Now first I'd like to mention I have found a site that lets me do a free web page through google (yeah) here is the link to what I set up yesterday check it out:
I do not plan to stop posting here any more than I stopped when I got the wordpress blog. Eventually I am hoping to buy the real address and have it a separate entity, but for now this is our web page.
I also want to make a wave to Phelan and her current post as a MUST READ!!!!!!
Please go check it out and see what she has seen.
Now to the "real post"
I'm sure a few of you may remember this cook stove we made last year. Well we are going to re-build it and surround it in cob. We did learn a few things about our construction of this one.
#1 when using cinder blocks, you need to make sure you DON'T need to move them after they get hot and then rained on. Cinder blocks break after repeated heatings and rains.
#2 when filling them with gravel let them "settle" so you don't have to go back and refill them after they have been heated or you get #1
#3 if you get breaks/cracks wasps WILL build nest(s) inside your cinder blocks and it will cause a problem if you need to take it apart for any reason.
So with that knowledge we are re-building it, and going to be putting in a cob-ish oven next to it. It will have elements of both cob ovens and rocket stoves, and we will be using a barrel for the "cooking" chamber. We are going to one similar to this one:
It's a cool design and I like how wide the cooking area is with the barrel. Thanksgiving is getting so big (the Tom turkey btw) that our not standard size oven prob won't fit him when it's time to cook him.
So here is what we have done so far:
This is if you can't tell the pile of clay from our ongoing root cellar dig. This is going to be the base for both the wood stove and the oven. We are hoping to have a space between the two for us to store wood in. Which my son's new daily chore till school starts is to chop up the cut wood into pieces small enough to use in a rocket stove... maybe it will put some muscle on his scrawny frame.
Anywho... the "front" half of the clay pile was hoed flat and then smoothed with both the hoe and a mini garden rake. Silver took at least 20 minutes making sure it was as smooth as he could get it. Course... that did not last long after the cats came out (hahahahahaha), we'll have to clean up a bit in a few days once everything here dries out from the rains we just got.
This is of course is the next step, Silver put out the metal squares from the old stove, to which we did have a good sized wasp nest inside of. Thankfully no one got stung.
Silver set them both out as you can see, played around with which direction to put them in. Then made it level... perfectly level. What can I say he's a perfectionist. He checked the "level" across in this spot then on an angle in each corner then across the other side.
Oh, this level? It's a 6ft level that we bought at Harbor Freight Tools for $14 before we left New York state. I do have to say I like their stores! I will also say that I personally think that every homesteader whether you are "urban" or not should have a 6ft level. It is very useful when working on a big project. Course you should have a few different sized levels... but that's going off on a bit of a tangent.
Ok, now a few more steps along as you can see. First Silver used 4 pieces of the broken flat cinders from the first stove and placed them in the corners of the squares to hold it in place. Then he added rocks then covered it in gravel from the driveway.
Then he asked the kids to put a rock (remember all those rocks we dug up?) along the front to make it look nicer and to help prevent the clay from washing out. Which he then went back over their work and filled in or found better fitting rocks.
After that he went and added a layer of gravel to the "base" surface. Now the plan once it all "settles" and dries out... to put concrete dust over all the gravel and rock and wet it down to harden. This will give a nice firm base for the oven and make the stove base solid and hopefully the front with be secure. We are also hoping for the added benefit due to the gravel for there to be "rivulets" for water flow to go out when it does rain. the plan is to make the stove and oven water proof.
The plan for the start of the oven is to possibly use earth bags if we can find enough of those heavy duty feed bags that people don't want. In the past we have reused our's as garbage bags, but after watching many youtube video's on cob ovens we noticed the person who has done the most. Uses in almost all of his, for the base; earth bags. From what we have seen, based on youtube videos (which as I don't have books on cob I have to us youtube) this particular one is a semi-expert as his job is building a myriad of things with cob.
So that is what we have done so far and the "plan" for our first step on the oven. Will update as we do.
Be Well, Be Safe and Blessed Be...