Monday, February 25, 2008


Here's a happy morning wave, when Odel was fresh and energetic. We are starting in on the oven, foundation first. This is new ground for us. Odel and I have watched Richard Dopp build two ovens, but had not seen him build a foundation. Rosanna has only seen the pictures.

Because we hope this oven will last a good, long time, we want to build a solid foundation - and would like it to be high enough off the ground that baking won't involve crawling on the hard, prickly, rocky soil of Arizona.

It is common to see columns of rock-filled wire used as fence posts around here, instead of wood (rocks being more readily available than wood in this neighborhood). Our plan was to make two circles of chicken wire, one inside the other, and fill the gap with rock. This rock ring would be filled with gravel and sand; that would be our foundation. Good idea, huh?

Rosanna has a convenient source of rocks, the "memorial ditch" that is the final resting place of the beloved and quite senior animals who live out their lives at Paws and Hooves Ranch. Odel fired up the tractor, hooked up the trailer, and off we went to gather rocks for our project.

Here are Odel and Rosanna gathering rocks under the watchful eye of Pal, the watchdog that adopted Rosanna's ranch a couple of years ago. He is a GREAT dog, and has kept an interested eye on our project all day.

Plan A was a bust. Chicken wire isn't sufficiently sturdy to hold a 2- or 3-foot tall wall of rocks. Fortunately, we are evaluating as we go and hadn't gotten too far before it became apparent that something was amiss.

After a short break and discussion, we had Plan B: Rosanna had a pile of cinderblocks stashed in the Back 40. Out with the rocks, toss that chickenwire away, make way for cinderblocks!

We spent a bit more time leveling our construction site, then drove the pickup truck to a nearby wash for a load of sand. We made a base of sand, then tamped our first layer of cinderblocks into position with the aid of a level (engineers have nothing on us!).

By then it was almost 4 pm, and time for retired folk to knock off for the day. We sprayed our sand and cinderblocks with water to make sure they were well settled, then retired to Scoopy for a tea break while we made our plans for Day 2. Looks pretty good, for amateurs!

A NOTE TO MY MOTHER: Mommy, I hope I have adequately expressed my appreciation for the many, many meals you made for us when Daddy and I built the Lulu. Rosanna, Odel and I had a great dinner tonight, but not without effort and energy. I thought with longing of the countless nights we came home tired and hungry to a dinner that required no effort on our parts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

NOTE TO SELF: Quit work by 3 pm from now on, and take a break!


  1. Hi, I'm watching your project with great interest. I built an oven at our previous home which we loved although we didn't get to use it long (move). I used Kiko's book and it worked like a charm. I think you will be happy with your choice of foundation and definitely build it tall enough so that you don't have to bend over. I wish I had made t bit of a counter near mine to set the pizza(or whatever) while I was taking off the door. It would have made a handy place for utensils also.
    Have fun, can't wait to see it finished.

  2. Hey - It looks like you are working hard but having some fun too. We are off to Africa today and tomorrow but wanted to see what you were up to first. Keep enjoying it all and we will be back in mid-May to give you a greeting from David and Anne.
    Hugs from Mary & Elaine

  3. You all are hilarious!! I'm sure the cats, dogs, and whatever other critters run around on that ranch are looking at this project with keen anticpation of a new place to sleep!!Can gophers dig up from below?