Business Plans and an Epiphany......

    Before I begin this latest update, I wanted to mention that I have added a photo archives on the left panel. Here you can view most of the photos contained in this blog, including a chronological order of bus construction and a separate folder for travel photos. I will be adding more regularly as we go along...

    We are still in Santa Barbara and probably will be in and around the area for awhile, or at least until Moss's legal stuff is resolved. The other day we got to listen to Dennis Kucinich speaking down by the pier. He is, as most of you know, a possible candidate in the presidential race, and one of my all time favorites. Last time he ran on the green party ticket. It was so refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is. He will certainly have my vote if he ends up a candidate.

    Anyway, I do enjoy this area but it seems we have been trying to head north for so long, and each time we are delayed. On the bright side it feels sooo good to be back in our home again ! There are a few good paid initiatives that Moss has been working on and that has been wonderful for our cash flow, although we are trying to wean ourselves off petitioning and onto more creative ventures. These initiatives will be going until possibly December which will give us lots of time to save up money to invest in our fledgling business's and to live off.

    There are a few things we have been tossing around, but so far the best ideas seem to be a combination of eBay sales, felt boots and a travelling puppet show. The felt boots have been coming along quite nicely and we have recently sold three more pairs ! We are still perfecting and fine tuning them and I hope soon we can offer them on our site here. In addition to the boots we have also been selling the herb kratom on eBay and doing well with that, picking up lots of regular customers and bringing in hundred or so a week. This is great, but our cost of living is higher now since our old engine was destroyed and with it the veggie oil system as well. Until we get that up and running we have to pay for bio diesel, which is more expensive and harder to find, though there is a place here in Santa Barbara. The new veggie system, when we finish it, will be way more efficient and operate on three tanks, two for the veggie and one for the diesel.

    The other thing we are working on is a travelling puppet show. For the past year I have been experimenting with turning my felted dolls into puppets. That's the easy part . The hard part is coming up with good stories. Ultimately we hope to have a mix of stories, some political, some educational, and some fairy tales for children as well as psychedelic ones for adults. Some shows will be specifically for street busking and some geared more to schools, libraries and museums.

    Moss, who has extensive theatre training and experience ( a BA in theatre and one in audio engineering) , will be doing the audio and probably most of the puppetry. He has been dabbling in puppetry since he was a young child, even doing paid shows at country clubs and dinner theatres! His sister, Holly has a degree in puppetry and lots of professional experience (she taught him how to move them well) to lend. We are very excited about all this and will update everyone on our progress as we go along, though it may take a year or longer to develop.

    Warning..I am about to launch into another deep, poetic and sappy soliloquy about my beloved daughter, get used to it......

    Sage is doing well and growing so fast ! Everyone always says how alert she is for a three and a half month old. Since we both have had very little experience with babies, or even children, we both assumed that's just how babies are, but people keep telling us that is not really so.

    It seems I spend a good deal of time just gazing at her, dreaming of all the things I want to share with her and teach her. I realize we do not have the money that many other families have, so my aim is to fill her life with so much love, magic, beauty and poetry that she will grow up completely unaware that we were a "poor" family. It will only be when she is older that she will suddenly realize that her family was poor. As I dream so many things for her it is hard not to lose myself completely in her. At the same time though, I now understand that to a certain extent it is part of being a mom. However I also think that it is important to keep a part of myself for me. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how so many women seem to forget that. It is also, I have recently realized, the secret to allying my sadness of her growing up. The love one feels for their child is so encompassing that it threatens to swallow you up. One can become so identified as a mom that as the child grows and needs you less and less, it can feel as though you are withering away. Eventually when they move away there is great pain and sadness as the role of mom is diminished.

    The inevitable question at this time becomes, "If I am not a full time mom, then who am I ? "

    This is even more so for younger moms who have not had the chance to really find out who they are and explore their world. I have had 18 adult years to do so and so it is easier for me to recognize this as it happens. The answer, I am discovering, is to continue to pursue your passions and to follow your bliss, whenever possible, so that when your baby grows up and leaves, you have something left for yourself.......

    Sage and I hanging out. The rocker in the picture is a folding antique one I got on ebay for 30 bucks ! Comes in handy for nursing Sage to sleep, yet takes up very little room.

    Sage and I..

    Our house plants enjoying a sunbath...

    Palm trees and sun..need I say more ?

    Dennis Kucinich telling it like it is.....

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    We are finally back online with a new, or at least refurbished computer, thanks to Moss's brilliance ! He found a computer on eBay for 200 bucks with a 10 gig hard drive, bought it and replaced the smaller hard drive with our bigger 30 gig hard drive.. He then went on to replace the screens and wifi cards, figuring it all out as he went along.

    As of this writing we are in Santa Barbara, after spending two weeks house sitting and visiting with our friends Jackie and Frank in the Valley. While there we took the time to get some much needed work done on the bus. In the back,above the bench/bathtub combo, a shelf was added for Sages clothes and diapers. Then we added a cabinet at the foot of the bed for our clothes and moved the bookshelf from the foot of the bed to above our heads. We also took the bottom of the birds cages and created storage areas. Some time ago we noticed that the birds never venture to the bottom of the their cages and hence that is wasted space. We now have a great place for recycling, trash and various other things. Lastly we took the ugly black windows on the outside ( spray painted black because they are blocked on the inside by walls) and painted them green to match the bus. SOOO much better looking ! Now all we have left to do is install our water system, which we have all the parts for, including the Paloma on demand hot water heater, a 70 gallon fresh water tank and a 40 gallon grey water tank. What we don not have is the money to have the tanks welded under the bus.

    In addition to the work on the bus we also spent a good deal of time last week calling around looking for a lawyer to take our civil case against the "unnamed store" and "unnamed police Dept". This is in regards to Moss's false imprisonment last month. Every lawyer that we met with was willing to take the case on contingency. They all said it is not a big money case by any means, but it is the principal that interests them. All agreed Moss's civil rights were clearly violated and that he was very much allowed by law to be there. This, according to the lawyers is a clear cut case of false imprisonment and there is no doubt we would win in court. They are so sure that they will take the case on contingency. We went to court on Sept 17 to plead and a public defender was appointed for the criminal case, as we can not afford a lawyer for that part.The public defender seemed clueless and the only reason he did anything was because we suggested it. Moss of course pleaded not guilty but surprisingly the DA still wants to go ahead and prosecute. Everyone was sure he would not go forward. That's fine because it just makes our case better in the end.We go in again on oct 17th for the pre trial and according to our lawyer the judge will likely throw it out. After that we begin the civil trial. If for some reason the judge decides to let it go on and the DA goes forward then we have a full blown trial on our hands and we get to subpoena the store video surveillance, call our witness and have all kinds of fun !

    If we do win we don't expect to receive large amounts of money by most standards, maybe 15,000 after lawyer expenses and such. Of course, that will help us tremendously, but it is, as our lawyer stated, the principal as well. Moss spent 24 hours in jail, was extremely disrespected and forced to post 5,000 dollars for his freedom. All for absolutely no legal, justifiable reason. Surely that is worth some compensation.

    All of this means our plans to head to Oregon in October are delayed for and indefinite period of time. It looks like we will spending more time in Santa Barbara, which isn't to bad. We found a new place to park near some gorgeous botanical gardens. Sage has been enjoying looking at the flowers and trees. I noticed she is very visual, preferring intricate patterns and bold colors. From the time she was two weeks old I noticed her staring intently at the art on the walls and smiling. She does that in the bus also where the walls are much closer and adorned with artwork. Perhaps she will grow up to be an artist ?

    On another note, to the person who made the (unpublished), nasty comment regarding my spelling and their hope that we were not planning to home school sage, thank you... It is true my spelling in the previous post was horrid ! I am actually an adequate speller. That post was written in a hurried manner and when I am doing rough drafts I misspell a lot of things then go back and fix it all later. At that time I had forgotten to do that. So thank you for bringing it to my attention, but I do think there was a kinder way to word it than the way you did. And to answer your question, yes, we do plan to home school.... :)

    The bird cages with new closets underneath for storage.

    Shelf for Sages clothes and diapers.

    Book shelf above bed and Sage sleeping peacefully..

    New closet above bed.

    Bus windows now painted green.Source URL:
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Electrical Part 1

    Well we have been busy beavers since Julia quit her job at Tsunami Books! *yaaay* It has been so wonderful to have more time to work on the bus. Now that Fall has descended on Oregon it's not a minute too soon to really start crackin' at getting this project to the livable phase. We are trying to have all the main systems in before Winter so that we can flee further south for that dark and desolate time.

    Our progress on the electrical system has been awesome these last few days!

    First, I wired up all the outlets for 120v (there's 4 of them on 2 different circuits ~ 1 near the sewing machines, 1 near the table, 1 in the kitchen and 1 in the bedroom). I used Black and Decker How-To books that I got at the public library to figure out how to wire the boxes together. I have a surprise for ya - it was ridiculously easy, folks!! Really. We bought 14 gauge Romex for the job...this is the stuff you find in your looks like a fat white wire from the outside but it's actually a bundle of 3 wires all wrapped in a white casing. I already had a wire stripping tool from a garage sale. So there's three wires in there - one exposed copper wire (ground) and 2 other wires - white (neutral) and black (hot). We bought some outlets at Bring Recycling. Some outlets have little screws on them but we just got the kind where you push the exposed wire into a little hole and a spring inside the box holds it in place. Worked great. If ya get confused there's even little markings on the back of the outlet box that says where to put each wire. Figuring out how to wire together a couple boxes to share one circuit was beyond me but there were pictures of a whole mess of different configurations in my handy Black N Decker book so I didn't even have to think about it too hard. Sweet.

    So all these wires are coming out of our 120v Circuit Breaker Box - at first we got the Mains Lug kind (no beefy off switch to kill the power coming into the box) but then we decided to go for a Mains Breaker Box for safety. Unfortunately, we could only find a ridiculously big one at Jerry's that's rated for 100 amps...way more than we'll ever use but whatever. Then we got 2 circuit breakers for it - one for each circuit, smarty! ;) They snap into place on the box.

    The DC side of things is a little more tricky for us because we haven't been able to find as much information on how to wire it all up. We bought a 12v Fusebox and we have a bunch of 14ga AWG and all the nice little DC lights we could ever want for the bus (and the water pump and the composting toilet fan) but we're not 100% on how it all goes together. We have some guesses but nothing official. Our friend Spencer who wired his bus together successfully is on vacation right now so when he comes back we are going to pounce on him and make him tell us everything he knows about DC wiring.

    In the meanwhile we got to work on our Battery Box!!!!

    ((A note to RVers and buspeople of the Eugene/Springfeild area - avoid KC RV Supply like the plague!! I was told they have the best prices but I could not believe how rude, hostile and condescending they were in there...and folks, just about every time we go to buy anything for this project we hear "do you have a permit for that, little girl?" about 2 or 3 times in 2 or 3 different ways so you come to expect a bit of bullshit but KC RV Supply really took the cake for a result, I took my business to The RV Store in Springfield instead and they were much more helpful/respectful. It's a bit further to go but I didn't notice any price difference between the two places AND The RV Store had a heck of a lot more stock. ))

    Ok back to the Battery Box. So I bought 4 6v Interstate Deep Cycle batteries at The RV Store. It set me back about $380. Of course on the way home one of them ^%$ing tipped and spilled acid in my trunk. (First thing written on the top of the batteries? DO NOT TIP) We're hoping that it's still good. We built a nice underbay vented box for them with hold-downs and a locking front out of plywood, angle iron and steel stock. We haven't bought our inverter yet but we hope there's going to be room for it on the side of the box. I was excited that we finally got to use the bed frame I got out of the Goodwill dumpster down in Santa Rosa! We were able to scavenge the plywood for the box, too. Our next post will go into more detail about how we made the battery box, so stay tuned!


    UPDATE: For additional safety, we switched out all the push-in type outlets and switches with the screw-on type. These are better suited to withstand the vibrations of the bus.

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Long Time Away!

    Things have just been too, too hectic! Yea, I know, welcome to the club. I can't believe it has been a month, though since I have been on my blog, or anyone else's for that matter. I have lot's of stories from my trip to Colorado, the most exciting was I almost drowned and had to be rescued! I truly thought I was a goner. Quite the experience.

    I am now up at the Mountains with my tent trailer commuting back and forth to work. I've been up there the last 3 weeks and loving it. Long drive into work, but the cool mountains breezes and the million star night skies have made it worth it.

    Meanwhile, I found this picture of me and my hubby and thought it was pretty cute. He is beardless now and hair longer, so is looking more the hippie than the lumber jack of this picture. Peace! And I'll do better once I am down from the mountain.Source URL:
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New Pics

    Step 00: Level the bus. This took a couple tries to get the right number of odd pieces of 2x4 under each tire. The tiny-ness of the pieces is bad for the tires because it puts too much pressue on too small a part of the tire....but we're replacing all the tires anyway so it's all good for our purposes...please don't do this to your good tires, though! In the future we're going to make a little elongated 2x4 pyramid and roll up on that instead.

    This is what she looks like when you walk in right now.

    Detail showing how we did the side walls. We used all 2x4s because our insulation is THICK. Two long metal screws secure the longer piece to the wall along the rivet line~ make sure you don't hit the rivets...gotta go in between them. Then two wood screws to hold the little piece of 2x4 onto the bigger one. Then a long 2x4 over the top and a long one along the floor.

    Some closeups on how we did the walls. We looked all around the internet and no one had closeups or very detailed explainations of how they did theirs....I imagine there's a couple different ways. Wood-to-metal screws didn't work in this situation (not enough bite in the thread of the screw?) so we used metal screws. Pre-drilling was key. I think we're going to put an extra 2x2 along the inside of the outer-most studs to give them a little extra support. We don't really know how "real" walls are made so we kinda made these ones up....they do work, though!

    The box over the wheel well that will support our range/oven and our fridge. Bathroom to the right.

    The super overbuilt beefy box over the other wheel well that will support our woodstove. It's bolted into the floor and the top of the wheel well. I think we're going to put cement board over it and the surrounding walls and then bolt the woodstove to it.

    I can barely read this....drats. I'll put another copy on here soon. This is the wiring diagram Spencer helped us draw/figure out. More on this to come.

    Mess 'o wires near the dash.

    Bi-fold door for our bathroom! $10 at Bring Recycling with all the hardware for it, too!

    Scavenged this door from a remodel a few streets down. Free! This is going to be our front door.

    Water pump. It's smaller than I imagined it would be! Came with a wiring diagram and all sorts of useful info.

    Our barrels. I LOVE the red....not that it will show or anything....just saying...RED! Note the molasses all over it.

    Another Bring Recycling find....talked them down to $10...think it was originally for a bathroom but I like it for our kitchen just the same. We're going to build the top up a bit so that we can fit our scavenged pull-out cutting board and double-basin sink on it...we're going to do a nice tiling job for the counter.

    My new treadle!!!!!!!!!!!! She's a Singer Red-Eye born in 1931. I love her. I replaced her belt and she runs LIKE BS plastic parts either....perfect as a back-up machine in case we get left with no power. Our friend's mom didn't want this baby anymore so she generously passed it onto me in exchange for some baked goods. WOW! I'm so thankful for this machine....can't stop looking at her most of the time....

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Much Progress

    This post has been a long time coming...sorry to leave everybody hanging! We have our subfloor screwed down now. Feels good to walk on something solid. Before we put it down we actually decided to paint low-VOC Safecoat metal primer over the whole rusted mess....this is a partial solution that felt right to us. Our friend Anna was a sweet heart and helped us do the whole floor. Our walls along the sides are all framed in now and so are the walls to the bathroom and one wall to the shower. They look awesome! We couldn't put the final shower wall in without blocking off access for actually getting the shower into it's spot so we're waiting until we have that aspect of the plumbing job more finalized and planned out. =)

    We went to AM Solar here in Eugene the other day to chat it up about our plans for solar panels. Looks like we'll be buying our assorted solar panels accessories like wiring, battery bank, controller box, combiner box, inverter, etc later on this week (Friday) and waiting to get the panels until AM Solar's panels go on sale at the end of this month. We're planning on doing all the house wiring later on this week too. We've planned where we want all our outlets and switches and our breaker box and all. Right now it's just sharpie marks on the walls but pretty soon it'll be actual electrical stuff. More on the details of that later. Luckily, our friend Spencer did all the wiring for his bus and he's happy to help us out in exchange for canned goods and babysitting. We sat down with him a few days ago and clarified a lot of our electrical grey areas with helpful diagrams he drew on the bus' subfloor.

    In the purchases category ~ we bought 2 used 55 gallon food-grade drums that used to be filled with mollasses for our freshwater tanks/veggie tanks. They still need to be cleaned out but at 6$ a pop we thought it was worth it. We also bought a standard shurflo pump on eBay for $65 including shipping. We also bought a ton of 2x2s for framing in the walls ~ unfortunately, we couldn't find too many reclaimed/recycled ones so we had to go with new ones. We did find a bunch of recycled 2x4s, though, and that's what we used for framing in along the sides of our bus. Looks like today we might hit some junkyards around River Road and look for stuff like side-mount propane tanks (spencer told us that forklifts have them), 12-volt lights and those shore-power placket thingies that come on VW buses and other stuff like that. AND a bench seat! We want a bench seat ASAP. =)Source URL:
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