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Blog

What Defines the Lovin Oven?

Jane Purchall

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A message from one of our camp founders, Mike:

Someone just asked me what the vision of the camp has been over the years, and I realize it comes down to a single word, and that is family. It has defined almost every decision I’ve been a part of, and certainly all the ones that count, starting with the gifting of the bread that nurtures, and ending up with the storage containers that make our lives easier.

Burning Man has a wonderful thing called radical self-reliance. The single core value of our camp has been that we are self-reliant together as a family. You may not see it in what you love about the camp, but I almost guarantee that if you look, you will find it there, at the very heart of everything you value.

When you are going camping with your family, or preparing for the Christmas celebration, and you buy or do something, you don’t just ask “am I covered”, “would this help me”; you ask “are we all covered”, “would this help another”.

Families are communal. They are based on love and understanding and sharing. I understand you, I understand your circumstances and your needs, I am happy for you, I am looking out for you.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years building and preparing and doing for the Lovin Oven. Yes there has also been an aesthetic, but overwhelmingly it has been this one core vision guiding the why and the how, the what we buy and the what we build. And to help create a camp that allows each year for a small group to come together, under all sorts of circumstances and hardships, and live and gift something truly wonderful.

What to bring to Burning Man when you camp with Lovin’ Oven!

Jane Purchall

  • Ticket, early entry and car passes– Don’t ruin your week by forgetting your ticket.  You will absolutely not be allowed into Black Rock City without your ticket!

  • Gifts – Get a clear idea of what you want to do or give as acts of giving.
  • Money – For ice and coffee on playa.
  • ID/Maps/Passes – Print out anything you will need and bring it.
  • Water Bottle/CamelBak – You’ll take it with you everywhere; make sure to get a reusable one so you’re not creating unnecessary waste with plastic water bottles. A good rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person per day for drinking.
  • Dust Goggles – Getting alkali dust in your eyes is no fun; wear tight fitting goggles so dust won’t seep in.  Etsy has some great choices!
  • Dust Mask – Inhaling alkali dust is also no fun! Check out some premium face masks here. A scarf is a good option too.
  • Sunscreen – Remember, the atmosphere at 4,000 feet is less protective against UV rays.  Apply SPF 45 sunscreen every few hours!
  • First Aid Kit – Accidents happen, be prepared.  Something small and basic is fine.
  • Earplugs – The parties go on all night, so if you want to sleep peacefully, foam earplugsare an absolute must.
  • Back pack or supply/fanny belt – These are great for carrying around essentials such as water, goggles, scarf, bandanna, flashlight, money, chapstick, eye drops, smokes, lighter, warm layer, etc. 

Burning Man Camping Gear - We provide most of the camping gear, but you may want the following:

  • Battery-powered Lantern – Hang it from the top of your tent. You can find affordable options for under $20 here.
  • Twinkle lights – Battery powered lights are cheap and make for a great yurt/tent/bike/personal decoration.
  • Small flashlight – Battery powered l
  • Safety pins/carabeaners/string – For hanging things up inside your tent - please take all your pins with you when you go, though.
  • Rug/floor mat – This is nice for outside or inside your yurt/tent. 

Kitchen Supplies - We provide most of the kitchen supplies, but you will need the following:

  • Cup/mug – Please bring your own cup! One with a handle so that you can attach it to your daypack is good.
  • Eating utensils – Something small and portable.
  • Water bottle – Again, be able to hook it on your day pack. 
  • Pedialyte – If you get dehydrated (and you probably will) replenish your electrolytes by pouring a pack of Pedialyte or E-mergency into your water.
  • Snacks:
    • Bars
    • Dried Fruit
    • Gums & mints
    • Jerky

Burning Man Medical Kit

The Burning Man medical tent is not a fun place to visit and will kill your mood. Please, add a simple first-aid kit to your packing list, accidents do happen!

  • Band Aids 
  • Portable Sewing Kit 
  • Nasal Spray – The playa dust will irritate your nose and throat, especially after a dust storm.  Use nasal spray to keep things moist!
  • Vinegar or Witchazel– Water mixed with equal parts of vinegar is the perfect liquid solution for removing playa dust from your body.  Make sure you bring plenty!
  • Prescriptions Meds – Don’t forget them, you’re a longggg way from any pharmacy!
  • Other Medical Items:
    • Cold Pack
    • Antacid
    • Allergy Medicine
    • Antibiotic Ointment
    • Pain Relievers
    • Throat lozenges 

Burning Man Toiletries List

  • No Shampoo – We have plenty!  Don’t need to bring any.
  • Toilet Paper – Always good to carry some with you. 1-2 rolls of one ply!
  • Eye Drops – Your eyes will dry out (and get dust in them).  Use a few eye drops every day to keep your eyes lubricated.
  • Sun Screen + Aloe Vera Lotion – You WILL get sunburned, and you WILL wish that you have aloe vera to apply to your skin.  Aloe Vera is a great post-sun lotion, take my word for it!
  • Other toiletries:
    • Towel/wash cloth
    • Condoms + Tampons
    • Wet wipes
    • Shaving supplies
    • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
    • Lotion
    • Brush/comb
    • Antiperspirant
    • Lip balm (bring several, they are easy to lose and really needed)
    • Contact lense solution and extra contacts/readers
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Kleenex small packs
    • Hair ties
    • Massage oil
    • Small personal mirror

Burning Man Bike Accessories

Your bike will be your best friend at Burning Man.  You will share many magical journeys together.  Feet and legs are great and all, but nothing beats a bike on the Playa.  Don’t forget these bike-related items when packing for a week in BRC.

  • Bike Light – To avoid hitting (and getting hit by) other bikers and Burners, make sure to properly illuminate your bike at night.
  • Decorations: Lights and anything else you want to make your bike unique. (We do have some too)
  • Bike lock – We have locks, but if you prefer, you can bring your own. 

Burning Man Clothing & Costumes

  • Hats/parasol umbrella  – Protect yourself from the sun!

  • Thermal Underwear – Keep warm at night.
  • Warm jacket and hat  – It can get cold a night.  You will want a warm or faux fur jacket.
  • Body Paints + Glowsticks etc. Visit your local thrift shop. Express yourself!

  • Rain Gear – Yes, it does rain in the desert, be prepared.

  • Other clothing items: Sunglasses, Jackets, Flip-Flops, Comfortable Hiking Shoes, Socks, Layers!

Random things to bring to Burning Man:

  • Notebook + Pen – Record your experiences, take notes, do some writing.  You will be happy you did.
  • Pocket Knife/Multi-tool – You’ll be surprised how many times this will come in handy.
  • Camera – Another great way to capture memories is with a camera, but make sure it’s playa-proof!
  • Head Lamp
  • Squirt Gun + Misters
  • Musical Instruments
  • Photos of Friends and Family
  • Ziplock bags for MOOP collection
  • Duct tape - label your things
  • Clothes pins
  • Flask
  • Cigarettes/E-Cig and personal ashtray (Altoids container works well), lighters
  • Party treats
  • Business/calling cards with camp name/address 
  • Extra batteries
  • More lights!
  • Work gloves for the build and tear down

Conclusion

Burning Man is a wonderful and exciting adventure. Don’t let your long week be ruined because you forget some essential items on your packing list. With proper preparation, the week can go smoothly and you can focus on the art and experience rather than an item you forget to pack. Have fun!

LNT Newsletter #2

Jane Purchall

The next topic in our Lovin Oven LNT series is the all-important issue of pee and poop! Or, more precisely, everything you need to know about porta potties!

NEW in 2018, Lovin Oven campers will be blessed with our own private porta potties, a luxury few burners have the honor of enjoying during their week in the dust! We decided to spring for our own portas as a matter of convenience and hopefully cleanliness as well. Even still, LNT and responsible potty use applies to ALL potties on the playa, and our campers won't necessarily be at camp every time they need to go. 

We aspire to create a camp culture that encourages all of our campers to set an example by embodying impeccable potty etiquette and LNT practices everywhere they go.

We'd like to start this discussion by highlighting this amazing presentation, created by Elder Wrong of the Pottie Project, explaining the significance of portas on the playa and how LNT applies there. The Pottie Project has been around for 17 burns now, and is probably most well-known for creating and distributing postings inside playa portas, espousing the importance of leave no trace as well as porta potty etiquette And, in addition to the often humorous pictures and poems that can be found in virtually every public potty on the playa, the Potty Project oversees a variety of potty education efforts which you can read about in their slideshow presentation.

Now, we at the Lovin Oven would like to highlight the following guidelines for responsible potty use on-playa:
 

No pooping and peeing on the playa surface

Leave No Trace means that nothing that doesn't belong can be left on the surface of the playa. It doesn't matter if the material being left is "natural" or biodegradable (like wood chips, orange peels, or even water) ~ it's still MOOP. To that end, YOU MAY NOT POO OR PEE ANYWHERE ON THE PLAYA SURFACE! Even if you reeeeaaaaally need to go and the potties feel far away. Even if it's sooooo quick and easy to whip it out and pee right next to the bank of public portas instead of waiting in line. Please use the porta potties always.
 

 If it doesn't come out of your body, it doesn't go in the potty!

If you take only one thing away from this blog post, let it be this guiding principle. It's pretty self-explanatory, but if you're looking for more specifics on that, refer to the handy lists below

Things that CANNOT go in a playa porta:
2-ply toilet paper (or anything thicker)
tampons, pads & panty liners
grey water (from a camp shower or kitchen)
undigested foods or beverages (including that warm beer you're done with)
trash
  
Things that CAN go in a playa porta: 
pee
poop
puke
period blood
1-ply toilet paper

Be a polite potty user

Although slightly tangential to the topic of LNT, porta potty etiquette is an issue of critical importance. It affects all burners, as well as the United service employees who have to pump and clean the potties. Please follow these tips:

NO SQUATTING / "HOVERING"
There exists a truly paradoxical phenomenon wherein individuals who are concerned about the cleanliness of a porta potty seat (or who find their seat already soiled with bodily fluids) choose to hover or squat over the seat rather than sitting down. This, in turn, leads them to miss the potty, thereby creating the exact conditions they were attempting to avoid. If you wish not to ever encounter pee or poop on the seat of a porta potty, kindly sit the fuck down! If you are a true germaphobe, reconsider your trip to the playa. Thank you :)

BE A POTTY ANGEL - CLEAN IT UP!

Some of the bravest among us go beyond merely sittin' when they're shittin' - that most basic tenant of potty etiquette - in order to elevate not just their own potty experience, but the experience of all those who come after. They don't wait for a pristine potty to open up when the bank is due for a clean and restock, They take what they get and leave it better for the next burner. When They encounter a seat with pee, They wipe it clean. When They find trash - abandoned beer cans, unsoiled wipes, glow sticks, etc. - They pick it up. We are unworthy of these heroes.
Have you the capacity to become one of Them?


A final note

For the humans out there that rely on menstrual products or enjoy the squeaky-clean feel of a freshly wet-wiped bum, you might be wondering how to reconcile these needs/desires with responsible LNT practices in the porta potties.

For single-use potty products like tampons, pads, and wet wipes, we recommend always carrying a gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag in your backpack while out and about on the playa. These can be used to carry all kinds of MOOP you may come across in your travels, including your own waste and items found on the ground.

For the ladies who are interested in more sustainable alternatives to single-use menstrual products for the playa or day-to-day in the default world, I highly recommend exploring reusable options like menstrual cups, machine-washable cloth pads, and absorbent underwear (thinx). Make LNT a year-round practice!

LNT Newsletter #1

Jane Purchall

Leave No Trace 101

Welcome to the Lovin Oven's Leave No Trace blog series! For our first of many LNT posts, we figured we'd kick things off with a beginner-friendly guide to the what, why, and how of this very important Burning Man philosophy.

What is LNT?

The term Leave No Trace refers to one of Burning Man's 10 Principles:

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.


But ultimately it's so much more than this simple definition. It has its roots in outdoorsman culture and it's closely related to catch phrases like "Pack It In, Pack It Out" and "Leave It Better, Leave It Beautiful," which you may have previously encountered on a hike, at a campground or public beach, or even at a music festival.

Burning Man is not the only LNT space or event, but today it is the largest LNT event in North America. It also has probably the most intense system of oversight and enforcement of LNT policy of any space or event. It is perhaps the most important part of Burning Man culture. 

At the burn, we use the term MOOP - Matter Out of Place - to refer to any item on the playa surface that does not belong. Unlike some campgrounds and other spaces which operate under a "pack it in, pack it out" philosophy, at Burning Man "natural" or biodegradable matter is still MOOP and cannot be left behind. That includes wood chips, thread, orange peels, and even water. Check out the "Additional Resources" at the end of this post for a list of the most common forms of MOOP found on the playa.  

Why LNT?

There are both ethical and practical reasons why we Leave No Trace. Burning Man takes place on federal land and the Burning Man Organization must comply with state and federal regulations, including expectations for responsible land use, if we want to continue to have an event there. This is one compelling reason to Leave No Trace - the future of our event depends upon it.

But we at the Lovin Oven, like many burners, are more deeply motivated to Leave No Trace because of the ethical consequences of not doing so.  As the event grows, our potential to negatively impact the rare and beautiful landscape of the playa is always increasing. That rare beauty, the arresting silence and vastness of the desert many of us call home, is a reminder of our obligation to respect and care for our awe-inspiring earth. To be mindful of how much trash each of us is responsible for producing every day, every year, for our whole lives.

How much waste is that? Where does it go? Can it ever really be gone? Who deals with my trash once its in the bin? Who pays the consequences for what is left behind? The answers to these questions are sobering. When it comes to MOOP on the playa, the trash we leave behind becomes the responsibility of the Playa Restoration Team. This selfless and passionate group of people line sweeps every inch of the playa, cleaning up after their fellow burners for weeks after the event ends, until truly no trace of MOOP remains.

But in the grand scheme of things, trash leaving the playa and the trash we all create in our day-to-day lives in the default world never goes away. Food and paper may biodegrade, but this process isn't put to good use if we don't compost, and some food waste is not compostable. Lots of plastics are labelled as recyclable, but few people are aware that many of these plastics can only be recycled once. Furthermore, few corporations are in the business of recycling waste from their own products; the United States exports 1/3 of its recyclable waste to foreign countries, further removing individuals from the consequences of their own wastefulness. In 2018, China - the importer of about half of the U.S.'s recyclable waste - announced a ban on foreign waste. We cannot continue to push the issue of trash out of sight and out of mind. 

Sooner or later, reusable or not, waste ends up in landfills.
In our oceans.
In the streets of our communities.


Plastics and synthetic fibers take potentially thousands of years to degrade, with the environmental impacts of the microscopic particles they'll inevitably leave behind still unknown. The global culture of waste, driven by so-called "developed" civilizations, is one
of the greatest threats to our earth, and to the survival of the human race.
That is the most important reason why we Leave No Trace.

How to LNT

As an individual

First and foremost, LNT is a matter of personal responsibility. It's important to come prepared with the tools you need to reduce and manage the impact of your own waste on the playa (hellooooo radical self-reliance). Here are some of our key tips for managing your MOOP:

BYOT (Bring Your Own Trash Bag)

Even if your camp has communal trash bins, every burner should bring their own trash bags. Keep (at least) one in your yurt/tent and plan to put any trash that comes from you and your luggage in your trash bag. Prime examples include baby wipes and makeup wipes, tissues, menstrual products, and used batteries. If you packed it in, you have space in your luggage to pack it out! 

Don't pack trash!

While we're on the subject of "you packed it in, you pack it out," do yourself a favor by removing as much excess wrapping and packaging as possible from all your newly-purchased playa supplies. Cereal comes in a sealed bag, so ditch the box. Avoid individually wrapped candies or other items if bulk bags are an option. Every piece of trash you bring in has to leave the playa one way or the other. Keep this in mind for your playa gifts too! Super cheapy jewelry and blinky lights are enticing gift ideas for first-time burners, but if your item isn't likely to survive the week, you've pretty much given someone the gift of trash. Not so cool after all.

Carry a gallon ziplock (or reusable cloth bag) for MOOPing on the go

"MOOPing" is the act of checking for and picking up MOOP. MOOPing may be a formal or informal process undertaken by an individual or a group. Lovin' Oven's dusty bakers strive to set an example for others and embody the principle of LNT everywhere we go, not just at camp.

There are no "public" trash receptacles on the playa, except for what may be offered as a gift by participants.  Burning Man does not provide trash cans along main roads, at porta potty banks, or out in deep playa. You are responsible for your own waste. Carrying a full-size garbage bag with you on playa is not the most convenient or elegant solution for this, so we recommend the tried-and-true ziplock method. Whether brand-name or generic, go for the freezer variety, which are made from thicker plastic and usually have a double-wide closure that stays sealed.

Even better, a zip-able cloth bag will do the trick with no single-use plastics required. Keep it in your backpack at all times. Use your portable MOOP bag for your own waste and anything you may find on your journey. Dispose of it at camp in your personal trash bag. 

As a camp

While individual responsibility for one's own trash is a foundational aspect of being a responsible burner. It's not all up to you alone. As a part of the Lovin Oven, we work together and make a communal effort to manage our waste in the best way possible. Lovin Oven's camp trash philosophy is as follows:

Communal Trash Bins

At the Lovin Oven, we provide communal trash bins, all located in the kitchen area. Many theme camps do not offer any communal bins. This is a luxury that should be respected by our campers and their guests, not to be taken for granted.

All camp trash is carefully sorted into various categories (landfill, burnables, recycling, compost, glass, and more if you can believe it). Utilize the handy signage provided in camp and take an extra moment to be sure you're sorting your garbage properly. We are fortunately able to offload recyclables and compost at other theme camps dedicated to waste management, and to burn some trash in our camp burn barrel and/or the communal burn areas provided by BMorg at the end of the week. Proper sorting is essential for maintaining symbiosis with these waste management resources.

All Lovin Oven Campers should come prepared to pack out at least one bag of communal trash. These can be disposed of at designated locations in Reno for a small fee, even if you are flying out of Reno and/or not driving your own vehicle out. LO campers taking the Burner Express Bus will receive a specially marked trash bag which Burner Express will dispose of on your behalf upon exiting the playa. B.E.B riders will be responsible for bringing this bag to camp and packing one out when they leave. We thank all of our campers for their cooperation with this 

Line Sweeps

Line sweeps are a common and highly effective method for group MOOPing within the confines of camp (or even out on the playa if you're so inclined) and we're likely to do quite a few of them over the course of burn week as well as more extensively during camp breakdown on Monday.

If someone in camp loudly solicits help with a line sweep, get up off your bum and help! With a sufficient number of volunteers, line sweeps are a quick and easy way to manage MOOP that doesn't leave a huge mess to be dealt with at the end of the week. The longer a piece of MOOP is on the ground, the more likely it is to become covered by ever-shifting dust piles, hidden from immediate view; in turn, this will require a lot more crawling on hands and knees, sifting through the sand to find MOOP during teardown. 

Even if everyone utilizes their personal and communal trash and stays mindful of what they're dropping, the truth is that there will still be MOOP in camp - it just happens. Especially during the bake and while getting dressed and ready for the day (or night). Help with line sweeps when asked, or enlist help and initiate one yourself if you're noticing a lot of MOOP on the ground.

At this moment, the uninitiated might be wondering why line sweeps and MOOPing are so important if the Playa Resto Team will be coming in right behind us to make sure everything's clean. Besides the issue of personal responsibility and ethics discussed above, this is where another very important practical reason for MOOPing comes into play - the Playa Resto team isn't just cleaning up after us to be nice; each year, every inch of the playa is rated on how clean it was before the Resto Team cleaned it up. A color-coded map of the MOOP situation across the playa is published for all to see (and judge). For theme camps that are granted formal placement on the map, failure to Leave No Trace may jeopardize that camp's placement in the future. 

Additional Resources:
2017 MOOP Map
The Most Common forms of MOOP
Line Sweeping for Dummies

Feeding the Feeders...

Jane Purchall

Welcome to the first edition of goddessmommas tips on running a burner kitchen.

Tip 1: Build Week

It's full-on! Not a lot of time creating gourmet meals, and not a lot of time to eat them. So, for on-the-go during the day: chilled grapes, oranges and cut up watermelon passed around every 2-3 hours gives the family an excuse for a short break and energize. The evening meal should be full of freshness and flavour like interesting salads, something easy to eat as it's time to relax & plan the next day.

Tip 2: Kitchen Organization

Remember to always have plenty of prep' & serving area's. Many hands make light work and it's fun to work with others while learning 'foodie' stuff from around the world. Arrange the pantry to have breakfast & snacks at eye height. Fresh fruit & veg that will keep out of the fridge, dry food & cans on the bottom & bulk food stored on the top. Fresh food like bananas & avocados should be front & forward so they keep eaten before they go off.

Tip 3: Keep it Fresh

Store cleaning supplies at the front of the kitchen so everyone can see them.

Dreams of dust and magic

Jane Purchall

I just looked on the Burning Man website to see that apparently there are just 4 months and 27 days left until the Man burns. And 20 minutes or so, but we won't quibble about those. Such a long way off isn't it? Dust storms and oversized, outlandish, awe-inspiring art still so so so far away, still a tiny speck in the distance. Insignificant. Not to be worried about. Relax, plenty of time to get yourself ready...

However, here at the Lovin' Oven we've been anything but relaxed. We've been plotting and planning; scheming and creating; designing and imagining. We've got some great new approaches on how to run our camp more effectively and efficiently; there have been some wonderful ideas for how to entertain and nourish our morning crowds; and we're receiving applications from all kinds of fabulous folk who want to camp with us for the first time this year. 

So dream of dust and magical Playa delights all you like...and we will too, while also working hard to bring us back to the Playa again, brighter, better and more fabulous than ever!