Meet the New Family


Hey, human!  We’re all colors and get along. Why can’t  you?

Welcome to the new home base in rural eastern Iowa.  Serena and I are staying with some friends on their farm for the next few months.  She is her usual fearless self.  When the 11_WessonWesson, the white pit bull, stared at Serena, she looked him in the eye and hissed.

When Wesson glared at me the first time… well, I nearly lost bodily functions.  Thankfully, he’s a foodie and we get along well.  (as long as I give him a bratwurst or hamburger patty)

Besides the scenery and tranquility, there are other advantages to being in the country – especially when it comes to watching TV!   The antenna is picking up 47 television channels – one is close to 90 miles away!  Why?  There are few structures to get in the way.


8_Next Farm OverFrom the farm it is about a 12 minute drive to  grocery stores, Walmart, and the closest McDonalds.That’s good in a way.  Being that far from a McBurger is a plus!  I’ve stocked up on a TON of food, especially the little plastic fruit cups with no sugar added.  If the only thing on hand is healthy food, that’s all that’s consumed!


Here’s another friend from the farm.  Meet “Bear Bear” (pictured doing a “nose bump” with Serena.)

5_Ree Ree and Bear BearBear Bear is lucky to be alive.  She’s missing part of an ear, a toe pad on her left paw, and two toes on the right paw.  Part of her tail fell off.

Last winter Bear tried to get water from a cattle trough and froze her paws to the galvanized metal, trapping her.  In the frigid weather, the cows kept licking her, covering her with their saliva; that’s what kept her from freezing to death.

IMG_6832Bear was rescued and brought in the house.  Following a warm bath, she slept for two days.  Despite a limp and having lost a few of her nine lives, she’s doing great!  She and Serena seem to get along okay … although Bear Bear tries to sneak into the van and eat Serena’s food!


The weather is warming considerably.  Everything is turning green.  The farmers are starting to work in their fields and the unmistakable smell of cow crap is wafting through the air.  With tomorrow forecast to be in the upper 80s,  I’m planning to do a little morel mushroom hunting.  If any are found, there will be pictures, of course!

22_BrownieOne last photo… This is Brownie.  She and Wesson are tied up away from each other.  But one should not expect to pay attention to Wesson without petting Brownie.  She runs around barking, rolling, and carrying on until she gets attention.  She’s a big dog but every bit as loving as Wesson.  Meeting these two dogs has restored my faith that large breed animals can be gentle if well trained.

That’s about all from the farm base.  There is plenty of work to do, moving things back and forth between the car and the van to get settled in.  But it is fun!  Just the last week spent in the country has had a positive effect on the stress level and mood.  It’s going to be a terrific summer!

Take care and thanks for visiting!

Brad and Serena, Vandwelling in Iowa

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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7 Responses to Meet the New Family

  1. Karen says:

    Looks like you have nice friendly neighbors – glad your new living quarters are working out!

  2. Todd says:

    Hello Captain Van Trekker,

    I am thrilled that you and your loyal starship crew are able to get some shore leave in that quiet country place. It looks like a much better place than the planet Risa for sure.

    I esteem your love of animals. In my own life, some of the best teachers I’ve ever known were cats and dogs.


    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks, Todd. Things are calming down, the stress level has pretty much vanished and life is good. If it was a Star Trek universe, I’d love to visit the planet from “The Paradise Syndrome” and live with the natives. That Trek episode was such a favorite that when I found a discarded female cat a few years ago, I named her “Miramanee” and my buddy is taking care of her (along with Jesse James) in Minnesota. Yep, shore leave is a good thing.. especially along the shores of the Wapsipinicon River, just below the dam. 🙂

  3. Jo says:

    Looks like a great place to gather thoughts and cleanse the mind and body. Great looking animals to enjoy also.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Jo. It is amazing how much easier it is to rest out in the country. There is virtually no stress. You’re right about cleansing the mind and body I’m eating healthier and being more active. Life is very good!

  4. Jerry says:


    I waiting for the picture of you with the farmer John overalls & the pitch fork – lets not disappoint !!

    • VanTrekker says:

      LOL! I probably won’t get any overalls but am thinking about some shitkicker boots… there’s plenty of cow crap around there!