Meteorological data from 1969 shows that London was bitter cold in February and March of that year. It also shows that in April, the same area set a record for 189 sunlight hours – not exceeded until 1984. This weather trivia syncs perfectly with the biography of Eric Clapton who describes Beatle, George Harrison wondering about in his garden with a guitar and composing a song. It was Here Comes the Sun.
The irony of this memorable tune, is that it was not released as a single, hence ineligible to be included on the UK Singles Chart. Then, when the Singles Chart rules were modified in 2007, downloadable tunes became eligible. In 2010, Here Comes the Sun reached #58 on the chart. Do do do do.
Here in the Valley of the Sun, I cannot fathom the need to count sunlight hours. It is rather, the cloud cover and the related solar intermittency that must be carefully monitored. The power of the sun during daylight hours cannot be denied and as such, early education on the sun’s capacity is a perfect topic for a kids’ summer camp. This past week, my youngest son worked to build solar ovens for 5 year olds and also put together kits so that they can replicate the process in their own homes. Here’s how it went:
Pizza Box Solar Ovens
Modified from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbwliZJiHe8
- Pizza box
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- A large clear Ziploc bag
- Black construction paper
- Marker or Sharpie
- Box Cutters
- Clear tape
Step 2: Carefully using the box cutters, cut through three sides of the square you just drew leaving the line at the rear of the box attached. Fold the flap back so that it stands up when the pizza box lid is closed.
Step 3: Glue a sheet of aluminum foil to the underside of the flap. This will reflect sunlight into the over. Cut off any excess and smooth out any wrinkles.
Step 4: Using the scissors, cut the Ziploc bag in half along the seams so that you have two clear plastic squares of the same size. They should be one square inch larger than the square opening. Open the pizza box and tape one square to the underside of the hole so that the plastic covers it.
Step 5: Close the lid and tape the second plastic square over the top of the hole creating a window that helps keep the sun’s heat in the box. Pull the plastic square taught as you tape it. Make sure the plastic maintains an airtight seal.
Step 6: Glue a sheet of aluminum foil to the inside bottom of the box for insulation.
Step 8: Close the lid and you are ready to start cooking. On a bright day, place your oven outside in direct sunlight. Adjust the foil flap to find the best ray reflecting angle. Use the straw to keep the flap propped in place.
Step 9: Preheat your oven by leaving it in direct sunlight for 30 minutes prior to using it. The box temperature will reach about 200 degrees. Put your food inside. This simple oven will be strong enough to melt cheese, warm up cold food, or melt chocolate.