Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer kitchen: done

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
By Michael
            Yulia and I are pooped. Our bodies and minds just sort of shut down yesterday. We had hopes of doing just a few simple things like slicing up apples to be dried and doing laundry, but even those activities seemed to be too much. The weather’s been really hot the past week or so, so we think that has something to do with our lethargy. Yesterday was sort of a climax—both in terms of the weather and our moods. In the evening a really strong wind blew through accompanied by some clouds. We thought we might get hit with some rain, but nothing. …Until it got dark, that is. We had quite the downpour last night, and the rain went on through the morning. The shift in the weather seemed to trigger a shift in ourselves. Yulia and I slept for about ten hours last night. The rain in the morning kept us from doing any heavy duty work. We figure the rain and abundance of sleep are nature’s way of telling us to slow down a little bit.
            We’ve been busy at work for the past week or so renovating our summer kitchen. What is a summer kitchen? A summer kitchen is a kitchen located in a building other than the main house. If you only have a pichka to cook on (like the people who used to live here did), it makes no sense to cook on it during the summer since it is designed to serve as a source of heat as well as a place to cook. Because we have a gas range, cooking in our house when it is warm out is not so much of a problem with us. We figured, therefore, that the summer kitchen would make an excellent place for a guest bedroom. It is a summer kitchen in name only now.
            Here are some before and after photos of the summer kitchen. I’d like to go into more detail about the process of fixing it up, but, like I said, I’m pooped.

Summer kitchen before any repairs (The flat surface made up of metal plates is where one can heat up a kettle of water, for example (the fire burns in the chamber beneath it); while the big metal door on the left is a compartment for baking.).

We scraped off the plaster from the pichka

We then plastered the pichka, filled in cracks in the wall with clay and made a stem wall out of brick to protect the bottoms of the clay walls from moisture. The metal plates from the pichka are out for cleaning.

We then painted the walls with a clay based store bought paint. We added turmeric powder to color it yellow and painted the window frame. And we made a clay based paint ourselves and painted the pichka with it. Now the summer kitchen is ready to be furnished.

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