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Bel's Wood Oven & Pond (& Fairy Mosaic)

Home Forums SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION, ENERGY and WATER CONSERVATION Backyard projects Bel's Wood Oven & Pond (& Fairy Mosaic)

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  • #257233
    Bel
    Member

    I thought I might share with you our 2 latest garden projects – a wood oven (DH’s job) and pond (my job). DH gave me a brick for mother’s day, which was symbolic of the wood oven he was going to build me. He printed off the instructions from the Forno Bravo wood oven website and started the build. Never one to do things by halves, the wood oven is going to be huge!! The dome is nearing completion now, but I’ll share some of the progress thus far. Here’s the Forno Bravo site for those who are interested – lots of useful stuff about how to build wood ovens as well as what you can cook in them: Forno Bravo Wood Oven Web Site

    First, DH poured a thick concrete slab, then built the stand out of concrete bessa bricks:

    #527139
    Bel
    Member

    The bessa bricks were filled with concrete to give them extra stability, then he used concrete sleepers to form the base – easier than pouring another concrete slab! It was topped with a layer of insultating board, then flat fire brick tiles. Then the fun part – building the dome made out of fire bricks. The fire bricks are very heavy – much heavier than normal bricks!!

    After that, more layers of fire bricks to build up the dome. It’s getting tricky now as he’s not using a form and there have been a few bricks fall down before the high-temp mortar has set. It’s slowly closing in at the top now though:

    A view from the inside (the lighter bricks are new and the darker/sooty bricks are seconds – much cheaper!):

    #527140
    Bel
    Member

    DH has been building it under a small gazebo lately to keep the rain out! He’s determined to get it finished. After the dome is complete, it gets covered with an insulating blanket, then rendered. It’ll have various firings along the way to dry out the mortar and get it ready for cooking. It’s getting exciting!!

    In the meantime, I’ve been installing a pond that DH and the kids bought me last year for birthday/Christmas. I plant to eventually put lots of plants around it in an attempt to attract frogs. I’ve added another fibreglass tub at the bottom to give it another deeper pond layer (it was originally part of a small aquaponics system we had). My sister wants me to take her turtles though, so I’ll have to think about that. I’m worried, though, that they’ll dirty the water too much and eat any tadpoles that find their way there. What do you reckon? Here’s the pond, work in progress:

    #527141
    dierich
    Member

    looking great Bel! Bet you can’t wait for the first pizza, while sitting out on a warm balmy evening listening to the frogs in their new home πŸ™‚

    #527142
    ballamara
    Member

    very nice

    #527143
    fruitful
    Member

    looks fantastic Bel, can’t wait to show my hubby the pictures of the wood oven (it does look easy but I’m sure it’s not), I’m hoping to have a pizza oven here one day.

    The turtle will wander if you don’t enclose its area, it will also need a low covered “cave” to see out winter I think, we knew someone who had turtles long ago and the water was very black and messy but they fed it in the water so the meat spoiled in the pond and it had to be cleaned out regularly.

    Frogs are a better idea I think, less maintenance!

    #527144
    Kristy
    Member

    Love the pizza over and the pond looks fantastic! I know fish eat tadpoles, but I am not sure about turtles! I keep thinking about making a pond, not layered though just one (the shell for the pond was here when I moved in), but haven’t got around to it yet, too much other stuff to do!

    #527145
    Miaowzen
    Member

    Wow they look great!! Your garden looks so lush

    #527146
    Bel
    Member

    Thanks for all the positive comments. I can’t wait for it to be finished:

    a) so I can cook in it

    b) so my husband will come back inside – I feel like a single mum because he spends so much time outside building!!

    As for the pond, the chickens think it’s their own personal drinking hole. They’ve pecked and trampled on all the plants around the outside. I think it might be time for them to go back in the coop soon…..

    Fruitful – the wood oven has been a tricky learning process for DH. He has relied heavily on the Forno Bravo site and the wood oven shop in Kent Town which is where he has been buying his fire bricks, flue, high temp mortar etc. Now that it’s close to the top and the bricks are on such an angle, it’s causing him all sorts of frustration. I hope the neighbours can’t hear the language coming out of his mouth! With the wind and rain we’ve been having, even the temporary gazebo hasn’t been enough – he makes regular trips outside at night to make sure it’s all tucked in, snug & secure! I think you’re right about the pond too – stick to frogs. That’s what I wanted it for originally, so I’d like to keep the water clean (ish) for frogs/taddies, not filthy with turtle poo, especially as it’ll be running from time to time.

    I’ll have to tell my sister to find another home for her turtles. Does anyone else want them???

    #527147
    Miaowzen
    Member

    Better your husband be out making a wood fire oven than inside playing computer games with headphones on like mine does πŸ™‚

    #527148
    Bel
    Member

    True Miaowzen! I shouldn’t complain!

    #527149
    Bel
    Member

    Thanks. It’s nearly finished now. It’s got 2 layers of insulating blanket – all it needs is to be rendered. Cooking pizzas in it on the weekend – woohoo!

    #527150
    BlueWren
    Member

    Somehow missed this thread! All very exciting……serious oven envy……..but must finish my pond first…….

    #527151
    Bel
    Member

    Here’s a pic:

    #527152
    Bel
    Member

    DS6 and DD7 have been making a big fairy mosaic (I put some photos in a previous thread). We’ve finished it now – DH just putting some metal strip around the edge as a border. Can’t wait to mount it on the fence behind DD’s fairy garden:

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