Week One of living on the land. It has been so wonderful. Truly, just so lovely to fall asleep here each night, listening to the sounds of owls, crickets, frogs, and birds. So nice to stay late after dinner without worrying about rushing back to town to get the kids fed and put to bed. So easy to wake up in the morning and jump right into the tasks at hand.
The biggest task this week has been setting up our outdoor kitchen. Imagine trying to fit the contents of your home kitchen into an outdoor space, in a neat, organized, weather-proof, and critter-proof way. Imagine cooking all your meals almost entirely from scratch without hot running water, refrigeration, or the type of cook stove or oven you’re used to. This is what some of our neighbors have been doing for years, and this is our new reality.
Brian and I love cooking. We love spending time in the kitchen. So creating an outdoor kitchen that is truly functional and also beautiful was a high priority. And let me state from the start that I can claim absolutely no credit for the wonder you are about to see. It is the result of the talent and hard work of my husband Brian, an artist, blacksmith and builder, who loves nothing more than to spend hours creating incredible structures from materials we have at hand.
The Outdoor Kitchen is tucked just to the west of our blue roofed house, and nestled underneath an oak tree.
The most amazing feature: running water! We have four 50 gallon barrels set up to catch rain water from our roof. Brian piped it under the house and up to this sink. Instant cold water! (We filter the drinking water through a Berkey filter.)
Where we do our cooking! To the left is your standard-issue Coleman white gas stove. To the right is a StoveTec rocket stove.
Cooking our breakfast in my monkey pajamas! We usually fire up both stoves to cook a meal. The rocket stove gets pretty sooty, so we have pots designated just for rocket stove use. In the background, you can see that we’ve laid some planks down in the blue house for a covered dining area.
This tent trailer is our temporary home – so cozy and wonderful. But the most important part of this photo is to the right – our Sun Oven. Sun Ovens are absolutely incredible. I have made stews, rice, quinoa, and heated hot water, just by taking advantage of the beautiful sunny days we’ve been having. The only disadvantage: Sun Ovens really don’t work on a cloudy or rainy day like today.
Thanks for joining me on this tour of our new outdoor kitchen. If you have any questions, please ask away!
Shared with The Backyard Farming Connection, Homestead Bloggers Network, and Homestead Barn Hop.
Do you use a pump to get the water pressure so that it comes out the tap?
Teri Page says
No, we don’t need to. The outdoor kitchen is downhill from a water catchment system, so we only need to pipe the water down to the kitchen and there is sufficient gravity pressure to come out of the tap.
I’m thinking about setting up an outdoor kitchen this year,as I think ove the idea of prepping food outdoors, and setting up a little makeshift cooking space. So fun to do!
Teri Page says
Yes, it is a real help! In the summer months, it’s a game changer!
Hopefully by now you know you can cook anything in the Sun Oven. Best banana bread I have ever had. I cook muffins and bread often. You can cook them even if the temp isn’t high enough. It will just take longer. Nothing dries out in the Sun Oven so breads are moister than any other cooking method.
Love, love, love your kitchen! Thanks for sharing!
Teri Page says
We adore our sun oven! It is one of the best tools on our homestead!
Have you tried a cardboard box oven? We use these quite frequently and it works as well as a traditional oven.
Teri Page says
Karie, I have not yet tried this method, but it has been suggested to me a few times in the past few days! Looks like I will need to give it a try! Thank you for writing!
What yall are doing is a dream the thing is starting up how did yall get started out if you’ve posted this I’m sorry I missed it but any info would be awesome
Teri Page says
Hi Zach, there are lots of posts about how we got started. Check out the homesteading and building categories, and let me know if I can answer anything specific!
Since yall have an outdoor kitchen how would a wood oven sound and you could bake a lot better with that than the sun oven
Teri Page says
Yes, we will definitely be working toward a wood-fired oven. They bake so well!
Lynn King says
Great blog. We have been “off the grid” in the summer for several years. I wish it could be year-round. But, we have the Sun Oven, as well, (now, I have 2!) and love it. Good luck to you. There is no freedom like being off the grid!
Teri Page says
It is really satisfying! I have to admit it was much easier in the summer! Bathing in a pond and cooking outdoors.
this worked well during out time in Tanzania…. mostly for hot dry climates, but keeps produce fresh for days and days…
That’s really interesting! Although our climate is more on the humid side, so I’m not sure how it would do here. Still, fun to read about!
Nice kitchen! I have done a lot of outdoor camping,logging camps- I was the cook. ( every summer for 18 years )through the years and one of my biggest things I really enjoyed using was Dutch ovens,cooking right on the campfire:)We also used of 55 gallon drum and built a fire underneath it to heat the water for taking showers,we had a shower curtain and used a wood pallet to stand on so you would not be in the mud puddle. I remember those days well with three small boys:) thank you for the nice article!
Those are great ideas. We have not done much cooking over an open fire this summer, although we do grill. Mostly it’s been the rocket stove and solar oven.
You can also use a NEW pressurized garden sprayer for taking showers. Just fill it with water, hang it in the sun, and VIOLA! – a daily hot shower. CAUTION: The water can get quite hot from the solar gain. Be careful to test the temperature first before wetting yourself down. Enjoy!
I found that out the hard way this summer, when my black hose heated to a very hot temp. Luckily I had only begun to pour water on myself, and not on one of the kids!
First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that
I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!
It is a great question, and I wish I had some inspirational tools to share with you! I have so little time to spend on the computer, that usually I’m composing a blog post in my head during the day, and then I sit down and just whip it out. But some days things just do not flow, and I force myself to start writing, because you can always go back and delete a few sentences here and there! It helps to get the juices flowing. I hope this helps some!
Summers Acres says
Now, that is real committment! I don’t know if I could do this for a prolonged period of time (unless I had to). Inspiring.
I’d love it if you join us Thursday at:
The HomeAcre Hop
Thanks for the invite! It is a great blog hop!
I’m blown away by your set-up! I’ve seen other bloggers who live on the land while building, and wondered at their sanity. But the pop-up camper and kitchen you’ve created are so ideal, I’m changing my tune. I look forward to reading more and watching you guys progress on your goals. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words. I admit that it has its challenges, but having such a nice outdoor kitchen really has made things so much easier than I imagined. The only thing we are really lacking at this point is an outhouse!
Teri, this is important … can you make muffins???? 🙂
It is beautiful and incredible and also not surprising since I know what an artist and craftsman Brian is. It looks comfortable for you guys and the kiddos, I wish we could see it in person!
I have not tried muffins yet. So far, I’ve only been able to get the Sun Oven up to 300 degrees. I am going to try to make some granola today and see how it goes! I really cannot imagine life for very long without baked goods!
Louise Cole says
Ok…sun ovens are great, however, the sun don’t always shine!…lol!… Over you campfire grate/sheetmetal (you must have a grate) or even over your burner on your Coleman… You’ll need to lay down your air flaps, have Brian to construct a cube, three sides, a top & a bottom out of metal bakeware/sheetmetal leaving the front open …if he can hinge them for break down & storage cool…on the front use the same metal & hinge it as a door… a shelf ledge halfway up on each side inside on the sides will hold a shelf for… BAKING MUFFINS… Get an oven thermometer… & you’ll learn how much gas flame on the Coleman & how far away from the hot coals on the campfire to put your oven… Enjoy!
Teri Page says
I have heard of this kind of set up, and it sounds really intriguing! Thanks for sharing!
Sharon Jones Allworth says
You are leading the best life imaginable, IMO. Stay healthy – remember this is coming from a food scientist who is very concerned about all those nasty bacteria that can creep around kitchens. It sounds like you completely know what you’re doing – and I’ll bet the food being prepared in your beautiful outdoor kitchen is yummy! Keep us all posted. Hugs!
Thanks Sharon, and I will indeed stay healthy! After a bout with food poisoning a few years ago (the result of chicken soup left unrefrigerated), I never want to experience that again! We have a cooler in the deep shade, and rotate frozen jugs of water. It seems to be almost as cold as our fridge was! We’ll see how it fares in the 90 degree heat!
Carl Koch says
try to bury a old stand up fridge or freezer in the earth the ice jugs will stay good even in the hot July weather . fridge on its back of course lol !
That’s a great suggestion! Thank you!
If what you bury is a fridge with a separate freezer compartment, you can turn that into a worm farm, too.
A worm farm would be lots of fun! Right now we just have a regular compost pile, but I’m sure the kids would love worms!
Simple Northern Life says
Your family is an inspiration. Can’t wait to see more updates.
Thank you for your kind words!
Samantha Burns says
Thanks for sharing Teri! I am definitely going to utilize some of these techniques at our own camp-site! What a handy hubby you have!!!
It is really fortunate that I have a handy husband, because I certainly would not be doing this by myself! I applaud those that go it alone, but with the two young kids, I am so grateful to have a partner. I am glad these tips will help you out!
Wow Teri, that is SO awesome that you guys are living so close to the land. The kitchen is beautiful!
Reblogged this on DIY or Die: Survival in a Post-Apocalyptic World.
Thanks for sharing.
What a wonderful outdoor kitchen!
Thanks Simone! I do find it really wonderful to cook in, although a tiny bit cramped…
Ronald Thomas says
Absolutely amazing! OMYGOSH! You guys have created a fab camp! Can’t believe how you thought about it and planned it all…then created it! Great HH! LOVE! PROUD! XXXOOO
This is amazing, Teri! So inspiring. How do you get around the refrigeration thing? Coolers or just do without? So cool!
I totally forgot to mention that! It’s a bit time consuming. We’re storing our chest freezer at a friend’s house. Every two or three days, we switch out 4 or 5 frozen jugs of water and put those into huge coolers. So far it’s been working well, but we’ve also had cool days. Not sure what the hot July temps will do to our “fridge” plan.
If you keep damp towels on top of your coolers, the ice will last a lot longer.
Great to know! Thank you.