Archive for the ‘meat’ Category

Last weekend, I built a solar over and tried to make sun-dried tomatoes in them.

Needed:

  • Two cardboard boxes, one slightly smaller than the other.
  • Aluminium foil.
  • A piece of glass or clear plastic. I used clear plastic because I figured for first attempt best to learn on something that does not break easy.
  • Glue.
  • A knife.
  • Old issues of the New Times, specifically the ads for the strip joints in the back, because this is going to get hot!
  • Some other stuff that will be obvious.

Step 1: Figure out the angle you want, generally 30% in summer and 70% in winter.

solarovenattempt1 009

Step 2: Cut larger box at that angle desired.  Fold flaps back and cover with tin-foil, the flatter the better.  Be generous with the glue at the edges.

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Step 3: Cut smaller box at same angle. Smaller box is to fit into larger box eventually.

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Step 4: Line inner box with tin-foil.

Step 5:  Place smaller box in larger box, use old New Times to insulate the oven by placeing crumbled snewspaper sheets between the boxes.

Step 6: Place box at angle to get sun, best if box is portable.  Cover box with clear plastic.

solarovenattempt1 021

Step 6: Watching a pot boil in the sun takes forever.

Lessons Learned

First time around I hit about 150″, it was about 70″ degrees outside. I cooked tomatoes and tried to boil water. Water never even came close to boiling, but would have made a nice tea.

solarovenattempt1 027

In four hours the tomatoes were slightly dried out but not dried out for preservation.

Temperature wise it did not seem to matter if I use glass or a sheet of clear plastic.  Some videos I had watched said they had gotten the temp. to 250 degrees, so I have a lot of room for improvement.   The glass was not flush with the box, so that is where I would begin working on improvements.

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Despite the fact I have yet to even coming close to catching a gopher, much less killing, skinning, cooking and eating one, at some point I am going to have to think about cooking.

If I lived in the Appalachian’ foothills of my youth then wood would not be a problem.  But here in Phoenix it might be, the desert wants for lack of enough wood for multiple fires.  The wood is good for starting fires, but not good for keeping one burning for hours on end days in a row.

There would be wood to burn from abandoned buildings, but it might take a while for people to abandoned buildings wholesale, and even if they did, a constant pillage of smoke would advertise you to the roaming pillagers, gangs and exiles.

So next experiment will be building a solar oven, goal is to boil water, that would be two birds one stone.  And one stone for two birds is a good rule of thumb to follow after Armageddon.

I am not sure if one can actually boil water in a solar heater, I hear tales of Ray Reeve’s doing experiments with a TV screen, but I plan to try.   From what I read, I need 5 walls of tinfoil, a glass wall, a door to go in and  out, and some way to hold the pot.

In the meantime, anybody got some black sheets of metal I can have for the stove?

Gopher Trap!

Posted: January 17, 2011 in food, garden, gopher, meat
Tags: , ,

The gopher traps have been out for 48 hours.  I can’t tell if I have had any close encounters.  None of the traps have sprung on their own accord.
gopher trap

gopher trap

2nd gopher trap

At the risk of sounding all Bill Murray via Caddyshack, this weekend will be my first experiment with trying to snare the gophers in my backyard. Previous attempts at trying to get them to walk into a beer cooler laid on its side and nibble of some radish leaves attached by rubber ban to the prop stick failed miserably.

My two favorite Youtube videos on how to lay out the trap are John in the Forest and these two English kids.

If I am lucky enough to get one then I will have skin it and cook it. I plan to either make stew or cook them on the grill.

Maybe I should watch Caddyshack again for inspiration.

This weekend was mostly a research weekend.

First, I re-visited the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden and snapped off some more pictures of plants that I can use for food.

garden with dave Jan 2011 005

I also spent a couple of hours staring at the place I plan to have my garden, and trying to figure out how I would approach it and realized I had no idea of how to start.  So I decided to swing by The Grow House in beautiful Downtown Phoenix and study what they had going on.  The Grow House is an urban farm, which means they took a regular house and are wringing as much food out of it as possible.  I ended up meeting a gentleman (whose name I think was Brandian) who gave me a quick down and dirty tour.

The most important lesson was to make sure you make good berms to catch the water.  He said when he first moved out here from New Jersey, he had a hard time with all the “good soil and space” they were wasting on making berms, but he eventually “just had to let that go.”  A good berm is the key to growing in AZ. He was not as considered about the East-West vs North-South issue.

Next step on Garden is to research a site suggested by Melinda, PBS- Victory Garden.

I also did a bunch of reading about how to snare animals and read somewhere along the way that guitar strings make for good snares.  Apparently I know a lot of people who have old guitar strings.  I thought about making a donation box at the Trunk Space but Steph, the owner, is a vegetarian  so maybe I should not do that.  She got really mad at me when I told her my story about eating monkey meat.

I am going to do my first attempt at snaring the gophers in my yard next weekend.  My plan is to then skin and eat the gopher.

On a side note, internet searching led to Urban Dictionary and according got them a berm is “One who lacks the basic hygienic and social skills to lead a productive life.”

On another side note, my first attempt at gathering manure failed.  Anybody know where I can get my hands on some poop?

Let all the ignorant masses try to pillage Wal-mart, the place will be filled with idiots whose entire plan is to raid Wal-Mart.  Like grabbing cheap-shit made in China that will not stand the test of time is a plan.

Gun stores and grocery stores will also be a lot of competition.

What will people not think of first to raid but will have tons of good stuff?

How about Petsmart?   I am thinking Petsmart will be  a good place to raid and pillage, but this is coming from a man who has never been there, so it’s all guess-work at this point.  Maybe worth a scouting trip?

Why I think Petsmart would work.

  • First off I would imagine there is lots of bird seed.  Protein, easy to carry,  already dried.  It’s the post-apocalyptic version of gathering nuts and berries.
  • Dog food.  I bet that shit is canned to last forever.
  • Lots of good materials to build traps with.  And pre-limanary research shows building the trap looks to be the hard part when trying to trap an animal.
  • Cages in which to keep, feed and transport animals.
  • Animals = Food.
  • Medicine for animals. I bet there is a lot of anti-boditics that are good enough for a human in a pinch.  Plus who couldn’t use a horse tranquilizer or two when everyone has got a bad case of PTSD blues.