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Urban Survival, Going Off The Grid, Cooking And Refrigeration

Updated on March 21, 2014
You can easily cook with the power of the sun. Parabolic Solar cookers work even better.
You can easily cook with the power of the sun. Parabolic Solar cookers work even better.
Heating a tea kettle with a solar cooker
Heating a tea kettle with a solar cooker
Solar Oven
Solar Oven
Different version of a solar cooker
Different version of a solar cooker
Solar Cooker
Solar Cooker

Solar Cookers

You can use the power of the sun to cook your food with. On a sunny day you can cook as easily outdoors with a solar cooker as you can in your home on your electric stove. If you ever get to the point where you don't have electricity this would be some valuable information to have. Some people have even gone as far as turning old satellite dishes into solar grills where they can cook steaks, hamburger, or chicken with the power of the sun just like the meat was on a charcoal grill.

You can use a solar box cooker to bake in and I have made delicious biscuits in them that in fact turned out better than those cooked in the oven. So there really isn't anything that you can't cook with a solar cooker. I have even tried a large prime rib roast and it cooked to perfection. Solar cookers don't heat your home up in the summer time and insects stay away. Everyone should have a solar grill. They are very efficient and the energy to cook with is free. The only drawback is you have to have full exposure to the sun but you can easily cook burgers or chicken in a hurry.

You can buy solar cookers and solar ovens already made but you can also take your time and carefully look over one of the ones on this Hub Page and build your own. In the first video below it tells you exactly how to build a parabolic solar cooker using an old satellite dish, tin foil, a piece of wood and a hook. This is the easiest way to build a solar grill. You just hang a metal grill from the hook and secure it and your ready to cook. You will need to hang your metal grill with three chains and attach each chain to the hook at the end of the piece of wood and your ready to put the burgers on.

Parabolic Cooker Tips

When your gluing the tinfoil to your old satellite dish consider using the new baking tinfoil that has the parchment paper on one side and the tin foil on the other side. Of course you want to glue the parchment paper side to your old satellite dish.

Put Lid On Pots Where Possible

If you have a pot hanging on the hook on the solar cooker be sure you have a lid on the pot and the pot will get hot quicker. It will also cook better with the lid on. No heat will be lost this way.

Do You Have Any Tips On Solar Cookers

If you have any tips or suggestions on solar cookers or building solar cookers please post them below in the comments section.

How to Make a Parabolic Solar Cooker

Here you have a 4 in 1 Paper Log Maker
Here you have a 4 in 1 Paper Log Maker

Making Firelogs From Sawdust, Newspaper, And Cardboard.

You can quite easily make paper logs from sawdust, newspaper, and cardboard. But here I'm going to tell you how I make them out of old newspaper and cardboard. You can get all the old newspapers and cardboard you could ever want and you will also need a good quality paper shredder. Low priced shredders really won't hold up.

Cut your cardboard up in strips three to four inches wide and as long as the box is. Then carefully run the cardboard through the paper shredder. You also want to shred the newspaper. I put the shredded cardboard into one bin and the shredded newspaper in another bin. Then I mix the two together in another bin at a ratio of 70 percent newspaper and 30 percent cardboard. I use the 4 in 1 paper log maker like in the photo above and it presses the logs out four at a time.

I make the logs and set them out to dry for a week to harden up and then I stack them on shelf's and let them set for at least three months before I use them. They light up well then and one of these pressed paper logs will get any fire going or you can just burn these paper logs if you wish.

We have made thousands of these and I and my friends burn them all the time. If you'll keep your pressed paper logs at 70 percent newspaper and 30 percent cardboard you'll find they will burn the best and put off great heat. You can easily turn out a hundred or more of these in a very short time and if you have all your friends to save their newspapers for you and you get all the cardboard out of dumpsters you can produce these paper fire logs for free. Your time is your only investment. You can even have your children to make these fire logs and they will have fun doing it.

We recently tried making some out of just cardboard. They work fine as long as you have a fire going before you put the logs made out of cardboard on the fire. This coming winter I am going to try to burn a lot of the cardboard logs and see how well that works out and how well they heat. So far the only difference is that you need a fire going before you put the cardboard log on it. Once they start burning they really go. I may try dipping them in wax and see how that works.

If you have any suggestions or tips about making paper or cardboard fire logs feel free to post them below.

Click Here For A Place To Buy A Four In One Paper Fire Log Maker

Solar Cooking

Cooking And Heating Water With Out Electricity

If tomorrow the electricity went off and never came back on what would you do. Being prepared is a lot more important than you know. The way things are going in the world today I would not be at all surprised if a natural or man made disaster struck at any time. So you really do need to be prepared and ready. The average person only knows how to turn the switch on for lights or turn the stove on. You believe that you will always be able to walk over to the refrigerator and open the door to get what you want. But if the electricity went off tomorrow and never came back on you would have a real problem.

If you have ready access to a supply of wood then you should check into buying a wood stove with a hot water heater built into the wood heater. This way you could heat your home in an emergency and have hot water. Or you can use wood to heat your home and heat your homes hot water. . If you have wood on your land or easy access to it then you should be using it. Be sure you watch the three videos below and I'm sure you'll get some great ideals for your home.

If you have to buy your wood it is going to be an extra expense. But still cheaper than paying to heat your home with electricity. If I had to buy wood I would try to find someone to sell me trees that I could come cut down and cut up myself because this would be cheaper than buying it already cut up.

You should buy cast iron pots and pans to use for cooking on your wood stove or wood heater. You can still buy a commercially made pipe oven complete with racks and thermometer to do your baking in. If you want to do it you can turn your electric stove off and never use it again.

Be sure that you watch the three videos below and take careful notes so you can try to get your house ready to be heated with wood. I really like the outdoor wood burning furnace and I plan to build one for my home real soon.

If Your Going To Be Heating With Wood

1. You will have to cut wood from your own land or your going to have to buy it from someone else. If your going to be doing it your self you'll need a pick up or tractor with trailer, a couple of good quality chain saws, a gas powered wood splitter, axes and mauls, and tools to work on your chain saws and other equipment with.

2. Once you have your outdoor wood furnace or wood heaters in place you'll know what size wood you need to produce. For example my small wood heater in the kitchen requires 9 inch long wood and I usually split it so it will burn better. The wood stove we have in the basement now burns logs that are 15 inches long and I split those also.

3. I usually try to keep a six week supply of wood in my outdoor woodshed all the time. Often at the end of fall or first of winter I'll have a six month supply that will last all winter here in North Carolina. I have racks in my wood shed where I can stack my various sizes of wood so I know to what part of the shed to get wood to go in which heater.

4. Dried out wood will burn quicker than green wood. I usually try to burn a mix in my heaters and I am always drying out some pine logs up on racks so I can cut it up small and split it after a couple of years to use to get a fire going quicker.

5. We often go out and collect unwanted pallets and then we take them apart and cut them up for kindling. We use this kindling and some split dried out pine to build our fires with. When it gets to burning good we throw some green oak logs in and we have a good fire for a long time.

6. I have a basement and I built a chute that goes from the back yard and down into the basement. I can pull a pick up truckload of wood into my back yard and throw it down the chute into the huge wood box at the end of the chute.I stack two huge racks full of wood in the basement and I fill the big wood box full of wood. If I have both racks full and the wood box full I can burn wood for a month with out having to go get any more wood.

7. I had a metal working shop to build me a big hood that was installed over the wood stove in my basement. They put a high power electric fan blowing out in the top of the hood and above the fan it is connected into my homes duct work. The fan is high powered and it pushes the hot air from the wood stove all over my house. You won't believe how hot it will get the house. If I kept the fire going at full blast the house could be kept at 100 degrees or more. Of course I don't keep it that warm.

Some Tips For Working Around Firewood And With Firewood

1. Always buy and keep a good supply of heavy duty gloves around. Have some good gloves handy around each wood heater or wood stove. Your hands will be protected and it will make it a lot easier to work with your wood.

2. Stack any wood you stack outside up off the ground. Never on the ground. Have your wood up off the ground by at least 4-6 inches.

3. When you carry wood from outside into your house wear long sleeves and gloves. Spiders can and do make their homes in outdoor wood piles. If you see a lot of spiders in and around your wood pile wash your wood pile down with soapy water and the spiders will move along or be killed.

4. You will ideally want to cut some pine and dry it for about two years to be used to get your fires going good. Once the wood has completely dried out split it up very small to use it when you need to start a fire. I buy a box of the little fire starting logs and I cut each little fire starter log up into four pieces and I can use one of those and a few pieces of split pine to get my fire started and burning real quick.

Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

Building an outdoor wood burning furnace

Wood Stove Pipe Oven. It Goes In The Pipe Above The Stove And Allows You To Bake Everything From Biscuits To A Huge Ham.
Wood Stove Pipe Oven. It Goes In The Pipe Above The Stove And Allows You To Bake Everything From Biscuits To A Huge Ham.
Here part of a small creek has been diverted through a spring house. The spring house is built of cement blocks and plastered on the inside. The things setting in the water need to stay colder.
Here part of a small creek has been diverted through a spring house. The spring house is built of cement blocks and plastered on the inside. The things setting in the water need to stay colder.

Refrigeration With Out Electricity

Yes you can keep food cold with out refrigeration. Especially if you have land where you have a spring or a creek flowing across the land. In this situation you need to divert a small portion of the creek and have it flow through a spring house like in the photo above.If it is a very small creek you can build the spring house right beside the spring house and then divert the whole creek through the spring house. We even have a deep hole in our spring house where we put fish we want to use later. The fish stay alive and we go dip them out when we are ready to eat them. Have the water in your spring house at least 6 inches deep and then the water flows on down the creek. If you want a deep hole for fish or etc. build it in.

You should build your spring house out of cement block and it should have no windows. What ever light there is should come in when you open the door. You should plaster the walls on the inside. The spring house should have a rock or cement floor. You can have a light bulb in the spring house if you want to. I do.

A spring house will keep things like milk, eggs, orange juice etc just like a regular refrigerator. Put your milk in the water. If you have a deep hole you can sink a plastic bag in the hole with your meats and they should be fine for three days.

If you have a spring house items like cabbage, onions, and etc. will keep very well in your spring house. Once you have your country hams finished you can hang them in the spring house and they will keep almost forever.

I want to find a old refrigerator like in the cold box video below and put one in my spring house. That would be the ideal situation. Plus there is a way to keep things cold with out a spring house and there is a video about it below.

We have two milk cows and five dairy goats and we make butter and cheese out of both. I have one electric churn and we are buying another. We keep our milk, cheese, and butter in the spring house and we have never had any spoil.

If you ever have any questions about a spring house I will be glad to answer them for you. Just post them below.

Refrigeration without power - the cool box

Are Dooms Day Preppers Nuts?

I really don't think so. I fear that the world may suddenly change and with out warning and you are always best to be prepared. If you ever have the chance to take your children and go live on a old farm in the country do it. At first the kids may think you've lost your mind but in time the wonders of living on a working farm will just simply amaze them. And probably you to.

We have chickens, ducks, geese, ostrich, emus, turkeys, hogs, milk cows, milk goats, many hard working cats keeping rats and mice at bay and several dogs. Oh I forgot the rabbits and the camel family. We also have several horses, five donkeys, 7 lamas, and a nice herd of sheep. Believe it or not but we have people show up all the time wanting to go on a tour.

I am also a researcher working with my own venomous reptile program and we produce various varieties of rattlesnake venom, cobra venom, copperhead venom and have about 300 poisonous snakes here in locked buildings that we milk when we have orders for the venom. We have several large rat colony's and two huge mouse colony's.

We recently added two large green houses and several cold frames. Right now we are busy setting out 12 acres of tomatoes and eight acres of squash for a cash crop. I am working with another man on the possibility of growing mushrooms in an old cave here on the property. Life for me I assure you is never dull and if tomorrow a major disaster either man made or natural did strike I think we would be fine. Our farm provides everything but coffee and sugar as far as food goes. I plan on growing sugar cane soon. We made delicious blackberry syrup last year and will be making more this year. It is the best pancake syrup you have ever tasted.

I want to thank you for reading my Hub Page on cooking, heating, and refrigeration with out electricity. If you have any questions, comments, tips, or suggestions please feel free to post them now. I hope you have a nice day.

Please Post Your Comments On Cooking And Refrigeration With Out Electricity.

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    • homeschoolkids profile image


      3 years ago

      Thanks so much for the information. It's always good to have different information where cutting back on electricity is concerned.

      Not only is this information good for preppers and homesteaders, but for those of us who might need to cut back because of job cuts, older age and less funds, electrical outages and more. Basically, an emergency cold box.

      The younger generation has to understand that in case of emergencies, this type of cooler could be an asset.

      With the economy where it's at, this would be something to make and use other alternative sources according to a family's location and resources, to keep on hand for those emergencies.

      There have been times when emergencies have come about and this would have been some information that could have saved us money on food lost during the outage.

      Wonderful information, thanks so much.


    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I love your hubs. This one is great; so helpful. Tell me, what do you think of this video?

    • profile image

      Rachael Okerstrom 

      3 years ago from Fort Myers FL

      Nice hub, very informative. Thank You!

    • OmnikTec profile image

      Ampra Xu 

      3 years ago from Suzhou, China

      This is a very cool hub.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      4 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Look for one at Amazon. If not there Google it and I'm sure you'll find one.

    • profile image

      The Judge 

      4 years ago

      Where can I buy a wood stove pipe oven?

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      6 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Your both very welcome. Thanks for the comments.

    • lauramaryscott profile image


      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Entertaining and educational. Thanks a bunch.

    • whonunuwho profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Excellent hub, and keep them coming.


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