The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

You want mice with that pizza? (or vermin love earth ovens)

William Alexander's picture
William Alexander

You want mice with that pizza? (or vermin love earth ovens)

Living in the northeast, I keep my earth oven covered with a tarp and dormant over the winter, so the first unveiling of spring is always exciting. Last year it was wasps, this year a huge mouse nest had been built inside. Anyone else have a similar problem with this blasted thing? There's a wonderful photo of mess on my All Things Bread blog.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And Nice Blog. (Those are opposing niceties.)  Your oven must have good karma that it gets occupied the moment baking stops.  Why stop in winter?


William Alexander's picture
William Alexander

If only! Truth is, that oven's been nothing but trouble for me. As my son says, the best thing that's come out of that oven is two chapters.  (OK, and the odd pretty good pizza.)

SylviaH's picture

Our climate is very mild here year round..but we do have all sorts of critters..they don't get past my Jack Russell or the two dogs either..just yesterday there was tiny mouse they were all freaking out over.  I lured them away feeling sorry for this tiny little scared guy..well I knew if he didn't leave it would be all over..he was found the next morning on his back laying on my patio chair... a proud gift to me !


Yerffej's picture

There is more meat on a mouse than there is on a wasp but it still leaves a bit to be desired.


LindyD's picture

At least it wasn't a skunk!

EvaB's picture

I don't have an oven yet, but its on my too do list, this year if possible and I can scrounge enough brick to build hte base with. However I would be using it year round, and my weather is a lot worse than cool rain, living in Northeast BC , Canada, I have to contend with 3 to 4 feet or more of snow.

My brother who was also my builder died in November, but he said if we built one, it needed to be roofed over, this will keep it from being rained on (damaging the exterior, and allow baking all year round. of course it will be harder to heat using more wood in winter (it gets damn cold here) but they are used year round in other places. So I am in the design mode right now thinking on where to place it, how to build it, and just how big and so forth. But it will have a roof!

I can see the mice, and the wasps, and like it was said be glad it wasn't a skunk, or maybe a nest of squirrels (that is the ones that bug me the most here) we do have skunks, have never seen one, but know of people who have, and have smelled one, that was enough!

What is the problem with the oven that you are so upset with it? Chimney problems, bad location? What???


I got a book from Mohter Earth News all about them, and how to build them.

William Alexander's picture
William Alexander

Before you build an earth oven, I suggest you read Kiko Denzer's book -- then read mine.  Despite the calalmities I encountered building my oven (it's not, for us mere mortals who live above the Mason-Dixon line, a job that can "easily be completed in a weekend") I'm a fan of wood-oven baked bread and pizza. but I'll just point out that clay (even when dried) is water soluble, so yes, you'll need to either protect it or mix in (I know this is heresy) a little cement in the top layer. And I'd put a vent in the back to help the fire burn without constant blowing and fiddling. You can see a series of photos of building and using my oven (with number-one son swinging the pickaxe) here.


EvaB's picture

Will definitely check out your book, and it will have a chimney, which is one thing DB was definite about, it needs a chimney with a draft to draw well, the thing is learnign to get it to work right. I was too young to learn to use wood stoves etc, but DB being 12 years older did, so I take any thing he said on burning wood to be gospel.

he had given me several suggestions on what he thought it needed, so will definitely try to incorporate them into the finished design, and its always great to read about others trials and errors and fixes.

And you are so right, that its not really a single weekend job, I think just prepareing a site to put it here will be the work of several weekends, and then the building will be several more, although the plastering with clay should be done in a single one, in order for it to be drying at the same rate. So that is to be taken into consideration as well. I think those simple weekend ovens, are small, and not really big enough for my needs, I want something I can bake several loaves or pizza's or whatevers in at the same time, not something I have to bake single loaves in. Yes that is fine for a person who only wants to bake for one or two, but if you need more then its a pain.