Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dream Farm Item #1 - A Cob Oven

As I've begun developing my blog and reflecting on my life I've realized that it's time to start thinking about owning a small farm one day.  Nothin' crazy, just a little parcel of land where I can grow some veggies, raise some chickens/sheep/pigs, and make some bread.  This blog not only gives me space to learn the skills I'll need to operate my little farm, but also gives me dreaming room.

If there is one thing I like to do it is dream.

And plan.

So here is the start of my farm dream-plan.

My inspiration: Building a cob bench in Robson Park with a lovely group of people.

I am a member of the Vancouver Society of Storytelling, and as part of an initiative called Elemental, I took part in the building of a cob bench in a local park.  Cob is clay, sand and straw that is mashed up and then packed onto a stone foundation.


A large heart stone lying at the centre of the bench foundation.


Mmmm... clay.

The clay acts like cement and binds the mixture, while the straw is kinda like natural rebar - reinforcing the mix.  Once the cob is packed and sculpted into place, it is left to dry and then covered in plaster.  It is an ancient form of building but is still used all over the world in developing and developed countries.  I learned all about cob from the Mud Girls, a group of lovely ladies dedicated to furthering natural building.


Stomping and mashing the straw into the sand and clay.

It was an awesome experience.  Cob is messy and hands-on.  Getting a community together to spread the work around is essential, and a whole lot of fun.  I left the two days of building feeling my sustainability journey deepening, perhaps in the direction of a cob house eventually.

While I'm not quite ready to commit to moving into a mud hut, I am ready to dream-plan about building myself a cob oven one day.

Check out this link on Sourdough Companion for an example of a finished cob oven.  A guy at the build mentioned that he was going to build a cob oven this summer so I am going to get in contact with him so that I can document the process. 

My love affair with natural building begins...

PS I will be posting a picture of the finished bench but it needs to be plastered once it dries so check back!

2 comments:

  1. I also find it good to have cob oven instead of the modern ones, because it cooks better than that former. Plus, it heightens the country-living feel of the farmhouse. So, how are things going now? I hope you're enjoying the simple life in your farm. All the best!

    Darren Lanphere @ Mirr Ranch Group

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