American Agriculturist Logo

Age is just a number, sometimes

Farmhouse Window: It’s never too late to learn a new skill, such as fixing an oven element.

Carol Ann Gregg

May 4, 2023

3 Min Read
old electric oven in kitchen with tea kettle sitting on stove top
FIXING THE OVEN: It was not easy getting the burned-up element on the old electric stove replaced, but when has something has to get done, it gets done. Carol Ann Gregg

We recently joined about 75 people to celebrate the 98th birthday of our wonderful friend Harold.

There were plenty of laughs, and a lot of stories were told. Harold’s children put together this wonderful party for their dad.

A special treat for everyone was when two fellow barbers pulled Harold forward to join them in singing one of their traditional barbershop melodies. Harold continues to participate in the local singing group, and his daughter told me that each Palm Sunday, her dad still sings “The Holy City.” He has been doing this for more than 40 years, and his daughter now accompanies him on the piano.

On Christmas Eve, he sings “O Holy Night.” His daughter says that he sings from the heart, and his sharp mind still remembers all the words.

What a blessing Harold has been to his family, his church and his community.

Speaking of Easter, some food got spilled on the bottom element of my electric stove. A little fire flared. My quick-thinking daughter-in-law asked for some baking soda and quickly put the small flame out.

The potatoes were cooked, and some of the side dishes were warmed for the table. All seemed fine. Then, the next day, I discovered that the stove element was broken where it had been scorched. The cookies I tried to make with only the upper element were a complete flop.

I took time to search online for a replacement element. We bought the stove in 1982, so I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find one. And I really didn’t want to buy a new stove.

I quickly located a company that had the element. It arrived in less than two days. My husband and I began to install the element, but because of the age of our stove, the door would not come off, and the element was certainly not just a snap-in affair.

Since I am shorter and the arthritis in my shoulders isn’t as bad as my husband’s, I got the honor of removing the old element and installing the new one. I have vision problems and could not see the slots in the screws. As I felt for the slot and inserted the screwdriver, I got the old one out.

When I got a good look at the screws, I found that they were the kind that could take a regular or Phillips-head screwdriver. Using the Phillips-head screwdriver, it was much easier to get the screwdriver and the screws to align, and before long, the new element was in place.

My husband went to the basement to flip the breaker on. The light came on in the oven.

The big test, though, was the new element. Would it heat up? It did. Success!

This is one skill that I never expected to be adding to my skill set, especially after age 80.

While I am not looking to use this experience to start repairing appliances, I did learn that it is never too late to learn something new.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

About the Author(s)

Carol Ann Gregg

Carol Ann Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like