Oven Time

Well, now. What should I say? Tim and I have had a difficult week, and I have been mulling over what details to blog. Should I tell the whole story, tears and lamentations included? Should I gloss over the whole event and pretend it never happened? Should I lie and say we have gone on a holiday for the past week, and have returned reinvigorated and refreshed? I guess you’ll just have to figure out which path I am going down……

In the photo below, this is where we were last Tuesday morning, six days ago. You may notice that I am not smiling; not even with a camera pointed at me, not even thinking that this will be a photo going on to the blog, and that I should be trying to look like I am having fun. I wasn’t having fun, I was STRESSED OUT and WORRIED. I guess I knew something wasn’t right: moments after this photo was taken, the whole oven collapsed. I immediatly burst into tears. Tim said, “Shoot”. Gotta love that British stiff upper lip.

Putting layers of foil over the oven to act as a "slip joint" between the bricks and the concrete cladding. Pretty mickey mouse, we thought, considering how good the rest of the oven design is.
Putting layers of foil over the oven to act as a “slip joint” between the bricks and the concrete cladding. Pretty mickey mouse, we thought, considering how good the rest of the oven design is.

So, we did what mature and strong-willed people would do: we got right down to work cleaning the failed mortar off the bricks and piling them up for the next go-around. I blubbered on and off for the rest of the day, but tried my best to put it all into perspective: no one got hurt, no one was missing any appendages, there was not wet concrete all over my fancy painted floor, and miraculously, Tim and I were still married! It turned out we hadn’t used the refractory mortar correctly, and it didn’t set. Tim was awake the next morning at 4:30 am (isn’t anxiety wonderful, there is so much more time to do stuff?!), so he got up and drove to Prince George to get more mortar. And detailed instructions on how to use it!

Weighing the mortar and water mix exactly to prevent further mishap.
Weighing the mortar and water mix exactly to prevent further mishap.

We are now just barely ahead of where we were last Tuesday – the brickwork is done, the mortar is set (!), the mesh reinforcing is installed, and the wooden forms are in place to hold the concrete cladding which we will pour tomorrow. Today, nineteen-seventies’ rock is heard cranking out of the bakery, and all is well in the world again.

The oven interior.
The oven interior, take two. Better than take one, undoubtedly.
The oven exterior, with mesh reinforcing. Getting ready for the concrete cladding.
The oven exterior, with mesh reinforcing. Getting ready for the concrete cladding.
The oven in her wire cage - reinforcement for the concrete cladding.
Another view of the oven in her wire cage.
The wooden forms ready for us to fill up with concrete tomorrow - from the front.
That’s the last we’ll see of the oven’s exterior brickwork – the wooden forms are in place,  ready to be filled with concrete tomorrow.

Yesterday, as the bricks and mortar dried, the timing was right for us to go for our first paddle of the summer. We went to Ghost Lake with 5 other people for a relaxing and lovely day of paddling, sight-seeing, and cookie-eating! The sun shone and there was next to no wind – fantastic! We saw five bears and one moose on the drive out to the lake.

Ghost Lake
Ghost Lake
Me, paddling.
Me, paddling.
Tim, lounging.
Tim, lounging.

4 thoughts on “Oven Time

  1. All’s well that ends well, I guess but I can only try to imagine what I’d have done, said, shouted if my oven had collapsed – definitely something stronger, much stronger, than “shoot”. Good for you guys to soldier on and continue! Looking very nice now! We HAVE TO drop by and look at the oven, the plans and talk to Tim; seems that the plans for the whole structure has changed quite a bit. We’re baking like crazy right now to satisfy all the orders and pre-bake enough bread for Cimo for the next three weeks, Sunday it’s off to Sicily; hope to find some traditional bakeries there …

  2. Here here, kudos to both of you for taking the setback in stride. Tear stained paths can lead to great joy! Blaze on people, the line up for great baking grows!! 🙂

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