Fresnel Lens – Solar Cooking will be happening at Suburban Stone Age

What do you do when you have a bum shoulder and can’t dig your pond? Why, you buy a death ray on eBay so you can melt glass and cook food, of course!

Let me explain…

A Fresnel lens is a thin plastic lens made of small concentric grooves on one side that focuses light like a magnifying glass. You’ve seen them around – they are those plastic sheets that are used to magnify text, and on a large scale are what’s in a lighthouse to create that beam of light.

When you use a Frenel lens to concentrate sunlight, you take the warm embrace of gentle sunshine and focus it into a face-melting, unholy death-ray. Seriously, if you do it right, that spot of light is strong enough to melt steel. Wow!

So naturally I HAD to have one.

Why? Well, to my mind, this Fresnel lens unlocks a whole wealth of possibilities using only the power of the sun. I can cook, disinfect water, start fires easily, and even go to new places such as metal cutting, welding, and making homemade obsidian. All from the benign power of the sun! Which, by the way, will still be available in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

And so enters a new Era of solar cooking and more at SSA. On the way are two Fresnel lenses, one spot and one linear, plus a parabolic mirror just for funsies. I’ll do my solar cooking and experimenting while my shoulder heals, then go back to finish digging my pond before spring.

(Side note – guess what the pond can also be? An emergency store of water for a disaster. Which I can distill into safe drinking water using the Fresnel lenses and only the sun. A beautiful thing, no?)

I’ll keep you posted!

Vegetable Garden: One Potato, Two Potato

Why Grow Potatoes?

Ahh, the beloved potato.  This starchy little turd-shaped tuber we all know and love is responsible for so much prosperity and sometimes misery.  Beginning in the ancient Andes region of South America and spreading to every corner of the modern world, the human-potato partnership has grown to blockbuster proportions over thousands of years.  And with good reason.  The potato is nutritious, is delicious, can be stored, and is easy to propagate.  Although it won’t be winning any beauty pageants (except for the purple and blue ones – they are AWESOME), just like so many things, its what’s on the inside that counts. Continue reading “Vegetable Garden: One Potato, Two Potato” »

There’s No Place Like Home: Bird Houses for Western Bluebirds

The Western Bluebird is a cavity nesting bird that has been in decline due to habitat loss.   They also eat insects, which is helpful in my organic gardening efforts.  Because Suburban Stone Age was once Western Bluebird habitat, I have devoted myself to restoring habitat to them by providing the one thing they need most: bird houses for nesting. Continue reading “There’s No Place Like Home: Bird Houses for Western Bluebirds” »

Thanksgiving : Top 5 Countdown

So Much to be Thankful for!

It has been almost two years since we began our adventures living a more sustainable life.  In that time, we’ve harvested $1793.49 in food from our backyard, collected and eaten 1402 eggs, managed to find something to do with 151 pounds of tomatoes, baked and devoured almost 200 loaves of bread, line dried 102 loads of laundry, and canned 57.5 quarts of food.  And boy are we tired!  With the holidays coming, it is time to take a step back, catch our breath, and reflect on what we have to be thankful for. Continue reading “Thanksgiving : Top 5 Countdown” »