Generating a Bit of Cash

Gotta love Iowa… My yard went from green to white and back to green in a week!


Hi and welcome to the blog!  When Mother Nature has mood swings she seems to take them out on those of us in the Midwest.  First it’s warm, cold, then warm again….At the same time though, I’ll take the cold ’cause running the central air in the summer is too expensive.

It’s continuing to be a challenging time here but if life was always easy it wouldn’t be as interesting…  Money has been an increasing concern.  I had not said much but a month or so ago I lost my unemployment after accepting a job that was very badly misrepresented… Described as an easy, low-key job answering questions, it turned out to be a call center type job, with outbound sales, high pressure, etc.  – not something I’m wired to handle.  Oh well.  Sh** happens.  Until something else comes along, it’s been possible to mow lawns for extra money; I also sold off a possession to boost the account a bit.


Good bye to Genny, the red power inverter.


After tripping over the generator (stored in the kitchen) one too many times, it dawned on me to liquidate it.  On Wednesday the Honda EU2000i was sold for $450 to a young man in a neighboring town.  He does construction work and said he could use it for powering tools.  We were both happy with the deal and the Honda went to a good home.


“Mush rat slough” (Muskrat Slough) between Olin and Morley, Iowa


I didn’t go fishing or camping this week.  We had a lot of rain and the creeks are murky again.  But I’ve been doing some exploring around the county… such as here at Muskrat Slough (pronounced “slew”).  (In Iowa you often hear the word “mush-rat” instead of muskrat.)   This region is a protected waterfowl area.

Some friends recently shot a bunch of carp at the slough using a bow and arrow… They brought two of them to my house.  I scaled and filleted the fish and the carp were smoked to deliciousness!  As one old farmer told me when having coffee the other day, “Well, them carp are some good eatin’ if it wasn’t fer the bones!”


Thanks to Jeff and Mason A… These carp were wonderful smoked!


Fishing is still on the mind though.  While working on the post this afternoon I spoke Brad from the Department of Natural Resources.  Next week I plan to do some camping just a few miles east of here and take Jenny along.  There is a pond that was stocked with fish a couple of years ago and has great populations of bass, bluegills, catfish, etc.  Sounds like what the doctor ordered… literally.


Life is going to be a lot different in the coming days.  But change is the only certainty in life.  I’ve finally find some people to help me get back on track.

“Look into my eyes… Relax with me and your worries will melt away.”


I recently met with an amazing person whose job is to help find tools to help a person remain self-sufficient.  In the coming days it means filing for disability (part time), counseling, help with maintaining my home, physical therapy, and perhaps some medication for the bipolar depression.  It was even suggested that I might be able to take some college classes and have the state re-train me.  What cool options!

And believe it or not, it was even recommended that I register Jenny and Duke as service animals.  Though skeptical at first, I’m actually open to that!  (Seriously, like Jenny would ever WANT to perform service for a HUMAN?)


One last thought… As a problem solver, I wanted to come up with a tool for dealing with the awful anxiety in recent days.  When not addressed, the anxiety eventually caused loss of sleep and depression.

Though surely a bazillion such tools exist on the Internet, this one is my own.  I call this spreadsheet the No Worries! Thought Analysis and Redirection Log”  It’s meant to take a negative thought, figure out why it happened, change it to something more positive… and think of a follow-up action.  My Sis really liked it.  The tool is proving helpful!  Feel free to download it, use it, share it, do whatever (please don’t license it unless you send me some Diet Coke).



The next planned outing will be on Monday as we visit a pond I’ve not fished before.  It should be fun for Jenny and I alike.

Take care and thanks for following along!

Safe and happy camping always!

Brad, Jenny, and Duke
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"

4 Responses to Generating a Bit of Cash

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Happy your are looking into these help aids. I’m sure you qualify for a few of them. I think your kitties are the best medication for you, so why not use them as service animals. Those kitties keep you going when times are tough on you. It’s a known fact that animals can help in lots of medical cases. I remember a while back when you messed up your meds and one of your cats woke you up just in the nick of time. Good luck and see what you can get into. Training programs can be a great help to find a job you might like.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the kind words. Our pets do take care of us. One of the reasons I decided to get the two registered is so that if I need to stay in a motel I can bring them in without the hotel / motel being able to throw a fit. Jenny and Duke are awesome pals and take good care of me. Duke’s on my right leg while I work on this comment.

      I saw another doctor this week that recommended I work at a couple part time jobs rather than one full-time one. Looks like I’ll be going back to McDonalds. With new owners there is a big pay raise – making it affordable to work there and live nearby… and I have good friends there.

      In the meantime, the physical therapy folks started working on my right arm and it’s recovering quickly. I’d lost over 1/2 of the strength and was in pain 24 x 7. Now that the pain is going away, I feel so much better and the depression is lifting. It makes sense – pain can drag ya down. Everything is working together for good. 🙂

      Take care and thanks for the note! I hope you are able to camp soon! — VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Weather is the same in Ohio. Glad things are looking up for you. I wondered if you would consider going back to the McJob. You were there awhile and seemed to enjoy your coworkers and patrons. In many ways, part time work is better for work-life balance, if you can get by on a smaller income. For ten years, I worked a series of part time jobs and was very happy. I went back to full time for the health care, but ironically, I cannot afford it! I am kind of stuck at the moment because more money equals more expenses, at least for me. I need to tighten my spending and go from there. Have a good week and keep your positive attitude!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Yes, I’m actually thinking about going back to McDonald’s. Our location was sold to another company. They are doing some chopping of the deadwood. Once the dust settles, I was offered the chance to come back for more money (about $2 more than I made before). At the same time, a convenience store is trying to recruit me to work for them but they want too many hours. I’m going to do the P/T thing for fewer hours, less stress, tighter budget. It’s crazy… With healthcare the way it is, a person cannot afford to work full time! Thanks for the kind words, by the way! I’m feeling better these days.. and likely camping with Jenny on Monday. Take care! — VT