Oven plans

We’re moving on to new projects, now that tree planting is finished for the summer.

Monica has built her first hive and scored a swarm of honey bees; now she has to decide whether she’s all for the honey or all for the bees. There are experts in both conventional and green beekeeping nearby and they’re all providing lots of advice and opinion. I’m just happy our world will be a bit better pollinated.

I’m tidying up the back paddock before inviting folks to come and design our forest garden. For fun, the tidying will involve some greenwood carving and yurt-building, using poles and logs of a few trees that spoiled a neighbour’s view. While the weather has been miserable, I’ve been in the shed, sharpening everything on an ancient, hand-cranked whetstone wheel. I’m also reading about tree-shaping—Pooktre—so that I can get some living sculptures on the go.

We’re still waiting to see whether a local group will be allowed to build an Earthship-style house in the back paddock. If they do, then the big barn can be converted into something less conventional than a house, such as a studio and performance space. It would be a joy to have artists working side-by-side with gardeners, foresters, a blacksmith and a cabinet-maker. Imagine the conversation after a dinner from the brick oven!

That oven is taking shape in our minds. It has moved around the yard a few times but now seems settled in the old pig-sty with the flue ascending behind the battlements. We’ll put the inverted roof back on and install some benches and rat-proof cupboards. There should be room left to shelter a dinner-party from the Calderdale weather. As a bonus, that window will provide the baker a nice view and somewhere to hang out of after kneading a big batch!

In front of the pig-sty you can see some large, stone slabs. They cover the old slurry pit, 4 x 9 metres in area and at least 1.8 deep, like an outdoor cellar. Any ideas what we could use it for?

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