Sunday, February 24, 2008


Have I mentioned that we are planning to build an earth oven? We got inspired watching Richard Dopp build his (two), and my cousin Rosanna was a willing participant - with property, our missing ingredient.

We've arrived at Rosanna's in early afternoon with our load of earth oven materials: firebricks and empty wine bottles. (Of course, we have plenty of full wine bottles, too.)

Rosanna pointed out the site for the oven, and we unloaded the supplies nearby, then went off to see what other building materials we could scrounge. We found rocks and chicken wire that we will use to build a foundation, and hope to find the sand we need in a wash not too far from here.

Our friends Jeanie and Ray have a ranch nearby with just the right sort of clay soil to use for the oven itself, the kind that clumps to your feet in twenty pound bricks when you walk through mud (like the Pinal County fairgrounds where we rallied in Casa Grande), so we'll go pick up a truckload of that one day this week. Rosanna's neighbor Marvin made a wooden door to her specifications, so it looks like we are ready to begin work tomorrow.

Right now, Odel is reading the earth oven bible, Build Your Own Earth Oven: A Low-Cost, Wood-Fired Mud Oven so we can calculate the diameter of our foundation and the volume of gravel, sand, and clay we need to scavenge. Hmmmm... six 5-gallon pails of sand, twelve 5-gallon pails of clay... and that is just for the oven. Looks like we are in for a workout!

If you are interested in learning more about this oven-building process, here is a link to an article in Mother Earth News that summarizes the information in the book. They make it seem like ANYONE can do it... we'll see.

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