Monthly Archives: January 2015



We started the day differently, meeting at the Bad Ass coffee parking lot near the Wells Fargo Center farmers market. Raven chose to get coffee at a drip vendor at the market for twice the price, acidic but not bad. The vendor had good info on needed legal steps to sell and a nice drip set up. I bought some garlic.
Next stop Salvation Army as Raven needs to donate. We met up at the basket section as Raven is looking for a laundry hamper. She found a nice rattan one, needs cleaning, and a good piece of cloth to line it in the clothes barn.
I found a cake decorating force bag I’ve been wanting, a small whisk and garlic press.
Home, hungry, I cooked up an O chicken stew, breast tenders, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, new garlic, cauliflower florets, garden herbs, O broth and a glug of wine, flour water to thicken. Re baked TJ’s cheese rolls with a parsley garnish, tasty, served in the sunny driveway on a TV tray with pillow case table cloth and chairs. Raven made Turkish coffee in the vardo. All very good.
After lunch Raven painted one fender with the last of the flat black spray paint as I worked on a pattern for a wooden wheel. We need more paint.
We head up to Bosworth’s Merchantile on the corner. Inside, I recognize that head as he turns, “Hey Mark, What are you doing here?” My friends Mark and Tina, we had smoked turkey a couple weeks ago in Oakland. We all head back to the house for a tour of the vardo, pictures, marmalade and chocolate. They need to be back for a singing performance of friend Marty. We posed for a picture.

Dynamic Duo

I mount the dried fender as Raven paints the other one, not a perfect fit with a gap, but it will stop the rain.


Raven brushes clean the laundry hamper and we cut the cloth for a liner to be sewn. I take awhile to get the sewing machine back in order, oiled and re tensioned, it works now. She sews up a nice liner as the warm sun shines in.


By now it’s getting late, The liner fits with some adjustments. The other fender has runs and is glossy as the paint needs mixing, We’ll sand, repaint and mount it. We are so close to done for registration. Next.



We got a lot done today. We met for coffee and drove straight home as I already have a sate lunch ready to cook. I marinated the chicken tenders in oyster sauce with my not hot curry powder, garlic and mustard powder, in the fridge. Last night I made ketaput rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves I found at the Mexican store. They turned out edible, not fantastic but tasty. As the wraps let loose at first without string they didn’t compress and turned out a little soft. They did hold together well enough for dipping in the sate sauce, so experiment 1 works. That, sate sauce and O cucumber ready to chop.

I set up an appointment with Luis to weld stuff. When we got home I pulled the wheels as the vardo is still on blocks. I prepared the front hitch for welding and set up the boat cushion to keep our knees dry. I expect it will get burn holes, that’s OK, it’s a tool. Raven is working on power brushing the rust off the fenders. I pulled out the drier to access the 220 line. I called Luis, he’ll be here in 20 minutes. Rake the gum tree pods away as he shows up with welder in the truck bed. We haul it out and check the 220 plug against my dryer plug, it won’t fit. We need to go to town, Ace for a plug, with a stop at Napa for his next job. We get the 220 L plug and a gold pen for Raven. Back home I change the plug on his welder to fit my drier. We’re on. He test welds the upper seam on the extensions easy to get at. My breaker blows often at 30 amps while the welder draws 50. I flip it back on with the welder off then on. We get it done.


The suspension needs a bead to hold the axle flat in place in a couple places. I can’t watch with the arcs.


He gets both sides done with me flipping breakers. We move the welder out enough to reach the front, plenty of room. Luis welds the extended front square tube secured temporarily with cheap bolts. We swap out the bolts for high grade 8 bolts, new hitch and cinch them down tight together. This is good, strong enough to pull the rig.


OK, last thing, we need the new fenders tack welded thin. I have the leftover sheet out for Luis to try a practice weld, settings good, he tacks the four points on each fender inside and out, perfect.


I swap out the 220 plug for his original as Luis collects his tools. We load his welder in the pick up, paid with thanks for a perfect job, he heads home.

I’m hungry, Raven cooked and ate while I helped Luis. The chicken is great, cukes in sate peanut sauce, rice cakes not bad for a first try, dip able. Raven finished brushing the fenders as I ate.

After a late lunch I set up the wheel well sheet metal sections I had removed for fire safety, then asked Raven to screw them down as I cleaned up the welding tools, ground and sanded the fender welds. We need some fender caulking and chip brushes, a trip to the corner mercantile, Harry has what we need. Across the street Raven wants to check out the antique store, this place is cool. I find a bottle for curry powder for a coworker for a buck.

Home, Raven paints the fenders with Loctite rust stuff in a thin coat, works perfectly turning the rust black with phosphate. I calked the wheel wells, repaired the broken electric tail light wire. I put the wheels back on, perhaps futile as the fenders need attaching after final painting. Leave it on the blocks for now.

We are so close to done. Final painting and secure the fenders. Verify the running lights, may need an adapter for that. We looked on line for decent trailer tires. Registration at the DMV is the next major step. Perhaps a 12 volt system. We are almost done.

I may build a smaller lighter tear drop trailer next as I have axle, wheels and springs. A few pieces of metal, some wood, “it’s just wood”.



As I smoked a turkey for a friend’s birthday we flipped vardo day to Sunday. They gave me a grass chicken I put in the vardo, appropriate.


I met Raven at Bucky’s for coffee. She had a cold last week so we changed the planned clam chowder to Manhattan style. We headed for Shelton’s Natural as the clams are chemical free. I think all clams are free range. Stewed tomatoes and some really good looking shoulder bacon. We headed home after car parts and gas.

Raven wants to build an alter. I chopped up an O celery heart stalk with some leaves, started pealing some carrots. Raven asked for a piece of pine for alter legs to cut on the band saw, sure. The internet says we need a bay leaf, let’s go for a walk. The bay tree is on the far South side of the property, just one small leaf as California bay is much stronger. In the garden we picked parsley, thyme and oregano. She’s planning on using the cabinet door we tested the stencils on, longer screws in order found after some digging. I fried half the bacon to a bowl, not much grease, added olive oil. Half a Spanish red onion, then garlic and herbs. Carrots and celery then the red potatoes with clam juice from the can. A glug of white wine and O chicken broth. More potatoes and carrots are in order. Add the clams and stewed tomato. I had to chop the tomato on the wooden spoon, better would be to drain it in then chop on the board. Bacon in and allow it to cook down with the cover off. I skipped the flour thickener, didn’t need it with potatoes. Last add parsley chopped and a sprig for garnish. Toasted sour dough bread with olive oil and herb dip. Wow! So tasty. Raven finished the alter after lunch.


I fired up the torch after lunch to try and weld the passenger side fender. The acetylene pressure slowly dwindled, I need a new tank. Raven took on the power brushing of the D side fender to remove the rust, hard work.


I’ve been working on a new hat as my old one is 5 years shot. One of the gores ripped as I tried to stretch it at the turkey smoking. I cut a new gore from the original pattern, punched new holes with the three hole chisel and double needle harness stitched it in. A few new holes in my finger, I wet the finished hat and shaped it to dry on my head, then on the lamp over night. This will be a good hat, it’s already waterproof outside. I wore it to work today, some didn’t notice as the pattern is the same.


A fine new hat, fenders ready for paint, a new alter, a beautiful day with an incredibly tasty soup. Life is amazing.