My wife can and has tended the stove, though she hasn't needed to all that often. My Pioneer holds 110 lbs of rice coal, that amount of coal will last quite a while. It does require what I call "ramping the hopper" which is nothing more than pulling the coal from the sides of the hopper to the front middle (where the coal gets drawn into the stove) and the reverse of that in the ash pan. I use the same shovel I "ramp" with to make a hole in the ash pile that is in the ash pan. That gives extra time for the falling ash to fill the pan without overflowing. I burn Blaschak 40lb bags of rice, she can and has been able to put a 40lb bag into the hopper. I spend about 5 minutes a day tending the stove this way, and empty the ash pan from about once to twice a week on average. I empty the ash pan into a galvanized garbage can (about half the size of a full size can) that sits outside 24/7. When that can gets full I throw it into the pickup truck and take it to my local firehouse (less than .5 mile from home) and empty it into 55 gallon drums they have setup for ash disposal, takes about 15 minutes. So on average I spend less than an hour a week tending to heat my home. Way warmer than with oil, way cheaper than with oil.