About Mark Zeiger

Mark and Michelle Zeiger have lived together in Alaska, Mark’s native state, since 1992. With their daughter, Aly, they began pursuing a mostly subsistence lifestyle on their semi-remote, off-the-grid “homestead” on the shore of Lynn Canal, south of Haines in 2006. Mark designs websites, and blogs about his family’s homestead life at AKZeigers.com. He has authored Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska, and a book about their lifestyle, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s Paradigm.

Cooking With Help From the Sun {Solar Cooking}

Our family has made solar ovens in the past from cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. Such a tool made a great Boy Scout or grade school science project when I was young, a curiosity or home school activity more recently. We built devices that could at least warm leftovers on a very sunny day, but never produced anything sturdy enough to last, nor worthy of preservation for repeated use. I all too readily accepted the conventional wisdom that Alaska’s high latitudes made solar ovens all but useless, a tool better suited to sun drenched states in the Lower 48.

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I Sing the Solar Electric

If you have even a single solar panel working on your homestead, you may be as frustrated as I am by the general image of solar presented in the mainstream media.

If you have even a single solar panel working on your homestead, you may be as frustrated as I am by the general image of solar electrical generation presented in the mainstream media.

I can’t count how often one hears alternative energy, particularly solar, denigrated. It is almost always referred to as limited, usually because it gets dark every night (none of these people have ever heard of something called a “battery,” apparently) or cloudy. It’s commonly condemned as too expensive, both to the consumer and in the manufacturing process.

I regard these as damaging stereotypes that ring false to most people who own and use solar arrays.

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