Singing Bowl

On our trip to visit friends and family in Texas I had the chance to not only record but also to play a Tibetan Singing Bowl.  While it was fascinating to get the chance to play this instrument of meditation, I wasn’t clear of its origin or original purpose.  So, after doing a little research here’s one of the better articles I found.  It is an interview between Rain Gray and Lama Lobsang Molam, a Tibetan monk born in Lhasa, Tibet.

Here’s the Link… Interview with Rain Gray

Brenda’s friend Donna was delighted to see an old friend, and get the chance to play the bowl for me.


It was a great time of sharing stories and past histories and watching these two laugh and enjoy each others’ company.  It was a real delight to hear and watch Donna make the bowl sing.  We were recording in her meditation room, a special place set aside for renewal of the spirit.  I want to tell her thank-you for allowing me to use her space for recording.  I think that recording in this energy filled room made it extra special.




After hearing the beautiful tones the bowl produced in her hands I asked if I could try and make it sing.

 It was a very soothing experience holding the bowl as it produced the tones while I tried to follow her form.    Of course I had to experiment with mic placement, setting the bowl on different surfaces, techniques, and in the end holding it in my hand produced the best sound. And, the best feeling while the bowl sang to me.

What a great time we had producing a recorded loop of the bowl for meditation purposes.  I’m putting the loop in the “Road Noise” section of the blog.  Here’s a link to the recording that is about 30 minutes long.

Once again until next time…

“Get Out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure”

A Quick Weekend Out..

This last weekend was one that basically directed itself.  We started out to the Mountain Bushcrafters Alliance skills day and wherever the van rolled from there.

I’m going to share these wanderings in a couple of posts here since the activities were totally random and therefore unrelated to each other.  We started at a gathering of folks that share a love of doing things “the old fashion way” while teaching each other how to “go farther and stay longer”.  Then moved into a study of early folk dance and from there a PowWow gathering of 5 or 6 tribes being represented.

Understand that the only planned stop was the MBA skills day the other two were literally where the van rolled. We left the MBA gathering and spent the night on the road (aka Marathon/Wendy’s parking lot).

I couldn’t resist posting this sign from inside.

We decided to head further north and find what we could get into…  But, first a shady spot to fix breakfast.

This was the best shade I could find.  Amazing nobody came to ask what we were doing there.  They could have gotten coffee or a free meal!

We decided to check out Berea, KY to see if anything was going on there.  Since it was Sunday the streets were pretty much empty and the sidewalks were still rolled up.  We did stop in at the Russel Acton Folk Center.

“The Russel Acton Folk Center was built and owned by a group of volunteers, with the help of many generous donations, in the mid 1980’s. The dream of its namesake, Russel Acton, was to preserve the art of Folk Dancing in Appalachia.” — Facebook/ Russel Acton Center

Here’s a sample of some of the activities to preserve and promote our heritage in dance.

I myself resemble a three-legged gazelle when it comes to dancing so the next clip fascinated me with the grace of this waltz…

They were having a short session and we arrived after they started so that’s all I was able to video.  And I want to say thanks to everyone to allow me the chance to video.

Let’s see what’s next…

The next post I’ll back up and share some scenes from the MBA skills day.


Until next time…

“Get Out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure.”

Upgrading Solar on the Vome

So the time has come to show some more of the VOME build out.  SO, here’s another “how did” video and a little introduction.

I wanted to increase the ability to charge my house batteries in lower light levels, without unpacking the folding  panel and just the overall redundancy the extra panel would provide.  Spending time in all kind of places presents challenges for using solar.  Out west in the desert areas it’s a sure thing you can find the sunshine you need.  The shade of a forest is a different story, no different book.

I mounted the panel from my old van on top of the VOME near the rear since the rooftop real estate was a bit crowded.  My plan was to leave room for expansion, and now we expand.  Let’s look at what I did and “how did” when it came to mounting these on a fiberglass roof.  But first consider the roof is actually two “skins” an outer one and an inner one.  The problem this presents is I can’t get to the outer skin from inside to install a backing plate.  That’s why I’ll be using a fastener called a well nut.IMG_20160813_100404.jpgHere’s a video that explains how these fasteners work… Kayak Fishing – Hardware Installation Options, Rivets and Well Nuts.  Now that you’ve seen how they work let me also point out they work to provide a certain amount on isolation from vibration.  IMG_20160813_100415.jpgThe one I’m using here is for a 1/4″-20 bolt and required a hole that was 1/2″ in diameter to allow it to be inserted.IMG_20160813_100512.jpgUsing stainless steel bolts and washers to anchor the brackets on the panel to the roof.IMG_20160813_113348.jpgNotice how as you tighten the bolt it not only expands in the hole to grip it also seals against the roof.  Because there is only rubber in contact with the fiberglass it will not try to wear it’s way out.IMG_20160813_113457.jpgThe outcome???

Well I’m satisfied.  The electrical outcome???

Well turning on everything I could and with the sun playing hide and seek behind clouds the buss voltage bounced happily between 13.1 and 14.2 volts.

This allows us to be more independent in our travels and adventures.

“Get out, Be safe, Go adventure.”


Scotch Eggs

So I saw this recipe on the James Townsend and Sons website where they make it look so easy and decided I gotta try it.  So here we go!  Let’s mince up some ham, country ham and fresh eggs would be better since they don’t require refrigeration.


While four eggs are on to hard boil I started on mincing the ham.  In this case I’m running some packaged city ham through the grinder to create ham mince.  This could be done by hand with knife and mashing tool.  But, today I have solar panels to work on and utilized some tools for shortcuts.   😉

Doesn’t that look nice?  That’s about two cups of minced ham.
I added one egg.  Next time I use city ham with “water added” I’ll be adding two eggs.  The egg is just a binder for holding the ham together.
Now wrap the ham mince around the hard-boiled eggs for a coating of about 1/2 inch or so.
This is the setup, today I’ll be using the rocket stove with the same trivet I use in my Dutch oven.  The trivet raises the pan to help reduce the hot spot in the middle.
Lessons learned here?  Make sure the oil or other cooking medium is up to temp before putting in because you’re gonna be rolling these and setting the ham coating fairly quickly.  Also, take the extra time to be sure your cooking surface is actually level.
There ya go…  Nice brown Scotch Eggs.  I added no salt, pepper or other seasoning.  The ingredients are simply minced ham and eggs.
And here’s what they look like on the plate.
Sorry, close to the last bite.  I hope you enjoyed.

So until we cook and dine again…

GOLD ! ! !

We just got back from another small adventure. And while putting together the pictures from two different cameras I saw these and remembered I didn’t show you our gold expedition.  While it was not a lot to get excitited about it, was relaxing, and fun.  Plus we did find some very fine gold flakes!

Libby and Layla enjoyed the time playing in the creek.

DSCN3774This certainly was a beautiful setting to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Now down to business.  We set up our mini-sluice and got started digging holes.DSCN3765Ok, so digging the holes to try and reach the bedrock where the black sand and gold would be settled was not so relaxing.  Brenda and I took turns digging and processing the raw materials.DSCN3768So the mini-sluice is set and working…  This was the second most cool part.  The first part of course is working down the “concentrates”.  You see that’s what you end up with after it goes through the sluice.

We both wanted to play in the sluice since it was helping to concentrate the “good stuff.”

The outcome???   We found several small flakes of very fine gold and the confidence that we could do this.  We will soon be “penny-aires” at this rate!!!

This was about getting out enjoying each others company in nature and doing things that others have never tried.  How much gold have you found lately, hmm?   We also met some folks that were real helpful with hints and tips.  Which goes to show that there are many communities full of folks that want to share their knowledge and experiences.

This was just a short post, during the same short time we collected geodes in another stream and camped with an old friend in the Cherokee Nat’l Forest.

Now that i’ve posted this back to work on what I was really doing…

Until next time…

“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure”


Village visit. Historic White Pine Village

I know the blog seems to be stuck back in time.  So, we’re gonna move ahead at least a century.

We paid a visit to the historic White Pine Village in Ludington, Michigan.  The Mission Statement for the historical society listed on their web site is below, and is a link to their home page.

The Mason County Historical Society is a private, non-profit educational organization, formally organized on November 30, 1937. 

Since 1937 this group has been busy preserving the history and heritage of this area of Michigan, specifically Mason County.  This includes a community of 29 buildings that are situated on 23 acres of beautiful lands and gardens.  Sounds like a real estate ad or a travel brochure?  I’m sorry it’s just the truth and the only way I can describe the place.  So here are a lot of Pictures from some of the buildings.

The Burns farmhouse was typical of the times.
The interior of the house looks like most any other, Well except for the pump organ to the right and no electricity.
This plaque points out some things to consider while looking in on this schoolhouse.
Yep, kids to day have it made. writing desks made of wood, slates to write on, and oh yeah no air conditioning.
And this was the only source of heat.  What wear a DUNCE cap if you were to lazy to do your work???

Let’s go see the general store…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is a loom that was considered portable in that time period.  There’s one similar to this at the Gladie Visitors Center  at Red river Gorge Ky.
And this is a closeup of the work in progress.  In an earlier time thread made from combed and spun wool would be used to make cloth.  As you can see here old worn out clothes could be re-purposed into other useful items.


I tried to capture the entire inside of the county courthouse in this panorama.  As you can tell it’s rather small, the judge would sit at the table in front of the jurors.  If a jail sentence was pronounced the guilty party would be led through the door next to the woodstove. The county jail was a room dug underground with a ladder that would be lifted out was the incarceration began.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The slide show above is a typical trappers cabin.  Brenda and I both agreed that we could be very comfortable there.

Of course we had to visit the fire station.
This is where it would begin, central office switchboard would answer the call, then “ring down” the fire department.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There were several more buildings with all sort of things from that time displayed.  We managed to make it through all of them before we had to move on.

SO, I’m going to close for now as it’s time to head out for the next stop. I’ll let you in on a secret, the next blog post will still be from Michigan.

So until next time…

“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure”

George Rogers Clark

Another living history lesson…

We step back in time once again with one of the period actors here at Fort Boonesboro.  This time to hear the story of   surrender at the hands of a few, very few, brave Kentuckians….

Yes, it’s true I’m still playing catch up.  It seems that there’s just not enough time between planning, adventuring, and work to share with ya’ll all the cool stuff we find to get into.  Since this video we have been gathering geodes, gold panning, camping in the forest with a friend, hiking at Natural Bridge, visiting a campsite on the Elkhorn Creek, touring Lost Sea Cavern, and that’s all I can remember without Brenda’s help.

So, she’s probably going to post pictures on Instagram @twentyonefeathers and then some on her Facebook page “Stepintothesunlight”.

So until next time…

“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure”

Travels and tips for being off-grid

dan cordray and brenda durbin

Travels and tips for being off-grid

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Forest Edge Studio

Artist's Journal - C. Gemme Messier


The ultimate guide for independent travellers seeking inspiration, advice and adventures beyond their wildest dreams