Archive | April 2016

Solar cooker project!

Solar Oven

Solar oven full of eggs for the chickens to eat.

For a while now I have wanted to get into solar cooking. Why? Two reasons, I like to experiment while cooking and I am lazy! By lazy I mean I really like recipes that say place in slow cooker for 4-6 hours. Solar ovens had these same directions. Things get cooked low and slow, like good BBQ.

I bought a solar oven like this one on eBay – . It came with two pots and a thermometer. I have tried it a couple of times empty on sunny days, but due to cool spring weather it has not gotten above 200 degrees, which is pretty good considering.

First experiment: hard boiled eggs. We found a post about cooking eggs in the shell, heaven forbid, even in the carton. Occasionally we get behind on eating eggs or the girls get ahead, not sure which and we boil up the extras and feed them back to the birds. So these two things came together at the same time and you have the above picture. The post said to cook them in the carton for 2.5 hours. I preheated the oven for 15 minutes, per the instructions. The temp showed 250 degrees, so I placed three dozen eggs straight from the fridge into the oven.

Results: at 2 hours and 15 minutes I did a check. The oven never got above 205 degrees with the cartons blocking some of the black background. The egg I checked was mostly done meaning the white and yellow of the eggs was no longer runny, but still not 100% cooked. I closed the oven back up for a half hour (15 minutes to heat back up and 15 to finish cooking) and the eggs were then done except for a couple in the one container. The instructions say it is impossible to burn the food due to the low and indirect heat, so I think next time I will give them three hours to make sure they are all done. That is unless I see it heating up past 250 degrees.

For now I am happy with the performance and the chickens are happy with the results of this solar cooking project.

solar oven hard boiled egg

Solar cooked egg after 2 hours 15 minutes at 200 degrees

DIY Wood Shed and cleaning up the woods!

Seems we have started a tradition where we do a building project in between snow storms for the winter months to keep us active and off the couch. Last year it was the chicken coop build and this year it was a wood shed. A part of that tradition also seems to going a little over the top. We didn’t really need such a big chicken coop and we probably don’t need two oversized wood sheds. 🙂

We have a fireplace and while we would love to say we are using wood to heat the house, we are just not there yet. So really we don’t need THAT much firewood. The wood sheds became a building project for this year because we took down several large trees to clear a new garden area, as well as several piles of firewood spread across the property from storm damage or downed trees. My Lovely Wife (LW) decided we needed to “clean up the woods”. While I tried to protest and explain the woodland animals didn’t care if we left the woods a little messy, but she was having none of it. Yes Dear!

The plans we started with were once again from – wood shed plans. Of course we had to expand on the plan sizes and build two. The base is 4X8 and they are about 6ft at the front. The building is complete with a little work to do on the roof, since we ran out of shingles. We used pressure treated lumber for the base and post, the remainder being un-treated. We spaced the floor boards and side rails to allow for good airflow and save a little on lumber cost. I know there is some alternate opinions out there, but if you consider a cord of wood to be 4X4X8, then each of these should hold about a cord of wood.

Here are a couple of pictures for your viewing enjoyment.
Right Side Complete Wood Shed

Both Wood Sheds

Left Side Complete Wood Shed

Both Wood Sheds Full of Wood

Left Side Wood Shed Full of Wood