Posts tagged "making"

How can I build a barbecue reusing or recycling stuff?

In a bit of an impromptu barbecue-themed week, I thought I’d ask about building the key part of the experience: the barbecue itself. This is partly because I’m interested in hearing bbq ideas and partly because I’m thinking of building myself a little smokehouse for my birthday and I suspect there will be a bit overlap – and asking about smokehouses may be a little obscure.

So anyway, barbecues. John’s dad, my father-in-love, has built a number of brick barbecues – a squared-off u-shape of bricks to about waist height – from salvaged bricks: I think he used grill kits for the grill bits but there is a possibility he made the coals pan from scrap metal. I’ll ask him tomorrow.

But brick structures tend to be a bit permanent – what about slightly more mobile ones? Ones made from old oil barrels (or ideally non-oil metal barrels) seem quite common the DIY bbq world. Old gas bottles can apparently be used for smaller versions but there are more safety concerns with initial cutting.

Any other suggestions? Any ideas about things to use for the coals pan or the grill itself? And what about alternatives like fire pits?

How can I make a solar oven reusing and recycling things?

Aside from the rain we had pretty much all day yesterday, it’s been a lovely start to spring – I’ve had the washing out on the line on a good number of occasions now, we’ve had a few breakfasts on the sunny balcony with the animals and the cats have been enjoying the novelty of sitting both in sunshine and in the house – something that’s never happened to them before – and they’ve been getting toasty warm … which made me think “what else can I make toasty warm in the sunshine?” (Plus, we got our gas bill through yesterday for the cold winter – even relying on just the woodburning stove in the evenings and wearing lots of layers, it’s still kerching!kerching!

Trying out a solar oven has been on my to-do list for a while – but they’re expensive and hard to get in the UK so it makes sense to make my own instead.

There are how-tos for making them out of cardboard boxes and aluminium foil and better how-tos to make them more efficient – but I wondered if anyone had any suggestions of things to reuse or recycle for the materials involved in such a venture.

And does anyone have any ideas of ways to make things a little more permanent/weatherproof? With our propensity for April showers on otherwise glorious summer days, cardboard outside in the UK sounds like a recipe for disaster, not a nice slow-cooked meal.

Anyone make their own? Anything that’s a must-do? Anything to avoid?

(Photo by margilevin)

How can I make a bird feeder reusing and recycling stuff?

It’s been snowy here for three weeks now and we’re making sure there is always a stock of seeds & nuts available for our local wildlife population. We know that it can be dangerous feeding wildlife too regularly – they become reliant on you and “forget” to find their own food supply, which is a problem if you move away/go away – but for the time being, while their food supply is under a chilly blanket, we’re helping out.

I bought a bird feeder a couple of year ago – a simple wood/metal grill thing – and it was fine in our old house. Here though, the squirrels gnawed the wood and ripped a whole in the metal on Day 1, so I clearly need to make something sturdier. (I don’t mind feeding the squirrels, especially at the moment, but would rather they didn’t break stuff.)

We’ve got some offcuts of wood – small flat pieces of pine, salvaged from a joiner – which I could yoink from the stove’s wood pile and use to make a little box/tray with a roof (probably a hanging one, rather than a table because of the cats). There is always the simple milk bottle option or juice bottles too. Coming at it from another angle, coconut shells or hard gourd skins can be used for homemade fat feeders, and those that plan ahead purposely grow sunflowers during the summer to feed their feather friends during the winter.

Speaking of the actual food, don’t just resort to shop-bought seed mixes – Mrs Green from My Zero Waste has pulled together a great list of waste foods that can help the local wildlife.

How else can you make bird feeders reusing and recycling random stuff?

And what do you feed the birds once you’ve got your feeder in place?

How can I make a bread bin using recycled things?

Bread binWe’ve had another email from Louise, this time on a “reverse this” type thing?

Hello it’s Louise again (ice-cream containers).

I’d like to make a breadbin using recycled material. I’ve thought about decorating an empty, clean paint container, but I’m not sure it would be hygienic. Any ideas?

I also wanted to tell you that I love your site and some of the creative ideas some of your posters come up with are nothing short of genius.

There you are people, you’re geniuses so let’s not let the lady down ;)

I’d steer clear of paint containers because I’d worry about just how clean I could get them for use with food – and particularly for use with ready-to-eat food that isn’t always wrapped perfectly. But I don’t know what I’d use in their place.

Has anyone made one before or got any ideas? What are good materials to think about? Does it need to be airtight or just fairly closed off dark?

And one final question from me and my tiny tiny kitchen, is it possible to make a collapsible one for folding away/shrinking down when it’s not in use or only holding a couple of crumpets instead of a full loaf?