Thank you to everyone who offered advice on building a mud oven. The recommended book proved helpful, but unfortunately needs a good editor. Buried three quarters of the way through, the book offers the sage advice to build in good weather...realizing our folly too late, we went ahead with the project. We had a cave in and needed to do a rebuild, but overall phase 3 turned out pretty well. Here is what I learned that I could share with fellow oven builders: 1. Don't think you can do this in a day, as I was told; it takes time for the mud to dry - maybe this works in Arizona but on a rainy weekend in the woods on a lake, it needed a week before the sand form could be safely removed without a cave-in. 2. Renting a rotary mixer to mix the clay and sand would be a great help. We tried to do it on a tarp on the ground but that really didn't work well. Instead, we had to mix it by hand a little at a time. It was very time consuming and much beer needed to be consumed. 3. Don't attempt this in the rain! The clay kept absorbing water so it was difficult to get it to the right consistency for building. 4. Be patient! After a couple of bottles of wine after a cottage dinner, don't be tempted to grab a flashlight and a shovel and dig out the sand form, I guarantee you the oven will collapse. 5. Don't worry if the oven collapses, the rebuild is much easier and takes less time then the first go round. We weren't able to fire it up because it was still wet, but if it were dry it could be used as is. This oven will have another two layers on it; one for insulation to keep the heat in made of clay and sawdust, and another on top of that made of clay and hay that will keep the insulation on and finish the outside. Here' s a photo of me building the mud layer under the cover of a patio umbrella. We used bricks to brace the outside because the clay had too much water in it and kept sliding down the sand form. Don't think that this is a good idea...it's not. Rachel and I quickly discovered when it comes to mud ovens, patience truly is a virtue! Taking the sand out seems daunting, but as you can see it comes out quite easily and you can readily see where the sand ends and the mud starts. Come back to the foodie-file for the final oven instalment! Click here to sign up for Christine's Food for Friendse-newsletter!