Some Minor Tweaks

Hi and thanks for visiting.  Jenny and I will be taking a little 3 night trip north this week to do some fishing and various outdoor things.  She’s going to have a lot of opportunities to play around the streams and waterfalls.  Watch for a post later this week.

So what’s been happening these days?  There are a of couple new things being made for camping.

Drawing out the metal and squaring it.

On Friday I spent some time with friend Paul at the pioneer village.  They had a large school group tour.  Paul invited me to come early and forge some metal in the blacksmith shop.  We worked on a tripod for camping; it will be used to hold a dutch oven.  In these pictures I am drawing (pounding thinner) the hot metal out and then rolling it into a decorative curl.  The tripod needs a little more work but it’s almost done.

Starting to roll the metal into a tight, decorative curl.

It was a fun time!  The school kids came and, of course, we spent time showing them things like making nails, etc.  Play time was over.  At some point Paul and I will finish the tripod.  Perhaps on the next trip some stew or chili can be cooked up.

This next project is something I am working on each night at home, a new crocheted afghan.  Grandma taught me this skill back around 1977 or so when I broke my collarbone and could not go trout fishing that summer.  (Yeah, that REALLY sucked not being able to play or fish!)  But the love of crochet has never waned.

Once stitched together, these squares will provide plenty of warmth!

This afghan will be 50″ x 70″ and will contain thirty-five 10″ squares.  For those who are familiar with crochet, the square is similar to a classic “granny” pattern but you turn the work from front to back at the end of each round.  Round 9 contains double crochet (DC) all the way around (green yard) in all spaces and stitches with 2 chains in the corners.  Round ten is just single crochet all the way around.  Each independent square takes around 75-90 minutes to complete.  I chose the colors to be “outdoorsy” and went with this layout because it is so highly portable compared to crafting a one-piece blanket.

Though a bit lumpy and bubbly, the new window tint adds a nice view!

Lastly, I decided to try some very strong window tint on the back window of the van.  Previously I’d used two layers of curtains.  There was covering over each window and one in front of of the back door area, suspended over the full width of the van.  That layout was a pain in the butt though was good for stealth camping.  Unfortunately, the curtain over the bed also eliminated about 6 inches of space between the transverse bed and the back doors;  I was also often getting getting tangled in the drapery.  At some point there might be some quickly removable window coverings (tint won’t block out all light if stealth is needed) but for now I love being able to see outside while sitting in the easy chair.  It feels more “homey”.

That’s about it for now.  I’m in the process of readying the van for our trip over the next few days.  In the meantime, a few minutes fro now buddy Steve and I will be headed to Jim’s farm (Jim is a friend from 30 years ago when I previously lived in Anamosa) to pick hazelnuts.  I’ll drag the camera along today to capture the fun.

Take care!  There should be some good pictures later in the week as Jenny and I camp near the Minneeeeesota border.  Safe and happy travels!

Jenny and Brad
Jones County, Iowa

Though Jenny’s got 5 kitty condos, she still sharpens her claws on the wall. If only I could use those talons to fillet out some fish….

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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"

2 Responses to Some Minor Tweaks

  1. Jo says:

    Your tripod will be really nice and the fact you made it will be even more special. Your crochet pattern is great and like me you make it tight better for warmth. I like the way it is coming out with the color you chose.

    Hope you have a great trip and will be waiting to see your pictures. Be safe

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the note. It looks like there will be time to work on the afghan today… It rained all morning. Rain is welcome right now! It didn’t hurt the fishing. Jenny is having a blast and was playing to her hearts content last night. There will be pictures. Take care! — VT