Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Homesteading Month at the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center: Solar Power From the Arizona Sunshine

9/28/2012 10:42:00 AM

Tags: International Homesteading Education Month, water pasteurization, solar canning, solar cookers, hot water heaters

squash DehydrationKerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center staff member, Berta Nelson, sent us a review of the solar charged  Homesteading Education Month event held in Taylor, Ariz. 

Here at the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Ariz., we celebrated International Homesteading Month by showing off our many ways of working with the sun.

On the first day of autumn, Saturday, Sept. 22, we offered tours of our facility.  Participants learned of the benefits of an earth-bermed home featuring thermal mass to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter.  Our visitors saw DIY solar batch hot water heaters, marveled at our passive solar water distiller and enjoyed the fresh taste of our garden produce drying our downdraft solar crop dehydrator.

Monday, September 24, our emphasis was on solar cooking, especially canning fruit with the sun.  This year's bumper crop of apples gave us plenty to work with!  We showed how the apples are cooked using a variety of solar cookers and then put in canning jars (also sterilized with the sun). The all-natural taste of "just apples and the sun" (no water) was a winner.Looking at a solar oven 

This is the home of the late Barbara P. Kerr, widely acclaimed as the inventor of the modern-day solar oven.  Our guests learned how the lives of hundreds of thousands of women around the world have been improved with solar cooking.  They saw the WAPI (Water Pasteurization Indicator) — a simple, inexpensive way to determine when water has been pasteurized.  When used with the solar ovens, this device has helped save countless lives from the ravages of contaminated water.

It's safe to say that our guests left with a greater appreciation for the many ways the sun can help us with our homesteading tasks — all for free.  

Photos: Top: Dehydrating Patti Pan squash from the garden in the downdraft crop dehydrator, dried squash is in the jar, and drying squash pieces on the racks and a squash awaiting the drying process;  bottom: Lynn Frazier and Donna Kunz examine a WAPI that has just come out of a DIY solar oven. 

Photos from Berta Nelson 

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.