stepped forward and offered me a large mysterious object – wrapped in a dustbin liner with a very tight knot.
“Here is a late birthday present Fiona. You’ll need this on the allotment!”
The package was bulky. As I struggled to open the parcel I wondered what was inside. I could feel cardboard and something hard. Could it be metal? Some sort of feeder?

Imagine my delight when I finally peeped inside the box and found a Kelly Kettle lying on a nest of twigs and tinder dry split wood!

I’ve been longing for a Kelly Kettle for ages. Hot water from just a handful of twigs! Perfect in a power cut and of course up on the allotment. As you know I was thrown out of the Brownies before I could ever become a Girl Guide but open air cooking is appealing. Danny has always excited by the prospect of cooking over camp fires. As a child he played with them in Ireland but this Kelly Kettle was the first chance that he’d had to experiment with woodman skills as an adult.

This one was used by Roy when he worked out in the woods. He used it to make soup and hot drinks.
“It holds enough water for four mugs so you can invite friends to tea!”

Strange though it may seem, such an old fashioned pursuit as asking other plot holders over for a cup of tea is a large part of allotment life. Super hostesses like The Chicken Lady proffer a slice of homemade cake as well. We have been saved from dehydration from the kindness of smiling friends and strangers. Now it would be our turn with a green environmentally friendly twist.

Immediately we returned home I set the Kelly Kettle up in the fireplace. We were astonished how quickly it boiled – just four minutes. Apart from these impressive results it is fun and easy to use. A Kelly Kettle is a key part of a superb survival kit.

I have to admit now that I love poking through camping shops. The cleverness of the gear – travelling light with the essentials that will provide most comfort far from home.  I also need to share the fact that I have only been camping once – The Isle of White Music Festival 1970. The year when Leonard Cohen first played on the island. As far as I remember we didn’t even make a drink or cook.

The Kelly Kettle accompanied me to the allotment the next day. I sat outside our shack drinking a cup of tea within minutes. No one else was around so it was a private yet triumphal moment. That evening I ventured onto the internet and discovered that you can cook using a Kelly Kettle too. There is a nifty little device that sits in the top flue to hold a small pan. The base can be used to cook on as well. Once the fire is going well, slightly bigger pieces of wood can be carefully placed so that they drop down into the fire pit as they burn.

Danny began to plan quick one pot meals for the winter when we are building our pallet shed.
“I’m going to make a generous flue in the shed so that we can move the Kelly Kettle inside.”

You can actually buy cooking sets that can be carried inside the kettle. But we are going to experiment with our own racks and cooking pots for the time being.

 The Kelly Kettle comes in three sizes. The Trekker, the Scout and The Base Camp. Ours is the latter.

Thank you so much Roy and Jean (aka Gottaknit). This is a fabulous present that will get constant use up on the allotment. As my fingers fly across the keyboard Danny is sorting dry fuel for tomorrows cooking enterprise. Watch this space!


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14 Comments

  1. Patricia Pucher

    Come March 2014 the KK people will be adding an extension ring (hobo stove) to the fire ring that will make cooking much easier.

  2. paul mercer

    excellent piece of kit i have an eldon kettle in black its the same as the kelly kettle mine holds about two pints and use it when going fishing or gathering wild foods..

  3. I have an Eydon kettle, which is the same but made not far from me. Love it. We’ve had a couple of power cuts recently and the children were fighting over who was going to make cups of tea because it involved boiling the storm kettle!
    My parents bought me the pan set, so you can fry bacon etc, but I haven’t used that yet.

  4. dutch margreet

    There came such a weird thought to me when I read about the Kelly kettle. Do you know Jean Auels books and Ayla? What if Ayla would have had one modern time item and it would have been this kettle? Whole scenes in the books would have been quite different, no need for cooking with hot stones to boil water or food or preparing hides for cooking pots or burning the bottom out of them, just take a Kelly kettle along over the glacier and light weight woodsticks. Yes, I know, weird, but it is fun to think of. Ah, maybe they would have been killed to obtain the kettle, because there would have been just the one, not like the pyrite to sparcely hand out as a special gift.

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