Self-Sufficient Lighting

Jeff and I had a brainstorming session yesterday about how to make the exisiting farm (where we might move to…ok, 90% chance of moving to…) more self-sufficient. The farm owners really want to get off grid.

Thinking waaay post-apocalyptic, like solar panels go bust and the wind turbine is destroyed in an ice storm…how could we have lighting that is not petroleum or electricity dependent?

Bees are not my forte, though I love honey and beeswax candles. Beef tallow, I heard, can be smelly and smokey. Sooooo…..

I remembered these little nifty olive oil lamps from Lehman’s. And they burn all types of vegetable oil….

Hmmmm…..

But how could we come up with our own (no offense, Lehman’s, I love you guys…)?

I did a little searching around:

Finding black sunflower oil seeds to grow is rather easy…just use a large bag from the hardware store! [Second thought…are these varieties hybridized? Hmmmm…find some non-hybrid oil sunflowers…]

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6 Responses to “Self-Sufficient Lighting”


  1. 1 amberpeace October 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Oil lamps are cool, but I’m glad I don’t believe in millenialism (can’t spell).

  2. 2 Anna October 13, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Oh, I hadn’t meant that in the theological sense…just a general preparedness when/if Stuff Hits the Fan. 😉

  3. 3 Jon in France October 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Where I live in Western France a wide selection of oil crops is grown and the one that is most valued for its burning properties in lamps is poppy seed oil. The light is gives is bright and not quite white but close.

    I’ve no idea what the climate is like in Ohio, but I don’t think poppies are that demanding beyond needing a warm summer.

    Depending on local laws you may need to be careful to select a varity from which opium cannot be extracted, but there are plenty of these around and most breed true.

    The oil is also reputed to make a fine laundry soap, though I have no experience of this.

  4. 4 amberpeace October 13, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    If nothing else – olive oil. I have an OT prof who likes to burn his replica lamps and he says they burn very clean. Look into Lehman’s (the old order store, not the finance people) I think they have a whole section on oil burning lamps.

  5. 5 alana October 14, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Olive oil does burn very clean. No smoke, no odor. That’s why olive oil lamps are used to light icons in Orthodox churches and often at home altars.

    Really, all you need it a vessel of some sort, a wick holder and a cotton wick. And the olive oil, of course.

    Not all veggie oils burn clean.

  6. 6 wilkinson4jesus October 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Very interesting, Thanks for this post!
    ~Blessings~
    Anna Wilkinson


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