Saturday, 6 June 2009

Ozzy BBQ and clay

AJ visited on his way round the world, and like every Ozzy I've ever met is obssessed with grilling food on an open fire, a BBQ. So when AJ saw our emerging kitchen he insisted his first job be to build one of these.

First, a bit of background, here's how the "transit camp" has come into being:

Last year, when first arrived it looked like this:

And then when we got started in March this year, with Ruth and Paulo, like this:

Most of the walls were falling apart, so that took a fair bit of work to put them back together again. Local dude, Vitor, is a virtuosso with a tractor and a piece of chain: the rocks obeyed.

Then stone mason João and his apprentice came to show us how to rebuild the main walls (though he does like his cement for "strength"). My friend Jon Aguilar, West Coast Americano stone builder would be shocked and always insists that dry stone is the Way. I agree Jon, I agree! Still, João is a scream and we have a good crack.

here's João in front of the collapsed wall. That's the planned back wall, or shelving zone of kitchen.

Then came the yurt (as per earlier posts

Paulo's groovy boogey / strip-tease moment while my mum potters around in semi-nakedness in background. Shock-horror. Best thing about yurt is the keystone thing in the middle:

Then we realised we needed a table

Former paratrooper Machado knows how to deal with these granite posts that seem to grow out of the ground in this region.

All this time the kitchen was a sad ground floor affair, where we'd get soaked under a pitiful tarpualin when it rained. Rain + kitchen without a roof = misery. We needed a roof to build the kitchen under, so enter carpenter and local story teller, Merush

A kitchen needs shelves, Natalie helped with these.

Manuel from the local granite works gave us loads of off-cuts for free (as long as we sampled his various intoxicating beverages).

Enter AJ: to help finish off the kitchen sink.

He was so stoked that we managed with nothing more than a chainsaw and a level, he insisted on a picture of what we had to work with. Old sink donated by Merush !

And of course - the real test, the spirit level:Needless to say we were seriously impressed with our skills /luck

Still, AJ pointed out, we lacked the most important element of all:
The Ozzy BBQ, so it was back to Manuel's granite yard / spirits emporium to load 1 tonne slabs into van, wheel barrow and onto a new site we'd prepared.

International work force or what !

This orange looking stuff is our first venture into non-cement grout or mortar. I need to actually read the books I've got on earth plasters and mortars, but I know it can be done, so we thought we'd give it a try. We go to the local forest here where someone's dumped a bunch of earth from a building site. It's red, and clay-rich. For this mix we used:

- a couple of barrel loads of this clay/earth mix
- half a bucket of cement (Machado needs to move gradually into the world of natural building
- half a bucket of lime
- 2 buckets of sand
- Water to "taste"

We didn't really have any idea what we were doing, but this invention turned out amazingly well. It took a while to dry, didn't crack, seemed to stay quite elastic for a while, then went really hard. I reckon we could do without the cement, but we'll need to try different blends to find out.

Next we fired the puppy up (AJ was particularly keen on this bit)

We're trying out a few different systems here. Not in picture is the grill thingy, but I like this idea of using a metal plate (for mushies and eggs, etc.). Though this one warped. Need a chunky piece of iron instead. Now thinking using the space to build a rocket stove-oven-grill combo that Paulo has a design for. Don't worry AJ, we'll be sure to leave a bit of open grillage for you :)

Couple of shots here of our new chunk of metal we found - with hole already made for pans, and space for frying eggs. Think we'll incorporate it into one of those fuel efficient wood stoves. More on that soon...


Rupert Wolfe Murray said...

Sounds great, and interesting lessons on the building front. But what about the grub? What delicious feed did this Ozzie rustle up on the barbie? Don't tell me he's a gay vegan?

chris said...

Nice work.. kids off school from tomorrow and we're planning to visit real soon. Need anything from down south? Apart from wine that is - Chris

Magnus said...

Chris !
we're heading for UK when the kids get out of school! oh no. we're going to get cheaper kayaks there too! and a raft like yours for sure. lets talk

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