Sunday, August 29, 2010

Muffins Anyone?

Well, here is the rough draft of the finished solar oven.
I took the melted foam off and redid the back door this morning and it showed. The highest I was able to get the heat up to was 200 to 225 degrees. That was even with the mirror installed. WomanWhoRunsWithHorses gave me the idea to put oven insulation on the back, so this week I plan to find some and find a way to attach it to the backdoor. All that is left to finish it now is the painting and putting on the two side mirrors.

Being that this is my first solar oven and I made a promise I was going to be cooking muffins on it this weekend, I took advantage of the clear sky and 98 degree weather to cook my first solar food. Sure it was only three muffins and it took four hours to cook them, but I have to start somewhere. I can tell you this, those were the best muffins I have ever had.

So far the total out of pocket cost on this project is $6.00

Enough about the oven. I need to get you updated on a few ongoing things.

First, the horse shelter made from trampoline frames.
The last time I spoke about this was when I had to throw a temper tantrum because the bars were just not cooperating with me. I let the mess sit for a few days and on occasion would stand there and stare at the pile of twisted metal trying to figure out how to make it all come together. I am happy to say it has. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture to show you, but I plan to get it all welded up this week and then I will post some.

Second is the Multicultural salad bed.
It has been somewhere around 13 days since I planted all the different kinds of lettuce, carrots and what ever else went in it and there is still no signs of life. I will give it another week or so before I do a replant to make sure it all gets in on time.

Third is the Worms.
It has been a while since I posted about the worms. With the summer heat the worms have been mostly inactive. They still composted and reproduced but at a lot slower pace. Being they are trapped with no escape, I tried to keep the soil temperature down so they did not get over heated and die.
The ways I did this was keeping them out of the sun, keeping a vented lid over the bed, keeping the bed moist daily with cold water and I think it also helped they are in a porcelain bathtub sitting on the ground. I also cut back on the amount of food I fed at a time. I stored smaller portions in the freezer and fed the frozen food every three days, burring it in the soil.
They are still alive so maybe it was one or all of the things I did to keep them that way. The problem I have now is the ants. They are not eating the worms but they are in the soil. It is the only cool moist place around so I guess it makes a good ant bed. I have put over a pound of chili powder in there and the ants go away for a day or two but always return. I want to try Maltomeal but I don't know what it will do to the worms.
I also have ants in the cricket farm as well. The only difference is they are eating the crickets and the cricket eggs. I need to find a better system for cricket farming.

Have a good week.


  1. Those muffins are so CUTE! I want to make a solar oven now. It would cost me more than $6 because I can tell from the pictures, I don't have much of the necessary materials laying around. But I'll have to see what I can scrounge up.

    Where did you find your plans, or is it entirely your own design?

  2. I tried a worm farm and killed the poor little buggers because of the heat. I plan to try again, but I think I will freeze the food and then put it in the bin like you did because it should help to keep it cool. I was really disappointed that I killed all the worms in my first attempt. Ever see someone cry over dead worms? My husband has:) Are your bins made out of wood? I used an old plastic tote I had laying around. I covered it in holes and put it on my deck, but I think the plastic gets really hot. My deck only gets morning sun so I thought it would be ok, but it wasn't. I need to construct some shade and something to insulate them in the winter so they don't freeze before I attempt it again. If I had a garage I would put them there, but I don't even have a shed so I'm kind of stuck. I just can't bear the thought of having them in the house:)

    1. In the Summer, I actually add a few ice cubes at the hottest time during the day (2:00?) Since I pour food daily, it wasn't a big deal to do. It worked out for my babies. ;-)

  3. WWRWH,
    Those muffin pans where the only ones I could find at the time. I was almost embarrassed to use them. The design is a collection of about a year of doing research. The first design had a solar heat collector but from what I read it did not get hot enough. The main resource was Don't forget to take some pics when you build yours.

    Mine are in a porcelain bathtub back in a corner in the barn. The porcelain helps the soil temp by staying cool. Here are two things you can try. Put the tub under the porch where it is shaded and cool with no sun, or you can do what a lot of other people do and put them under the kitchen sink. If you do that then bury their food with a couple of inches of soil and it will never smell.
    Good luck.