Morning Hill Forest Farm

Morning Hill Forest Farm

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Jennifer's Solar Cookery Page

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More Outreach

As important as formal tours are, our informal outreach is a larger and perhaps more effective program. We have an open-door policy where anyone who calls or just stops by is accommodated with whatever level of discussion they would like.

As nice as it is to win recognition for our forestry, even better is having appreciative people who have visited ask to come back again. Ask they do, bringing parents, grandparents, children, siblings, and friends from across the country and throughout the world. People from Russia, Tanzania, Australia and Canada are numbered among those who have been brought to tour our forest farm and become our friends.

It does not matter why folks have come to tour our home place. Every visitor gets treated to a talk on sustainable forestry. Some who have come thinking they will see “just” a garden, a solar power system, or a solar cooking demonstration go away with a new appreciation for managed forests.

Renewable Energy

The greatest challenge faced by our community is the need for economic diversification. Our involvement with renewable energy (RE) gave us the idea that RE might provide the identity and inspiration for a region looking for new direction.

In 1999, we started SolWest RE Fair, an event which involves interested people from around the West in four to five days of learning, sharing ideas, buying and selling RE technology. SolWest has grown into a nonprofit organization named EORenew (Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Non-profit), which sponsors energy education courses, tours, and events throughout the year.

The work with SolWest has developed into a half-time job for Jennifer as director of EORenew. The employment provides the cash to fill the need for things not produced at Morning Hill Forest Farm. Solar energy is used to produce all our electricity, for cooking, and passive heating. Fuel wood from our forestry activities (pruning, thinning, and logging slash) provides energy for cooking, space heating, and water heating (including our wood-fired hot tub). This provides 100% of our home’s energy on-site. Morning Hill tackled the West Coast energy crunch 20 years ahead of time. We have not had a blackout (rolling or otherwise) at Morning Hill for over 20 years now!

      April 12, 1994

      Dear Jennifer and Lance,
      This is to formally let you know that the Demo Project Evaluation Committee has approved your tree farm for inclusion in the BMNRI Demo Project Network. Members of the committee feel your objectives and “low impact” adaptive management practices deliver a positive message that other land owners, managers, and people from all walks of life can learn from...

        Marc Roder
        Demonstration Network Coordinator

The solar electric system, acquired piece by piece over the last twenty years, is a key part of our sustainability program. It allows us the economic freedom to practice the kind of forestry that in today’s economy is normally only possible for owners with outside financing. One thing we don’t need cash for is a utility bill!

Our program is supported, not by a “regular” job or independent wealth, but by careful integration of all our resources. When our finances permit, we add to our energy system. We now have nearly 3KW of photovoltaic panels in the system, along with a sinewave AC inverter which runs all our household appliances (refrigerator, freezer, stereo, TV, washing machine, etc.), our power tools, and our deep well pump for irrigating our green lawn/firebreak and our extensive vegetable garden.

We have also both given interviews about renewable energy and forestry topics on KJDY AM/FM radio’s Coffee Time program. Articles have been written about Morning Hill in the Blue Mountain Eagle and the Capital Press (Northwest Agriculture News Weekly). Lance and Jennifer have written articles about our work for the Natural Resource News published by the BMNRI.

Sustainable living has to be part of a sustainable community. Our community work is as important to us as anything we do. Organizations we actively participate in include:

    Grant County Bird Club
    Grant County Kruzers
    Grant County Small Woodlands Association
    Forest Ecology Outdoor School
    Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Assoc.
    Native Plant Society of Oregon
    Benevolent Protective Order of Elks
    Oregon Tree Farm System
    Oregon Small Woodlands Association
    Oregon Tilth

Barker house with solar cooker