Saturday, June 4, 2011

And we're FINALLY building our house!

We moved to the shed almost five years ago with the intention of building a house once we were settled.  Besides the fact that we tend to take our own sweet time in making decisions, life also threw a few roadblocks in our path along the way.  Add to that the fact that the shed is just comfortable enough that we didn't feel panicky about getting something built and it was four years before we even had a set of plans finished.    "Procrastination" is our word for the day, boys and girls.  :)

Here's the goal:

And our current progress:

Those leftover lumber bits are going to make great raised beds!

In an effort to marry our dreams to our finances, we're doing standard 2x4 construction and making it as energy efficient as possible, with foam insulation and low E windows.  We're also putting in a wood burning stove for supplemental heat, since we have an almost endless supply of dropped branches from the woods around here.  We'll also be doing a lot of the interior finish work ourselves, to save some labor costs.  In theory, the builder will be finished sometime in October, but we'll still have some work to do after that.

Neither of us have ever been involved in new construction before, so this is very exciting stuff!  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Solar baked blackberry cobbler

After being disappointed with my previous solar cooker, which didn't get hot enough for baking, I pounced when I found a good deal on a Sun Oven.  The Sun Oven is capable of temperatures up to 400F, allowing my baking addiction to live on through the summer months.  In theory, at least.

I did a few practice runs with meals with good results, so yesterday was going to be the big test for baking: a blackberry cobbler for the hubby.  I set the oven out to heat up, prepared my cobbler, placed it in the oven and... clouds.  It had been a bright, sunny day up until that point, so I was just sure it would be a good day for baking.  Alas, the clouds were here to stay, so the cobbler steamed along at about 250F. 

Pale and un-puffed shortcake crust

Since we're in drought conditions right now, I guess I should have tried to make those clouds rain by washing my car or hanging out some clothes. I did water the garden thoroughly beginning at 6:00 AM.  That really should have done it!

Ah well, the steamed blackberry cobbler wasn't exactly what I was trying to create, but it wasn't too bad.  I mean really, how bad could blackberry cobbler really be?