Summer Kitchen In A Suitcase?

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During last year’s Home Grown Food Summit, the president of SUN OVENS International, Paul Munsen, very kindly donated not one, but two SUN OVENS for us to give away as prizes.

But it was a bit crazy: Nikki, who manages all of our incoming e-mail, was bombarded with inquiries about this particular prize.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

(And about the Survival Still . . . but I’ll come back to that in another post.)

Anyway, people were asking Nikki so many questions about how the SUN OVEN works, that I contacted Paul and asked him to ship me one so I could create my own video review of it!

You can watch me unbox a SUN OVEN and cook with it for the first time here:

Once I tried it, I could immediately appreciate why SUN OVENS have been on the market for more than 30 years now.

This is a quality product.

And in the middle of a Texas summer, I gotta tell you, I really appreciate being able to cook outdoors with it.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!
Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

If you’re interested in learning more about the SUN OVEN and how it can benefit your family, Paul will be hosting a really great workshop for our TGN Community next week:

Review of the Sun Oven

Spring Into Summer: Harness the Sun to Save Money & Live Naturally

Thursday, June 21, 2018

6:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. MDT / 8:00 p.m. CST / 9:00 p.m. EST

A 60-minute online class with live Q&A

FREE TO ATTEND . . . but you must register here:

https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Hope you can make it!

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

P.S. Don’t forget . . . . Paul has spoken at the last two Home Grown Food Summits, so if you’d like to geek out and prepare some questions IN ADVANCE for him, you can always rewatch the presentations if you purchased lifetime access to these events (Lifetime access is no longer available, but if you already own them, you can rewatch them!):

  1. “Harnessing Solar Energy on the Homestead” was his presentation at the 2017 Home Grown Food Summit.
  2. And “Cooking With the Power of the Sun” was his presentation at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

P.P.S. You won’t want to miss this webinar. Paul has promised to cover topics that will include how to:

  • Use a SUN OVEN in ways that go beyond just cooking, like pasteurizing water, dehydrating, and sterilizing potting soil.
  • Bake, boil, steam, and roast complete meals (that’ll never burn!).
  • Naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables, or make jerky.
  • Reduce your utility bills (and keep your kitchen cooler!) while enjoying baked roasts and breads all summer long.
  • Naturally kill bug infestations in grains or dried foods.

And so much more.

Again, you can register for this FREE class here: https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Plus, you’ll see on the registration page that Paul is giving everyone who registers a FREE COPY of his e-Book “Emerging from the Emergency,” a 120-page disaster preparedness guide that helps you plan to survive any tragedy or disaster.

So make sure you download a copy of that, too!

(This review of the SUN OVEN was originally published on July 17, 2017—but the 2018 workshop really is happening next week! 🙂

 

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Outdoor Kitchens For Sustainability

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Summer Kitchen Revival

Before the days of electricity in the house or the air conditioner cooling off the living spaces from the heat of summer and cooking, there were outdoor kitchens.

It was an effort to keep the house as cool as possible. They are also known as Summer Kitchens.

The summer kitchen’s purpose was for putting up food for the year, canning, preserving, pickling, and processing. It all took place on a wood-fired stove, which created enough heat to chase everyone out of the house.

Outdoor Kitchens Still in Use Today

When I lived on a small island in the Caribbean, our tiny beach cottage had a kitchen on the porch. Why? So cooking a meal wouldn’t heat up the entire 400 sq. ft. house. Unlike summer kitchens of North America, this little work space was our main kitchen year-round rather than seasonally.

In the past, the food was often prepped in the kitchen, but it wasn’t stored there. Herbs would dry in the attic, flour and vegetables were kept in a cool cellar. You would walk all over the house to gather the ingredients for a meal.

When electricity started making its way into homes, the summer kitchen was abandoned.

However, these outdoor kitchens are starting to make a comeback because people want to get closer to their food supply. There is no better way to get closer to nature and the food we eat than having a summer or outdoor kitchen.

What do you need for an outdoor kitchen?

When planning your outdoor/summer kitchen, think about function, efficiency, and comfort. What do you need and what can come later?

An efficient summer kitchen space could be as simple as you want it to be or as elaborate. Oh and that pizza oven you want, is it necessary or is it a luxury?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your Summer Kitchen:

  1. Do you want it to be seasonal or permanent?
  2. Does it need to be enclosed, partially enclosed, or open to the elements?
  3. Does it need shade?
  4. Do you need seating? A table?
  5. What will you need to store? Food? Spices? Cutting boards? Silverware? Plates & Bowls? Cookware?
  6. Is there a nearby herb or veggie garden?
  7. Do you need running water?
  8. What about a greywater catchment system?
  9. Is a compost pile nearby?
  10. What will you cook on?
  11. Do you need an oven? A Sun Oven? A dehydrator?
  12. Is the ground level where you want to put the kitchen?
  13. Do you need refrigeration?
  14. What will you do when it rains? When it’s windy? When it’s blistering hot?
  15. Who will be using the kitchen?
  16. Who will be in the kitchen, particularly at the same time?
  17. How do you spend your time in the kitchen? Cooking or baking? Entertaining? Dishes? 

Think triangular work space

The triangle is a great shape when designing an efficient kitchen workflow. No matter the location of the kitchen.

How do you work in the kitchen when you prepare a meal?

You take the food out of the fridge. Then it is taken either to the sink or the stove area, cleanup goes from the stove and prep areas to the sink, and leftovers get put in the fridge.

Have a plan before you create your outdoor kitchen. Take a good look at what will fit in the space that you’ve allowed for your summer kitchen. Two ways into and out of the space will help with flow.

Start with the Sink. That’s where you’re going to spend a lot of your time, cleaning, prepping, and doing dishes. You’ll also want a beautiful view while you’re doing your work, right?

In the Cooking Area, you’ll want to be able to socialize with family and friends.

You’ll probably want between 18 in. to 36 in. for a comfortable prep area. There’s nothing worse than not having enough prep area. Am I right?

Think about walkways and flow into and through your summer kitchen, too.

Set the kitchen up into 5 zones:

  • Food storage (fridge, cabinets, or pantry)
  • Dishes
  • Clean up (sink area)
  • Prep area
  • Cooking

Store items as close to their zone as possible. For example, knives, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and wooden spoons should be in the prep area. Cooking and baking pans should be in the cooking area.

Store your dishes close to the sink. Having a cabinet above the sink where your dishes dry and store all in one place is amazing.

outdoor-kitchen

Food preservation in your summer kitchen

When my grandmother canned her summer vegetables, outdoor kitchens were the norm, not a luxury. She’d set up her outdoor kitchen under a giant poplar with the chickens running all around the yard. If grandma did it, so can you!

Preserving your harvest is wonderful in the cold, winter months. It may take time and effort right now, but it is well worth it.

Life slows down a little bit, so you can enjoy family and friends.

There are three ways of preserving food that can be done in your summer kitchen: storage, canning, and drying.

The important thing is to start where you are. Check out this video for more tip.

Storage

A handful of vegetables can be stored, but only for a limited amount of time. Here is a great article about storing fruits and vegetables from the University of Missouri Extension Office.

You can store:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • beets
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • carrots
  • leeks
  • radishes
  • horseradish
  • rutabagas
  • garlic
  • onions

Make sure veggies are firm. Remove any dirt, but do not wash the veg. Place the veggies in a box or bin. Air should circulate around the veggies. Slatted wooden boxes and wire baskets work great for this.

Canning

If you’re going to be canning, make sure you have all of your supplies handy.

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Pressure canner
  • Funnels
  • Ladles
  • Pectin
  • Spices
  • Salts
  • Jar Lifter

Here’s a recipe for “Canned corn that’s sweet every time.”

Know which fruits and vegetables need to be pressure canned versus water-bath canned. The book, Stocking Up is invaluable for this purpose.

Drying

It’s super-easy to dry fruits and vegetables. You can even do it in a Sun Oven! Dried foods can be stored indefinitely, as long as they are kept dry.

You can dry:

  • root vegetables
  • beans of all kinds
  • cereal and grains
  • celery
  • herbs
  • peas
  • peppers
  • berries
  • fruits with high sugar and low moisture

Here is a great article with dehydrator recipes.

If you’ve ever thought of having a summer or outdoor kitchen, perhaps now is the time. Share your thoughts on how you would set it up. We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below!

 

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Purchasing Your First Homestead

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Buying your first homestead is an exciting time in your life. The excitement can sometimes mean not being thorough and acting upon impulse just to have a place of your own.

It is important to take your time and make sure that you get the place you desire, that you will live at for years to come. When deciding to purchase your first homestead, here is a checklist of things to consider.

Things to Consider when Moving Into Your First Homestead:

1. What Your Needs REALLY Are

My husband and I are currently on the quest to purchase our first homestead. We have been on this quest for over a year. The thing is, we know what we really need.

We need acreage. Enough so that he can have a large shop, plus the girls and I want a “she shed” that will double as a cabin when our relatives come to stay. Not to mention next to our “she shed” will be a place for our animals and our garden.

We also desire an outdoor kitchen and a little bit more land to just have.

That being said, we have some things that are negotiable. Husband wants a lot of trees so out homestead will not be as visible; however, much of rural Texas still has dirt roads. This means we could be very remote on an acreage with no large trees yet still be remote enough no one will know we are there.

Knowing that we desire all of this means that the beautiful, large, not-yet-finished house on one acre is not going to work. It doesn’t matter how pretty the house is, it is not feasible for our needs.

Another consideration that my husband and I have discussed, is the inability to go to the grocery store all the time. Where we live right now puts us nearby four Walmarts- all within ten miles of the house. How are we going to handle not being able to run to the store when we move away?

I will say, that is something I am actually looking forward to.

Likewise, it is important that you sit down and take inventory of absolute musts and things that are a bit more negotiable. If the house is not the one, don’t worry- the one will come.

2. Finances

When talking about finances, you need to look at your home purchase in two different manners: incoming and outgoing.

Incoming is questioning what it will do to the finances you have coming in. Do you currently work in the city? If you are a farmer and attend the local farmer’s markets, how far away is the nearest one?

Essentially, how far away is the home from your work or how do you bring money into the home? Think about the expense on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Outgoing is how much you plan to spend on the homestead we just talked about in step one.

Part of why we have not found the home we desire is because our money is not in alignment. We have saved enough to purchase a house outright; however, that house is probably not going to be the house we desire for our homestead. Another year and we will be better off.

If you plan to take out a loan, I recommend finding out from your mortgage broker how much you can get approved for and make sure that it is in your budget as well.

For many loans, there is a possibility that they will approve you for more than you need. If that is the case, I recommend sitting down and looking at your finances as well as looking at your list of needs and negotiables.

You might also consider a home that needs some fixing. For example, the yellow house I mentioned above went into foreclosure while the original owners were building it. The house costs $64,000 and needs about $40,000 to finish it out (there is no kitchen, no appliances in the bathrooms, etc). Once done, the house that cost $100,000 would easily be worth $300,000.

But that means having another chunk of cash available to throw towards the house.

And if you’re interested in how much a tiny house costs, you have come to the right place!

I guess what I am trying to say here is don’t get yourself into so much debt that you end up over your head. Be thoughtful about your finances on such an important decision!

3. Your Neighbors

Your neighbors don’t have to be your best friends but you need to get to know them for a start. Living rurally, this becomes important and I can give you a great example.

A friend of mine lives on a 1,500-acre ranch. Obviously, this means his neighbors are several miles down the road. Yet they work together sometimes, on one rancher’s “day off” they will help their neighbor and vice versa.

Today the friend was at the back of the acreage working on bailing hay. His neighbor called and said that someone in a red vehicle drove into their driveway and stole their dog. My friend told their neighbor to stay on the car. Neighbor followed, while my friend got in his car and drove over 100 mph, finally catching up to their neighbor.

Thankfully, the dog was rescued and the thief went to jail. But my friend wouldn’t have known had he not been at least cordial to his neighbors!

Going back on the story a bit though- if you are moving from one city to another, please note that sometimes it takes a while to be trusted.

Many small areas have families who have lived in that area several generations and a newcomer is a bit scary to them. Just take a deep breath and put your best foot forward. They are sure to love you!

4. Zoning Restrictions or HOAs

The very first placed that we looked at was five wooded acres in a lake front community. We would have the five acres plus a piece of land right off the lake that was below flood range so we could not put a home on the site. It was amazing.

Although the real estate agent told us that having a beehive would not be a problem because we’d be so far into the acerage no one would notice, there were other concerns. For example, my husband would not be able to shoot his guns.

Why were there restrictions such as this? Because the new development was a part of a homeowners association, or HOA.

It’s important to find these things out before purchasing a home because there are things that you will want to do on your property or to your property.

Even without an HOA, it’s possible for there to be zoning restrictions that would prohibit you from being able to add more outbuildings or something of this sort.

Do your research and ask around before committing to your first homestead.

5. Roads and Phone Service

While for many, not having internet or cable is okay with them.

But what about phone service? Despite the fact that we live in the state with the most growth (four of the top ten fastest growing cities in the US belong to Texas), many rural roads between Dallas and Waco have no phone service.

We both make sure to look at our phones while we are house hunting.

Roads might seem like they should be a non-issue but consider if you only have one way in and out and a bad storm blows trees over. You are now stuck at home for what could be several days.

Many of us are prepared for this but it is still a very nerve racking issue, especially if there is no service at your home.

 ! Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE.

 

Source : morningchores.com

 

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Outdoor Living – Creating A Space To Live, Eat and Entertain Outdoors!

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If there is one thing we enjoy more than anything else, it is outdoor living. In fact, we live for it! Whether working in the garden, planting flowers, mowing, grilling out, throwing a frisbee, or sitting on the back porch late at

The post Outdoor Living – Creating A Space To Live, Eat and Entertain Outdoors! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Outdoor living made a little easier

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The Solo Stove Bonfire makes the perfect centre piece during your outdoors adventures

The Solo Stove Bonfire makes the perfect centrepiece for your outdoors adventures

 

ampfires are unpredictable and some camping stoves arw bulky and let’s face it, impractical. Whether you want to heat some porridge to start your day and or keep warm whilst you star gaze, a reliable fire would be an asset.

A new Kickstarter company might have the answer.’Engineered for adventure’: Solo Stove is offering a new kind of off-grid fire pit and stove range, which pushes the limits of combustion airflow efficiency.

The stove only uses the highest-grade 304 stainless steel in the design and it’s engineered to maximize the airflow of the burning process. So basically, it’s pretty powerful for such a compact, easy to carry around essential. Starting from $69.99, the stove comes in a three types. The lite stove good for an intimate setting of 1-2 people and the titan model, one for a bigger get-together of 2-4 and finally the campfire version for 4+.

A look inside the Lite Solo Stove

A look inside the Lite Solo Stove

There’s no heavy battery needed either. Simply pop a few small twigs and logs in the bottom and the stove will burn through them to give you authentic flames, painting a smooth ambiance that will help make the most magical memories with nature and your loved ones. The possibilities are illustrated beautifully in their short video. The clean up is easy too, just wait for the stove to cool down, shake the remaining ash out of it and back into the bag it goes. When you’re ready to move, it slips into a drawstring bag which you can connect to your rucksack or carry yourself.

The company is also creating a bonfire, using the same technology to build a bigger experience which can be used in your own backyard. Hayley Perry, a spokesperson from the company explained: “As a wood burning fire pit, the Bonfire runs completely on biomass and is the most eco-friendly fire pit on the market.” They’re offering a 10% commission on every $1 that you contribute, so if you’re interested, click here to donate. Pre-orders will be available on their website in October with the official release happening in early December.

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Creating An Inexpensive Outdoor Kitchen With Concrete Countertops

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If there are two things that we both enjoy more than any other – it’s spending time outdoors and cooking. For us, the opportunity to combine the two together with an inexpensive outdoor kitchen area at the farm is a dream come

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Its a Matter of Spring Cleaning: Patio Furniture Pads

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I truly hope that Spring has FINALLY arrived!  We saw inklings of Spring trying to come through this past week.  I decided to invite the family over for the 1st Cookout of the Season.
I pulled out all our furniture including the Pads for the seats and swing.  All I can say was “yuck”.  The pads had been put away without really looking at the dust, dirt, and yes I will say it…..little “bird droppings’ on them.  It was time to clean them up.

How to clean your Patio Seat Pads:

As I inspected the pads, I saw all of the above mentioned nastiness, but as you can see from the above photo, there was also spotting from the rain.  
Have you ever taken a look inside the crease between the top and bottom portions?  It’s is not a lovely site!  In the past, I would have attempted to scrub these using a brush and bucket.  I decided to try a new approach this time.

Yes, I really did put them inside of my HE Washing machine.  They actually fit! I learned to turn the patterned side to the outside versus the inside as each pad washed.  I only put in one chair/seat pad in the washer at a time to ensure that I did not over stuff my machine.
After washing, sometimes a corner of the pad could have become ‘bunched’.  I snapped the pads hard in the same manner that you would snap a sheet or towel. Sometimes I had to help the work the pad to the corner by taking the corner with my fingers, push it up into the ‘bunch’ and find the corner. Then pull it out so that the pad and the fabric fit as they did before the washing.  

Look how well the pad looks after a trip in the Washing Machine!  No more nastiness!

As soon as the Wash Cycle was over, I placed the cushions on the chairs to dry.  
Now please know that I found I had to use Lime-a-way to clean the hand rests and also a bucket of soapy water and cloth to clean the top of the table.  

Needless to say, the Cushions smelled clean and fresh. Too often, these cushions smell musty and dusty.  (My table and the armrests looked clean and new).

We grilled burgers and made new memories.  I am looking forward to more opportunities to use our outdoor kitchen and dining room!

Welcome Spring!