Cob repair days – March and April

20160423_121558(1)Want to play in the mud? Are you interested in building with cob? (straw + mud combination, a sustainable building method) A small team will be repairing the Westchester Community Oven during selected workdays in March and April.

Damage to the Oven

During one of the fierce January storms, high winds lifted the rain tarp and the Oven was exposed to a downpour.

Cactus juice preservative for the cob oven

opuntia juiceI’m “cooking up” a batch of Opuntia juice preservative.  It is a traditional weather coating used on adobe and cob structures.  We will be adding it to the final coat on the Westchester Community Oven when we re-surface it next weekend.

I had to post this because it is absolutely a frightful color of green.  No filters in that photo!

To make the preservative, you finely mince or puree cactus pads (Opuntia species, better known as prickly pear, or “nopales”), which yields a goopey green glop.  Then you pour this into a 5-gallon bucket of water, at which point it doesn’t mix with water right away, so it really looks like Shrek had a horrible head-cold.   

Adobe Brick-making Success!

Adobe Brick Making at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, May 2015

Adobe Brick Making at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, May 2015

This past Saturday, we had LOTS of fun making adobe bricks at the Community Garden.

Kids, both small and tall, got to experience squishy-squashy mud.  It is so tactile and cool and smooth, and once you start, you just can’t get enough of it!

Asphalt Demolition Party – April 25

What’s your opinion about asphalt, really?  Wouldn’t you love to be there as nearly 1000square foot of it meets its demise?

Too much stress at work, or school?  Frustrated with insufficient action on political issues? Wouldn’t you love to take out your frustrations on some lowly asphalt?

On Saturday, April 25, we’ll be removing asphalt to make way for the new Westchester Community Oven.  And we’re going to make it a party!

Cob Oven workshop – June 6,7,13,14

Earthen ovens are cheap to build, fun to use, and provide a baking environment that is impossible to recreate in the kitchen.

Ben Loescher will conduct a 4-day hands-on workshop this June, to teach you how to make your own earthen oven. Ben has built dozens of these ovens, and has great expertise in both adobe construction and earthen plasters and finishes. You will leave the class with the knowledge necessary to build an oven of your own, with materials that you may already have in your yard.

It’s part of the Westchester Community Oven project. The 4-day class is suitable for bakers, building professionals and do-it-your-selfers, and is a great introduction to the adobe construction and earthen plasters (which are covered in more depth in AdobeIsNotSoftware’s other classes).

Adobe Brickmaking hands-on workshop – May 9, May 16

This Earth Day, get in touch with Adobe.  California schoolchildren learn about it in 4th grade when they study the Missions.  But did you know it’s part of the cutting edge of sustainable architecture and building with local materials.

On May 9 or May 16, get your hands muddy and have a lot of fun as we make Adobe Bricks to be used in building the Community Bread Oven.

This hands-on, get messy workshop is free and open to ALL AGES, and we are told by veteran adobe makers that grade-school children are REALLY GOOD AT IT!  So please bring your whole family for head-to-toes fun learning!

Artisan Bread Tasting (and raffle!)

IMG_20150110_193516Imagine: hand-baked artisan bread, fresh from the oven.  Would you like to sample a diverse assortment of flavors and textures?

…and enjoy a fun afternoon with great company?  …and possibly WIN special loaves to take home? …or win the 50/50 pot at the raffle!

Come to the Artisan Bread Tasting (and raffle) on March 15.  It’s a fun-raiser for the Community Oven project we’re building at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity.