Wood-fired oven recipes: Hameen Eggs

I don’t normally get excited about hard-boiled eggs, but these aren’t your normal fare. The color alone gives them a quality like deeply polished mahogany; the flavor is nutty and sweet; the texture of the white is firmer, while the yolk is softer. The trick is simply to boil them gently with onion skins, overnight, in the declining heat of your oven. Red onion skins give a deeper color — these were cooked with white onion skins.

I forget who got us started with these, but when I went looking on the web I found many references to “hameen” dishes — so-called simply because they were slow-cooked overnight to provide warm food on the Sabbath, when traditional Jews weren’t allowed to do any work at all — even adding water to a pot of soup, much less lighting a fire to warm a pot of stew — or eggs.…

Wood-fired earth ovens: experiments in DIY firebrick (aka “castable refractory”)

I’ve been experimenting with cheap ways to improve lo-cost wood-fired earthen ovens. How can I make mud denser, harder, and more durable? Without going to bricks and/or spending a lotta dough? Adding sand to mud reduces shrink and increases density. But clay and sand are generally still less dense (hold less heat) than a good, hi-fired dense firebrick. Hmmm…

Experimental Goals:

1. to increase the density and toughness of a clay/sand thermal mix appropriate for building wood-fired ovens (and other wood-fired appliances?), 2. to fabricate a higher quality cast dome (“earth-oven”) style oven. Strategies: 1. adjust the mix of particle sizes to maximize density, and 2.…

How to Make a Rocket Powered Kiln of Clay and Sawdust

Jon and Flip Anderson have been working with stoves and ovens for some years now (HPP regulars may remember their rocket powered oven design.) Last February, they helped teach at the Winter Stove Workshop put on by Aprovecho and InStove. Aprovecho Research Center (ARC) was consulting for Mercy Corps in East Timor, who had sent their Program Manager for Renewable Energy, Will Baron, who has responsibility for all programming related to energy, poverty, lighting, electricity, appropriate cooking technology and sustainable cooking fuels.

Mercy Corps’ East Timorese stove program imports stove components from China and trains locals to make and sell completed stoves as a business opportunity, and as a way to improve health and air quality and reduce deforestation.…

Some wooden bowls & spoons

So about a year and a half ago, I built a foot-powered lathe for turning bowls. It’s a very rough structure that works really really well. Power comes from your leg, pushing on a stick, which is tied to a string, which wraps around a mandrel, which spins a chunk of wood. Sticks, string, and two fixed points create the axis of rotation. Apply curved blades (on stix) to roughly round chunk, dig out a void until it’s smooth and beautifully hollow, remove a bowl. I still love carving wooden spoons, but there is something about the lathe. The design goes back thousands of years, originating with the spindle that gives us fire, and the spindle that gives us thread for weaving.…

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: http://www.doug-shafer.com/…

Spring 2013 News: Earth, Fire, Art…Music & Dreams!

Howdy, Happy, Spring!

Greetings, all! Here are new books (mine and others’), some interesting and/or worthwhile videos, and more stories (and pix) if you care to read on…

Make a Ray Jacobs Rocky Mountain Dulcimer: Build this Gorgeous sounding instrument from a 2×4, cardboard, & plywood. It’s cheap, beautiful, & east-to-build-and-play. By Kiko Denzer. FREE pdf here, $10 special color paperback here Satisfy the Image: The Wisdom of Your Dreams & Guided Imagery for Self-Balancing. By Ann Sayre Wiseman. FREE pdf here, $15 special color paperback here

Japan’s Clay Walls: A Glimpse into their Tradition of Plastering. By Emily Reynolds$18 special direct from the author.

UK Earth Oven Project to help Bedouins

Here’s a new oven story that popped up one day via Google Alerts. It comes from the founder of The Makhad Trust, a UK non-profit focused on helping Bedouin tribal desert communities. It began with the planting of an acacia tree in the desert and continues, in part, by restoring the communal hearth — an earth oven. The back story, as published on their website, follows:

“Danny Shmulevitch, the founder, was walking along an ancient pilgrim route that runs through the Sinai Desert. He saw, sitting by the side of the path, a small girl wearing traditional Bedouin dress, who was hoping to sell cans of cola to passing tourists.…

New Rocket Oven design by Flip and John

Jon and Flip Anderson have been working with Aprovecho Research Institute and building smokeless cookstoves in Haiti. They came up with this neat “rocket oven” design that answers some of the questions I get from folks about combining the dome oven design w/rocket technology. By simply using clay and organic matter and applying principles of mass and insulation they have created a beautiful, versatile, oven that can do significant baking w/very little fuel. For more about their work on developing business opportunities and helping with deforestation problems, goto www.RechoRoket.com. Here are a couple of their videos (they’re also working on a book!):

 

Gift books for Christmas: Make a Rocky Mountain Dulcimer

“In the end, we shall have had enough of cynicism, scepticism and humbug, and will want to live – more musically.” This quote (Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo), came to me from a friend, just before Christmas, 2012, as I was finishing this gift book about how to make a gorgeous-sounding 3-stringed instrument from scrap wood and cardboard. Details and story in the book, so more people can make their own music with their own neighbors. There’s an onscreen (pdf) version below, and a youtube video of Ray and Shirley playing for you. A $10, (full color!) paper version is also available from the bookstore. For the free download, click here.…