..or Mud Oven Adventure part One.
Actually we are going to start in the middle. The camera batteries died before I could download the first pictures. This happens with regularity, it seems. Want to blog? Batteries die.
I am still recovering from making this darn oven. Not because it was difficult. It is hard physical labour but not rocket science. The hard part was the physical labour in the heat (34'C) and humidity( 40'C) The foundation took much longer to finish than I anticipated and so we didn't start to build the actual oven until yesterday. So I will skip right over the foundation part for now and get right to where we started yesterday (where the pictures start)
The sand dome. The kids were enthusiastic at first. It was like building a sand castle. One that took 1 .5 hours to build , mind you. I heard a lot of, " It's got to be big enough now, measure again." and " When are we going to go to the pool - you promised!" I'm sure there are child labour laws against this sort of work in the heat but no one was going to the pool until the 1st layer was on. Besides, the sand dome had to stay wet so we were committed to continue. I did give them ample break for lunch and cooling off in the AC, this is no Charles Dickens tale, after all.
Mixing the mud was a less enthusiastic dance than the book describes. Mostly twisting of feet, getting hosed off periodically. It was too hot to boogie. This was the only part of the excercise that I was unsure of - the mud mix, getting the percentage of clay to sand right. The bought sand ( yes we live at the lake and we bought sand, ours was the wrong consistency) ended up being totally unpackable. We ended up using the sand from my neighbour's renovation, the stuff the builder's had dug out of her backyard for a new foundation - pure sand.
I wasn't totally satisfied with the consistency of the mud mix but we were getting too hot and frustrated and just got the job done. It was 5:30 when we finished; we were sweaty, dirty, and tired and hungry. I'm still not sure that it's right. Only a little more drying time will tell. I may have to add more clay and start over. It seemed way too sandy. But right now I can't face the thought until the heat is over ( when? when?) Sorry for the short Reader's Digest version. When complete and fully pictured, I will set up a gallery in the sidebar. Oh, here's one last photo. The ' feline project foreman" had the right idea about how to spend the day. And after dinner, we finally did get to the pool. Today, I'll do something that requires relatively little movement in the heat, maybe knitting.