Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baby Chicks, Anniversary, and Studio Work

We’ve had a great past week. Effie and B seem to be content with their new home. Julia’s got them trained pretty well to rose leaves and dandelions. They actually cry out for us if they see us pass without petting them. They’re pretty attached to us now. We also had some more new arrivals. I got a phone call on Wednesday morning from the Sedgwick Post Office. Our new layer chicks had arrived.

Eden exercising his right to open carry

Murray McMurray sent us a mix of Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Cuckoo Marans, and Araucaunas (the green egg-layers). We are down-sizing this time around. Our current flock is 30 or so. This time we ordered only 15. This should be just enough for our family year round.

This red seemed pretty flipped out about the little ones

We also had our first successful bake in the earthen oven. We baked three delicious loaves. We are still trying to nail down the best technique for firing. Anyone out there that has any experience/advice with this feel free to share it with us. We’ve been reading Denzer’s book and other sources but tips are welcome.

This weekend Julia and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Eden stayed with Julia’s parents while we drove down to Freeport to see one of our favorite bands, The Head and the Heart, at the LL Bean Summer Concert Series. Check out a video of them live at KEXP:

On the way down we stopped at Windsor Chairmakers in Lincolnville, went to the Thomas Moser gallery, and had dinner at the wonderful Azure Café. The Lord has been good to us every day of our marriage. For this we are ever grateful.

Back at the studio I’ve been working on a few different things at one time. (Which is not unusual at all.) I had a quick turnaround job: This painted side chair came in with garish scratches over the seat. A little ethanol, shellac and pigments and… voila!

I’ve been working on this 20th century sideboard as well. This thing is in pretty sad condition. I’ll be removing the coating, regluing veneer, refinishing, and replacing the hardware to something more to the client’s taste.

Also, this worktable is on this week’s list. It was damaged in transit and needs the stretchers repaired along with this delicate little leg with its endgrain break. It stinks when this happens. You can see the old glue in there from the last time someone tried to repair it. For a cross grain break like this glue alone is insufficient. I will have to install a supporting dowel to bridge the two pieces.


  1. I think the loaf of bread looks incredible.
    The only experience I have with this type of ovens is from my parents cottage in Sweden where the original oven is still there. According to my father the basic idea should be to make a blazing fire and leave it to go out. then you sort of poke the embers to the sides of the oven and bake the bread.
    According to him the ovens weren't made to be fired in continuously like a normal cast iron type oven.
    The ovens can split if you fire them like a normal oven i.e. continuously maintaining a steady fire.
    But I am not sure if this applies to your type of oven?


  2. Interesting info, Jonas. That's kind of what needs to happen but you do need to keep it heating very hot for about two hours. That way the heat penetrates the walls giving you a longer and more evenly distributed heat. All sources say we should expect it to crack the first few firings. You just patch it with more mud later. You can see we've already done that.
    Thanks for your tips!

  3. The only advice I have about these ovens is not to use your hand to test for heat. There are many stories of women who have tested for temp by counting how long they could hold their hand in the hot oven. As they age they can hold their hand inside for longer periods and at higher heats. Thus they bake bread in a way too hot oven and burn the bread (not to mention their hand!)

    Congratulations on your anniversary! That is surely the most important of endeavors. It takes a whole lot of faith.


  4. Jason,

    Funny. That's exactly how Denzer recommends determining the temperature. I can see how you build up a tolerance.
    Marriage is amazing and a lot of work if you take your vows seriously like we do... God helping us.