the view from Likir village, Ladakh


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defining Jabba the Hot:
a vented, jumbo-sized oven with brick floor & shale-mud heat chamber, roof shelter of local pine, earth & grasses; rock & shale-mud foundation base; the base-fill is durable refuse, used car tires, rubble & shale-mud.

OK so, who’s to blame for this?
it all started when this guy stumbled into a mountain…

Jabba the Hot

The Jabba Earth Oven Workshop

or, what do we do when they actually say yes

Earth Mountain Farm, Weston, CO
July 2008

Earth Mountain Education Farm

lies in the Rockies  around Weston, Colorado. this place is the real deal,  bumpkin style. proprietors Carter Morris & Family ply the perma-culture lifestyle, creating a reality from the dream of living large within abundant environ-ment- when they’re not busy wrestling pesky frackers  (non-local early- hominid species hired to destroy the water table)…

but wood, land, sand, rocks, growing things, sun, wind, water and snow are all in drastic measure, each in their own rhythm.

WOOFers are regular tenants, as are many who attend the occasional festivals hosted by the Carters, and stay on to help coax efforts towards achieving the brass ring of eco-sustained habitat & community, and self-reliant living....or they just freeload, hang out and see whats for dinner.
SO…there we were, seeing what was for dinner, and…

stoic 1 3 stoics

1. clear a level site

2. start rock wall w/ tires, durable goods, rubble

4. compact the base, top
expertly w/ clay then bricks

5. brick platform done! baby tells how he did it

this we will step through in photos:

apparently, these were not just any stoics.

this hardy colorado human stock
                               is something to be studied……

OK, so heres us gliding right into the FOURTH step:

firstly, this is done by way of a male sand mold, piled onto the brick platform.

then, for maximum thermal showing-off, three layers of clay are formed around the mold,
although this is not required for vented ovens.

first layer is the interior chamber surface, using the finest clay youve got-
this will be crystallized into ceramic, due to it directly receiving fire.

second layer is insulative, and contains a plant
or cereal fiber to create air voids.

third is the sculpted clay, forming the persona-monster-goddess-clown,
coated with protective sheathing; dung-earth or lime-earth plastering laid on thick,
or a few thinner swabbings.

finish off the sculpted surface presentation with colorants,
dyes and the like, rendering that final touch of beinghood,
and voila! the new member of the family has moved in.

…why am i telling you anything? lets go there in pictures…

this is the largest expender of time and labour-
figuring out what is available for use, and getting it all on-site.
Preferably,  selected materials:
-  are freely available on-site, or in the local vicinity
-  do not inconvenience other lifeforms by taking it away
(a line must be drawn, on which lifeforms are considered)

-  possess the requisite properties, and quantities for the intended role. TEST all clays for strength & good adherence.
-  are replaced in a way which improves the material location
-  have been exhausted in previous use, now available for re-assignment

So we figured out FIRST,

folks who are on-board with the build
and definitely would be, for the duration.
this included very young offspring,
but no slack was afforded them,
in securing their solemn promise
to follow through.
having recruited an oven-army of 8 stalwart stoics,

we came thus to the SECOND step,

THEN this earth oven idea came up. it wasn’t me. swear.

3. bring in mud engineers,
to mix earth mortar

-  do not require non-renewable resources (fuels,  etc) in order to extract
-  do not represent a drain on environment, or cause a negative effect in the obtaining.

seems we had an ample store of needed materials. on to the THIRD step:

1. make the sand mold, isolate with newspaper

2. apply the first layer of clay
over the mold, form the mouth

3. finish all layers,
place vent on top

4. sculpt the oven, open the mouth & clean out sand

final steps:

5. now we fire the oven, first with paper refuse & small wood pieces, to initially cure the interior. Keep moving the fire around, to avoid making hotspots which could crack the chamber. Allow to cool until we can touch the interior.

6. second firing with larger wood is next, and here we can go ahead and begin cooking or baking. continue feeding burnable stock until the exterior is hot to the touch. again, allow to cool.

7. next day preferably, plaster & colour the oven, and in between the rocks of the base.

8. congratulations! you own an oven. call your mother, invite the neighbours, throw a gathering. take good care of her and she will make you happy.  ahh, i guess jabba is a boy. sorry.

ENGAGE. this Life is not passive.


In those early days at Earth Mountain, luxury and con-venience weren’t exactly on the main menu,