Mixing mud, making adobes for horno construction

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Today we got together to make some adobe bricks to construct an horno at Chrysalis High School.  The horno is a mud oven that looks like one of those beehives you see in the cartoons.  It is of Arabic origin and came to New Mexico with the crypto-Moors who accompanied the Spanish to this region back in the day.  We can cook chicos (horno roasted sweet corn), tasajos (horno roasted squash), bread, pastries, and meat in the horno once it is completed.

We are making the kind bricks that help the horno form its “beehive” shape, with adobes that taper on the sides AND on top.  In making the bricks, we mixed mud with long pieces of straw to hold them together.  We used a form that had to be wet each time so that the mud won’t stick to it when you take the form off.  The first brick was key to make sure the mud was of proper consistency.

Today we made about 75 bricks which is about half of what we need for the horno itself.  Before we build the horno, however, we will have to construct the base from the rectangular adobes to make a square “mesa” for the horno to rest on.

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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