A Place for Everything… Everything in its Place!

The Christmas cards this year….


Hello and welcome to the blog.  This post takes place in the living room at my home base.  That’s where most of the action has been lately.  Pull up a chair and enjoy some hot tea and cider!


Duke enjoying an old Christmas afghan made from many little diamond shapes.


The time before Christmas is flying by… and it seems like every day is a continuation of Thanksgiving.  There’s a lot to give gratitude for right now.  Even the fur babies seem to be getting into the act.  Duke and Jenny are enjoying the season, both occupying the two Christmas afghans these days.  The above blanket was made close to 20 years ago as I recall.  The snowflake afghan was one I crocheted around 1992 or so and was Mom’s favorite.


The red Christmas sleigh, loaded and ready for the 25th.


Lately I’ve been busy cleaning… and cleaning… and cleaning.  The home base needed it.  During this year of health challenges as well as stress and depression, the place looked a little ragged.  It didn’t help that the fish were biting fervently this autumn.  (House cleaning and fishing are mutually exclusive activities!)


The new area rug with Jenny and Duke checking it out.


Recently Sis told me eight words that have changed the course and priorities this late fall season…  “Everything has a place.  Everything in its place.”  As I started looking at piles and heaps of clutter, the brain was moving things around, figuring out where stuff should be and then the body started doing the physical work.  Add into the mix a little moderation and what was overwhelming suddenly became doable and perhaps even fun!

The living room was the biggest beneficiary.  It’s used a lot.  Though the carpeting wasn’t as bad as it could be, it had stains.  As an early Christmas present, I purchased an 8 foot by 10 foot area rug with a “lodge” design.  The improvement was immediate.  Duke and Jenny and I now lay on the floor at night during Star Trek and play, relax, etc.  It’s brought a lot of enjoyment.


Thursday’s project — Fish chowder with monkfish, shrimp, and salmon.  Side note”  the colorful goldfish crackers use only natural coloring – nothing artificial!


There are other improvements coming as well.  I’ve been doing some work around the kitchen making room and cleaning.  Today the project was a batch of fish chowder similar to that made a few weeks ago.  This version included monkfish, salmon, and shrimp.  Kitty Duke got in on the action and kept pestering me till he got a taste.  I figured he’d take a lick or two.  Nope, he ate heartily!  During the writing of this post my buddy Elijah texted so I dropped off some chowder for him to try as well.


By the way, here’s a picture of a monkfish.  They are pretty homely!  These guys live in the northwest Atlantic Ocean from Canada down to about North Carolina.  Our local grocery store was running them for the holidays.  Never frozen, they can only be held uncooked for about 2 days.  I tried one and when the fish were marked down to clear them out, I froze a couple more pieces.  Weighing about a pound each, the fillets are about 11 inches long and there is no waste.  The flesh has a similar flavor and consistency to cod.  Broiled in butter, monkfish can taste like a poor man’s lobster.  Great stuff!

That’s about all for now.  It’s getting late.  I do hope to slip in a little driveway camping time this weekend to crochet another Christmas present and cook up a tasty supper.  If the weather behaves, there will be more camping in the coming days.  Take care and safe travels during this Christmas season!


Wearing a dust mask for cleaning is only logical. 🙂

The three spoiled, Van Trekking cats
Bradford and 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 A Place for Everything… Everything in its Place!

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Your place is looking so festive(sp) the crocheted pieces are lovely. I miss crocheting but not the pain in my hands and wrists.
    Oh I love the rug I had something like it when I had my little place in the mountains I hated leaving it behind.

    Enjoy your driveway camping!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I understand about the pain in the hands. It hurt me the first night. By the second the hands were better. I was using 2 strands of Red Heart yarn so it was pretty stiff. So far the rug is looking pretty decent. Now the cats don’t want to sleep with me. The sleep in the living room on Christmas afghans and enjoy the festive décor while I’m in the fisherman’s bedroom. LOL. I haven’t been able to camp overnight yet in the van but spent a bunch of hours in there doing the yarn work… — VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Your Christmas cards are beautiful
    and the red sleigh looks great. What an awesome way to decorate without a tree. I’m guessing the cats have left it alone. I love your new area rug, too. It looks cozy and inviting. My crockpot vegetarian potato soup turned out pretty good, but next time I think I’ll take your advice and use cream instead of milk. And looking at that monkfish, I suddenly do not miss fish or seafood!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Glad to hear that the potato soup turned out so tasty! I just got a note from Elijah’s mom. He and his dad liked the soup but the powerful monkfish smell stunk up the house…. It’s as strong smelly as the fish is ugly. 🙂 I’d recommend at least half-n-half in the soup. I’ve got a hankering for some old fashioned cream of mushroom soup. Take care. Gotta get up early for a pulmonary test in the morning. VT