A White Christmas… Maybe Next Year?


The Christmas Tree, 2018


Hello and welcome to the blog.  It’s sure not looking like Christmas in Iowa.  We’ve got basically no chance of snow in the next week.  I’m not complaining though!  It’s been warm enough to work camp even into December!

Well, nothing is decorated at the home base but tonight I had an idea for a tree.   The picture above is a green friend named Edna.  In the fall of 2017 I rescued a tiny portion of a plant – a stem and three leaves – from deep inside a frostbitten bush at a campground.  I rooted the sprig over the winter and planted it in 2018.  Before the frost could kill everything this year, I brought Edna in the house.  After serving as the “Christmas Tree”, she’ll go back outside in the spring.  Edna is one tough little coleus.  The next post will feature her adorned for the holiday.

See the source image

Last Saturday brought a new arrival.  While watching TV, I saw a small tuxedo kitty chasing the neighbor lady up and down the street, meowing loudly.  I took him in, of course.  For the time being the cat is staying in Jenny’s bedroom, quarantined to make sure he’s not ill.  But the little guy is tough.  He’s also extremely cuddly, climbing my back with razor claws and rubbing a wet nose around the neck, purring, wanting his belly rubbed, etc.  He’s taken a liking to me and the house.  Not sure what to call him, I chose “Oreo”.

It’s difficult to say where Oreo came from.  I suspect he is one of the many T.N.R. cats roaming the area.  Strays are trapped, neutered, and released back to the wild in an effort to curb the population.  About 1/4 inch of one ear is clipped to identify that it was originally a feral feline.  The spay ‘n’ neuter clinic tried to do that to Jennifer and I said “No way!”  (She’s got a tattooed back spot on the skin of her ear for that reason.)   As of Tuesday night (December 18), I have a home lined up for Oreo unless someone claims him.  Based on the description, a close friend said if the kitty is that affectionate, we’re going to call him “Romeo”.  In any case, he’s one darned lucky little kitty boy.

The other two fuzzy friends, Duke and Jenny, are doing well as we head into the holidays.  They’re both keeping me busy and well taken care of.  The holidays aren’t easy for a person who lives alone.  But with work and all, the time is passing by quickly.  Though the house looks like a tornado hit a Cabella’s clearance aisle, other places are looking more festive… as you can see below.

Lavern a.k.a. “Big Mama” busy at work spreading cheer at the gas station.

For now it’s a matter of mulling over plans over Christmas.  I have to work on Christmas Eve until 2PM but might spend a night outdoors for fun.  A good friend brought a pheasant to McDonald’s the other day.  I’m debating roasting it over coals or stuffing and baking it, etc.  In any case, there will be a good meal and warm night’s sleep somewhere.

Home sweet home away from home.

For now it’s off to the evening destination. The work camping is pretty much down to a science now.. I usually watch TV with the propane heater on till about 10 or so and then crawl in the warm sleeping bag.  When it’s time to get up in the morning the Mr. Heater Little Buddy is run long enough to warm things up so one can get dressed in comfort.  The only thing missing is a cat or two… and yes, it does get very lonely at times.  I relish the nights spent with the fur babies at home.

Well, take care and thanks for visiting!  I hope everyone has a great time with their friends and family in the coming days.  Stay safe!

Brad, Jenny, Duke, and Oreo
Jones County, Iowa


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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"

6 Responses to A White Christmas… Maybe Next Year?

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I like your Christmas tree, and another furry friend.

    No snow but warmer temps must be a plus for your work camping. And having the Mr. Buddy heater sure helps to be comfortable during the evening and then early mornings.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Sorry I’m so late in commenting. It’s nice to have that extra bit of warmth! On Christmas eve, Jenny and I are going camping and having a tasty meal. I thought of a new accessory for cooking that might prove to be quite useful. Take care! Have a Merry Christmas! — Brad, Jenny, and the Duke.

  2. Onevikinggirl says:

    You are a very kind man. Caring for both plants and cats – and yourself- giving them all a good home. Thank you for keeping your blog going, I enjoy it although I may not comment often.
    It is solstice today, now everything will get better by the hour!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! I agree that with the days getting longer it WILL get better soon. It’s been a fun autumn season but at the same time we relish the sunlight. Jenny and I are going camping tomorrow. I built a new accessory for cooking and have high hopes for a very tasty Christmas eve dinner using this new contraption. 🙂 Take good care! — VT

  3. my_vantasy says:

    Did Oreo (or Romeo) get to his forever home? My cousin does TNR work, so I hear all kinds of stories and know about ear tipping. Did Lavern leave the golden arches or does she work two jobs? I’m dropping down to one job in 2019. I’ve worked two jobs so long that it will be an adjustment to sleeping in on Saturday and only collecting one paycheck. It’s all part of my plan to travel. Have a fun, safe, warm, and blessed Christmas!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Miss Lavern is no longer working at the golden arches but is trying to get back there. She’s working full-time at the gas station nearby and keeps us all entertained… As far as the kitty — good news! It will be in the post I’m working on right now. 🙂 Take care and have a Merry Christmas! — VT