The Cob Project, and Nature at the U

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Today, I thought I would post on the progress of my cob oven in the back, as well as the wildlife that currently lives up around the Annex building at the University of Utah.

The Oven Project
As promised, here are the pictures! The project is coming along nicely, and has some higher walls than it shows in the picture. The arch still isn't complete, but we will see what I can get done this weekend. You may notice the holes along the top. Those are placed to help anchor the next layer on top of that layer. As the walls grow, you can only place so much before they start to sag. At that point, you need to wait until it hardens a bit more before placing the next layer up. As it can take a couple hours before the next layer can be placed, I keep holes to anchor the layers together.

Something else to keep in mind when working with cob: the walls will shrink as they dry (for obvious reasons, I would think ^_^). So if you are going to build up a cob oven, keep in mind that you need to make it larger than the final project will be once dried.

You can also see the stones I placed down for the base. I felt that should I actually use it to cook food, I would feel more comfortable using stone than the earth itself, or even the lime finish that I will be placing on it.

Wildlife on Campus
Something that has always interested me about University campuses is the presence of wildlife with so many people around them. Most campuses have squirrels or rabbits on the greens, but here at the U we have magpies. They are everywhere. I did find a squirrel here at the Annex building though, and it's living in the power shed just west of the Traxx line. Also, right outside my window, I have a family of mourning doves. I noticed that family not long ago when it was just the mother nesting, and now the eggs have hatched. Here is a picture of the two young ones.