Monthly Archives: May 2016



I met Raven at Starbucks this morning for coffee. Next stop Goodwill where she bought a leather skirt to cut up for rune pouches. I found a light switch motion sensor I picked up to deter the beasties attacking my garden nights. A quick stop for gas then home.

I started cooking a pasta y fagioli with the bacon ends I picked up yesterday at the farmers market. This bacon is flavored with lavender and honey, but I can’t tell, just a little sweeter, tasty though. I picked out the solid fat pieces, saved frozen for flavor oil in the future. I added Dunkin’s dried crimini mushrooms after soaking in water and sliced to fry in the grease, all set aside on a plate with paper towel to drain. Veggies chopped, carrots, celery, turnips from the farmers market, garlic, onion, some left over tomato, garden herbs and some cauliflower florets from the garden as well. Olive oil in the pot, onions clear, garlic and herbs, veggies and TJ’s chicken broth, the bacon, mushrooms in with a glug of white wine and some tubed tomato paste. A pot of lightly salted water to boil for macaroni, a can of pinto beans with some held back to mash for thickener at the end. As the carrots became done I added the mashed beans and most of the macaroni, just right. Oh my, lunch supreme.

We finished in time to head for the rose dance in Healdsburg. A huge rose garden where they harvest the petals to make rose oil, only three ounces a year, most valuable, diluted for essences and waters. The dance was wonderful, six women performing, well done a story in movement. The roses smelled divine in arches and rows.
A brief stop at Garrett’s for another key to the vardo, then home. Raven worked on cutting pouches of the new leather. I finished sanding the guitar with 400 grit in the problem places until smooth. Ready for another coat of lacquer, hung from the board propped garage door with wire, cleaned with compressed air to get the dust off, and sprayed with the last of this can, but just enough. Wow, this is looking good.
I’ve been practicing on the ukulele I restrung from Sally’s for a dollar plus $13 for new strings, not a bad deal. Too bad it’s pink, I’ll give it to a kid. But fun to figure out a tune. 
Raven wants a bass stand, I do too as the bass fell over saved by the dog food bag. I have a nice board of red oak I bought for easels, lets make this. I used a long curve I picked up at Sally’s to lay out the ‘S’ curve, a compass from Lori’s art stuff for the top head support. Two pieces 14″ to be glued for the base. I’ll angle the base a little for design as a tripod. Here is the beginning.
I cooked up some macaroni and cheese with the left over noodles, butter, flour rue, half and half, Parmesan and cheddar cheese, oh my, with the browned raclette in the corners, tasty stuff. 
What a fun day, with laundry in between for the week ahead. Next weekend is Memorial day, I’ll be going North for the Kinetic Sculpture Race. I don’t know if I’ll post. What a great day.



It was a good day, we got stuff done. I headed to town for coffee, the farmers market, scored a lot of Duncan’s mushrooms, more local bacon, lettuce, an early peach and snow peas. I picked up some cilantro, bok choy, lettuce seeds, pickle cukes, roma tomato and zucchini plant starts at Garrett’s. At Salvation army I found a pink ukulele with busted strings, a plastic crayola box organizer and a nice wooden little cabinet missing a couple drawers. Raven needs an organizer for her projects and a display box, all this for two bucks, what a score.


I’ll get new strings for the uke, but it sounds OK with two strings pieced together. A good gift for a little girl.

Home, plant the starts and seeds. Rice on, I string the snow peas, thaw some O chicken tenders,  chop veggies, carrots, some of Duncan’s mushrooms, green onions growing in a glass of water, celery, zucchini, the last bok choy, a half a yellow onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry in the wok with five spice, onions, mushrooms, chicken (mind there’s too much chicken, held back a bag and some veggies). Add the veggies to cook, pulled to the high side add more oil spread up, crack in an egg scrambled, rice in with O soy sauce, a dash sesame oil, fried awhile, green onions in a little and serve, out on the driveway bench, really tasty. With two boxes for lunches. I’m prepping for a chicken soup as Raven arrives.

She calls her Mom as I finish the soup prep and on, bring it to a boil. I added the last weeks slice of bacon and the bag of chicken, all the more veggies and straight raw rice.

Raven, “You want to go to the river for rune rocks?”, “Yea sure, let me shut this off.” The elder flowers are blooming, the buckeyes too, fragrant. We collected a lot of flat round rocks and some rough pretty ones. Baking in the warm spring sun, wonderful out. Great gift from the river, rocks. Much to do, we head home, wash the rocks in a colander,  spread on a towel to dry as we sorted them by size and shape. We ended up with twelve sets of 24 matched stones, bagged in baggies ready for marking with metallic markers next time.


They need pouches made of leather except for the small ones could use the velvet. And the soup is done.

Raven is doing research on bass stands as I’m drilling holes in the acrylic pick guard using the step drill I bought yesterday at Harbor Freight. It works well without causing any cracks as planned. I cut out the pickup areas after drilling with my jewelers saw as much as possible, though I had to use a small round file for the deep spaces and a flat file to finish the hard to reach and smooth it all in. Sandpaper in the rounds, it’s looking good, not perfect, but this will be fine.


I’m leaving the cover paper on until the last minute to keep it shiny. I still need a few more screw holes to mount the guard but this works well in black. I’ll need to give the guitar a few coats of lacquer tomorrow. The truss rod cover needs making as well. Raven is off with a jar of soup, zucchinis, Duncan’s mushrooms, candles, a bar of Swedish soap and a hug. What a fine day.


A good day, I got a little done on the guitar but spent more time cooking. I bought a reduced price round steak yesterday and thought I better cook it up. Picked up some carrots and some chicken breasts for a chicken cordon bleu I’ve been wanting to try.
I started on the beef stew, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, mushrooms, garden herbs and an onion. It’s a whole pound of steak so it made a lot in the dutch oven, browned the beef a while, added the O beef broth quart from TJ’s and let it simmer a long time. In a fry pan I sauteed the onions, bowled, then mushrooms. The veggies are all in another bowl. It takes awhile for the beef to break down.
I started on the chicken, smacking the breasts flat with Gary’s wooden hammer with the pyramids face to thin it out to 1/4 inch thick slabs. Unexpected cheddar slices, and a slice of ham, rolled and a toothpick to hold. Covered with Italian bread crumbs. I put it in my new small glass lasagna pan to bake at 350 F in the oven for a half hour. I forgot the salt but figure the ham and cheese are plenty salty.
The beef stew meat is ready for veggies in with a little more water and a glug of white wine, covered to simmer. I have a stale bagget for crostinis to bake, sliced thin upside down, dipped in a thin layer of olive oil on a plate, to the pan. I add salt, garlic powder, dried basil, Parmesan to the first batch, in with the baking 350 chicken. I check the chicken with a thermometer, not ready yet, back in the oven.
I check the stew carrots, perfect a bit firm but done, potatoes too. I whip up 1-2 tablespoons flower in water with a fork and pour it in slowly to the stew while stirring to make a good gravy, needs salt. I use soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce instead for a darker color and flavor. Ah, just right, off the heat, covered.
The first batch of crostinis are done a little dark but good. The chicken is still not done but I pull the toothpicks. A second batch of crostinis in a separate bigger pan without cheese for Alan at work fits in back with the chicken up front. But I added some mozzarella cheese to the chicken to melt and brown a little. It’s finely all done. I eat some chicken, it’s huge, cut in sliced spiral rounds, but so good, chicken, ham and really good cheese. I’ll have to bring it to work, I can’t eat all this alone. I got three full buckets of stew, two frozen. Plenty More beef stew.
On the guitar, I sanded it down yesterday ready for lacquer, but didn’t get to it today yet. Maybe tomorrow evening. I did however, cut the acrylic pick guard out using the band saw, leaving it a little wide, then sanded it lightly to size on the lapidary. The tighter rounds on the lower fret cut out I used the small drill drum sander. The fret board cutout I went as close as possible with the saw, then hand filed it smooth. I had to use a round needle file to get the fret board base to fit. The picture is a little off, it fits better than that, I just hope the pickups and knobs fit.
I’m concerned with drilling the acrylic not to crack it and have been researching the process before attempting it. Water and baking soda can be used as a coolant using the forstner bits, may work on the drill press. I have enough scrap to experiment with the process before I commit. I’m thinking to use Plasticine oil clay as a dam with wood beneath. The baking soda is an anti oxidant supposed to prevent rust on the drill press. I’ll dry it and spray oil it with WD40 anyway.
I cut out the branches in the way of the gas tank so the propane company can fill it. I even mowed the tall grass, and on the other side by the garage. It took a half hour just to get the seeds out of my clothes. Laundry done and folded. Ready for work tomorrow. A fine day.

5/1/2016 May Day

The first of May. I went down to the river, a lot of folks down there as it’s the first really hot day, in the 90s. I went upstream where the fishing can be good but there is a snag you need to reel in quick to miss. I’m using a spin caster. There is something wrong with this reel, the bail won’t kick down. I try for a while, but it’s not working right. Tie it down and head for home to fix it.
Back home I open it up with my jewelers screw set. There is a spring on the side of the bail that’s broken. This thing won’t work without a new spring if I can get one or make one with some difficulty. It’s a cheap rod but I like the shortness of it. I dig around in the garage and find another 6 foot rod, orange, this reel works, I’ll use this one next time, as I pick the cobwebs off the line. It’s a four pound test Zebco reel, but it works. It’s too late to go back out, maybe tomorrow after work.
Earlier today I did a few interesting things. I cooked a large batch of pork carnitas enchiladas, mild, with the pork I cooked down yesterday. It was on sale at a buck a pound, two more plastic boxes in the freezer. I think I’ll bring it in to work Wednesday to feed my friends for lunch. These are good enchiladas, pork, corn, black beans, red bell pepper, cheese, red enchilada sauce with sour cream mix and mild cheddar cheese. I ate a couple, they’re really good.
Next up I bought fried rice fixings, rice on, fresh ginger, garlic, bokchoy, carrots, celery, spring peas strung, bean sprouts, mushrooms, onions and chicken tenders. In the wok some what reverse order with an egg scrambled in there after the veggies pulled to the side. Rice, soy sauce, sesame oil. Three cartons, I’ll have this one tomorrow. A batch of crostinis in the oven now, sourdough baguette, sliced thin, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, basil, baked 350 until dry.
I’ve finally been working on the electric bass guitar. I spent a few hours sanding all the cross grain scratches out with 220 grit, reverting to 100 grit in the problem areas and back. It’s ready for lacquer, hung in the garage and blown off with the compressor. A spray can applied lightly first coat. I messed up in a couple places with runs, but that’s OK, this is the first coat, to be sanded back, good to fill the pores. It dries quick, but I managed to get my finger prints in the first fret too soon, I’ll sand it back.
Laundry done. Ready for work. Crostinis should be done. Yes.


Once again I got little done on the guitar today, perhaps more tomorrow. Joe called me this morning to invite me over. He got a lot of nice wood from the cabinet shop, enough to finish the floor of Josey’s tree house. I decided to stay home.
Something is getting into my garlic, the newly transplanted stuff was partially dug up and my three pots in the front yard were overturned and emptied. It looks like maybe the raccoons are into garlic, damn. I salvaged as much dirt and the few plants still alive and replanted them plus bag dirt hoping. This is my Dad’s garlic, I don’t want to loose it.
The pineapple guava plant has reached the top of the window, it’s time. I filled a large pot with good bagged dirt and transplanted it outside in the rose garden with a willow stick to hold it up. It’s partly shaded there and the plant seems happy.
To town for coffee, Safeway has pork roasts for a buck a pound. I bought a five pounder. Bottle Dan was there, I told him about the deal as he’s feeding several young girls and mom staying at his place.
A stop at Sally’s proved fruitful, I found a pair of beaded curtains. They’d be great for the vardo front door, to keep the flies out. I untangled them on the reed fence. One strand has lost some beads, but the others are a little long, we could back fill the missing with the ends of the rest. One curtain is enough to fit the doorway, if we double it, more beads, less flies. I took a picture with the rose blossom.
So I started the roast in the oven at 350 for an hour and a half. The net says 145 degrees F inside with a thermometer, when I cut it open, medium rare. I want carnitas for enchiladas, further research. Into the Dutch oven in pieces with a quart of chicken broth and an orange juiced for a couple more hours. Meanwhile, I made a batch of French onion soup. Three onions sliced, garden herbs and garlic, browned in butter 25 minutes. A quart of TJ’s beef broth, salt, a dash of Worcestershire, half a cup of wine. Good stuff, two containers for lunches and one for now, mozzarella now got stringy, but tasty.
My new neighbor the landlord’s son John asked me how to make picture frames yesterday as I paid the rent. I built a miter jig for the table saw according to a couple youtube videos. It still needs the cut deeper after the square glue dries.
I called Luis earlier, I need the fan belt replaced on my truck, already purchased, 5:30, OK. He did it in five minutes, no charge this time. Cool. We’ll do the fly wheel soon.
Back home the pork is done, shredded and boxed up in three containers, froze two. I added paprika, garlic powder, salt and cumin for flavor. Tomorrow I’ll make a batch of carnitas enchiladas for work or if Joe shows up. Carnitas freezes well, brown it after in a frying pan.
I did manage to transfer the guitar pick guard pattern to the acrylic paper shield with glue stick but it’s not sticking well as the glue stick is old. I still have tomorrow off to do more. I would like to sand the guitar with 220 grit and begin lacquer coats. A productive day.