Last weekend, Andrew and I attended a birthday party that was being held in a neighbour’s back garden. Another neighbour started talking to us and shared “how lucky he is to be able [to afford] to “invest in the infrastructure of his property rather than do it our way”. By that, he was insinuating ‘not doing it the hard way’. This man clearly does not understand self sufficiency!
Yes, we could go out and buy all that we want but we CHOOSE to live this lifestyle. We prefer to MAKE, MEND and DO IT OURSELVES. Why? It’s much more fun and the result is much more “FUNKY!” .. a wise word belonging to ‘Tony Wrench’ (owner/self-builder/author of ‘That Roundhouse). So, with this in mind, and with all this free sun we are experiencing – make your own funky solar dryer using reclaimed materials from your loft, shed, recycling centre or local skips.
Our solar dryer is made out of bits of wood salvaged from Andrew’s parents loft and we use it to dry herbs, leaves and flower heads to make our own bouillon, teas and medicines; dehydrate tomatoes and fruit slices to preserve them and keep in jars as well as prove our bread doughs (on less sunny days).
We’ve adapted the Strawbridges’ design (see below) by putting ours on a pallet with wheels (so we can turn it to face the sun) and we have a glazed window panel that sits on the top of the box (the old one that fitted perfectly was broken so this is a much too large panel for the box and we intend to cut it to be a better fit at some stage). The window allows us to look through the top and see the drying process.
Dick and James Strawbridges’ design can be found in their book ‘Practical Self Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living’ on pp. 244 – 245. We think their book is one of the best ‘how to’ in learning what it means to be self sufficient. It’s easy to read and everything we have made using their designs has worked.
If you make one, please send us a photograph of your funky solar dryers/dehydrators!