This is What You Shall Do…

Image:  Mark Summers

Image: Mark Summers

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

Walt Whitman 1819 – 1892, “This is what you shall do” – from preface of Leaves of Grass (1855).

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Pipes, Varnish, and More

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Parked in the “workshop” area.

I have not been entirely idle on the vardo project but have not had time to post here.  Work life has been eating up my spare time with travel, and fun though that may be, it means nothing else gets done outside the work day.  Cutting a hole in my nice, dry roof haunted me for several months but with the aid of a high-temperature silicone stove-pipe flange, I was ready to dive in.  I didn’t want to remove the roofing panels so the cutting was difficult.  I did what I could with the circular saw and gnawed the rest out by hand with a chisel.  Not pretty, but it worked in the end.  Then it was just a matter or cutting a hole through the steel and cleaning it up with a file.

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The ugly hole. Fortunately it will be hidden.

I created a cover for the hole from an old, solid copper serving platter (see photo below) that looks nice, and will cover the ugly.  The gap between the layers was filled with stove gasket insulation.

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Matching up old, very old, and new pieces to make the connection. The offset was used so that the pipe lands between the purlins.

The upper pipe will get a coat of high heat paint while the lower portion will get stove polish along with the stove itself.  In the background, the new juniper paneling is visible.  Otherwise, the place looks like a wreck.  The mallet is handy to solve all measurement problems.

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The silicone flashing isn’t as ugly as I feared but still hope to pretty it up with copper sometime.

Learning from experience, I created this new chimney setup so that the outside pipe could be easily removed, if necessary, for off-road travel.  I will probably shorten the pipe by a few inches as it sticks up fairly high.  Once this was completed, I could get back to the good stuff.

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Sink area with a new-purpose-built soap holder.

In order to maximize storage space a small shelf was created to hold soap.  The size was determined by a standard Bronner’s soap bottle and it holds two comfortably.

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A little carpenter’s geometry.

Some scraps from the wood pile were recovered and planed down to rejuvenate them for use.  Nothing fancy here, just utility.

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The large under storage area is designed to hold the beautiful copper cistern from the tinker Robins.

Everything in the area has another coat of varnish so as soon as create a method of securing the Samovar, the washing-up area will be complete.

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First coats of varnish on the oak.

Finally, I have begun varnishing the floor.  The new oak contrasts with the old but will darken soon enough.


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How to Build an Earthen Oven — Savoring the Past

The existence of ovens like this is easily documented for the 18th century. In fact, just about every ancient culture had a very similar oven. There’s one particular wood cut illustration from medieval times depicting an earthen oven built on a wagon. There are references in 18th century literature and also archaeological evidence that you […]

via How to Build an Earthen Oven — Savoring the Past

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Before Grocery Stores…

It wasn’t long ago that we had to find food for ourselves.

How to Provide

Victory Garden Victory Garden

“The first supermarket appeared on the American landscape in 1946.  Until then, where was all the food?… It was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests.  It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin

Like many Americans, you have come to homesteading to be able to provide for your family, friends and community in the way that you see fit.  The last time so many Americans felt the way you feel now was during World War II.  During the Second World War, many of us had a victory garden and raised poultry because foods were either being rationed or were not available.  The systems which are now the backbone of the United States’ economy seem to be growing quite weary and failing in some respects.  So much instability creates a great unease.  Homesteading, on the other hand, creates security for you, your family, friends…

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Wise Words

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When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius

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