Full credit where it’s due: It was Claire who suggested in comments that I turn the oven on low overnight to keep the Lair habitable. This goes against my grain, because a) fear of fire* and b) cost of propane. But It’s Cold Outside, and the Lair’s insulation is not complete, which means that overnight with nobody feeding a fire it gets damned cold inside.
I tried it once before to rousing failure. The kitchen stove is a fifties- or sixties-era low-end Gaffers & Sattler, jetted for propane, and I’m very fortunate that it works as well as it does. They were made, back then, for almost exactly this application. The only modification I made was hoses and fittings to connect it to my small propane bottles. Nobody seems to know where it originally came from: I got it because I’m lucky with my friends. Ian’s friend in the city picked it up on some building demo job but nobody uses them anymore so it was worthless on the market. Ian just showed up with it one day and asked if I wanted it. I’d have kissed him right on the mouth if either of us swung that way. Which we don’t.
So anyway. I tried putting its oven on the very lowest setting one time a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t stay lit overnight. Hey, it’s old. Disappointing but not entirely daunting: I experimented to find the lowest setting at which it would stay lit, and last night before I damped the wood stove and went to bed I put the oven on that setting and opened the door. And it worked this time: Loft temperature was mid-fifties at six in the morning. Temp at the coldest part of the main floor was 48, which is quite livable by penniless hermit standards. Somewhere an unknown Scottish ancestor is howling in drunken rage at my profligacy, but screw him.
*Also fear of carbon monoxide, but I’ve got an alarm for that about a foot from my head in the sleeping loft.