Finishing the horno

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Today we finished the horno.  The best part was figuring out how to make the chimney hole in the back and putting the last brick in the top.  It got challenging at the end because the bricks would slide in until the last one was put in place for each of the rows above the door.  After a couple of rows, we put a coffee can in the place where the chimney goes just to hold the spot until the next row could be placed over it.  Again, each row was staggered relative to the row before it so it would hold together better.

Here you can see our worker ants, Kiko Pacheco on the left, Jesyka Ortega in the middle, and Chris Duran on the right bringing freshly mixed mud to hold the adobe bricks in place while Edward Gonzales, with the hat, is placing and holding the bricks in place.  Notice the coffee can that is holding the space for our chimney.  After the next row is put in place, the can will be taken out and the hole smoothed over with more adobe mud.  Finally a hole in the top is filled in with a custom cut adobe brick and the entire horno is plastered over in mud until it is smooth.

The final step is to plaster the inside of the horno to make it smooth inside and seal it well for when it is used.  After it is all plastered inside and out, it has to dry for a couple of days before it can be used.  In a few weeks the sweet corn at our Parr Field will be ready and we will make chicos in this horno.  But maybe we can’t wait that long, I say someone on the side of the road selling white and yellow sweet corn so we might be tempted to fire it up before then!  Either way, now we have an horno to cook all kinds of things while serving as an art piece for Chrysalis High School when it is not being used!

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About Miguel

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