|The wrong day to wear the Anthropologie tank top.|
On Saturday as Owen and I were leaving for the cob oven-building workshop, my husband said, "I hope it isn't too much fun. I really don't want you to build an oven in our yard."
He said it kindly. I think he knows he's playing a thankless but necessary role in the sitcom of our marriage. I think he deserves an Emmy.
The workshop was held in a mysterious new art/garden/sustainable living center a mile from our house. I don't understand the business plan at all, but they now have a fabulous new oven courtesy of our workshop. Is that the business plan? People pay for workshops in which they build the center's infrastructure? Shrewd! In a few days the clay will be dry, they'll scoop out the sand, coat it with plaster, fire up the oven to 800 degrees F, and start baking phenomenal pizzas.
|The plank-topped platform in back is what we started with.|
As to the oven, "cob" is the old English word for durable, sustainable earthen material that was once widely used in construction. I dislike the word "cob." I don't know why. What to call a cob oven if you dislike the word "cob?" "Earth" sounds sanctimonious. "Mud" sounds dumpy. Clay?
In any case, we mixed a lot of cob, stomping to a Pandora station that played folksy songs in Spanish.
|Owen and some other cats mixing cob.|
We made a round, hollow base for the oven that we filled with empty Jim Beam and kombucha bottles.
|I dutifully opened a bottle of wine last night to use in our oven.|
Over the brick floor, we mounded a dome of damp sand.
|We smoothed it out a lot after this photo was taken.|
Somehow, by the end of the day, we had this.
|Just like my mother, Owen has a passion for clay.|
There are many, many details I couldn't write down because my hands were covered with cob and just a day later I can't remember them. What ratio of sand to clay for the base? For the dome? How much? Mix it until its the texture of oatmeal? Or a milkshake? Etc. I wish I had a recipe, but I guess I'll figure it out as we go along. I have a lot of regular work this week, but Owen and I are going to forge ahead, try to get something done on the oven, however small, every day.