Monday, July 21, 2008

Brrrr, its cold outside

We have been having some really cold although often quite beautiful days (not including today!) lately. Whem its fine but icy cold the view is just magnificent at the farm. From here we can see Wilson's Promontory, to the south east but also Western Port Bay to the west.

The wattles are about to flower, and the daffodils are popping out of the ground again (there once was an old house on this property and around here where there were houses there are daffodils) - this year I want to dig some of them up to transplant around the new garden beds I'm working on.

We have been working on the pizza oven again. Yesterday we applied a layer of clay, sand and straw, which ended up being about 5-10cm thick (2-4in). The straw is supposed to act as an insulating layer, as well as helping to reinforce the mud. We also dug out the sand mold from inside the dome, and thankfully it didn't collapse!!!

Cows 'broke into' our place last week, and thankfully didn't destroy the oven - they actually ran up next to it, and scuffed the surface!!! It could have been a disaster. For some reason around here nobody seems to care if their cattle are roaming about on other people's land (the same can't be said about goats, as my neighbour called me at 7:30am to let me know about our old goat Cookie wandering about in his paddock...). This last mob of cows destroyed the drains on the shed site (where we are going to build a strawbale or mudbrick shed/office), so since all the rain we have had has become a bog... They also ate more trees and generally made a mess. I used to love cows, but I am starting to lose patience with their destructive ways.

Crafts around here are mostly in the relm of my imagination. Our little girl just does not sleep much. No day naps (she gave those up almost 6 months ago) and goes to bed not much earlier than I do and wakes us up in the morning with demands for 'honey toast'. I am still spinning most nights for an hour if I am lucky, so it takes me about a week to spin 2 bobbins and ply them, but some progress is still better than none - right?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun with mud

Well, typical to our methods we have gone off and started a new project (we have been working on our other started projects too!). We decided to make a mud pizza oven for our daughter's birthday in mid august. On saturday we mixed up the first layer of clay to put over the oven. It was fun and a bit of a practice run for when we start making mudbricks for the house.

First we built a dome out of sand and shaped it how we want the oven to be.

Then we mixed clay, sand and water on a big sheet of plastic, till it changed consistency.

Next we applied the clay mix to the sand dome, which we had covered in wet newspaper. Our mix was a bit wet, so we were not able to apply it like little bricks.

This first layer ended up being about 2-2.5cm (an inch) thick.

We will add another layer of clay of a similar thickness after a week or so. After the photo was taken we put finger indents all over the surface to help the next layer stick, and also increase the surface area so that it will dry better. Then there will be a thick layer of clay, sand and straw, and then a render. Once its fairly dry we can dig out the sand, and hope that the whole thing wont cave in.... Then it'll be yummy wood fired pizzas every weekend (until the novelty wears off!).

Not much crafting lately. Have spun and plyed 2 bobbins worth of grey mohair that was given to me, and have been contemplating doing some dyeing. But the garden is calling to me, despite the horrible weather today. Now I had better go and take the dog for a walk...