Time to make the pizza

We took a nice walk in the woods last week to Boreas Pond. The road was washed out in the same storm that knocked out our bridge. This meant we had to walk the whole 13.5 miles round trip. It was a beautiful day, so why not?

At the pond, we were greeted by circles of ice and a zeppelin cloud floating overhead. We enjoyed lunch and napped before heading out. The ice and snow we had to contend with on the way in had melted but we were no faster leaving. Couldn’t make a pizza that night because it takes a couple of hours to get the embers just right and the oven hot enough.

It will be a beautiful place to explore by kayak next year if we don’t have to portage the 13 miles!

Last night I made pizza in the oven I built a few years ago. Nothing better. Sun sets at 4:30 so I cooked by headlamp and may have been a little giddy.

The pizza cooks in 90 seconds and is fun to watch. I used my telescope while I waited for the fire to be ready.

Actually I was making sure the whole structure didn’t burn down because flames were licking the outside of the oven. I have a laser thermometer and although the oven floor was 800 degrees f, the roof didn’t get hotter than 140.

One day I will line up things to bake: bread, pie, roast, with one fire. One day.

So many new skills

I hardly have time to apply the old ones. My holiday crafting is officially over. Now I am only left with: a birthday quilt, with only a small amount of binding to be sewn; new baby and sibling gifts; a wedding afghan; leggings for painters; two bathing suits for me; and recover a set of boat cushions. Then it will all be about travel projects for out next trip to lovely Deal Island!

Tim gave me a refresher course in the chain saw and I have been cutting the wood down to size for the wood stove and splitting it. My only two compaints are the chainsaw is a little heavy and I need a girlie chainsaw helmet with ear protectors. Tim’s tends to slide down over my eyes. Could be a problem.

Next up are my mad plumbing skills. I replaced our kitchen faucet. Kohler boasts it should be a homeowner project easily completed in under an hour. I guess that would be the case if all the parts worked. But alas, I resorted to eBay and two parts were defective. How did I know this? After my first installation and trial, we had a fountain in the kitchen. At least the plants on the windowsill got watered. After many false starts – under the sink, turn the water off, try something else, turn on the water – drip, drip, drip, I identified the culprits. Luckily I still had the old parts and with them installed, the faucet now works beautifully. There may have been some cursing under the sink in the process.

Yesterday I got to use the snowblower because we had about 4 inches of snow. That got me thinking about organizing the garage. And go to the dump. When Tim mentioned his piano needed “voicing” I put my foot down. I’ve had a lot of days at home and about and have really enjoyed them. We went for a walk at Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. Lovely trails – with micro spikes – and beautiful views.

Here are some shots from closer to home. Iron mountain looked lovely down our road, covered in snow.

And my poor little pizza oven sits across the driveway, unused and looking lonely. I painted a face on the door so when I look at it, it looks back at me. Next summer…

Pizza oven #2

I built the base and made my first attempt in 2016. I wrote about it here. While the base is a little wonky, it is strong and survived even though the first oven did not. I built it too late in the season and there were freezing temperatures at night. So the water never evaporated, it froze and then when I warmed it up, probably too quickly, it melted and the whole thing collapsed. The project was like childbirth. It took me a couple of years before I was ready to try it again. But I waited for the hottest day of the year and tackled it again, with a few modifications. But the sun pointed to my mound of sand and told me it was time to start.

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Tim built a beautiful roof. Now it is protected from rain and snow and provides shelter for the chef and a place to bang your head for the pizza oven builder. Rather than dig the sand and clay again, I bought it. And I added cement, I don’t think I could bear to see the whole thing crumble again.

I began with relaying the fire bricks that make up the floor in a bed of sand. Then I built a mound of sand on top, 22″ diameter, 16″ high in the back and 10″ in the front. Next I covered the sand with wet newspaper. Very much like paper mache’ projects. In theory, once the oven dries around the mound, I will be able to scoop out the sand and paper and be left with a pizza oven.

The recipe was 1.5 parts Portland cement; 2 parts Hawthorne Clay from Sheffield pottery; 2 parts silica; and 2 parts wood shavings that had been soaked in water. It was from delftclay.co.nz

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I made it in small batches so I could adjust if it was too wet or dry. I mixed the dry ingredients, sprinkled some water and then kneaded with my hands. I probably made at least 30 batches!! I’m a little broken today. But I digress.

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This is probably a project best done with a crowd that likes to make mud pies. If I have to do it again, I will buy an oven. But, for now I will have to wait and see. Anticipation!

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