Tag: permaculture

Earth Pizza Oven

Nearly everyone loves pizza and making your own oven makes it that bit more special. You can buy an oven for thousands but it’s much more fun to make your own, using materials lying around and with minimal impact on the earth.

Here’s how we made our oven in the garden, all for under £20. We’ve wanted to do this for years and we’re loving it now its finally been made.

Here’s a rough guide for anyone who wants to have a go at doing it yourself. Just to inspire inspiration and imagination

A word on Cob.permaculture cob making

Cob is a mixture of sandy-sub soil, clay and straw. It is mixed by crushing it all together; in our case jumping up
and down on it, but it can be done with a digger. Animals in the past were used to mix the Cob hence the name Cob horse. Cob has been used to make houses, barns, walls, etc. some are still standing strong today. We have a Cob barn here at Kent’s which is a beaut of a building. Some of the positives of using Cob are that it’s insulating, and fun and easy to work with, hence why its used for pizza ovens. I’ts also breathable and flexes with heat.

The basic mix is 2 parts sand: 1 part clay: 1/2 straw and water. Mix on a tarp and get dancing.

 

The Basic Run Down

Tyre pizza oven baseBase – Made of bricks, breeze blocks, railway sleepers, cob, cob and rocks or anything you can think of really.

We used old tyres stacked on top of each other then put cob in between and on top. In each layer we put old glass bottles, smashed up bricks and other bits of rubbish that we could hide in there. Using glass bottles under the oven floor also helps insulate it further.

Oven Floor – Ideally made from fire bricks but you could use a big slab of rock or normal bricks

We placed some normal bricks on top of the tyres, this was to protect them from the heat of the fire. We put a thick piece of ply wood we had lying around on top of the tyres so that we had a flat base for the bricks. Then we put a layer of sand then the fire bricks. The fire bricks we got from an old fireplace. Ideally you would use new ones so that they fit tighter together but old ones will work. Now the oven is ready for the dome!

The Oven/Dome – Made from Cob (Straw, clay and sand)

Here’s where building sandcastles as a child really payed off. Using sand and water we made a dome as a former or mould for the cob. We then put wet newspaper over the sand, so that we knew when to stop when removing the sand later .

First layer – About 4″ thick, we made up cob balls and had a bit of a cob ball fight and practiced our throwing and catching skills. Building from the bottom up and over the sand castle we made our first layer then left it for a couple of days to dry. Then we cut out the hole for the doorway and removed the sand.cob pizza oven newspaper

Second and insulation Layer –  This layer was much the same but h
ad more straw and some sawdust in the layer for added insulation, its all about keeping that heat in with an oven like this!

Third Layer – This layer was much like the first layer just to further protect and insulate the oven.

Archway Entrance and Chimney – Bricks Cob and Gas flue pipe, you could use an old terracotta plant pot or any other tube like thing that can withstand heat.

We made this part as an afterthought, it’s not essential but makes the oven run smoother and looks great. We had to make an extension to the front using some thick slabs of wood and a couple of fence posts. We then put some more bricks on top using cob below to keep them in sunset pizza ovenplace. We made a former here from some plywood, just drawing the size of arch we wanted, then cutting it out with a jigsaw. We used 2 pieces of wood then nailed them together so that the brick archway could rest on top. We placed the ply former in the doorway then started to build the bricks into an arch using the cob to stick them all together. Then we filled in around the archway and linked the doorway to the main oven putting a piece of old gas flue pipe in as a chimney.

For about a week we started small fires in the oven every couple of days and once it was dry we fired it up for the first time.

 

After about a month we lime rendered the oven to protect it from the Cornish winter. You could make a clay plaster or use old tiles to create a mosaic

 

Hope this inspires some new Pizza enthusiasts out there. Once we’ve nailed the right dough recipe we’ll put that up to.

 

 

pizza

 

 

New Arrivals at Kents

NEW DUCKLINGS AND A CHICKDucks free runa

We have some new faces at Kents, Debbie the duck who we hatched ourselves in an incubator has become a first time mother! She spent 1 month in the bDebs on Eggsushes and surprised us all when she led 5 healthy ducklings to water 1 day earlier than expected. Debbie being a runner duck notoriously known for being terrible mothers,was certainly a bit wild, spending often up to an hour off her eggs and quacking and sprinting all over the garden. So when she led her ducklings to water, them all less than 24 hours old we were happy for her. She is now smashing her runner duck reputation out the window by being an amazing mother teaching her young all the ducky things needed in life.
Blue Legs another of our own incubated chickens was sitting on eggs at the same time, however starting with 10 eggs she has slowly been rejecting her eggs kicking one out one day then eating one the other. We were not hopeful. Hatching day came around and blue legs was down to just 4 eggs. She came down from her run to have a bite to eat and we saw one of her battered eggs with a crack in it! Over the following few hours she managed to hatch just the one sole survivor. At first she was very confused as to what the little white fluff ball was doing under her so she gave her a few pecks. Now however shes joined Debbie in the mothers club and is teaching her chick the ways of the chicken!

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Chicken Heights

The chickens now have a new ‘tree house’ home out in the Orchard. The house is built up on legs with a rickety ladder. The idea being that the chickens can go up and down but a fox can’t. So they will be able to come and go as they please without needing to be let out every morning and shut in at night. The chickens (and Toulouse the goose) will also keep the weeds and grass down around the young trees, provide fertiliser and eat the bugs, which means fewer pests for the fruit trees. They have taken a little bit of encouragement to get used to the ladder. Here’s Lucky the hen heading to bed for her first time up the ladder, as the sun sets and the sea mist rolls in over the fields.

chicken heights

The final tree being planted

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We’ve planted all the trees. Thanks so much to all our friends, family and our lovely volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without you! Now they all need mulching, staking and tree guards.
We’ve planted 100 oak, plus maple, sweet chestnut, walnut, silver birch, scots pine, blackthorn, hazel, crab apple, wild cherry, small leaved lime, rowan, spindle, dog rose and alder.

We’re in Permaculture Magazine

 We’re super excited to be featured in this season’s issue of Permaculture Magazine. The article is all about how we designed and built our wood fired rocket stove hot tub! With full instructions on how to build your own. You can donwload it or order a copy here.

article

 

Chicken Rescue

 Here are our newly rescued ex-battery hens, thanks to the Hens Welfare Trust. Looking a bit mangey but hopefully they’ll soon recover and be ready to go outside for the first time :)
The factory farms ‘dispose’ of the hens when they are a year old as they become less than 100% efficient. The lucky ones are collected by the welfare trust and re-homed. If you want to read more about it or you’re up for rescuing some hens check out their site here.

hens