Well lovely weather we are having here… if you are a duck. We had thunderstorms move in late last night, oh at about 1 am. My weather radio went off and woke me up, then I made the mistake of looking online at the radar and could not go back to sleep till after 3am. I have nocturnal Astraphobia. So I spent the next couple hours having panic attacks and Silver trying to keep me calm, yeah me…
Anywho… looking at our root cellar, and seeing it full of water (great wait longer on finishing it). We had made an executive choice on what to do with our clay soil we are digging out of the root cellar. First a picture from last year:
Silver built this last year while we were living out of the tent, and having to buy propane for our camp stove. As we were cutting down trees wood cooking made more sense. All we did was take those 2 metal squares that Silver says were from a commercial stove that were on our property when we got here, and filled them first with a few large stones then gravel. Then we put the 2 side cinder blocks on and filled them with gravel. Then we took 2 flat cinders and place them over the other cinders. We also had that “holey” piece of metal which we put on the back held in place is a concrete filled cinder that was here and a large stone. Over the “fire box” we have the “legs” off of the metal squares as our cooking surface so we did not have to hold anything over the fire.
Silver had said this was kinda “rocket” stove styled as we were forcing the heat in one direction. We did make a discovery though that once the cinder blocks get heated and rained on… DON’T move them or they break.
So one of the thinks we are going to be doing with our clay from the root cellar will be, kinda rebuilding this fresh; but more like a rocket stove with maybe some cob over it. We are also going to be making a “cob-ish” oven and we have been for the last 2 days during the “gawd-awful” heat watching youtube vids on both rocket stoves and cob ovens. This one is what we are goign to be basing ours on:
I like this one, I do hope it show up if not here is the external link:
So we are going to work on this and here is what we have done so far as well.. we do have a few supplies to buy eventually to finish it. Most of the building supplies will be from onsite but we will need to buy a few things and we need to dig up some more clay but here is a few pictures of what we have started on:
We took the front half of the pile and hoed it down to this “platform”. Silver took quite a bit of time making sure it was properly flat and fairly even. He was also looking while he was flattening it and pulling out clay chunks to save for the future cob usage.
Here is the cool thing besides the root cellar, we also have to dig a septic for our addition to our shed. then we are going to dig out a small pond where we have a low spot by where our final house will be built so we will have clay a plenty. Which means we will be adding much more to the “back pile” here which is where the clay is currently going.
Oh, one of the BIG reasons for making an outdoor oven at all is well Thanksgiving (the turkey) is getting very big and well… our oven is NOT standard sized, so we’d need something bigger anyway.
As you can see we still are using the metal from the original base. We did have a semi scary experience when we “dug” the metal out, in the form of a large wasp nest inside one of the cinder blocks.
You should have seen Silver tapping the sides all over till it was just perfectly level. Though I have not mentioned yet that after the rain we had last night (and are still having) that he’ll probably need to re-level it.
That level was a wonderful buy at Harbor Freight for $14, it is a 6ft level and every homesteader starting off should have one this size. Course you need a couple smaller ones as well to make sure you have the right size for the right job.
The next thing that was done was to place the broken flat cinders (yep recycling!) in the corners of the metal to help hold it in place. Then we filled it with some rocks and then gravel from the current driveway.
I know you are probably asking on question, if this is not the permant (sp? gods my spelling bites today…) home spot why build these here? Well simple answer, one I need an oven to cook Thanksgiving in and I LIKE baking bread and during summer turning the oven on it too hot. Granted if this oven we are going to build next to the “cook top” works good I’ll be using it multiple times a day.
This is what we are up to, the metal square filled and waiting to settle so we can add concrete dust and water to harden it. You’ll note we have added a gravel layer to the flat surface as well, the plan is to concrete that as well and the “bits” of gravel that poke out might direct water when it rains. Also we are hoping it’ll look nice too, we have put a stone boarder along the front as well. Which will get concreted as well and at sometime we’ll let the kids paint the stones in the front.
We are hoping after some bill catch up and school supply and feed shopping we can get started on buying either the supplies for these or the posts for the addition.
Well as for our new drill bit for digging out the root cellar it is not the green painted one we got at Lowes, and no “bulge” on the end to help hold it in the drill. However, thankfully unlike the Lowes one it’s -NOT- spot welded. The weld joints ate better done so it might last much longer than the last one. This one we ordered from our MFA as Lowes was out for the season on them, another good thing about it is that the MFA sold it to us for $16 when it would have retailed their for $23. Yeah for local shops knowing us now!
Minor garden update:
We got some of the beans picked to taste, The rice beans had the most ready and they were soooooooooo sweet!!!!!!!! They were also small, next time I get some I’ll do a picture with them in my hand so you can see how small. My Tiger’s eye beans tasted a bit bitter, and the pole bean I got was not as sweet as the rice bean but also not as bitter as the Tiger’s eye one. At this moment I think if I keep doing Tiger’s eye it’ll be only for dry beans.
Well that’s it for now:
BE Well, Be Safe and Blessed Be…