Solar Dehydrator Project. Part One....

Homeschooling Science and Language Arts Project for the term is to create a solar Dehydrator. We have an electric one but we need greater capacity and saw no reason to spend lot's of $$ when an effective efficient free dehydrator can be made at home with recycled materials. So far eveything we needed to use has been recycled from our stored bits and pieces.  

This video was part of the inspiration to create our own solar dehydrator... originally our plan was to make the heat box element as a portable extra heat source for the chickens during winter and our idea evolved from that. Essentially we are making a larger heating box than the one in the video... we can use it for dehydrating in summer and heating a spot area in winter... It is designed to also fit over the bulkhead doors into the cellar and can be used to heat the front mudroom which is currently unheated Even raising the temperature 20f will extend our growing season. Well that is the plan.   We collected soda can's over winter and the project got a real kick start when Patrick brought home a rear projection television for the boys to take apart for the Fresnel lens.... and realized that we also had a large sheet of polycarbonate salvaged from that project too.  So we began by grinding off the bottoms of the cans using a belt sander upside down on a bench (we put screws into the bench to secure it from moving forwards). It was noisy to sand aluminium cans but otherwise with safety glasses it worked well.

Sanding the cans to remove the bottom.

Taking any sharp bits off the cut edge with a Dremel

Cutting fins in the opposite end and twisting the metal .  

Cans laid out ready to be glued into tubes. 

More to come as we progress. Why don't you have a think about doing something similar yourself?

Of Straw and Manure and Chicks.......

The weather here in the last two weeks has been either cold or very wet and windy or all three. Not conducive to gardening.... though i have managed to get a few things done..... but the persistent cloud cover and darkness is not hurrying spring along much at all. Talk about a holding pattern. New Silver Sea brights in the chicken coup and a dozen Golden Comet chicks... so far added to the flock this year.

New Straw Bale raised garden with manure and garden goodness from a local horse stall over the top of a layer of rotting wooden logs...... more straw going on top and then I am heating it up before planting to make sure we get no unwanted weeds...... I did manage to get some time in the garden yesterday and started terracing the back of the kitchen garden...... but no outdoor planting yet.. I hope to get potatoes and onions in this weekend.... we will see. It is blowing 40 mile and hour winds at the moment and pouring..... let's hope the afternoon is a little calmer.