Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, 4 Patio, solar ovens

FREE Webinar on How to Cook with Solar

614035f6-000f-41e7-997a-29da799b0e1a.jpgIf you have a SUN OVEN you do not use often,

OR if you are considering getting one, we would like to invite you to join us Thursday evening for a simple, very basic online class for hungry newbies…SUN OVENCooking for Dummies.

For the past 19 years, I have had the privilege of teaching thousands of people on five continents how to cook, dehydrate and pasteurize water with the power of the sun. It is always rewarding to see the elation on people’s faces at their first taste of sun-cooked food.

In this class, you’ll learn:

  • How a SUN OVEN works.
  • What you can cook, what kind of pots & pans work best and why food cooked with the sun does not burn.
  • How much sunlight you need.
  • How to sun-bake a perfect loaf of bread.
  • Why a SUN OVEN is the most energy-efficient way to rehydrate your freeze-dried emergency preparedness foods.
  • How to use a SUN OVEN as a solar dryer or dehydrator.
  • The difference between boiling and pasteurizing drinking water.
  • How to cook your dinner in the sun while you are at work.
  • How to hard boil freshly laid eggs which are easy to peel.
  • Ways to use a SUN OVEN that have nothing to do with cooking.
  • The economic, health and environmental benefits of cooking with the sun.
  • What we are doing around the world and why we do it.
  • How to quickly pay for a SUN OVEN by reducing your utility bills.

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time, (8 p.m. EDT / 6 p.m. MDT / 5 p.m. PDT & AZ)
Duration: 60 minutes plus live Q&A
Cost: There is no cost for the class, but advance registration is required

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sun-oven-cooking-for-dummies-class-tickets-34980074344?mc_cid=26c682a1d1&mc_eid=ffe843aa0d

AND:  A Free eBook
Everyone who registers will receive a helpful eBook:
Emerging From An Emergency What you should do if…? 
Being prepared for disasters and emergencies can seem like a big job. Many people don’t know where to start, so they never start at all.
This free 120 page eBook is a compellation of publicly available documents to aid you in the planning process to enhance your likelihood of your survival from any kind of tragedy.

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Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, solar ovens

Free Stacking Cook Pots! And More…

Preparedness Package.pngThis season’s Sun Oven special is actually two – for you to choose:

A) a free set of stacking cook pots with the purchase of a SUN OVEN ($299).

B) The remainder of the “Preparedness Package” ($72 value) – ALL the items in photo – for $299 + 35.70 = 334.70.

Arizona residents, add 8% tax.

No other costs.  F R E E  SHIPPING.

Real Sun Ovens can be purchased most inexpensively from Sun Oven dealers, like myself, who are allowed to sell them as low as $299 – giving our customers $50 off the price they would otherwise pay on the Sun Oven site.  I’m happy to be one of those dealers.

If you seen a Sun Oven advertised for less than $299, it may be a copycat oven made overseas with toxic material, and/or you may find additional charges added at the end of the payment process.

You can find that I’m a registered dealer (New Mexico moving to Arizona by checking the official Sun Oven dealer page:  https://www.sunoven.com/sun-oven-dealers/.

Choose Your Special ~

A)  FREE Easy-Stack Pots with interchangeable Lids
*  Set of two interconnecting enamelware pots which can be safely and easily stacked.
*  Includes an interchangeable enamel lid and a glass lid for improved visibility and browning.
*  Each 3 quart pot holds 3 pounds of poultry or a 3 pound roast.

Or

B) The Preparedness Package 

  •  2 stacking cook pots with lids, described above
  • 3 stacking dehydrating and baking racks, with roll of parchment paper
  • 2 loaf pans
  • WAPI – Water Pasteurization Indicator (critical survival item)
  • Add $35.70 (for $72 value)

To Purchase with PayPal:

  1. Email  jean7eisenhower@gmail.com with your order (which special), and physical address and phone number for delivery.
  2. I will send you a PayPal invoice which will explain and guide you through safely paying with a check or credit card – EVEN if you don’t have a PayPal account.   I will pay all fees.
  3. Expect your Sun Oven special in one week.

To Purchase through the mail:

  1. Email  jean7eisenhower@gmail.com with your order (which special), and physical address and phone number for delivery.  Tell me you want to send a check in the mail.
  2. I will await your check and order your oven as soon as it clears my bank.
  3. Expect your Sun Oven in two weeks or more, depending on the mail.

Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Cook Pots with Sun Oven!

5b0f552c-f58e-4fc3-bea1-5f4391255fb7.jpgThrough October 31, 2016, a set of two Easy Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and a glass lids is being provided FREE with the purchase of an All American SUN OVEN (you MUST mention this with each order you place).

The remaining items in the Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package can be purchased for an additional $35.70 when purchased with a All American SUN OVEN.package2012

The Cook Pot set or Dehydrating and Preparedness Package can be shipped inside the All American SUN OVEN without increasing the cost of shipping.

To purchase, simply write me an email at jean7eisenhower@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice which you can pay with any credit or debit card – and no fee.

Since shipping is included in the price, the Sun Oven (with free cook pots) is $299, plus tax if you’re in Arizona.  The Sun Oven with the full Dehydrating and Preparedness Package is 334.70, plus tax if you’re in Arizona.  (New Mexico friends won’t pay tax anymore, now that I’m living and doing business in Arizona.)

When I place an order, customers usually see their oven delivered within a week!

Since I was traveling, I didn’t announce this immediately, so act fast – only til 2 pm on the 31st!

(Cooked steak and rice yesterday in my oven.  Wonderful!!)

Posted in Uncategorized

Last Weeks for the Summer Sun Oven Special

package2012This Special will be good until September 22 (about 2 pm – and if you’re pushing the deadline, please call me at 575-519-2320, so I don’t miss it!):

Pay only $33.35 for each Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package when ordered with a SUN OVEN :

* Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set (set of 3 racks w/1 roll parchment paper)

* Two Easy Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and glass lids (I consider these essential, and they cost $24 separately)

* Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI) (an essential survival item, usually $9 each)

* Two Loaf Pans

* Computer CD featuring 600 recipes, videos and much more

A Sun Oven is $299, the lowest price they allow, and the package parts, if purchased separately, cost about $75.  The stacking cook pots are the best for all-around cooking, roasting, baking, and stewing.  The WAPI is a potential life-saver.  I use my bread pans regularly too.  And I want to use my dehydrating and baking rack set more often.  The total cost of $33.35 is less than the cook pots and WAPI – almost essential items – so the other items are essentially free.  A very nice package.

The total plus AZ tax is $352.62.
Ordering from other states, without added tax, is $332.35.

To order, call me at 575-519-2320, or email jean7eisenhower@gmail.com.  You can either get me a check or cash, or I’ll send you a PayPal invoice, which you can pay with either PayPal or a credit or debit card.

(One day soon, I hope to have a new site with payment option imbedded.  Meantime, we get to be old-fashioned and actually talk on the phone if we want, or email.  Thanks for your patience!)

Posted in 1 Garden

Last Tour of my Garden

Well, my home is under contract, having passed through over every hurdle just fine:  home inspection, appraisal, and everything else, and we’re set to close in less than two weeks.

It is with mixed feelings that I post these last photos of a place I’ve loved and which has blessed me immensely – my yard:

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Right outside the kitchen door, in the corner between the house and the rainwater harvesting tank is a planter with a coral bell tucked into the corner (it likes shade) and some gorgeous orange striped tiger lilies, now past their bloom – not always photographed, as so much happens in the garden.  
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Along the north side, heading west from the back door, begins the garden terraces against the hill-cut granite:  marjoram, now in flower (I harvested it earlier) and salvia surrounding the base of the small cherry tree.  More marjoram has planted it self in the swale below.
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Below the salvia is a garden sage.  Beside the salvia are chives with tiny white flower buds on their stalks and the yellow four-o’clocks on the left.  In front of them is trailing thyme, and below in the swale are peppermint and spearmint.  Behind the chives is a small fig tree, which was recommended to me to be planted in a large pot and carried into the sunroom last winter; I didn’t, and it froze back but has sprouted again from the root, so I’ve recommended to the new owners that they transplant it into a pot this year – which Lloyd Kreutzer, the “fig man” of New Mexico who sold it to me says will be the best way to get the most fruit – three yearly crops on this variety!!
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Next to the four-o’clocks is the almond tree with more thyme and four-o’clocks in the basin.  Below are yellow chocolate flowers, which give off a lovely chocolate aroma morning and evening; during the day they close up.  On the far left is another garden sage.
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For full disclosure, this is a section of the terrace that has grown wonderful tomatoes but not much else – the hillside slopes more gradually here, so there’s not as much soil as in other parts of the garden.  On the highest terrace is another salvia, this one pink, along with natives which have chosen this rocky place to rehabilitate.  in the lower terrace (barely) and the swale below are desert primroses, which open up early and late each day with stalks of yellow blooms which produce new flowers every day.
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The far west end of the terraces has a fountain of Mother Mary, with a small waterfall descending to a pond below with an osha plant – a powerful healing herb.
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Turning south, beneath the cottonwood bench are columbines at the base of the apricot tree and a local version of the Virginia creeper.  (All the trees have been discussed frequently on this site, so I’m focusing on the small things on this post.)
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Little to see here, too busy to plant much this season.  The small green thing is a wonderful gift from a friend:  a lemon verbena, lovely for summer tea – now that it’s raining, it’ll grow big!
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Traveling back eastward along the southern fence, we have the trumpet vine with showy orange flowers – stunning when it’s loaded, and a great attractor of hummingbirds.  On the grown below are more chocolate flowers, and the rosemary dominates the corner.  I think of her as the Queen of the Garden, because she was one of the only living things on this property when I moved in, and she needed to be moved – which was done with a bulldozer!  And she thrived and grew twice the size!
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Behind and to the east of the rosemary are two dwarf peach trees espaliered against the wooden fence in another swale.
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Further east along the southern fence approaching the front gate from the side yard, are a red flame grape vine and tea roses overhead, with irises below, currently overwhelmed by morning glories.  Even though some people ruthlessly remove them, I remember how they blanketed an entire acre along Rock Creek where I used to live – and I love them, so I limit them, but don’t remove them.
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Turning to face north, we have another two grape vines on the far left, and a wild tangle of morning glories, evening primrose, lavender, hyssop (with the pale spikes), catnip (low with white flowers on right), and more four-o’clocks in front of another cherry tree.  Also scattered in there are some irises, a lone volunteer sunflower, and more.
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Moving east along the north side of the front yard are the same four-o’clocks, catnip and yarrow.  Roses are against the house, with some local, unknown (to me) flowering weeds I allow.  Further right is a succulent ground cover and another salvia.
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Further east, in the corner of the front yard is another salvia, four-o’clocks, columbines, catnip, and in the front right bed irises engulfed temporarily in morning glories, protecting them from the sun which sometimes bleaches their leaves.  Earlier posts show the irises are spectacular – a gorgeous orange sherbet color that brings many requests for trades!  In the back is the elderberry, and beside it a water tank that attracts the birds..
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Turning to look south again, we see the bed for the native mesquite tree.  At its base are irises, the succulent ground cover, and behind them a small black current near the base of a native drought-resistant bush (actually a whole row of natives I’ve forgotten the names of, except for a few:  lemonade berry, red-leaf photivia, shin dagger, and fairy duster).
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East of the last are more of those unknown natives, and at the end a red bud – a gorgeous tree which leafs out pink-red in the early spring.
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Further east, in the private yard in front of the studio are three beds, two ready for the new owners to plant, but with four-o’clocks and a single evening primrose leading the way.  In the largest garden are a few natives, including fairy duster and artemesia, along with two desert willows, one blooming pink, and the other blooming wine.
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Outside, in front of the cedar fence, in front of the studio yard on the far east, is a small yucca, transplanted from a more difficult site.

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In front of the fence are three more salvias along with native plants and irises from the other side peeking through.

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Walking back toward the front gate is another tiny bed with a purple flower-spiked plant I can’t remember, along with some contrasting pale orange irises.  To the right, is two more tiny yuccas beside the protective stones, future sentries beside the front gate – matching the other future yucca sentries near the front corners of the lot.
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Further west is a mixed bed of drought-resistant plants, mostly natives, including irises of both pale orange and deep purple.  The blue-green euphorbia in the back sprouts yellow leaves in the spring that look like flowers and cause neighbors and drivers-by to ask what they are.  And the iris color combination is an annual delight.
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The far south-west corner is what a Permaculture designer would call Zone 6 – the place we do nothing to – to allow Nature to teach us.  Year by year, different local “weeds” come up, providing us with tall white prickle poppies (one left on the right), coyote gourds (large pale blue-green leaves on trailing vines toward the back), globe mallow, prickly pear, pencil cholla, and much more.  At the back is yellow-green cane – a nice craft or building material, and another lemonade  berry.  There used to be purple thistle, a favorite of goldfinches, but the city mowed them so many years in a row that I haven’t seen them back in awhile – but hopefully again.  The city quit mowing as they used to (which always distressed me when they took down the goldfinches’ favorite thistle) and then issued me a ticket two years ago (!), requiring that I destroy this little patch of native plants when they turned brown.  I acceded, allowing the seeds to replant themselves, enjoying each spring what new arrived.  I’ve tried to plant this corner with a few less-weedy items, but because it’s outside the fence, I decided it was best to let it be wild.
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I used to have a lot more sunflowers – and know that their job is to fix nitrogen in the soil – so the fact that there are fewer now – maybe it means they’ve done their job.  Only two in the yard this year.  Notice the hummingbird above?  I do NOT use hummingbird feeders.  With the salvia and trumpet vine in particular, and other vegetation for thick cover, a few varieties of hummingbirds make frequent use of this yard and nest nearby.  This spring I’ve also seen pairs of thrashers (one pair is ready to fledge babies soon – and there’s a video I caught of a fledgling taking its first flight last year, somewhere on this site), and pairs of phainopepla and some wren species I couldn’t quite identify, and many more.
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A close up of the four-o’clocks, so beautiful I just keep taking photographs!  The catnip is flowing below.  I used to be so practical that the only gardening I did was of vegetables – but I have learned the real value of flowers – beyond words.  And when I realized how many very practical medicinal herbs also have delightful flowers (catnip, yarrow, hyssop, chives, and more, totaling at least a dozen in this yard), I knew I’d found my favorite sort of gardening – especially in the desert.
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And a close-up of the purple salvia, with two “albino” blooms!

Every month is so different!  When the irises reigned, I thought it was the “most beautiful” season, and yet every month for three seasons brings a new delight.

This photo tour I created for the new buyers, Patricia and Mark.  May these plants be the blessing for them that they have been for me for the past ten years.  I will miss them.  But I’m happy to imagine new owners and their daughter and granddaughter here, delighted by the Life, healing, beauty, and inspiration these plants and birds so faithfully bring.

Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, solar ovens

Summer Sun Oven Special

package2012Sorry, Everyone, for missing this Special and failing to let you all know, but better late than never.  Here we are:

Pay only $33.35 for each Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package when ordered with a SUN OVEN through September 22, 2016*

Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package Includes:

* Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set (set of 3 racks w/1 roll parchment paper)

* Two Easy Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and glass lids

* Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI)

* Two Loaf Pans

* Computer CD featuring 600 recipes, videos and much more

*This package price is only available with the purchase of an All American SUN OVEN.

Offer valid through September 22, 2016

A Sun Oven is $299, the lowest price they allow, and the package parts, if purchased separately, cost about $75.  The stacking cook pots are the best for all-around cooking, roasting, baking, and stewing.  The WAPI is a potential life-saver.  I use my bread pans regularly too.  And I want to use my dehydrating and baking rack set more often.  The total cost of $33.35 is less than the cook pots and WAPI – almost essential items – so the other items are essentially free.  A very nice package.

The total plus NM tax is $358.94.  Ordering from other states, without added tax, is $332.35.

To order, call me at 575-534-0123, or email jean7eisenhower@gmail.com.  You can either get me a check or cash, or I’ll send you a PayPal invoice, which you can pay with either PayPal or a credit or debit card.

(One day soon, I hope to have a new site with payment option imbedded.  Meantime, we get to be old-fashioned and actually talk on the phone if we want, or email.  Thanks for your patience!)

Posted in 3 Chickens

Fermenting your chicken feed

chickens

Fermentation is nothing new to most of us. We’ve either used it with our surpluses for natural food preservation, or we’ve taken advantage of the probiotics, those beneficial bacteria, that fermenting something creates.

“As health-promoting element of our diet, its importance is not up for debate; as a part of industrialized lifestyle, its absence has now been recognized as a serious flaw in the system. Luckily, for those just learning this, we can ferment at home right away.”

from:  http://permaculturenews.org/2016/06/20/cut-your-chickens-feed-bill-by-fermenting/

Click here to watch a 3-minute video.

Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home

Small-Town “Urban” Sustainable Home for Sale

Hi Friends around the world ~
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Know anyone looking to move to a wonderful, eclectic small town to live as ecologically-sustainable a life as possible in a small-town “urban” environment?  Please check out my home for sale:

https://homeandgarden
inspiration.net

/passive-solar-home-for-sale/

Its values – in a nutshell:

IMG_5736.jpgZoned residential and commercial, blocks from the historic business/tourism district, this 2-bedroom, 1-bath home with detached studio was redesigned for winter passive solar gain, with sculptured adobe thermal mass for temperature stabilization, and modern insulation – for comfort and energy savings in all seasons.

The private gardens, designed for low maintenance and watered with rain from the steel roof and catchments, contain native and drought-resistant fruit and nut trees, grape vines, numerous herbs, and a full spring and summer of flowers, all on one-tenth acre.  Nooks and crannies in the garden provide seating in sun or shade every season.  The home, gardens, and kitchen also all support large gatherings.

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I’ve lived in Silver City for ten years and love it for many, many things:

  • Wonderful weather.
  • Many “Top Ten” small town lists, i.e., for wilderness, outdoor recreation, retirees, arts, etc.
  • The only small town in the Southwest with a food coop; it also has a Farmers Market, Permaculture guild, herb store, community garden, community radio, and more.
  • Home prices were/still are modest.
cherries in native collander
Two cherry trees, an almond, and apricot, two peach trees, and red flame grapes – plus medicinal and culinary herbs.

More about this home can be found on this site, or by contacting me:  575-534-0123 or jean7eisenhower@gmail.com.

I’m looking for a buyer who’ll appreciate the sustainability and artfulness of this home and garden.

Thanks for passing this along!

 

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HUGE apricots!

$160,000 – price negotiable.

Posted in Uncategorized

Webinar tomorrow! Three great reasons….

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Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone will register for our (free!) online webinar tomorrow, on the 9th of June – even if you don’t think you can attend on the 9th, because if you register, you can watch the webinar free for a few weeks afterward.

It’ll also make you eligible for a special (a $164 savings) unlike any available throughout the year to non-registrants.

As of last week, we had 17 registrants, and I hope you all will not miss this.  Here’s the link to register:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-and-garden-inspiration-sun-cooking-essentials-class-tickets-25210697876

When I previewed it last week, I was surprised that, even though I’ve been cooking with the sun since 1988, I learned a lot, and definitely got inspired, even though I thought I was already inspired about solar cooking!

It’s been a long time since I did my own Sun Oven demonstration – so when Paul Munsen, the smilin’ guy walking beside Nelson Mandela (above), suggested I do a webinar with him – actually, he teaches, and I invite guests and play host – all online – I said yes and was delighted by how much I learned in the preview.

Paul says people are enjoying the webinars so much, they have become the source of 30% of their growing sales now …not that we expect everyone to buy, because even if you already own one, we want you to join the online class, watch Paul’s videos, ask questions, and get answers from someone who’s delivered Sun Ovens, “the Cadillac of solar ovens,” to 128 countries around the world where they are part of slowing down deforestation and lung problems for women who cook over fire in little huts. So, he’s a good guy. (Here in the US too, solar cooking saves money and deforestation.)

There’s NO COST, it’s fun, and you can sign up and not attend if you change your mind! But I think you’ll enjoy it. You can also invite friends from around the country. Thursday, June 9, 6:30 pm. More details below!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-and-garden-inspiration-sun-cooking-essentials-class-tickets-25210697876

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized

Register!

SO-logo8-15.pngHi Everyone!

I just pre-viewed our online webinar (free!) coming up on the 9th of June – and was surprised that, even though I’ve been cooking with the sun since 1988, I learned a lot, and definitely got inspired, even though I thought I was already inspired about solar cooking!

Even if you don’t think you can attend on the 9th, if you register, you can watch the webinar free for a few weeks afterward.

It’ll make you eligible for a special (a $164 savings) unlike any available throughout the year to non-registrants.

Only a few folks have signed up so far, so please give us some encouragement, and register now!  Thanks!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-and-garden-inspiration-sun-cooking-essentials-class-tickets-25210697876

See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized

Free solar cooking webinar

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 2.18.22 PMIt’s been a long time since I did a Sun Oven demonstration – but Paul Munsen, the smilin’ guy walking beside Nelson Mandela, talked me into doing a webinar with him – actually, he teaches, and I invite guests and play host – all online.

He says that people are enjoying them so much, that these webinars have become the source of 30% of their growing sales now ..not that you will feel any pressure to buy, and even if you already own one, you’re welcome to join the online class, watch Paul’s videos, ask questions, and get answers from someone who’s delivered Sun Ovens (“the Cadillac of solar ovens”) to 128 countries around the world where they are part of slowing down deforestation and lung problems for women who cook over fire in little huts. So, he’s a good guy. (Here in the US too, solar cooking saves money and deforestation.)

There’s NO COST, it’s fun, and you can sign up and not attend if you change your mind! But I think you’ll enjoy it. You can also invite friends from around the country. Thursday, June 9, 6:30 pm. More details below!

Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, 4 Patio, solar ovens

FREE Online Sun Oven Cooking Seminar!

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Summer Solstice 2004

 

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Paul Munsen with Nelson Mandela, demonstrating solar cooking in South Africa

If you’d enjoy learning more about cooking with the sun, please join me and Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International when he teaches an interactive online seminar next month.  (Paul has devoted his life to sharing Sun Oven Cooking to people all over the world.)

This FREE online webinar – Sun Oven Cooking Essentials Seminar – will take place on Thursday, June 9th, 6:30 pm Mountain Time (8:30 pm Eastern, 7:30 pm Central, 5:30 pm Pacific).

b9f19fc1-1251-4abb-a598-46523e75e700Paul will show you the fundamental cooking and baking techniques to help you save money now and be better prepared for emergencies.

Whether you know nothing about solar cooking, or you have a Sun Oven and want to learn more,  you will find this seminar beneficial.

PLUS!  There will be a special offer for attendees at the end of the webinar.

To register, click here, no cost:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-and-garden-inspiration-sun-cooking-essentials-class-tickets-25210697876

Paul has been presenting these online webinars for a few months now, and I’ve heard they are lots of fun – and I look forward to you joining us.  If you have friends anywhere in the country who might be interested, you’re very welcome to invite them too.

Please register and put the date and time on your calendar.  Then we’ll give you a couple of reminders as we approach the date.

See you then!

Jean

jean7eisenhower@gmail.com

Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, 4 Patio, solar ovens

Solar Inspiration! All the reasons I’m inspired by sun cooking

This was originally published almost ten years ago and has been re-published in Desert Exposure and other magazines over the years.  I decided it deserves a repeat on this site.

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Summer Solstice Solar Cooking Festival, Bisbee, Arizona, 2004

I’ve used a solar oven now for two decades, and there was one year of my life when a solar oven was the only real way I had to cook my food.  I could use my fireplace, but even in the winter, the fireplace wasn’t nearly as easy.  It needed constant tending, and it coated my shiny steel cookware solid black with soot.

I’m in a small city now, but when I moved to the country in 1994 and began using my solar oven every day, I realized I loved to go outside to turn the oven.  I worked at my computer all day and watched nature through my windows, and if it weren’t for that oven, the habits of a lifetime could have kept that window between nature and me.  But solar cooking saved me.  It “forced” me outside, and so I went.

First, I noticed the clouds.  Were they moving this way and might slow down my cooking?  Or would they pass me by?  And look at that raven flying with the hawks!

I noticed the heat, I noticed the wind – powerful where I was on the western bajada of the Chiricahua Mountains.  Time to set a chair beside the oven so a dust devil doesn’t try to tip it over.  The vultures are rising this morning.  And phoebes are making their nests again in the eaves.  The day – the sunshine – feels wonderful.  So different than standing before a stove!

The solar oven forced me to take regular small breaks in my workday – something I’d known for years I needed to do, had been counseled about, but just couldn’t do.  My German work ethic was too strong to allow such “decadent” behavior.  What hundreds of dollars of therapy couldn’t accomplish, my solar oven did:  it attracted me with its practicality, then drew me outside so the day could whisper its seductions:  Isn’t the sunshine lovely on the skin?  Wouldn’t it be nice to sit for a spell in the sun and close your eyes?  Just a moment….  And I did.  Then I returned to my work, peaceful, satisfied, knowing that life is good, Nature cares for us, and I’m even learning how to care for myself a little better.

Speaking of decadence, have you ever eaten a sweet potato cooked to a carmelized mush in the sun?  It needs nothing to enhance it.  I discovered this one day, when I didn’t want to go back inside quite yet to get the salt, butter, plate and fork.  It was a lovely winter afternoon, one of those warm ones so common in the southwest.  I sat in the sun in a chair and gingerly peeled one end of the orange tuber held in my potholder, while looking across the mesquites to the oaks where I could see a single hawk sitting sentry.  I took a bite of a very sweet potato, dazed and delighted.

Some people theorize that solar energy affects the cellular structure of food in a way that electric and gas heat simply cannot – and I believe they’re right.  Decades of solar meals confirm this for me:  the food simply tastes better.  One day, perhaps we’ll have scientific research to explain exactly why, but I’m satisfied that it’s true.

Solar ovens are also forgiving.  One day, I was so focused on some project that I entirely forgot the casserole dish filled with simple rice and water that I’d put in the oven – four hours earlier.  If I’d put it on the stove, I’d have burned it up long ago.  I ran outdoors and found: my oven was no longer directed at the sun, but it was still over two-hundred degrees (they go to 350 or even 400), the rice was cooked, and moist as if it were being perfectly cared for in a steam tray.

Solar ovens are designed to hold in all the heat they gain, and by necessity they also hold in moisture.  So, rice stays moist, meat stays juicy, and pizza crust doesn’t dry out but bakes to a chewy, soft perfection.

Solar cooking can save a lot of money.  In the summer time, most people not only pay for gas or electricity to cook with, but then they pay again to reduce the heat created in the kitchen – or attempt to, in which case the “payment” may also include suffering a hotter house than need be.

In the wintertime, the financial gains are admittedly fewer because our cooking inside also heats our homes, and going outside to turn the oven loses a little home heat, but if we use an exhaust fan to exhaust cooking odors outside, and run it too long, it might also exhaust that cooking heat with the odors and cost more than the fuel used to replace the heat from walking outside.

After I left my hermitage in 2006, I moved to Silver City and held my first New Mexico solar oven workshop the next February.  On my fliers I printed “Call for alternate date in case of bad weather,” but a half–dozen intrepid folks showed up on a near-freezing day, to sit huddled outside, watching my ovens face nothing but clouds – so thick we could only guess approximately where the sun might be behind them.  Nevertheless, I aimed them as best I could, and we talked about solar design and cooking while watching the thermometer rise ever so slowly.  The temperature never got high enough for cooking (170 degrees), only to about 105, but that was impressive, since we had no direct sun.

If I’d started a dish indoors, say, in a cast iron pot that would hold significant heat in its mass (as I often do on winter days), the oven could have held that heat and the food would have certainly cooked – but I hadn’t started any dish inside, not believing anyone would come out on a day like that!  Though I failed my participants by not starting something inside first, the solar ovens gave us an impressive show.

Solar ovens can also be used for canning – and it’s generally summertime when we want to can food and summertime when we don’t want to heat the kitchen, so I hope to do more of this.

They can also sterilize water – not purify it, as it has no means of removing toxins – but bacteria and other living organisms can be killed, so that water can be made much safer to drink.

For this reason, a lot of people consider a solar oven to be an essential survival item.  It has occasionally been a fleeting goal of mine to prepare for survival situations, but today I’m less concerned about personal self-sufficiency than I am about community sufficiency.  All the media talk about terrorist acts I generally ignore, except to acknowledge that we as a culture are terrifically dependent on a vulnerable infrastructure that delivers us all our most basic needs – food, clean water and energy for warmth.  In the event this infrastructure was broken in any manner, nearly every one of us would be hard-pressed to take care of these needs.  It’s commonly known that our supermarkets only contain 3 days of food at any given time to feed their buyers.  Considering our government’s failure to help New Orleans in its time of disaster, I can’t put much faith in their help should even a small part of the nation lose connection to the grid.

So what can we, in our communities, do to plan for our “hometown security?”  Every garden is a good first step.  Every greenhouse.  Every rain barrel.  Every sun room.  And every solar oven gives me hope that our little town will be that much more friendly, more cooperative, more community minded if anything should ever force us to face our vulnerability to simple cold and hunger.  Every solar oven provides not only a way to cook food, but an example that can be duplicated easily with salvage materials!

A few years ago, I took my solar oven to Mexico and cooked all our meals on it, easily, on the Seri beach for five days.  The Seri chief came to visit and walked a circle around the oven, looking for the heat source, then expressed astonishment that we could cook without wood.  The women in his tribe walked miles every day in search of enough wood to cook their meals.  In my broken Spanish, I promised to return and bring him one. Years have gone by, so I’m way overdue for my return with this gift.

When I traveled to Peru last April, I had the opportunity to describe solar ovens to a family who cooked us a beautiful meal on an adobe wood stove.  Their eyes lit up with my description, heavy with sign language, and they clearly wanted one.  As in many places on the planet, the forests of Peru have been clear-cut, not only by multinational corporations, but by people simply gathering cooking fuel.  They pollute the air, their homes and their lungs by working in tiny, un-vented adobe kitchens.  (We, too, pollute the air with our cooking, but we do it far away, with gas wells and electric plants on other parts of the grid, so we can pretend it’s not our problem.)  I promised the Peruvian family, too, to return with an oven as a gift.  If I can’t make it soon, I will send one with a friend.

As soon as I had my first solar oven, I wanted to build something to help heat my family’s water.  So, in 1988, I held my first solar water heater workshop, and we built one that eventually became a pre-heater for the standard water heater in our home.  This saved us heating dollars while giving us dependable hot water for a family with teenagers – at any time of day.

That success led me to design a solar home, and I built my hermitage in the country.  My little strawbale abode was designed with the same elements as an oven, only slightly different:  it had huge south-facing windows (no reflectors); plenty of thermal mass in the floor, in the stuccoed window seats, and in the brick fireplace hearth; and wonderful insulation in the R-60 straw walls.  It always amazed people to visit in the winter and learn that I had no external heat source.  My inspiration began with a simple solar oven.

They cook!  They save money!  The food never burns, and it often tastes better.  They inspire us to sit quietly for precious moments in the sun – speaking of which, I think I’ll go outside now, put something in oven, and catch a few rays on this lovely, sunny, wintertime day.

Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home, 4 Patio, solar ovens

Free Dehydrating and Baking Rack Set

Fresh_Tom_in_GSO.jpegHi Friends,

Gotta let you know about Sun Oven’s newest sale:

a free Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set with any purchase of a Sun Oven!

The set provides a simple, effective way to use a SUN OVEN to dry and dehydrate with the power of the sun.

Easily stackable wire racks allow up to 4 layers of drying or dehydrating. Can be used for baking 4 layers of cookies, tarts, breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, flat breads or fish. (Comes with a set of 3-stackable racks and one roll of unbleached, silicone coated parchment baking paper.)

Through June 20, 2016, the Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set is being provided FREE with the purchase of an All American SUN OVEN (you MUST mention this with each order you place).

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The remaining items in the “Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package” (stacking cook pots with lids, loaf pans, and water pasteurization indicator) can be purchased for an additional $34.20 when purchased with a All American SUN OVEN.

The rack set or full package can be shipped inside the SUN OVEN without increasing the cost of shipping.

Posted in Uncategorized

Plan to Purge, Create a Flow, and Hold the Moose Turd Ornaments, Please

You must have guessed by the title that I wrote Fireplace A.JPGthis for the holidays.  It was published weeks ago in the Silver City Independent, and I’m finally getting around to posting it because it has some good advice, regardless of the date.

“A home should serve the people, not the other way around.”

We might quibble a bit about this statement, but when I first read it in 1978, a chorus inside me jumped up to shout: Right on!!

I guess the service I’ve given over my lifetime to keeping a home as pristine as possible has left me with a few negative associations, so I’ve remembered this counsel fondly.  And I use it sometimes to remind myself that I am not on this planet to serve a building.  Instead, the primary task of a home maker is to design the home to serve the needs of the people who live there.

What are our needs, besides the obvious shelter, warmth, and food?  For some it’s family relations.  For others it’s quiet and privacy.  For some it’s social space.  Set your priorities, review them now and then, and notice where habit and convention might not serve you.

One of the biggest hurdles to American home function is orderliness, and one of the biggest problems with orderliness is our national propensity for buying so many unnecessary things.

th.jpgThe best example I’ve ever seen, maybe a decade or more ago, were moose turds with red bows attached, slid into tiny cardboard displays inside glossy, cellophane-fronted Christmas gift boxes.  Curmudgeon that I can be, I wondered how many kilowatts of electricity, gallons of fuel, and other environmental costs were incurred – but more important, how many hours did people suffer at jobs they hated and missed being home with their loved ones – so that other people in a silly giving frenzy could all have a boisterous laugh on the same holy day.  Then, weeks later, someone felt bad, or maybe not, for throwing the package – and the turd, maybe a thousand miles from home – finally into the trash.

As a nation in trouble, we need to check our impulses and buy less unnecessary stuff, so we can all have time (and money) for the simpler, more beautiful, and heart-felt things.

After slowing the flow of crap (literally, as in my example), to create a home that serves us, it’s critical to design a flow for everything that needs to flow out.

How often have you heard friends exclaim about how great they feel for getting rid of extra stuff?  I’ve been that person a few times this decade; at last three friends this year have gushed to me about the wonderfulness, even healing experience, of their recent home “purging.”  Experts say we should do it every year.

When?  Well, some time about now would be perfect.  Most of us are experiencing some form of our national giving ritual, and for months we’ve been hearing, and it’s still ringing in us somewhere:  open your hearts and wallets to the less fortunate.  Some of us have done that; some of us do it all year long.  Some of us mean to, but don’t do it as much as we might.

At the very least, we can respond with our excess stuff In America, we have plenty of it, though unequally distributed.  Many of us can open our closets and cabinets, and see a lot that is only clutter to us, but might make a difference in another person’s life.  The task:  put it in a box and don’t look at it again, except with a blessing that the items find the next home where they’ll be better used.  Do this from room to room.

Consider also all the things you don’t use because they need repair.  Gather them up, or put them on a list, and make a plan for every single item: repair or give away to someone else who can repair.  There are lots of places to give things.  Ask around.

But let’s not stop with a single purge!  Let’s plan to make it a lifestyle!  Let’s design a flow system to deal with the items we’ll recognize next week, next month.

How to keep the excess moving?  We might not be able to take everything where it needs to go immediately, so we need a designated place for outflow.

In my small home, I keep a chair near the front door that collects things to go out – and there’s something on it almost every day, ready to drop off at the thrift store.  A suitcase in the closet collects things I’ll pass on to family and friends on my next trip out of state.

Scrap building materials aren’t exactly clutter, but they might not flow into use for a while.  I didn’t want them in the way, or to get weather damaged, or to create skunk habitat, so it was a priority to build outdoor storage space.  Not fun on a day that might have been lazy, but oh so satisfying over the years.  My materials, continuing to expand, were protected and out of sight, and one day became parts of a chicken coop, a built-in bed frame in my studio, shelves in the sunroom, and framework for some of my natural plaster sculpture.  And every tiny left-over scrap went into the wood pile and eventually into my fireplace – a flow that serves me, no clutter, no waste, no contribution to landfill space!

A lot of things flow through our lives today, and it’s important that we be grateful for them (easier to do when we have less).  And when it’s time for those things to flow out, let’s do it properly, not gum up the works, not mar our aesthetics, and not waste our time and money.

This winter season, I wish you all good things:  a home with warmth, good food, friendly connections, time to relax, not too much junk – in other words, a space that serves you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Save 35% on the most popular Accessory Package

package2012.jpgBy popular demand, Sun Oven is once again offering the Dehydrating & Preparedness Accessory Package (this is the best selling package they have ever offered) at a 35% discount when purchased with the All American SUN OVEN.

The Dehydrating & Preparedness Accessory Package is on sale for $36 with the purchase of the All American SUN OVEN, ordered through February 29, 2016.

 The Dehydrating & Preparedness Accessory Package includes:

  • Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set (set of 3 racks w/1 roll parchment paper)
  • Two Easy Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and glass lids [my all-time favorite accessory, which usually costs $25 alone – je]
  • One Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI) [essential survival tool]
  • Two Loaf Pans
  • SUN OVEN eCookbook & Emergency Preparedness CD featuring 600 recipes, hundreds of pictures, video clips and much more which has been developed by Cook’n, the award winning and #1 best-selling recipe organizer

To purchase, click here.