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Wednesday, July 25 2012


Just returned from the ranch and had to give you a report on the new Sun Oven! 

Friends & Neighbors, that sucker works!

Picture this:

*104 degrees in the shade

(should I really say any more?)

The ranch is quite primitive. (Think "pioneer") We haven't gotten the power poles for electricity yet, and so we are running on a generator. In North Texas, our little camper can quickly become an oven in July. The air conditioner works its little heart out. Don't even CONSIDER using the microwave and the air conditioner at the same time. (blows the breaker)

It is most certainly too damned hot and dry for anything resembling a camp fire.  (Although after the shredder machine cleared the mesquite trees off the homestead lot, we have mesquite mulch 6" to 1' deep in there. If you want to collect firewood, just bend over.)

We bought one of those wooden portable cabin/barn buildings and had it built on the property. (because it was too wide to fit through the cattle guard so it couldn't roll in on a truck) The cabin/barn can be used as a bunkhouse after we get it outfitted. It can be a smashing good feed room/office later.  Since those BadBoys come in basic vanilla, we'll have to finish it out and put a porch on it ourselves. So this weekend's goal was to start putting insulation in the Cabin . . . in 104 degree heat.

Not only did we not have time to cook a meal, but God forbid, we heat up the inside of that camper.

This was the perfect time to use a solar oven . . .


Just plop it in the sun. Spread open the solar screens. Plop in a roast and some veggies. Dump the seasoning on top.

Close the lid. That's it. Nada. Nothing else.

 Go back to work.   


Turn oven one time to follow sun.

Peek at it through the glass and drool.


 A few hours later. Pull out a meal fit for hungry pioneers!

Note: that darkening on the top is not burned, but carmelization of the seasoning packet that I didn't mix into the liquid. By leaving a bit on the top, it gave a nice color. You cannot burn anything in the solar oven. The hot air is all around the food, and the liquid cannot escape. The meat is quite tender and juicy.

The whole meal cost less than $10. It used absolutely no electricity, and didn't heat up the camper at all. This meal required no energy from me except plopping the ingredients in a dish and closing the lid.

The solar oven doesn't require it to be 104 degrees outside. They cook with this on Mount Everest. It doesn't use heat, it uses the sun's rays.  It's like a crock pot that can be used outside. (you can also bake in it!) If you're worried about dogs or livestock getting in it, leave it on top of the truck.

The neatest thing is that it's basically idiot-proof. (I need that!) It's easy to carry. Easy to set up. And best of all when it's 104 outside, doesn't heat up the house!


And when the meal is over, the dogs can clean out the dish!

"That's what I'M talkin' 'bout!"


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 06 2012


With the recent rains, much to the delight of children everywhere, there was no fireworks ban this year on Independence Day. In our household, that was met with mixed reviews because although we don't participate in the fireworks festivities, we are close to many who do.

And with 8 dogs, it's a given there will be a difference of opinion regarding fireworks.

Ice - "Make the shelling stop! We're all gonna die!"

Cowboy - "We're under attack! Save the women and children and Border Collies first! In reverse order!"


Trace - "I'll be under the house until the shelling stops."

Ranger - "I'll save you! I'll save you all!"


Dillon - "GUNFIRE! Oh boy! Where's my dummy?!!"

Oli - "You people don't know what gunfire is. Back when I was in Czechoslovakia . . . "


Briar - "OOOOhhhh. . . . look at tha colors!"


The reactions are varied, but none is more amusing than Lily, the Fireworks Fiend.

Lily is noise-stimulated, meaning, when she hears a strange sound, she starts barking like a maniac. Since Other Half's hearing is leaving quickly, Lily makes an excellent hearing-ear dog for high-pitched sounds like fire alarms, alarm clocks, and the ding on the microwave.

Now Lily has HEARD fireworks all her life, but this year was the first time she actually SAW fireworks. Her reaction was hysterical. I truly wish I could have filmed it for you.

The night went like this . . .

Ran out of frappuccinos. Yes, I'm drinking again. Does this surprise you? Care to take a guess on how many frapps I drank during that whole Ferngully drama? I'm just askin'.

Decided that I MUST go to grocery store since another sun cannot rise without a frappuccino. Loaded up Lily and Trace in the truck. Lily is always my co-pilot; whoever else gets to go is up to my mood and their behavior, but Her Majesty always gets to go. Tonight, Trace was the Chosen One.

So we headed to Kroger's because they have frapps and a particular salsa I had fallen in love with, (Hazelwood's Smokey Sweet!) The local community college was having a fireworks display. What I didn't count on was that the display was right across the street from Kroger's. Everyone and his cousin was sitting in a lawnchair at Kroger's.  (groan)

I left the dogs in the air conditioning of the truck with a friend while I shopped.  They'd be safe, and we'd be outta here before the show began. What I didn't count on was that everyone sitting in the parking lot had sent a representative inside Kroger's for snacks. (Good night for Kroger's)

By the time I got back to the truck the show was well under way.  I heard the barking before I found my truck. Lily, her eyes bright with wonder, was barking like a madwoman with each explosion. Trace was hiding in the back seat.

The cutest thing was that Lily would watch the fireworks soar up into the air, and track the path in anticipation. Then as it burst, she would wag her tail and bark.  As I slow-rolled out of the parking lot, Trace climbed into my lap. Lily settled her happy ass in the front passenger's seat and stared out the window like a child seeing fireworks for the first time. Her little mouth would even make a little "o" as she watched them shoot into the air.  Lily had found another passion. She was a Pyrotechnic Puppy!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:24 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email

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