After months of drought, last Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning we got 1.79 inches of rain within about 6 hours — the tail end of Hurricane Linda.
Long story short, the Oven was uncovered during a severe downpour, and the Oven has suffered damage.
It was the “perfect storm”: our volunteer crew didn’t have a designated resposible person, so the Oven did not get covered. The storm was surprisingly severe (I had been expecting a light drizzle). And our plan — if we had covered the Oven — would have been to move a pop-up over it, but the rain was so severe that the pop-up got shredded, so it wouldn’t have done much good even if we had put it in place.
In several places many layers of the cob coating fell away, all the way back to exposing the adobe bricks.
In a few places, the lovely sculptural curves created by Beth Ann Morrison now have chunks missing.
The dome is intact (thank goodness!) however its top coat has taken a pounding, and will need a new finish coat.
And all the lovely ceramic coloring will need reworking (although we had been planning to redo this anyway).
Right now our proud Oven looks a bit homely, with a shaggy-dog appearance. We hope to get it patched up soon, and get back on track for community baking events.
Meanwhile, we’re learning that a cob oven is like a living breathing thing, that it requires love, devotion and care — and that already it is bringing people together again and again.