Finishing Up the Castle and Fixing the Comments

Jenny enjoying the new cat castle. The urn looking down contains Duke’s ashes.


Hi and welcome to the blog!  First of all, tonight I was able to fix a nagging problem.  Now when you comment, you’ll see it posted!  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get it done but all should be good now.  The battle for better page loading speed continues but I’m working on that too…


The memorial tag on the post of the castle, just below the platform.


For now, the castle is at a stopping point; it’s painted, carpeted, and usable.  Jenny oversaw the majority of the work.  Even at the writing of this post, she is sleeping in it, 5+ feet above the living room floor.  In the coming days I will be adding a beautiful antique mirror to the interior as well as some faux exterior windows and other decorations.  The construction served its purpose – helping me get through a sad time – but what a relief to have it done and reclaim the kitchen table!


I live at the red “X”.  Most of the meteorological models are calling for about 7 inches of snow in this area. Yuck.


The first portion of the winter was spent making the castle but now the most difficult of the cold weather season is at hand.  Last week we had about 8 inches of snow in this region.  This weekend we are looking at up to 7 inches more… and instead of the powdery stuff, it’s going to be sloppy and heavy.  Oh joy….   It means another 5AM shoveling on Sunday to make sure the restaurant gets opened on time.  It’s surprising how many people – many of them snowplow drivers – will stop in during really bad weather.  I’m happy to feed them!

With more snow on the way, there won’t be any campground visits any time soon… perhaps later in February.  But I’m getting antsy and it’s likely that very soon there will be a driveway overnight camp out.  Truth be told, the bed in the van is far more comfortable than in the house!  Pictured below is a nice treat that will likely be enjoyed out there…


Made with “colossal” shrimp, this tasty treat is fairly diabetic friendly.


I love making shrimp cocktails for a tasty, somewhat healthy treat that requires little effort.  On the next post, I’ll share how to make them.  It would be a super easy and elegant thing to enjoy on a camping trip.

That’s all that’s new for now.  I know it’s been a difficult number of months with the virus, political unrest and such, but life is still good.  Some days a person just has to look a bit harder to find the happiness but it’s still out there… and spring will be here before we know it.

Safe and happy camping!  Thanks for visiting!


She got her shots and toenail trim Thursday night… Jenny was extra sassy. So much for positivity.  She’s a brat… and  loved!


Brad and Jenny
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"

5 Responses to Finishing Up the Castle and Fixing the Comments

  1. VanTrekker says:

    This is Brad testing the comments box…

  2. Jo Harmon says:

    The Castle is looking grand and Jen seems to think it is to.
    I’ve tried to open your blog a few times and it just wasn’t happening. Tonight it opened right up and I was shocked LOL But it took a bit to get to the comment section.
    Your shrimp cocktail looks yummy.
    Take care and be careful out there in all that snow

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I’m sorry that it took so long to get back to you. Work has been keeping me super busy and I’ve been sick off and on (diabetic related). I’ve been pushing too hard and trying to do too much… Time to slow down! Thanks for the note about the Shrimp Cocktail. I’m going to make another. They were running huge shrimp for $10 / pound. I love those things…

      We’re back to extreme cold and it’s not going to let up till the end of the month… It’s going to be -20 on Sunday night coming up. Ugggg! The campground in town is plowed shut… Another month or two and camping will happen again. 🙂 No hurry!

      I’m still having some trouble with the blog loading slowly. It’s frustrating. I’m to the point where I’m thinking about coping everything over to a backup, shutting it down, and going to a new location (free). Why pay for something so slow?

      I hope you’re doing well! Take good care! — Brad and Jenny (Yep, she’s still using the castle every day – spoiled kitty!)

  3. Heidi says:

    Today is the first time I was able to successfully open the comments in quite a while. Your cat castle is a lovely memorial. It is so hard to lose a loved pet.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Heidi! Thanks for the note! It took some looking into but apparently, the blog theme page had an update that had wiped out the comments. I’m glad to have that fixed. I miss Duke but things are getting better. Later this week after I get come cleaning done on the home base, I might be bringing in a little black tomcat who would be named Maximillion… “Max” for short. Word has it that he is six months old, incorrigible, and would keep Jenny occupied. We’ll see how it goes!

      Take care and stay warm. It’s -10 right now.. ugg! — VT

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