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Hirtenstraße 19, 10178 Berlin, Germany
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ouroffice@vangard.com

The Cob Oven: Version 1.0

I have been wanting to make a cob oven for what seems like forever. I don’t even know how they got on my radar to tell you the truth, but the idea had taken root into my brain and I COULD NOT GET IT OUT.

The theme of this project was “Damn…I can’t believe that worked!”

Until it didn’t, of course.concrete_counter

The first step was to build a mold out of melamine to cast my concrete “counter top” base.
foundation
This counter was then placed on a foundation built out of cinder blocks. Eventually I will put stone veneer to cover the cinderblock to make it look pretty.

bucketsofclay

A friend of mine lives on a piece of property that is right on the water, and her soil is really heavy clay*. She just happened to have a big plie of it laying in her yard that she needed to get rid of so I helped her out and loaded up seven buckets of the stuff.

stompin_clay

The hardest part of this project was stomping the clay. My legs were so sore!

sandform

An insulation layer was put down and then a layer of fire bricks. Sand was mounded to make the form for the oven.
clay_layer

The first layer of cob was applied, which was comprised of sand, straw and the clay. Looking back on this now, I realize that I didn’t add nearly enough sand. My soil is “fat” which means it has really heavy clay content (it’s super sticky) and I needed to have like a one-part clay and three-parts sand to make sure that when the cob doesn’t shrink too much when it dries.

finishedoven

Not too bad, eh? Looks pretty good at this point. Too bad it didn’t stay that way! Another thing I did wrong was to leave the oven uncovered as it was drying in the hot sun. I was thinking that the heat would help, but I realize that clay needs to dry slowly to minimize shrinking, which can cause….you guessed it….CRACKS!

cobovencracks

Bummer. However, being all Glass-Have-Full like I am, I am thinking of this as a test run. I learned a lot with version 1.0 and I think that will only make version 2.0 even better! Pizza will just have to wait a little while longer.

Garden Update

garden_backview

garden_front

How’s your garden growing? Mine looks so lush right now and I am loving it! I’ve let the leeks I planted last year go to flower and I can’t wait till they open. I’m going to try to save seeds. I’ve got garlic scapes that I NEED TO HARVEST. I keep forgetting and I don’t want THOSE to flower. One of my favorite things is to see what has reseeded from last year. I have a poppies coming up in the middle of the beds, DILL EVERYWHERE and mustard flowering all over the place. I need to plant more carrots, beets, and beans. And then there’s the weeding…always with the weeding…

HELLO?

Helllooooo…

Funny how in my last post I’m all like “I’m going to blog MORE!” and then totally disappeared. What the hell? I suppose I need to work on blogging about stuff as it’s happening as opposed to storing it up and then vomiting all out at once.  Baby steps!

THE AWESOME:

I started working with Sherold Barr, an amazing and wonderful business coach I met at The Blogcademy back in March to help me get my butt in gear and start my own business. I’m super inspired and am doing a lot of work and prototyping and brainstorming and drawing and my goal is to have stuff on Etsy in October. Creating is hard work.

ArtingitUp

THE NOT SO AWSOME

I got clocked in the head with the little plastic bead that is on resistance bands when the door I was using popped open as I had the band pulled back ALL THE WAY. I ended up in the ER getting my head stapled back together. That took me out for like a week and a half. Working out is hard work.

BloodontheSneakers

MORE AWESOME:

I got my herb beds built and filled with soild and have started building my cobb oven! I cast a concrete counter and it WORKED. I harvested arugula last night for some pesto and I have all kinds of starts I need to get in the ground.  My back is killing me…Gardening is hard work.

Gardening

NOT ALL THAT AWESOME:

I’ve been sewing like crazy and pretty much wasted a bunch of time on this vintage halter pattern before coming to the realization that just would never wear something like this. Sorta sad, but sorta freeing. Self-actualization is hard work.

HalterPatter

So…to sum up: I’ve been working hard. But! At least I’ve been documenting it. What have you been up to?