After receiving this wick material
and these wick tabs
I was anxious to start making candles!
Here at Independence Homestead we try to reuse as many materials as possible, so I had the idea that we could make candles in containers using repurposed glass food jars. We have quite the collection of baby food jars, salsa jars, pasta sauce jars, and more.
When melting wax for the candles, I read that it was important not to overheat the wax, so a double boiler was recommended. I realized since low heat was best, we should use our solar oven!
Solar oven setup on deck, ready to go!
Our candles will be so environmentally friendly! The only new items in them will be the wick and tab, plus solar energy will be used to make them. Plus the beeswax is harvested from our own backyard!
For a while now we have been wanting to build a solar oven. This summer we’ve made it happen!
The completed solar oven in use, cooking food and refining beeswax.
First we did some research on solar ovens. There are several different configurations one can build. We went with a box cooker design. This is not the type of solar oven that gets the hottest, but it is the most hands-off in use. Other designs require frequent adjustment of the solar oven so that it faces the sun head-on. The solar oven we built works pretty well without us having to adjust it during the day.
When we first moved into our house last summer we were shocked when we saw our first electric bill. Moving from a place where we had no air conditioning to a place with relatively high humidity and in the middle of a very hot summer meant using lots of electricity to keep the house cool. Like most people when hit with a larger than expected electric bill we spent a little time assessing what we had that used electricity. While the largest consumer was our 20 year old A/C unit (which we did replace), we also noted that all of our kitchen appliances were electric. We like to cook and bake but cooking and baking during the summer months means you are paying to heat your oven/stove but also paying again to cool the air in the house that is heated as a result of this cooking/baking!
Example Solar Oven - Source: http://bit.ly/Irkvv4
This summer I wish that we can avoid this dilemma of paying twice for our cooking/baking and build ourselves a solar oven or two. The solar oven is great because it requires no gas or electricity to cook your food. Instead the food is cooked by harnessing the energy provided for free by the sun. While I mention the summer months specifically, the solar oven is really not limited to just summer usage. If you have good sunlight available you can cook with the solar oven (of course cook times may vary depending on ambient temperature). Not only are these great to save some money on energy costs they are also great to have around because they will allow you to continue to cook/bake in case your gas/power goes out or becomes unavailable for extended periods of time such as during a blackout or natural disaster. Continue reading