Category Archives: Uncategorized

11/10/2019

Standard

I finished installing the outdoor shower today. It’s awesome! I wired in the lights, a couple 12 volt LED license plate lights with a waterproof button. I had to make another copper button mount from a blank I have laying around, punched, then filed larger as the biggest punch isn’t enough to fit. Screwed to the wall, perfect. I found some 14 gauge wire to attach it all with wire nuts all pointed up to avoid water damage. I’ll E tape it next. I had to get new fittings for the L5 on demand heater, installed, not cheap as I needed to double up the gas in line to get it to fit the 5/16th fitting. It’s all installed with 3/8″ water lines and the 5/16 gas inlet. I used the yellow Teflon sealing tape required for gas. I found an empty Blue Rhino tank in the garage. Meanwhile, I borrowed a tank from the vardo to test the system. It works perfect. I took a shower after adjusting the heat, 4 gallons of water for a continuous shower. You have to be careful when it runs out as the heater ejects a steam after a few seconds. But it’s fantastic, a hot shower without PG&E, totally battery power solar charged. Off the grid. Perfect.

ShowerShowerlights

11/2/2019

Standard

Fun day. Saturday, yea. I went to Healdsburg town late, caught the farmers market. Good to see folks, reduced size displays with the fires aftermath. Picked up some guavas (yum), carrots, Dunkin’s mushrooms and a small melon from Reenie. Planning on a pasta fagioli, but things happened. When I got home, I found a new package in my mailbox. It’s a shower head, excellent. It needs an adapter to fit the 3/8 hose I have on the 12 volt pump I bought. Dollar store oil needed in the car. Back to town for the adapter and some crimp rings to fit the deep cell battery. On to Home Depot for a cheap reed wall package. I’m planning on hot shower without PG&E power. I’ll use the deep cell 12 volt battery, small solar cell with the regulator and 12 volt pump. I found the perfect adapter to fit the shower head to 3/8 hose size and rings to fit the battery. Back home, I fit things together, found an aluminum tube to fit the stretched hose cut to 24 inches. This fits into a bucket or pot of water. I strung it from the open garage door with a bucket of water and connected the pump to the battery. Bingo, we have a shower, cold at the moment, but fully functional. Where to set it up, hmm, next to the garage on the northwest side would work well as it’s right next to the solar battery charger. I cleared out the area and clipped back the brush. Shortly my neighbor John showed up. I asked him if I could get some pallets he has, they cost him money to get rid of them, go for it. Score, I grabbed one, set up, maybe a couple more later. This is going to work great if I hook up the outdoor on demand water heater, a propane tank and a 5 gallon jug of water. With the reed fence shield and a chair in place it will be wonderful.
I also received a generator today, it’s only 1200 watts, but enough to run my refrigerator and computer. I’m getting ready if PG& E shuts us down again. We’ll have a community shower for the neighborhood. Excellent.

10/21/2019

Standard

I scored a new toy today. It’s a solar regulator I bought for $15 on Amazon. It fits to the deep cell battery and to the 1.5 watt solar cell perfectly. The J-connectors all match to the solar cell connectors. I put a nail in the garage to hang up the solar cell and wired it up high on a stool. We have a solar charged battery system in place. This is good for the vardo. Meanwhile it could keep me in enough power if PGE shuts us down again. It works perfect, although it’s dark now. With the added 12 volt cigarette lighter USB adapter I can charge my phone and use the LED light I’ve ordered.  We have a solar 12 volt system in place, off the grid, that’s pretty cool.

10/15/2019

Standard

I got a new toy today. It’s a battery connector that connects to the deep cell battery with washer connectors. It has a socket for a lighter type car connection with a cap. I also bought a lighter type 5 volt transformer that works in my car or now on the battery. So I have a power supply when PGE shut me down to charge my phone and maybe laptop computer. That’s a huge bonus as I lost power last week. This is useful as off grid and emergency power. It’s cool.

8/21/2019

Standard

I got a cryptic email from someone with a 415 area code.  They want to fix a wooden lamp. Here’s my reply:

Lamp

So who is this? Yes we could fix the lamp. I’d say wood glue, but I think a nice cord wrap pulled back in would improve the durability. Lay down a close loop, wrap over the loop tight several turns and tuck the end in the loop, then pull the first loop end while holding tight to bring the now two loops to the center of the wrap. Cut the ends flush under the first strand of the wrap at each end. You could varnish or lacquer the cord, a hemp marlin would work nicely.

I haven’t entered the blog much. I’ve had to fix my boat some, it’s on the hard. I’ve been playing with my new computer numeric control (CNC) router lately, cutting ukulele parts, fret boards, PCBs and a pick up cover for a coworker.
I still cook a lot, made a batch of bread and butter pickles last night, three and a half pints. Spaghetti for the coworkers and more tarragon pickles.
Life’s good.
Dan

7/21/2019

Standard
I got home Friday to a box on my doorstep. It’s my new CNC router I bought from Woot for $200. It’s exciting. I opened the box and checked it out, seems to be all here in pieces needing to be assembled. Not tonight but yea!
I’m supposed to be working on the boat up on the hard in San Rafael this weekend.
I woke up at 3:00 AM to a dream about my new router. I got up and assembled the thing. It’s computer driven, with three stepper motors to control it. It took about three hours to build it. Then I went back to bed.
In the later morning I made it to the Farmers Market in Healdsburg before they closed. Cucumbers and tarragon for pickles, and a perfect peach.
Back home, the router’s got my interest. I connected my DVD drive to the USB port and downloaded the software to the computer. Check the COM port at 3, open the driver, Damn, the ‘Candle’ driver won’t open. I tried everything to no avail. Reboot, reload an older version, nothing worked. I tried a couple other programs, finally I downloaded Java and ‘Universal Gcode Platform’ or UGS and it worked, I could move the motors. Run the wizard to get things zeroed and it all works. I opened a couple Gcode programs from the install disk, wrote some letter characters, a small wheel and a PC board on thin pieces of wood. This thing will be really useful for making instruments, cutting fret boards precisely, PC boards for pre-amps, a really useful tool.
“Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tonto, cleverly disguised as a tea bag, is up to his neck in hot water.” (Arthur Freeman).
So I’m supposed to be working on my boat. The rudder is here with a large chunk of worm damage near the water line. It’s mahogany. I cut out a large chunk with my hand jig saw. Dang, these critters go way deep into the wood. I chiseled in deeper beyond the piece of wood I planned on. I found another piece of wood to replace it with. Lacquer thinner should kill them, wrapped in plastic wrap.
Today I did the laundry, cut some more parts for the boat, made pickles, four jars, a bucket of chicken veggie soup for lunches and fired up the router to cut a dragon program. It’s still running after several hours.
I didn’t make it to the boat, but I did get a lot done for it.

6/23/2019

Standard
I’m OK. My boat was sinking last week. She’s been taking on water for a while, but the pump kept it up. Then I watched a houseboat smack her pretty hard while I was paying the rent this first. Later, the pump failed and the water came in much faster. The yard installed a 110 pump, to keep her afloat and called me at work. Louis pulled the electric plug as it was sucking dry, she was half full in an hour when I got there. I bought and installed a new pump. Monday they pulled her out to the hard. I took the afternoon off and power washed the bottom after the yard had already scraped her down. There is some worm damage in a few places and the caulking is shot in a few places fore and aft. It’s actually not that bad. Smith’s clear penetrating epoxy sealer should kill the worms according to the web research.
Yesterday I drove down and removed the rudder as there is a lot of damage near the water line. I’ll need to cut out a small section of the mahogany and replace it with screws and epoxy, easy. I also removed the caulking from the top of the first garboard plank as that was where the most water was flowing. I pulled the caulk and cotton around the bow and stern where it was leaking the most. Rick came by and offered a few tips, he’s good. I brought home the tiller too, for a new coat of varnish. The boat needs a lot of work. Fortunately, Matt the Harbor Master is OK to leave her on the hard for the same cost per month while she gets repaired.
Today, I made a batch of pickles I picked up at the farmers market yesterday on the way. I scored a bundle of tarragon, then some early medium cucumbers and a few carrots. Tarragon, garden thyme, garlic, onion quarter, yellow mustard seed, 50/50 water to white vinegar and two teaspoons salt (plus salt on the cukes last night).  I got three pints of pickles, but added carrots then more onions. Finally, I had a lot of onions left and made a cup jar of that plus a few carrot sticks. It’s a good mix. I also made a choice batch of chicken and veggie with noodles soup.
I’m missing working on my instruments with the boat precedence. I really want to get the electric micro bass built. I have a soprano uke needs glue up. Tom gave me a bare baritone uke needs a lot. Sal at work requested a walnut pickup cover. I have a choice piece of walnut needs cutting for that and several bass fret boards. I have a new wide band saw blade to install for that.
Life’s been interesting. And I really enjoy my day job. Cookies on Friday, ice cream next Friday. Good challenges.

6/3/2019

Standard
The Kinetic race was good fun and a lot of exercise. I was support truck driver, running from truck to rig several times each day. The first day we busted a chain three times in the sand and lost our ace coming in late under tow with a bike. After that we did OK, just for fun. We won the best splash award for water entry. Hey alright.
I picked up three jars of Larrupin sauce, a Swedish mustard dill sauce you can only find in Eureka. I gave one to Dean at cost as his wife likes it. I actually still have an old one so I still have three. Makes great potato salad.
I’ve been working on my electric micro bass some, just received pickup jacks this evening for the electrics. Studying the schematic to make an amp. I have the parts but this one needs the tiny input jack I just got for the piezo pickup. I made a jig yesterday to hold the bridge so I can router a slot for the bone bridge and a smaller deeper slot for the piezo pickup.
bridge jig
So I’ll be able to make more.
I cooked a batch of spaghetti sauce with rotini noodles enough for the smaller tech work gang, and a batch of Pasta Fagioli soup with turnips and mushrooms from the farmers market, a good lunch today. TJ’s fried chicken rice for tomorrow’s lunch, good stuff, recommended, add a dash of soy sauce.
Back to the normal grind work week, but it’s OK, I like it. Last week I 3D printed a new gizmo that works with a few modifications. That was fun.

Cinco de Mayo 2019

Standard
Fun day today, I made a huge batch of enchiladas for the potluck tomorrow. I even made a vegan batch with cashew herb cheese. I ran halfway back to town from Independence Lane to get some brewers yeast to get it right. The rest I made with chicken, a whole rotisserie  bird as it was the same price as raw. I made bone soup with the carcass.
Yesterday was the first day of the farmers market, good to see old friends. I picked up some small turnips from Nathan, a bunch of cilantro and some of Duncan’s mushrooms.
The mushrooms went into the veggie batch, cilantro into the main blend of black beans, corn, black olives, red bell pepper, cumin, garlic, fresh garden oregano, cooked onion and green onion. I added some lemon juice to tart it a little with mild red enchilada sauce to give it a tiny kick.
The veggie batch made first with sauce in the bottom, a bowl with scoop of main and mushrooms mixed. Nuke the corn tortillas wrapped in wet paper towel for 40 seconds in my wimpy microwave. Add a scoop of cashew cheese, filling and pan it, eight times. Cover the center with the rest of the cashew cheese, drizzle sauce on the sides and top with cilantro and olive slices. Bake 350 F maybe a half hour.
Next the meat batch, all the chicken into the main, a lot, a whole quart of chicken. Sour cream a split cup into the sauce whipped with a whisk to mixed, the rest into the main. More tortillas steamed. Sauce in the big pan spread out. Real cheese this time, mild cheddar into the tort, serving spoon of filling, seam down in the pan, repeat. Topped with cheese and sauce, olives and cilantro. Bake, less this time 15 just to melt the cheese. Moved it all into Tupperware for the party, with one small batch set aside for Keif’s daughter lactose and gluten free. two huge meat trays and another smaller veggie tray ready in the fridge.
I made bone soup from the chicken with thigh meat I had, carrots, celery, onion, Nate’s turnips, green beans and farfalle noodles, three buckets for lunches. Plus some lamb chops with green beans and potatoes for another lunch. Enough cooking,
I worked on the new electric bass ukulele I’ve started. Yesterday I cut the main blank out in maple, 3″ x 1″ x 24″. I sketched on it last night to get an idea of the form. I decided to just use the walnut fret board I already cut out for this first one. Later I think I’ll go with one piece maybe or not, we’ll see. I cut it out today, mostly square, on the band saw and sanded it on the lapidary to get it close. Later I’ll round the places where things meet. This is going to be a really fun instrument, absolutely minimal, but a full on double bass.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Wow indeed.

4/28/2019

Standard

I made a batch of hamburger mushroom stroganoff that’s pretty tasty. I got four buckets for lunches in the freezer and fridge.
This morning I was binging on Youtube watching ‘Primitive Technology’ really good show about survival techniques worth watching, turn on the captions.
So I got a much needed haircut, itches but it looks good.
I worked on my ukulele projects. Yesterday I cut a walnut fret board for a small soprano copied from Uncle Bob’s 90 year old Kamaka. I also cut down the neck with a router to fit the fret board, I had messed up the cuts, now it’s right. I also prepared another walnut blank for a new bass ukulele I’ve just begun. I’m planning this one to be a solid body bass uke with a 20 1/4 inch string length, same as the other ones but solid, maybe maple and mahogany.

These are very short basses with fat strings, but they sound right, easy to play.
Laundry done, another week ahead, but I like the work and they pay me well, with great coworkers. Life is good.