Hello. After a long time with no posting -- thanks to a cross-country move, craziness unpacking, a fussy baby and a lack of Internet connection -- I'm happy to say we're back.
I'm sure Crystal will post pictures and updates of the house and the baby, but I wanted to share my latest DIY project.
I'll preface it with Crystal's love for fire first and fire-roasted foods second. When we were looking at houses, I told her I'd build her a fire pit in our backyard, so when we moved in, I got the materials and tools and went to work.
The process involved first digging a hole, then filling it halfway with gravel and topping that with sand. I used about 150 pounds of each. After using a tamper (a tool I now own but may never use again) to make my gravel and sand as firm as possible, I laid a ring of landscaping blocks on the sand, making sure it was level all the way around. After laying the first ring of 12 blocks, I mixed up some mortar and used it to lay another ring on top of the first.
After that was done, I mortared in a third row of blocks, but this time put in three 8-inch pieces of rebar below three of the blocks, with a few inches poking out into the pit in order to hold a grilling grate above the coals.
After a couple days of curing, the fire pit was all set and (with only a little bit of cleaning up because some of the stupid alley cats in our neighborhood thought my sand pit was a litter box) we grilled up some delicious pizzas and corn-on-the-cob.
All told, it took me about 4 hours to build the whole thing, not counting a trip to the store to pick up enough gravel and sand for the whole project -- my hole was a lot bigger than I expected!
I hope to have many enjoyable experiences cooking (and eating!) with our new fire pit. It will also allow me to have less grass to mow!
Here are some pictures of the process:
Finally, for anyone interested, here is the place online where I found the best instructions for the pit.
Also, I really like having the removable grate, so I have a regular fire or a cooking fire. And, yes, those pizzas are incredibly delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I'll make two deals with anyone reading this post. 1) If you come visit, we'll have those pizzas. 2) If I come visit you, I'll help you build a fire pit like it for yourself. It cost about $100, but that included the tamper and the shovel. I think you could build one for about $60. Not bad, considering a run-of-the-mill charcoal grill will cost that anyway. (One of the things about the pit that I really like over a grill is that instead of cleaning out the dust or ashes after cooking, you can just mix it in with the sand and start fresh next time.