Monday, March 28, 2016


Well, there's good news and bad news.  The good news is our renovation and prep for spring  progress continues (and thanks to all of you who bought my new book, the money is really helping with the renovation.  If you haven't, please consider picking one up, even the Kindle edition helps).

We got the exterior Portside of the boat painted yesterday before the weather ceased cooperating.  Hope to do the Starboard side this afternoon.

We also got our Puddleduck painted. . . .
. . . .and back in the water, a sure sign of summer coming.
We also put a dent in upholstery for our new settee, sewing and attaching the back padding to one of the backrests.

Nice, hunh?  Unfortunately no one told us. . . .

. . . .that this would be easier BEFORE we put the settee together.  Sigh.
But Sunday was made difficult by iffy weather, insane drivers (including one guy in a van ahead of us that was literally so hammered that he was veering into oncoming traffic) and the fact that our kerosene stove exploded. . .

Yeah, exploded.  I've no freaking idea how an unpressurized kero stove explodes, but we wound up using the fire extinguisher.

I have no idea at all what went wrong.
More later on this.  The Butterfly stove has been rock solid dependable for over a year.  Something is seriously amiss and we'll be reporting on it as soon as we figure it out.

But for right now, it's laundry, and then, hopefully, the afternoon will dry off and we'll be able to do some painting.

Stay tuned.

Oh, more stuff over at Life, Art, Water, check it out.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lending Us a Hand

We warned you earlier that we might be doing a crowdfunding campaign to help us revise the floatation here aboard The Floating Empire.  We may still do that, but we thought we would first try a simple expedient to let you guys lend us a hand to complete this amazing project.

See this?

This is my brand new novel, just out.  You can find it on Amazon here in paperback.

Or, if you like, you can get it on Kindle here

If you'd like to give us a hand, buy a copy in either paperback or ebook.  Every dime will go into the Floating Empire project.  If you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, just download the book and read it and we'll get credit for that too.

In fact, for the month of April, any title you buy--paperback or ebook--from the catalog of our publisher Wild Shore Press will have it's royalties donated to the project, which is more than kind of cool.

We figure it's kind of a win-win situation.  You get some new stuff to read--and to be honest, I'm very proud of this one--and we get to complete and sustain a great and interesting project.

So, please, if you can, lend us a hand.  We'll really appreciate it.



Dead Kitty says Happy Springtime!

Yeah, we know, it's kinda sick.
Enjoy the return of fine weather!


A Really Simple Composting Toilet Setup

As part of our renovations, we've moved the head to the aft, and while the bench setup we've used for the last two years for the composting toilet has worked just fine, we made some changes to free up a bit more bathroom space. It's worked so well, I thought I'd share it.

Here's the original toilet setup, inset into a bench in the head.
You will need:
Two, 5 gallon buckets (make sure they'll nest).
Four screws and large fender washers.
A snap-on toilet seat for buckets (like the luggable-loo from Reliance.  There are several others on the market as well)
A section of 12" concrete casting tube (optional)

First, cut one of the buckets in two, just below the reinforced rim and bail. Remove the bail and snap the toilet seat onto the top.
Make sure you leave enough lip to securely nest into the other bucket.
Take the bottom half and cut two deep "V" slots all the way to the base.  If you don't do this, you won't be able to pull the other bucket free of it when you stack them.  Trust me, we tried.  Screw the bucket into place using the fender washers and screws. This will form the fixed and stable base for your toilet ( In the shot below, we had purchased a commercial bucket base to keep it from sliding while we used it during construction and just left that in place.  You don't really need it.)

The large fender washers keep the screws from pulling through the plastic.

Insert the whole bucket into this secured base, add any liner or bags you want to use, then secure them by sliding the top section with the seat into the top.
The base holds the bucket in place, the top piece holds the seat securely in place.  It also has the added advantage of raising your butt off of the compost.

If you use a bag liner, the top piece will hold it in place and keep it from collapsing.
It works really well, and the height is perfect, but we wanted to pretty it up, so we took a piece of concrete casting tube and cut it to just below the toilet seat rim (in this case, 15.5 inches).
There are lots of brands of this stuff.  Any handsaw works well.
Just slide the form tube down over the bucket stack, then insert the top section and seat.  It makes for a nice, compact, and simple pillar toilet, and the tube is large enough to leave the bail in place so you can easily remove and dump the bucket.

See, a clean and very tidy look.
Next we'll be doing something artsy with the form tube to make it prettified.  Seriously, this took all of about ten minutes and it works wonderfully.

More later


Friday, March 18, 2016

More progress

Thought I'd share some photos of the last few days work on the settee.  We're really happy with how this is turning out.

Also we got a new coat of bottom paint on "Dharma Duck"
More stuff in work today.  Stay tuned.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Settee stuff

Thought you'd like to see some of the work on the settee today.

Nice stained surface on the table.
And the routed back with laptop storage behind.
Rather happy with how this is going.  Tomorrow, varithane and more trim and more stuff:)

Then a rather nice evening by the firepit.

  Much more shortly.


Monday, March 14, 2016

....And Sawdust Everywhere!

So 'twas a rainy day today, so we spent it working inside, getting the settee ready for paint and stain and stuff, routing and sanding the edges to make them presentable.

Doing a nice curved corner, then routing the edges.
You know, one thing I'd forgotten was just how much sawdust routers throw. . . .

damn stuff goes everywhere
But in the end we've got a nice look all ready for stain and varnish.

And no more splinters....

Getting there.
So stay tuned, we'll be finishing this and attacking the galley counter in the next few days.

More at Life Art Water.  Check it out.

Much more shortly,


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Stuff Continues/Prepping for the Spring

The weather is gorgeous here this week:  clear and with temps in the 70's.   With any luck this means the winter of '15/'16 is over and done with.  Such weather improvements mean three things:  A lot of cooking out, prepping the puddle duck for the water, and goofing off.

High on the agenda was fixing the gouge "Dharma Duck" took when we pulled her.
The work on the boat continues, though most of the stuff I've been doing this week is rather difficult to photograph.  I've had to move a bunch of the wiring to prep for the rebuild of the galley.

Shifting wires around is always a knuckle-banger.
We took time to clean up the construction detritus and hang a bit of masking over the bare insulation forward, trying to make the space presentable and pleasant until we start the next phase, which will be the galley re-do.

prettier than looking at bare foam, anyway.
And there was still time to grill a whole shad, which are running right now, and have a wonderful dinner and then a great pasta dish from what remained the following night

Shad Alfredo...Oh yes.
....not to mention taking time out to work on my getting my new book to print.

....but its SPRING here folks!  Finally!

Much more later.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Aaaaaaaand it continues.

Dead Kitty says Happy St. Patrick's Day!
The work continues.  We've gotten most of the new studio space put together.

Lots more working surface

....and a lot more room in which to move.
More shortly.  Rebuild of the Galley counter is next.  Stay tuned.

Hey new stuff and more pictures over at Life, Art, Water.  Check it out.