I got up late today as it’s Sunday. Raven has been up a while, just finishing the last gold trim on the bottom stringer passenger side. It looks good. She makes us each Turkish coffee in the vardo on the newly working stove.
I start soldering the wire extension to the running lights as the sun is already coming around the tree. I have taped the wires in order not to mix them up. Stripped, twisted, soldered, sliding the heat shrink already on into place and shrinking it with my lighter. That done, I check the work, the white frame ground is still too short. I go digging around and find a piece of the original brown and yellow wire near the back of the vardo, cut a piece to length and splice it in.

Running wires

Raven asks me for help on the shutters. I grab the Altoid tin of pins and screws, fill a plastic bowl with water. Holding the screw with pliers I grind down the screw tips and quench the hot metal in the water, Tshh. Eight of them, brass with gun bluing on the tips for patina. Raven puts up the shutters as I need to go can. They fit tight, good.


I have a lot of apples to work on before it heats up. I break out the hand crank apple machine, it works well on the hard granny smiths although you still need to get some of the extra peel off with a knife. It makes a long spiral slinky of apple, once you cut it, in slices. I also have some gala apples, the machine won’t work as they are too soft to stay on the fork. I peel, core and slice them by hand. Stored in a large bowl of water with a quarter lemon squeezed peel and all to keep the fruit from browning. I pour off most of the water but save some for the batch, loose the lemon and dumped in a pan. With the stove on low I check for jars, not enough. I tell Raven the stove is on, jump in the car and head for town, back in twenty minutes with 8 ounce Ball cups. The apples have softened up nicely. I throw in a little over a half cup of light brown sugar, a heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. As it’s cooking down I’m getting hungry. I push the big water bath to the back burner and put the batch aside on the counter.
Long sliced peeled Russet potatoes frying in the pan in heavy oil. I grind up pistachios with rice crackers in the blender, egg dip and roll a thawed rock fish fillet in the nuts as the potatoes finish. Sliced summer squash in the steamer, a batch of tarter sauce with my bread and butter pickles, mayo and lemon juice. Throw in the fish quick on each side, lunch is ready, fish and chips.
After lunch Raven washes down the vardo with a hose, brushing the tops of the lower stringers. Vacuums out the interior with the shop vac all tidy. I finish up on the apple butter, blendered smooth and reboiled to get the air out, four cup jars and licked the pan clean. Yum.
Way hot, time to get wet. The vardo is still full of chlorine, I fill the clean five gallon jug with fresh water. Pulling the tube carefully from the chlorine jug beneath the sink I flip the pump switch on to not spill the bleach. I swap out the bleach for the fresh jug. The hose is hooked to the outside water main, I turn it on. It’s spraying around the coupler under pressure, needs a new rubber washer. Open the main valve and go turn on the faucets, hot and cold both are running. Outside I open the grey tank and drain it onto the driveway, not good for the plants yet but it’s diluting rapidly. I flip the valves around the hot water system to clear them out. All this is on the hose main, turn it off and flip the pump switch on. We drain the whole five gallons in a couple minutes, it goes quick. I take the chlorine mostly empty five gallon jug and dump it on the driveway to dry, insert the hose to the bottom of the jug and turn on the water on the lawn, gushing over for a few minutes. It’s a good thing I’m on a well, as it all goes back to the water table and chlorine evaporates. But the water system is clear and sanitary.
Raven paints the the front yoke black again with a can of spray paint, trims the forward stringer to black for now so it’s even. She gets a kick out of the color “Ace of Spades”.


A lot got done, the vardo is ready to go after pulling the hose and power main. Running lights, water, gas yesterday, new curtains. We’ll add the hot water heater on site and carry the two five gallon jugs of fresh water in the car, a lot of excess weight. Luis will move it Friday late afternoon a mile up the street to Isis Oasis for a convocation, the first debut of the yet unregistered Gypsy Wagon. We still need to add the extended axle and fenders.

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