Another way to be more self-sufficient and not burn so much fossil fuel is to use the sun and other sources to cook with. Because we have about 350 sunny days here it simply doesn’t make sense not to use that big old nuclear reactor in the sky as much as possible. The solar electric system is the big chunk of that. Solar hot water will be next. Thirdly, we have put together a fun and relatively inexpensive outdoor kitchen on our back deck.
Some of it will use propane, some of it charcoal, another piece will use wood and the center piece is a solar oven. The propane is primarily for heating the pressure canner for food storage. There will also be a propane grill. For the smokey tastes we have a Weber charcoal grill which can also be used to make pizza. The newest additions (thanks to American Express rewards points!) is an All-American Solar Sun Oven and what is called a Rocket Stove. The rocket stove burns very efficiently and really only uses small twigs and branches to cook with. It can boil a pot, heat a fry pan, and I’ve even seen it used to can with. The solar oven is a lot of fun. The mirrored panels direct sunlight into the cooking area. Today while I was doing the “pre-first use” seasoning for it, I had it up to over 300 degrees. No electricity, no gas, no moving parts, in November! Just aim it at the sun and it works just like an oven in the house. This thing will get used a LOT to heat things up.
So here ya go! Lots of ideas. Hopefully we will see more folks doing these kinds of thing as well. Change does NOT have to be drudgery. This is a total kick!