Monthly Archives: March 2014



We met at Bucky’s this morning for coffee and headed for Shelton’s for some roots and beans, then home. It’s been raining. I brought in the shutters last evening to be dry so Raven has something to work on as they need staining.  I dropped three screws taking them down to be found.

Last Sunday I sailed on my boat in Sausalito and it needs some things, so I’ll work on those today. I need a new cockpit hatch and I broke the boom chock while jumping to shore holding on to the boom to avoid falling in.  The chock is still aboard with the boom tied to it, but the old X brace is here broken in a storm.

I have a lot of mahogany wood here from boats they were crushing in the boat yard, pirate booty. Digging through it I found a nice piece of  mahogany counter top, half inch plywood, perfect for the hatch. I wrote the measurements on the back of my checkbook several weeks ago.  15 7/8″ x 15 1/2″ and tapered to 14″ with two 1 x 3/4 braces beneath.  Sixteen inches is too much for my saw fence, I’ll need to use the main bench for a wider fence. Looking through my screw stash for a good bolt to secure the saw to the bench, nothing good enough. Raven needs more screws to secure the cupboard doors, off to Harry’s up the corner, 16 brass screws and one 1/4 inch lag screw, perfect. I secured the saw to the bench with the lag screw, laid out the two by fence  secured with a screw and clamp and made the first cut, perfect at 15 7/8″.

I’m hungry, so is Raven. I chopped up the green beans, parsnip, carrot, an onion, three small red potatoes, a clove of garlic and the thawed O chicken breast. As the onions cooked in a glug of olive oil, I ran out to the garden for thyme, parsley, oregano and rosemary, back in time to stir it and add the chicken and garlic to lightly brown. Chopped the herbs and added everything less a bit of parsley garnish.  A pint of O chicken broth and a large glug of dry white wine to cover. I have O celery, add a stick.

Back to work, Raven is complaining about all the tiny crevices in these assembled shutters, it would be easier to finish them before they were assembled. I found a smaller brush, she’s been using paper towels mostly on the big parts. I dug out some Q-tips too. I cut the 15 1/2″ cut, then came in to stir and turn down the stew.  I laid out the 14″ lines on the hatch, looking at it I better use the band saw for this cut. Checking the drawing and measuring, oh oh, I used the wrong sides, the grain goes long, I relaid it out.

The stew is close, back to the garden for more parsley, ah, some beet greens and wild mustard greens would be good cut small, added. I put some flour, maybe one and a half tablespoons in a cup with less than a quarter cup of water, stirred. The carrots are mostly done, add the flour mix to thicken, stirring the base to prevent clumps. Boiled a bit more to thicken it while stirring. It’s done.

Ladled into a bowl, wait, Raven’s new bowl with a handle, reminds her of Shrek’s ear. This stuff is really good, so hearty and tasty with the fresh herbs and veggies, that and our appetite, wow.

I cut the corrected hatch lines on the band saw, then rough sanded the edges on the lapidary, finish sanding with 220 grit by hand to erase the wrong lines and prep it all. A bit of putty to fill the bad spots and re sand.

I found a piece of scrap mahogany from the vardo steps that will work perfectly for the hatch under stops, cut to 3/4″ x 1″ and rough sanded, cut to length, hand sanded, clamped, drilled and screwed to the hatch. Varnished to finish.

Meanwhile Raven patinaed the brass screws with the gun bluing pen and attached all the cupboard doors.

I still need the X brace for my boat, I headed for Garret’s for a 1×3 faring strip. Cut to shape of the old parts on the band saw and lap sanded.  Bolted together with the original hardware, it’s fine in raw wood.

Raven took pictures of the shutters and inside, me of the hatch and X brace.

stained shutters





Another productive day and tasty stew.



Spring is here, two days now, today was beautiful. I met Raven at Starbucks for coffee after picking up cat food and some O green beans. Raven wants a toy cap gun for a western dance so we stopped by the toy store, no guns. A stop at Salvation army also no luck although I did find a nice piece of naugahyde in red and half of a curtain rod in black. Next stop home.

As the weather was perfect Raven worked detailing in gold up front until it got too hot, while I cooked lunch of lemon chicken, rice, green beans and Raven made a weed salad (yellow dock, dandelion, mustard flowers, garden arugula and O romaine I bought at TJ’s) with balsamic and olive dressing.  We ate in the back yard dining room with a view. Betty the cat joined us for petting.


After lunch I worked on the easel I’ve been making, it’s a copy of one my niece Amber left here. I set up the router table to cut the front relief slot then drilled small holes and used finish nails to join the parts. It worked well using a clamp and block to nail against on the wood bench. I used some plumbing strap to make the lower metal brackets and oval center slide washer, ground to fit on the lapidary sander. I screwed everything together using my parts bin cabinet, then filled the set finish nail holes with wood putty and sanded. It works and looks good. Mine is the right one, still needs a finish.


Raven moved to cabinet doors as it got hotter, painting black around the inner edges of all the doors so it looks right. She installed the frilled drawer hardware.  Then she penciled in more detailing mock Arabic (what I call it) on the side roof fascia to match the front and back arcs. She slowly rotated the curved stencil to make the straight pattern. It will look good.

She put the table area back together in bed mode as she’ll be staying the night for a spring ritual in Sebastopol tomorrow, hanging new curtains with elastic and cup hooks. Nice touch.


Another fine spring day.



I met Raven 10:30 at Safeway Star Bucks for coffee as I needed some more sour cream, she wasn’t expecting me. She had already been to Big John’s for lingonberry sauce. We’re planning an attempt at Swedish meatballs, her idea as she’ll be going to Sweden soon on vacation, headed home.

The bench tops need burgundy paint so Raven moved all the cushions and we moved them outside into the beautiful spring day. I filled the squirt bottle with bubbles in search of gas leaks as Rave painted. I couldn’t find any bubbles and no gas odor hmm. Lunch will take awhile, let’s do it.

I got some sprouted wheat bread out of the freezer, de crusted how many? Googled up the recipe, four toasted lightly to thaw, cut up with 2/3 cup milk to soak. Raven grated the O red onion, crying time and sauteed it in 2 table spoons butter in a small frying pan. I ground cardamom seeds in the cool pepper grinder from Salvation Army, a fine teaspoon, another teaspoon of nutmeg grated fine, two tea spoons salt, we omitted the 2 teaspoons pepper as I can’t do it.  Two eggs, a pound each of O beef and pork. Mixed and balled, just browned in 6 tablespoons (the rest of the stick) butter in the cast iron dutch oven in batches.  Rave took over as I went to check the mail, a package. So the recipe said cook the meatballs lightly browned set aside, add 1/3 cup flour to the butter and lightly brown to creamed coffee color roux. Add the simmering 1 quart beef broth a little at a time. Return the meatballs to the sauce in ten minute batches to finish cooking. Finally add 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream to the sauce, don’t boil sour cream or it will curdle. She steamed potatoes and green beans with the lingonberry sauce on the side. Wow, fantastic flavor. Lingonberries taste a lot like cranberries, that would be a fair substitute a lot less expensive.  Such a lunch.


While she took over cooking I checked my package, oh boy, the 5 new touch screens for the 23 broken tablets I’ve been fixing. Excited, I tried replacing one, oh no, not only did I crack the new touchscreen but also the LCD display, bummer, that’s expensive. After lunch taking my time, I got one of them to work , downloaded Netflix and  fired up Star Trek TNG, perfect unit.

Raven finished painting the bench tops, they look good.

bench paint

I swept out the vardo as there was a lot of debris, then tacked in the panel next to the refrigerator, nailing a 1×2 to the wheel well to secure it. Raven varnished the drawer fronts with stain.

finished drawers

I worked on parts for an easel with the table saw. We put the mostly dry benches back in place, pictures developed, Raven headed for home, meatball rich.

I kept working on the easel parts, most done. Cutting the top slider block using push sticks, the saw grabbed it and flung it hard right into my thumb. Oh no! I’m bleeding, whew not a saw cut, but a skin cut, bandaided up, I’ll survive but shook up. It’s not that bad, a scuff, I’ll heal, but table saws are scary. I re cut a new piece on large stock as that one disappeared. My thumb will be alright, a couple more pieces to go on an easel. Another tablet lit up both screens to android but won’t boot, plenty more driver boards to try. And excellent meatballs in the fridge.



Raven slept in the vardo last night with a pleasant rain. I got up and headed to town for coffee and bubbley water. She was up walking to the river, ah coffee.

Raven touched up the cab doors in black then started staining the cabinet front birch with the dark walnut stain/finish polyurethane we bought last week. It’s a bit dark on the raw wood inside the cabinet edge but the pre-varnished face is a perfect match to the cabinet doors.


As it’s lightly raining and Raven mentioned she’d like to paint the benches, I thought it would be good to clean out the garage saw section of sawdust so she could paint them in there. That turned out to take all day as I found stuff hidden. Wow, dad’s tools are here where Dennis moved them! A ton of books, and my niece’s easel. I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff, loaded the car with two big TVs, tape players and a printer.

Raven cooked up an excellent lunch of salmon fillet with lemon and butter, steamed asparagus, and rice, simple but elegant with lemon rind on the fish. So good.

After lunch I headed for Salvation Army, open Sundays even for deposits and unloaded the garage stuff.  Really felt good to be rid of it and they can resell it. I’ll need to do this again as I have too much useful to someone crap. I kept sorting and filled a box of kindling for my neighbors fireplace, delivered. The landlord’s daughter Caroline showed up, as he’s working on the other trailer, good kid.  I got a lot done in the garage. there’s way more to do, but it’s a small dent.


My niece Amber’s easel was hidden on the top shelf, a really nice small unit, I can make this, I want an easel. It’s really dusty, I cleaned it with a brush.



A nice simple unit, 14 pieces of wood, most 1 1/8″ by 3/4″, some at a half inch. two frames, base 12 3/4 x 10 3/4, upright 19 1/2 x 10″ with a slider base of 11 1/2 x 25. the angles are 7″ centers 7 3/4 total.  It folds flat with the grooves. yet another project.

It was a great day, Raven finished staining all the cabinets except the drawers, I cleaned out the garage, lunch was perfect. We walked down to the river together, it’s barely up with the little rain, mugwort is prolific with the water, Raven picked some for incense. Wild asparagus isn’t up yet but soon. Beautiful spring snap dragon flowers in pink, chamomile white and yellow, the pear trees are just starting to bloom. The mustard yellow flowers are tasty with a spicy bite. Ah Spring.



I met Raven at Safeway/Starbucks, she didn’t expect that. With coffee we headed to Garrett’s hardware. I need hinges and Raven more paint supplies. The black can wait but there is a polyurethane stain/finish that should work to cover the birch cabinet face, a dark walnut as it won’t soak in to the previously clear covered surface. I picked up some offset shutter hinges in dark patina to match the door.

Back home, Raven worked on the cabinet doors as I cooked lunch, a mediocre tarragon chicken, too sweet with the cheap wine, try again with better dry white wine.

The sky is looking ominous but not raining as I carved out the shutters to fit the inset hinges with chisels.


Meanwhile Raven detailed the front upper right arch. With the hinges in the shutters, I held them up to the window, need help here.


Raven held the shutters in place as I punched holes with the awl and screwed them in place, three times making adjustments to get them right. These will prevent the glass from breaking on the road rocks. They look good open, but won’t close right, I’ll need to bevel the edges.


You can see the right arch above as well as the new shutters. I’ll need to take them down by the inset screws and make the bevels but they look good.

Raven finished all the cabinet doors with black edges and flowers.




A productive day.