Caravan Family

During the heyday of Caravan living it is important to remember that these were rarely the dwelling of a loner. The Caravan was the hub of the nuclear family and groups of wagons represented larger, extended family groups and allies. We are social creatures that thrive in community.

Interview Time

Well this is exciting. I got interviewed at winter count near Florence, Arizona back in February. It's heavily edited from a much longer discussion but I don't think I sound too stupid here talking about the Vardo.  The interview is very close-up and tight but you can get a feel for the interior layout. There … Continue reading Interview Time

A Gathering Saw

Here's another small project happening amidst all the "real work" that needs to get done during this quarantine. I want to keep this one but after inquiries rolling in, it may go into the shop (or another just like it). Be Safe!

Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

A look at the origins and evolution of our favorite camp stove... This post was going to be a few words about the Primus stoves we all love and some images I've collected from around the web.  As usual, I found myself rambling all over the topic without a clear direction but here is a … Continue reading Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

Boy Scout Gear from 1925

This is a pretty good setup for any outdoorsman (our outdoors woman for that matter). By 1925, the scouts had worked out a pretty good uniform and gear setup based on many old experts not the least of which was the US Army. If there's a bit of a paramilitary look to the scouts it … Continue reading Boy Scout Gear from 1925

Ferro Rods are in the Shop

I bought a small batch of unhafted Ferrocerrum rods recently.  This came after finding out what a hit they were with some of my recent demonstrations.  Being able to produce a ridiculously hot spark with little effort in all weather amazes even the most distracted student.  Since the explosion of survival shows on television and … Continue reading Ferro Rods are in the Shop

Another Bucksaw on the Loose

I am stunned to hear from several recent misguided enthusiasts to the gentle art of wilderness skills that their new hobby costs them so much money... I guess even our low-tech approach to life can be marketed and sold to the right customer with our ingrained need for newer, quicker, and "approved" gear. Let's hope … Continue reading Another Bucksaw on the Loose

Traveler’s Wallet

Once again, I am producing some large, traveler's wallets.  While some are waiting their finishing touches, here's the first of six.  They are all of the same general size and design but each has some variation in shape and closure type. I think my dying is improving.  Having read more on the subject, I've been … Continue reading Traveler’s Wallet

Happiness in Simplicity

A LITTLE CARAVANNING HISTORY At the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the young artist Frances Jennings became a semi-invalid and was advised by her doctor to spend as much time as she could in the open air.  Being a Victorian lady at loose ends, the obvious choice was to take to … Continue reading Happiness in Simplicity

Real Comforts

"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Heavy words when you think about them. I like nice stuff.  I buy good clothes, decent shoes, and drive a new(ish) vehicle.  We all like new, … Continue reading Real Comforts

Jobs, Work, and Taking Control of Possessions (an updated ramble)

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Possessions don't make us happy!  Situations do. Possessions, desire, covetousness, craving, yearning, lust; these forces drive humanity. Somehow each generation of moral thinkers know these things are ultimately wrong and look for something … Continue reading Jobs, Work, and Taking Control of Possessions (an updated ramble)

ProtoStoga

I want to re-share this camper I posted about back in 2010.  I would still like to know more about it but love what I've seen so far. I see some definite similarities to my own concept of a vardo but I really like to metal sheathing as a modern, low maintenance exterior.  Also, the … Continue reading ProtoStoga

Tiny House for Film Stars

Here is a wonderful tiny home with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford eyeing each other up on the front porch.  It appears to be strapped to a regular flatbed trailer, presumably for delivery to its final destination. There is nothing new under the sun. Found here but the site is sadly defunct now: http://wintechmodularbuildings.co.uk/

Art and Craft Fair

I would not have ever thought myself a craft fair kind of guy yet here we are... Last year, our local community center hosted an arts and craft fair as a way to bring local artisans together and raise money for public programs (art classes, GED education, computer skills, tax assistance, etc.).  Being new to … Continue reading Art and Craft Fair

Weaving Wagon

This is an excellent idea, especially for a skilled willow weaver. If you need a bicycle wagon and can get a lightweight frame built, this seems to be a great, eye-catching option.  I suggest watching the short videos on their site as well.  I find their site somewhat difficult to navigate, but who am I … Continue reading Weaving Wagon

A Leather Purse and Wallet

Here is a shop update on a couple of the many leatherworking projects undertaken lately.   I decided to use up all the leather I have been storing and put it to good use.  I have about 100 projects I'd like to make for myself but the Yule season is coming, gifts are expected in many … Continue reading A Leather Purse and Wallet

Some New Leatherwork

There are some new projects coming off the bench.Here's a new minimalist traveler's wallet.  I'm still working through the design and construction process but like it so far. Simple three-pocket design; a vertical a horizontal card pocket  as well as a large one for bills. A bucket purse made from an oil-tanned leather.  Welted and … Continue reading Some New Leatherwork

The World is Your Workshop

In Britain and Ireland, the Romany Gypsys and the Traveller community are often associated with low-skilled work such as scrap dealers, horse traders, musical entertainers, or more nefarious activities outside the societal norms.  However, there were plenty of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen providing goods and services to people around the country. Below is an image … Continue reading The World is Your Workshop

A Romany Family in Scotland

I really like everything about the image above.  We see three very different types of wagon-home-conveyances and a family, wearing clothing of the time.  Travellers on the margin of mainstream society have been shunned, persecuted, and culturally dismissed while at the same time romanticized for their freedom and seeming lack of attachment to a more … Continue reading A Romany Family in Scotland

Caravans

Here's another excellent photo of a pack of vardos (caravans) in the wild.  It looks like everyone came out and maybe even spruced themselves up for the photo.  I couldn't find any metadata on this one but it looks fairly early, probably late nineteenth century.  These appear to be high-end models in great condition still. … Continue reading Caravans

Community of Wanderers

Nomads are not loners.  In fact, humans do not do well alone in any setting.  We have always been communal people, depending upon one another for help and support.  Many hands make light work and it is essential to be near others you can depend on. I have been collecting images of Traveller communities for … Continue reading Community of Wanderers

A Dog and Her Vardo

So, a vardo is a small space, especially when living with a dog.  The old dog loved sleeping under the rig as she took her guard duties seriously but unfortunately, she is no longer with us.  The youngster, on the other hand, has no interest in that sort of nonsense and only wants to be … Continue reading A Dog and Her Vardo

Bread Recipe

Someone asked for the recipe I used to make the artisan-style Dutch oven bread I posted a few days ago.  This loaf is a crusty, chewy, large air-hole artisan-style bread that is great with soups or for hearty sandwiches. There are many recipes out there and I'm not sure I'm the qualified baker to speak … Continue reading Bread Recipe

Making a Minimalist Wallet

I try to live by the creed of learning and making something good every day. As we have been pondering the holiday season it seemed a good time to get a jump on some leatherworking projects I've had in mind the past few months.  This morning, before getting to work on other chores, I decided … Continue reading Making a Minimalist Wallet

Dugald Semple and a Simple Life

I would like to re-share this older post I wrote about a caravaner, scholar, and philosopher I am quite intrigued by - Dugald Semple Dugald Semple was a Scottish philosopher of the early 20th Century and an advocate for simple living.  After becoming and engineer he took to the woods and, for a period, a … Continue reading Dugald Semple and a Simple Life

A View from the Vardo

Working away on a weekend day a little while back.  Enjoying time on the prairie in my little rolling home; coffee, a banjo, and connection to a HotSpot so I can get some work done.  The best of all worlds. I don't remember for sure but I suspect there is a dog or two laying … Continue reading A View from the Vardo

Wooden Packframe – The Final Draft

Expanding on Lessons Learned In 2012 I decided to build a wooden packframe.  What started out as a Sunday afternoon project led me down many paths, from Iron-Age Europe to 21st Century military designs and it took about a year of stewing around before I actually got around to building something. It was fortuitous for … Continue reading Wooden Packframe – The Final Draft