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Mom's Oven

Last year my mother asked her children to construct an outdoor oven using the clay soil on the property. My younger brother Simon spearheaded the project, doing research into construction of cob ovens, and spending extra time at the property preparing the area and materials.

August 2010 Work-Day:


Simon with nieces Emily and Clarista.

An important part of any work party is the soundtrack...


Especially if you are mixing mud with feet!

cob oven construction mixing mud

Myself with younger sisters Alicia and Erica with Simon in the background on drums.

cob oven construction mud cob oven construction

The circular stone base contains gravel fill, layers of mud, a layer of glass bottles, more mud, and a layer of fire brick.

cob oven construction glass bottles

November 2010 Work-Day and Scorpio (Dad and I) birthday celebration:

cob oven construction mixing mud

Missy (Rochana's BFF), my niece Bella, and sister Rochana mix sawdust and sand into clay and water with their feet while sister Erica and her man David stand by.

cob oven construction

Simon applies a layer of mud on the oven. The inside of the dome was formed with sand, then newspaper, covered with multiple layers of mud.

washing feet

Rochana and Bella washing the mud from their feet.

June 2011 Work-Day and belated Father's day celebration:

mom and dad coffee and flowers

Before getting started on the oven work, dad and mom at their appropriate tasks: coffee making and flower arranging.

cob oven lizard

The oven as we left it to dry after the last work-day. The dimples were made by fingers to help the next layer stick. To prepare for this work-day, the sand was scrapped out from the inside leaving a hollow, open oven chamber. A lizard basks on the top.

three sisters mixing mud

Three reverend sisters mixing mud (Photo by Hamilton). The incantation: "On this day and in this hour we call upon the ancient powers to bless this earth beneath our feet that will bake healthy food to eat"...


Hamilton, Simon, and Mom mixing sand, straw, and mud.

cob oven construction

Two photos of me (taken by Rochana) using a board to shape and smooth the final cob layer.

cob oven construction spiral drawing

The trick to drawing spirals is to attach the drawing implement (a nail in this case) to the end of a line wound around a cylindrical stick. Hold the stick still and unwind as you draw.

cob oven construction

Simon and the rest of the team put on decorative cob spirals Mom and I rolled out. Alicia brought us a feast, including tuna, chicken, and steak Dad BBQed, fruit salad and potatoes, to eat as we worked.

cob oven construction

Dad checks the sound inside the oven.

cob oven construction cob oven construction

Finished except for a protective coat of glaze or paint to be applied after it's dried and a door to be made, on another day.... A fire was lit inside to burn off the newspaper.

cob oven construction cob cob oven construction

alicia (7), arianna (27), cob (1), dad (7), david (1), erica (7), family (35), fire (3), hamilton (4), missy (1), mom (9), mud (1), oven (1), potter-valley (65), rochana (5), simon (4)

Degree (56)

Comments (1)

That is so SWEET! When are we gonna make pizzas? ;-)

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