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Solar Project Part 5: Back Porch Preparations

[I changed the title of this series from "solar pantry" to "solar project," because we changed our original plan. Part 1 of the series starts here.]

So the plan is to move the freezer from the pantry to the back porch and put it on solar. That meant we had to do some rearranging on the porch to get ready. Like most other big projects, that meant a number steps - both planned and unplanned.

About eight years ago, when we were remodeling the kitchen, we took a detour to create a temporary remodeler's kitchen on the back porch.

November 2011 photo of my "temporary" kitchen.
Since then it's been my canning and summer kitchen. 

It served us well, because it took us another year before the kitchen was finished (before and after shots here). Once the kitchen was done I left the electric stove on the porch for canning and whatever summer-time cooking we don't do with my solar oven or Dan's grill.

About three years ago we moved the cabinet in the above photo into the new milking room of the old goat barn. In its place we put shelves.

Very handy for canning pots, coolers, laundry supplies,
my dehydrator, campfire cast iron, and recycling bins.

Now we're planning to move the freezer to this spot, so the shelves needed to be moved. That set off a cleaning binge, and while we were at it, it seemed like a good time to finish the trim around the doors and paint the walls. Years ago I put a coat of primer on the walls, but at the time we were more eager to get on with finishing the kitchen rather than the back porch. So this is how it's looked for the past eight years.

Funny how you can live with something for
so long that you don't even notice it anymore.

Dan put up some trim and gave it a coat of paint.

It feels good to finish something 
that's been unfinished for so long!

I wanted to keep at least one shelf unit on the back porch for my canners, large pots, and recycling bins, so I put it next to the stove.

New home for my my canners, canning
& cheesemaking pots, and recycling bins.

We never use the door behind it, so this seemed like a handy place. Well, it was the only place! I used to have a small table there and I'll miss that, but this solution won out for practicality.

Improving ventilation to the back porch was the next task. I used an old metal box fan in the window for years and that worked well. Then the old fan died and the new plastic one just doesn't have the strength to vent the well, especially when I'm canning. Our solar attic vent fan has worked so well that Dan installed a similar one on the back porch.

Another wall we didn't finish when we did that
side of the house. Made it easier to install the fan!

While he was working on that I started to clean out the freezer in preparation for moving it. Quite a few of the items I mentioned in Solar Pantry Part 2: Analysis could be vacuum packed instead of frozen.

I find healthy ingredient crackers and cookies at a local discount
grocery. At 50-75₵ per box they make good stock-up prepper items.

I couldn't believe how many boxes I had stashed in the freezer!
They stay fresh and moth-free when vacuum packed. How-to here.

I also use my freezer for small harvest amounts, like tomatoes, figs, and berries. I rarely get enough at any one picking for a canner load, so I pop them into the freezer and can them when the weather turns cooler. I do the same with bones for bone broth. This year I'm getting everything processed early to clear out the freezer.

Crock pot of pizza sauce cooking down.

Once Dan is done with the fan, he'll finish that wall and then we'll move the freezer. Of course, progress seems slow going right now, but that's what happens when a seemingly simple project ends up with a lot of small steps! But all the steps are good ones, and it will be nice to finally finish the back porch. It's been a good September project.

Next in this series → Back Porch Progress


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