Earth Oven builders in Ecuador (Manuel (10), Juan Carlos (6))

A builder in Alaska sent me this story about an earth oven she built in Ecuador, with two helpers. At the ages of 10 and 6, they are clearly competent. Margaret writes:

Winters in Kodiak were beginning to get to me. I had it in mind to snow goose it away in a warmer climate for the coldest, darkest part of winter. Alan and his girlfriend, Loretta were due to get married on their farm [in Ecuador]. They invited me to the wedding. And so I went.

I had always said to Allan that if I did ever get to Ecuador then I would build them an oven.…

Cardboard dulcimers at summer Camp

Thanks to the folks at Farm and Wilderness camps, here’s a lovely video of one of the campers and his new “axe,” and more pix of music-making campers on FB, here.

To make your own, download a pdf of the book, Make a Ray Jacobs Rocky Mountain Dulcimer, here. The paper version is on sale through the HP bookstore.

My brother went to the Farm & Wilderness Camps in Vermont when he was a kid. Now his daughter is the camper, he helps out teaching woodwork. I sent him the dulcimer book, and he helped about a dozen musicians make their own instruments, not just campers, but counselors as well.…

beautiful kazoo

Doug Shafer was playing his guitar at the Portland airport this summer, on that rare day I got on a plane to goto CA (for a day! to build an oven for a writer at Sunset, but that’s another story). I stopped to listen and talk. He had these beautiful little kazoos for sale, hand made from a small piece of bamboo, some duct tape, and a piece of an old plastic bag — beautiful! He sold ’em for about $5. A deal not to pass up. Doug’s website:…

Hug Hut at Muddy Creek School, Philomath

Muddy Creek charter school in Philomath commissioned this mud project as the initial step in creating an “outdoor classroom.” All 60 kids, K-5, participated in 2 days of playdough brainstorming and design, and six days of mud. Parents and neighbors contributed random prunings of willow, fruitwood, and forsythia that we wove into a rough hut; the mud came up out of a hole in the ground, and we ended up making a lovely cob bench and this “hug hut.”

The hut was designed to “last” for just one winter, and then get torn down so new students could make their own — instead of taking care of someone else’s work.…

Hawaiian School Garden oven

Mud ovens in Hawaii:

“These bricks, stacked and left to dry for about 2.5 weeks, are the start of a future earth oven at the campus’ Ulumau School Garden. The oven will be used by HPA (Hawaii Preparatory Academy) students, staff and their ohana to bake breads and pizzas, as well as to cook vegetables grown on site, said Koh Ming Wei, HPA’s sustainability curriculum facilitator.”

“HPA’s Hawaiian studies teacher Kuwalu Anakalea appreciated how the process included everyone’s mana. For her, the oven will serve more than tantalizing delectables. It cooks up a sense of community and value for building techniques by indigenous cultures, she said.”…

Dig Your Hands in the Dirt — More!: a collection of stories

For a collection of stories to follow-up/add on to Dig Your Hands in the Dirt, take a look at this site, put together by Georgie Donais, which includes stories from:

Bill & Athena Steen Candy Vanderhoff Daniel Frenkel/Chelsea Sprauer Ed Raduazo Georgie Donais Janine Björnson jonah vitale-wolff Kat Sawyer Kiko Denzer Nobuho Nagasawa Rainer Warzecha Sasha Rabin PROJECT stories include: Albany Free School oven Always Becoming Bambo Dome Beauty and utility Dufferin Grove Park Earthworks Projects Introduction/afterword Makunaima Poetry Bench Portable cob White Crane Springs Community Garden Woodburn High School CONTRIBUTORS’ WEBSITES Always Becoming, Washington City Repair, Portland Cob in the park, Toronto Interglotz eARThworks, Berlin Nobuho Nagasawa’s Earthworks Rebuilding Together, San Francisco OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST Poetry bench Djenne: West Africa’s Eternal City Gran quivira oven Arrested Development: inspired the book’s title Hand Print Press…

Lily Gordon, 16, helps build ovens in Tanzania

David S. Cargo, who assembles info about community ovens for the St. Paul Bread Club sent me a link about Lily Gordon, a remarkable young woman, now 16, who has been helping villagers in Tanzania to build ovens so they can make their own bread (previously, bread had to be transported from so far that it would often be inedible when it arrived).

At the age of 11, Lily Gordon started raising funds for the village of Shirati, Tanzania. For her 11th birthday, instead of gifts, she asked her friends to bring money for the children of Shirati. The party raised $1,300.…

New Community Oven in New Jersey

HANDS stands for Housing and Neighborhood Development Services. They work out of Orange, New Jersey to try and reclaim dilapidated houses and other “eyesore properties,” and return them to the neighborhood as affordable homes and community assets. They also work with individual people and neighborhoods, and are creating an Arts District in a former industrial area called the Valley. A recent Google Alert brought in notice of a new community oven they built, and the following story from their quarterly report:

It started as a dream idea of our Executive Director, Pat Morrissy: “Let’s build a community outdoor, wood fired oven where people can bring bread and pizza dough to bake together outside!” The idea caught on and the Earth Oven was begun.

Paper from Vegetable Fiber

This is one example of many projects found in the book The Best of Making Things – A Hand Book of Creative Discovery. Find out more about the book!

You wil need: 8 strips of wooden lath (or cut a wooden yardstick) – small nails – hammer – window screening – staple gun – dry vegetable fibers (such as corn husks, onion skins, celery strings, sawdust, weeds, or straw) – scissors -blender – paper towels, napkins, paper bags, newspaper or tissue – dishpan – newspaper – sponge – iron.

Make 2 wooden frames the same size (any size that fits in a dishpan).…