Category Archives: Gypsy Cart


A productive day today. This is the last weekend before my Michigan trip, much to prepare.
Bucky’s coffee, a tour of the Farmer’s Market for large gherkins from Lou, Dunkin’s mushrooms, some carrot’s. Safeway’s a deal on picnic chicken and a cube steak for stew. I stopped at Goodwill, called my sister Cathy and picked up a light summer cotton jacket. I also found two cassettes of Andreas Vollenweider, a long time favorite of mine, a Swiss electric harp player extraordinaire. Here:
On the way home, the wood shop sale is open. I bought a pneumatic nail gun, nails to fit and a Diston hand saw. Both work well.
I cooked the chicken in water for bone broth and base meat in cartons, one shredded one chopped, to be processed on my return or tomorrow. The bone soup is still cooking. A chicken mayo sandwich with a tour of the garden. Garlic is nearly ready. Two more artichokes close, I ate one last week.
I worked on the tenor ukulele, reset one of the ribs with finger glue and the wedge inside clamp. I also glued the bridge on, ultimately using rubber bands and two sticks as clamps.
In the process of setting it up I knocked loose a few more ribs inside, I’ll need to fix them too tomorrow. Next build I’ll use more glue on the ribs.
The Bass Uke neck scarf joint has dried. I measured and cut it to proper length. It’s a little fat on the fingerboard needs trimming. It won’t fit the surfacer, I use the new planer, one pass fixes it, although there is some tear out of the angled head. This won’t be a problem as I can sand it down and also may use a walnut veneer on the head anyway.
I cut out and sanded a couple mahogany cleats, drilled and attached them to the vardo right fascia board.
The old awning is in place to protect the serving side from the sun.
The ropes are solid to the tongue and plumbing.
I went to town and got a hair cut for the trip home, better now then later. A good day, not so hot.


Fun day today, I’m making bread. My Dad’s Uncle Herman’s recipe. More on that. I also did the usual coffee and Salvation Army, with a stop at the hardware store for Mira’s gate supplies and sandpaper 50 grit.
Sally’s was fun, the last few weeks, 50% off. I found a bamboo double steamer, a light timer and a sushi roller. As I was about to check out they announced bicycles for $2, OK, this Schwinn looks good in blue.
Up at the clothing barn I found a roll of nice fabric, not so cheap as the one guy was frustrated with long lines, but it is a lot of fabric.
We could use it on the vardo for an awning or mattress covers for my boat, a shirt perhaps. The kitchen shop had a couple bread pans half off, I may need them.
Home, I checked on the bike, compressor on, the front tire is flat, back holds air, both tires could be replaced, but two dollars. The frame, gears, brakes are all in great shape. One 26″ inner tube would make it run. Score.
Lunch time, I cooked a batch of Potato Bacon Chowder from the CDI cookbook, Karen Bates recipe. It won’t copy over here, but it’s really good soup. Potatoes, bacon ends from TJ’s, onions, celery, garden herbs, added garlic, cream of chicken, milk, sour cream. Wow, really good with a bread roll. Three more buckets for lunches.
I worked on the ukulele, taping the two sheets of 50 grit together with duct tape. I sanded the body sides flat on the larger sheet of sandpaper. The heel down and the base finally flush. The neck and sides smooth, it’s ready for the top and bottom plates. Using the jig with stickers and string I set up the top, adding clamps on the base and neck join. Loosened, I added the carpenter’s glue, restrung it, clamped to the base and neck. Checking it I added another clamp near the base to secure it.
Meanwhile, checking on the bread, oh no, it’s risen over the sides of my biggest bowl. Bubble gum all in the oven, fortunately the bake stone caught it all and the rack, cleaned out without much hassle. I knocked it down and moved it to the giant stainless dog bowl. Two more rises and into the pans, three loaves. Wow, Dad’s bread, I grew up on this stuff. I need a bigger bucket as I only made a half batch.
Tomorrow I’m off to Oakland for brunch and oranges, Mira’s gate latch. Laundry of course. Great day. Mmm, it’s really good bread.

Hexenfest 2016


Being that the magickal Dan was away this weekend, I was faced with the challenge to get the Vardo to Hexenfest, an event I signed on to vend at, without his towing expertise.  Luckily, my vending partner-in-crime, Syntha, has been taking some towing lessons for pulling her new Airstream and so after some strategy and community assistance, we were able to arrive at the event near dusk on Friday.

Saturday morning was the first real test of the Vardo’s capacity to embody the original dream — to serve Turkish coffee and drinking chocolate to a bunch of sacred witchy rockin’ people, and boy did we have a run for our money!  Slammed and ran out of drinking chocolate on the first day, Cacoco Midnight Mystic, that stuff is magick. Grateful to have a full commercial kitchen adjacent to make it happen too :}  Syntha set up a vintage clothing and tarot station in the back of the vardo, with shade and chill space, picture forthcoming hopefully (I’m getting better at that, taking pictures). Here’s at least a picture of the basic setup of the serving area:


We had so much fun, meeting new faces, re-membering others.  A group of Harbin beauties came to visit as well, and imbibed of the sacred brews.  There was even a pagan metal concert that evening, with the beautifully

intense Wendy Rule and Pandemonaeon, fulfilling my dream to vend at a mystic witchy metal festival :}  We shall see where the Shot of Love takes us next…shot-of-love-backsidehexenfestpandemonaeon


Things got done today. I went to town for coffee, Farmers Market was good. I stopped at Salvation Army and scored. I found a folding chair for Raven,
a Fender Squire 15 amplifier,
a plastic cowbell set for my brother Sam, a big velvet pouch, a small zipper pouch for a sand bag for Wayne, a nice herb bottle for chervil, and some tailors chalk (not shown).
Home. I cooked up a beef stir fry of Steve’s small onion, Duncan’s mushrooms, carrots, half a patty pan, my garlic, garden basil, garden green beans, thin sliced beef, left over noodles, oyster and soy sauce. Tasty with a couple boxes for lunches.
It’s getting hot in the 90s, time to play with water. I watered the roses, cleaned the 5 gallon water bottles outsides. I found a couple sockets and a crescent wrench to fit the nuts for under the vardo. Bench back out slid under the vardo for comfort. I removed the valve from the primary grey tank and mounted it with the center strap first, then added the for and aft steel plumbing straps. It’s in tight and connected to the sink drains.
I attached the air relief hose with some difficulty by feel, but got it. The other tank is not in yet, I’ll need to plug the other end of the 1/2″ tee. I cut a piece of fir square on the table saw, lapidary sanded it four corners, twisted round into a plug, sawed it off with the band saw and smooth sanded the edges, fits perfect, plugged.
The water system needs to be chlorinated, I put some water in the most empty jug and added all the chlorine I have. It’s a bit weak but if I leave it in over night it will kill anything. I installed the jug and turned on the pump with the cold water flowing to both faucets. Bubbles cleared and full on, turn them off. The hot system is turned off out side. I opened the sink valves to hot and opened both hot lines connected together. The pump came on and that system filled with chlorine. Turn off the faucets. Turn off the pump. The water lines are all full of chlorine. Tomorrow I will repeat the procedure with fresh water, a lot of it to flush the system. And print the procedure for Raven.
Next to some fun. I put the ukulele neck on the cut fret board roughly centered and drew the lines in pen. Wait, it would be best to cut from the top to prevent any tear out. Turn it over and re mark the front fret board. I used a piece of cutoff for a straight edge to complete the line to the fret board end. I band saw cut the line wide to allow for sanding, then sanded it still a little wide to be corrected at final after gluing.
Next step is attaching the frets to the bare fingerboard before gluing to the neck. Something learned from the bass difficulties. This will be easier as it’s flat. Much done. I’ll de chlorinate tomorrow.

Rune Marathon


Today, as I prepare for my departure to Santa Cruz, I decided to finish all of the rune sets in preparation for September’s Hexenfest Faire vending.  I know its a long way off, yet I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to make it back up here to focus on them.  I completed all of the sets and will take the leather with me to sew for holding each set of runes.



Amber jewels, ctd.


imageA busy week for cart-related tasks…first, I stopped by the local crystal shop in Santa Rosa and gathered information about selling my items through the store.  Apparently not that difficult, but a 60/40 split…for a first supplier, I think it’s ok.

Also got in touch, finally, with the ladies at Hexenfest, an upcoming event at Isis Oasis in Geyserville, CA about vending opportunities for the gypsy cart.  The coordinator is getting back to me, but exciting!

And lastly, being today was a short visit to the cart, I only had time to work on a pendant, and included a past creation not yet photo-ed in the picture below.  Building up the treasures for upcoming sales adventures :}


Rainy Day Creations


It’s been awhile since I’ve made an entry, glad to be back.  An intense rainstorm is moving through the area and I’ve been housebound, so decided to catch up on some ideas I’ve wanted to finish. The first is my Kitchen Witch apron, the apron being a gift from Dan’s friend, with my addition of a witchy patch to the front.  I looked hard for something, as it’s not really the season for such things in craft stores.  Head shops, online, and finally found this really cool sewing shop called, “The Legacy” that had SOMETHING.  Here it is, the simple “ceremonial gown” of a Kitchen Witch.image

The next project niggling at me was to make “crystal Essences”– collected rainwater, saltwater cleansed crystals, and affirmative statements the needed tools.  I let the rainwater sit in the light of the New Moon, and crafted two essences out of this charged water, one from Quartz, one from amber (a resin, not crystal, but you get the idea).  Each essence has a corresponding affirmation that fits with the magickal quality of the crystal, and will be used in my Magickal cooking (and did my inner agnostic have a field day with THIS).  But who cares, it’s FUN…I need to make some pretty labels.  Here’s the brewing Amber essence:image

I’m thinking of making another essence from the bright yellow dandelions outside my door next, if it would stop raining for them to show their plant faces :}.



A vardo day Sunday. We met at Bucky’s as usual for coffee. It’s Labor day weekend so that’s good. Yesterday I picked up pickle makings, bread and butter at the farmers market and a zucchini. Also a lot of willow for baskets. Today we are on a mission for a battery for the electric cart for Raven’s Mom. I saw one in the Harbor Freight catalog on sale, 12 V, 35 AH, exactly what we need for the second battery. On the way out of the coffee shop I pulled a newspaper coupon out of my pocket, two really, for 20% off any one item and a free multi meter coupon. Raven also wants a small tarp to protect the car. We climb in my truck with the newly installed coffee cup holder on the door (careful closing it), and away.

At Harbor Freight we head for the Solar section for the battery, I’ve been here yesterday to check on it. I measured the old core battery in the truck, seems the same size plus packing material. Raven gets in line as I find the multi meter and meet her. “Oh yea, a tarp.” I run back for a small one on sale $3. Walmart wanted $90 for a battery and sent us a $9 coffee pot instead, out of box defect. We are out the door with the battery, a free multi meter and tarp for $63. They didn’t even want the core battery, worth more cash back else where.

Raven wants some herbs for Ayurvedic  potions, Community Market has a good selection, we go there. She gets a bunch of little bags. I see some vanilla beans I’ve never played with, score. Back to Healdsburg for the car then home.

We unpack the truck and start lunch, Chicken, rice and zucchini, plus a ripe garden tomato, Raven would like some farmers market bell pepper I bought for pickles, OK, I cut up a quarter raw for her. Lunch is good in the room with a view, although the wasps are a bit in the way. I should have bought a trap, will, they like chicken.

This week after work I’ve been researching labels for potions. I’ve been remodeling the letters in Paint on some with a couple proofs printed at work, paid for in free overtime, hush, but fair.


It’s time for bottles, Pete Stone has collected hundreds of airplane bottles for me as he cleans the town. mostly plastic but a bunch of glass ones too. Raven sorts out the good glass ones as I get the new battery installed and on the charger. We work together, wet pealing the old labels, using orange oil to remove the gum and ink from the bottles clean. It takes a lot of effort. We fill up a canning jar box with airplane bottles, ready to boil sanitary. The fancy corked ones will be for body potions not consumable. I’d like to make some cold cream, where to get round tins, google that later.

We break down the electric cart and mock pack it in the car, mostly in the trunk, with some in the tarp covered back seat, it will fit fine. Moved to the garage and charging. The flag needs mounting. I cut off the metal plate on the band saw and rounded the rod end on the sander. Found a brass tube the right size to fit it, cut to length and crimped to stop.  I cut a piece of walnut hardwood at an angle, a vee notch to fit the tube and opposite larger to fit the seat arm tubing with a notch to hold a hose clamp from slipping. This way the flag is held away from the arm rest at an angle, turned in works best, above the back of the cart. Easily removed and installed for shipping, safely visible orange flag out of the way.  The cart is ready to ship in the car next weekend, new batteries charging topped off in a few hours. Fully drained may take a little longer, but they’re deep cycle batteries, made for this. Still best to not drain them completely. Note: If the cart stops on a big bump, check the red and white connectors to the battery. They’ve come loose before.

We spent most of the day cleaning bottles. Raven cuts out a Love Potion label and secures it with glue stick to a clean bottle. “I have food coloring in black.”, “Not on a love potion, maybe a snake oil.” A picture with the stained glass shade I bought at Sally’s yesterday in the background,


Goo gone works to remove the gum and even the ink from the bottles with elbow grease. We have a lot of clean bottles. Raven needs to go home, work at double time holiday pay tomorrow. I hope to go sailing. Meanwhile, I decant the willow withes I collected into the second 4 inch by 5 foot bucket I made and fill it with water to keep them supple for another day to weave.

I sliced up the cucumbers for B&B pickles, I need jars. I run into town, on holiday sale at $7 a flat, I’ll take two at that price, I’ll use them. On the way home I picked up a wee bottle of bourbon for boss Housley as he’s retiring soon, a new label with his name on it.  I finish chopping peppers and onions, salted 1/2 cup split and refrigerated to process first thing cool time in the morning, I’m really hoping to go sailing tomorrow with Joe and his Dad. We got so much done today, laundry too. A fine long holiday weekend.



We met for coffee as usual, Raven was checking out a magazine with fancy camping ideas, teardrop trailers with cloth propane tank covers and such. Perhaps the next build a teardrop, been thinking of it and have the axle, springs and tires. Time for a tour of the Farmers market.

I brought my new basket with a handle I made last week with sticks from just up the street. Once round and small pickle stock, not quite gherkins, somebody else came by first, but these will make cornichons. They like the basket. A small melon, Raven gets a bright red pepper, purple eggplant and an onion. It all looks good those colors in the basket. Steve has a good deal on tomatoes, five pounds to cook down for sauce. In the basket, it’s heavy. We’re done here. As we cross the street the handle breaks, damn, too much weight. I pick up the few things fallen and carry it to my truck walking fast as it’s heavy. I can fix the basket handle, my first attempt and a lesson.

Today Raven wants to go shopping for ideas. We take her mom’s car, better mileage and head for the big city of Santa Rosa. First stop Joanne’s Fabrics, Raven finds some cool Halloween socks, not much for paper labels, though they have larger wine size labels too big. Next stop Trader Joe’s, I was here last night, stocked, but an avocado would be good. Raven bought stuff she needed, soap, cat food, salad dressing, stuff. Plus lunch wraps, chicken and tuna. We head for Beverley’s, I get some blue string for bigger pouches, Raven a fancy paper and jewelry supplies. The crystal shop, but first lunch under a tree, not bad, mine’s better. It’s a new age store, been around for years. I used to sell my crystal jewelry here years ago when that was my business, one of many shops. They have blue apatite rocks, Raven gets one, in case she gets hungry, yea right.

We head for home with a brief stop for my truck. It’s already late, close to two, that’s OK. I glue up another wooden wheel with slow dry epoxy, let it set. I start working on the upper door screen. It’s already cut, I find some small nails, not short enough, grind them down on the lapidary with a vise grip to hold, put a rough quad point, saved in a plastic box, eight of them. I cleaned the bench to almost fit the large frame, it hangs over. I square the two parts and drill a number size smaller with two holes, add yellow glue and secure. And again, all the way around four corners square. Let it dry.

Meanwhile Raven is working on potion labels. She finds several on line saved to the desktop. The Altoids can has a nice form stamped in the metal. I break out the rubber goop I bought at Sally’s cheap, measured in a water bath it’s a 2 to 1, but it’s already dried out, I’ll have to try another method, I have several options. Probably vulcanizing rubber at 300 degrees in the oven would work best, not today. Raven experiments with a book punched and tied with thread, blank pages for now, but the concept works. This week at work I printed a palm reading booklet from the web in black and white double sided to save paper. I put in some extra time to cover the cost. The booklet is copy free available here:

Click to access speed-palmistry1.pdf

I respected the authors request, and a good reference for the vardo in hard copy. Palm reading, cool. I shucked the weeks few mung beans, Dan at work says ‘mung’ means food in some language, appropriate.


The picture is the palm book, Raven’s new blank book, the paper she bought, clasps for necklaces and blank cards for a Tarot layout. Here is a shot of a tarot layout.


I’m not sure yet on the order of the cards. We shall see.

I did get the upper door screen frame built, it was a little over sized, sanding made it fit well. I used the vibe multitool to cut the corners out perfectly.


Next we add the screen and rove it into place with cordage.

Raven found some labels on line, I showed her how to use the snipping tool to in Win 7 to process them for Paint. It’s a good tool.


Nice labels for a start. Add coffee for color.

Another great day!