Thursday, July 16, 2009
Built in 2004 as a how-the-heck-do-you-build-with-cob project, this oven was used for cooking, but never very much. The logistics of finding and storing wood in the cramped environs of the city (being careful to keep it away from the neighbouring fence, less we be accused of hastening the fence's demise), and of planning a roster of food to make good use of the eight hours or so of hot oven, were often overwhelming, so we usually opted for the peace and ease of our indoor oven.
We did have a couple of great parties with pizzas and pies hot from the oven, and I have fond memories of sitting mesmerized in front of the fire, watching the flames swoop across the top of the interior and flick tongues of fire right up the chimney.
My mom and I broke apart the oven in June of 2009, with extra help from a friend. I then took most of the resulting soil, dragged it down two steps, through a gate (don't let the gate bang on John's house!), and around to the front, and used it to create a sheet mulch garden at our neighbour's house. It took me most of three days to move all that material by bucket and dolly; a pile still remains. It is astonishing to me that I moved much of the clay and some of the foundation stones for the project using my bicycle and bike trailer. No wonder the oven took four months to build.
The cob wall at Dufferin Grove Park is entering its fourth summer. Each year, we (me at first, and now mostly staff) assess the wall's condition in the spring, making plans to repair damage caused by weather and vandalism. This year, it was decided that repairs to the fireplace portion of the wall were proving too onerous to be sustainable. It has now been deconstructed, and in its place will go a continuation of the wall on either side.