Monthly Archives: December 2014



As usual, we met for coffee at Starbucks 10:30. We bought a few things but Raven brought lunch. A stop at Garrett’s hardware as Raven is moving up in the world, upstairs. She picked up cup hooks and thin rope for curtains. I bought some brass screws to fix my sister’s door latch. A stop at Salvation Army looking for curtains, none of those but we found a whisk and a globe with a golf ball in it I thought could make a good crystal ball if we filled it with water for two bucks. It turned out great with red cloth attached.


Back home, Raven heated up the leftovers from Christmas dinner at the Harbin hot spring where she works, I had the ham steak, she the turkey leg, yams, green beans, mash potatoes, stuffing and good cranberry sauce. Served outside in the driveway on a makeshift stool and board table in the sun, perfect.

I started working on the fenders with a rotary steel brush in the drill to remove the rust. Raven checked online for room dividers and closet shelves.


We should go to Home Depot to see what we can get for the room dividers and such. We stopped at Walmart (yuk) first, they had the closet shelves at half the price, OK and oil for my car cheap. Next door to HD we found the reed curtains we were looking for, 16 feet by 6 high, light weight and roll able, a good cheap portable wall for a room divider. We also located a really nice runner rug that matches the vardo decor perfectly at a reasonable price per foot. We’ll need to get the measurements before we buy it.


Back home, I worked on the fender as Raven attached the skid tape to the steps.This is great as it’s dry enough and will stick, perfect.


I finished the inside of the first fender, that’s both sides, one more to go. There is a lot of rust to remove but these are good steel fenders. I want to get some phosphoric acid base to fix the rust, then paint them. Forgot that, next time. As I’ll be North for the New Year and Raven’s birthday we will be off next week. I’ll let Luis know we need to postpone the necessary welding on the wheel extensions and tow hitch. He has plenty else to do. A very productive day.

12/20/2014 weekend


A good day. I met Raven in town for coffee, a short stop at Salvation army looking for rugs to no avail, then home. It’s raining so not a lot got done outside. Raven brought left over lamb and veggies, I cooked rice to go with it, excellent. Raven cleaned and set up the vardo inside as a friend was to visit.


I worked on fine tuning the fenders to fit with the big hammer on the bench, BANG BANG, pretty loud. I sanded the rust off one fender outside as Raven’s friend Mark “Green Man” arrived. A very good man, we talked of Hermes, Philosophers Stone formulas, garden gypsum and gopher purge among other things, great conversations. As he went home we got ready and headed to the movies for the new “Hobbit” release in 3D, good final movie. Raven spent the night in the vardo as she will be going to Sebastopol.


I worked on the trailer tongue this morning, removed the old hitch and fitted the new 2 1/2″ square tube with the drilled holes to fit the the new hitch. I scored a pen line and measured to the center of the old smaller hole, transferring the measurement to the square tube. Center punched and pilot drilled small, then brought to size, 3/8″, it fits the bolt. Fitted the square tube in place and drilled the matching holes. It was tricky getting the lower hole drilled up, once started big I transferred to a small bit and pre drilled, then finished the 1/2″ hole from the top. I had to grind out a slot in the new hitch to allow the old bolt room. This will need to be welded to be strong enough. One major grade 8 bolt is holding the wagon here. We will add a smaller 3/8″ grade 8 bolt, but the welds will help a lot. The holes are right, in place and bolted secure with the new 2″ hitch rated for 3500 lbs.

I saw Luis this evening, He’ll be out tomorrow after work to assess the necessary welding. I’ll take a wheel off for him to see the details.



An interesting day. The last 2 days were major flooding in the area, the vardo and I live next to the Russian River. Thursday the road was flooded closed and I couldn’t get home, spent the night at a Motel 6. Arriving home Friday to assess the damage, the driveway flooded, a little water got in under the washing machine in the garage, nothing to worry about, wow, so lucky. I called Healdsburg Safeway from work, they are open even after the kayaking in the parking lot.

I met Raven as usual at Safeway Starbucks this morning. I picked up some cream for a Christmas potluck and coffee of course. I pulled a grass fed NY steak from my freezer earlier, we have all for stew, we head home.

The sun is out, it’s nice, we walk to the river to see what happened. The grape vines have flotsam wrapped around the trunks and the road gravel is washed of sand, just rocks. The usual path down is clogged with a log jam. I try to walk down a little and slip on the slick mud hanging on by a branch of holly. Raven helps me back up, didn’t spill my coffee. The river has receded to half way up the bank and roiling in the middle. Major foliage has been stripped off the banks with flotsam in its place. Powerful changes. On the far side a Blue Heron is strutting slowly along the bank. Raven comments on how slowly surefooted it walks. We both strut up the bank that way, ha. The huge dry arundo canes are gone, with sprouts in there place. Up the row of vines there is large flotsam, a busted chair, an old couch and piles of old wood.

Back home and getting hungry. Raven is researching the legal requirements as I cut up the grass fed meat, the cats are happy with the fat. This stuff will be tender. Chopped the veggies of onion, garlic, red potatoes, carrots, celery, orange cauliflower and Scarborough garden herbs. Seared the meat, pulled it to a bowl, onions cooked to translucent while the meat bits are browning on the bottom, added to the bowl. Both back in to cook with some water to release the bits and make a good broth and cook down a bit to tenderize the meat, drained back the broth to the bowl leaving the meat and onions. Add the garlic and herbs to season it in cooked. Veggies, broth and a large glug of red cheap cooking wine, covered to cook a while. As an experiment I tried toasting the flour in a small frying pan first for flavor and thickening. The flavor was good but it doesn’t thicken as well, needed more white flour.

As it cooked I went out and marked the 2 1/2″ square stock iron for the trailer hitch addition in blue chalk to match the hitch, pinged the middle with the spring punch. Measured the other side, punched and drilled each in the vise. I prepped to drill the fenders but lunch has priority.


Wow, lunch is really good, the meat precooked extra is fall apart perfect, it’s all divine. And warming on a cool day, with oven warmed sourdough rolls to dip in the gravy, yum.

After lunch Raven researched apothecary psychic signs, some good ones. She also cut the abrasive step tape to fit the stairs.


I punched more holes in the the fenders this time, four in each to fit a short hex head lag screw into the wheel well timbers.


Time for me to prepare a cauliflower gratin casserole for the pot luck. A butter white cream bechamel sauce with onions, garlic and garden seasoning, a 7 oz pack of Unexpected cheddar from TJ’s chopped and melted in, a generous dollop of white wine. Parboil the cauliflower florets in salted water until firm but lightly cooked. Half the sauce in an oven pan, add florets, the rest of the sauce, topped with another half pack of cheddar and 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs. Bake 375 for 30 minutes to brown. It went over well at the Christmas party.



What a day. I got up early as the landlord’s coming over to fix the gas line. We found the leak under the house last night in the dark rain. Dave showed up around 8 AM with all the pipes and compound. We put them all in, pressurized the line and watched the gauge drop, still leaking, more bubbles as Dave tightened the connections, finally it stopped. 15 lbs and holding for a half hour as we packed up, 10:28, too late to get to town as Raven will pick me up coffee at 10:30. She showed up shortly, I called the gas company to get it turned back on.

Raven went back to sewing snaps on the egg mattress cover. We decided soup would be good, I went in and chopped potatoes, onions, garlic, celery, cauliflower, garden herbs and chicken tenders. I brought the cutting board out to the vardo, turned on the gas and cooked the all organic soup on the vardo stove, with broth and some wine. Side of sourdough bread, tasty and warm, while awakening the vardo to lived in.

I pulled out the saw horses, door table and the big sheet of metal I found on the river side, time to make fenders. Laying out the lines from the card stock pattern and square, I used the side grinder to cut the length mostly through then bent it back and forth until it broke free. I used the grinder to clean and round the edges. The wheel needs a 15 inch wide fender and this metal is 15 3/4″, I’ll need to bend it down. I take an angle pattern with paper and transfer it to the metal, using the jeweler saw I cut notches, going through a few blades in the process, to be expected. Back on the bench, I found the flat metal bar, aligned to the edge of the 3/4 plywood with the metal lined up and clamped in place with a piece of scrap wood on the line. Using the big ball peen hammer I whacked the 3/4″ down and square, all panels. I need to bend each panel, using a shorter edge metal piece clamped, behind. The pic doesn’t show the two clamps.


I get one fender done, Raven calls it “retro”, that’s good here. I bend another. These will work well.


Raven has finished the snaps and proceeded to attach Velcro to the curtain lower valances.


She has also added Christmas lights inside, it looks festive and bright, nice touch. The picture didn’t work but it looks good. She’s off to a movie as I type this.

Two fenders, good food, curtains, lights and the gas is back on. That’s a full day indeed.