Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicken Gals

The new ladies are here and they have their own living quarters so Taj's fears are finally put to rest! 

This started as a group of five which lasted right up to the first one that crowed! Yep, a male was hiding amongst the gals, trying to keep silent but his instincts betrayed him and he quickly ended up in Heidi's stew-pot... You see, these critters have a purpose aside from just providing entertainment value! They are hopefully going to be productive little egg factories providing us with healthy, nummy food! Obviously, only the hens can pull that off :)

Heidi has been busy over the last few weeks preparing the fine home you see above. She located it via Craigslist at a great price just down the road from us a few miles. Both the coop and the pen were part of the deal and Heidi has made many improvements to each. Even with the addition of the roof on the "chicken run" and extra material to strengthen & secure the coop, they are both easily moved to keep the girls on fresh, "scratchable" ground.

I admit I even think the inside looks sorta comfy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Magic Carpet or Segway?!

Easy Choice! Since we couldn't locate a magic carpet anywhere, Heidi and I recently picked up this clean first generation i167 Segway found locally on Craigslist. Perhaps the best money we ever spent! 

With my lack of air due to the CF, keeping up with Heidi while we are out and about isn't too likely. The Segway, who we of course named already,  "Steve",  is perfect for getting around most anywhere we go. I have been enjoying my newfound range by visiting the horses at the stable fairly often now, shopping in town with Heidi and soon accompanying her and Dad on many future walks & expeditions on the waterfront & local trails. 

"Gliding" along on a Segway is an easily mastered skill. It is very intuitive and feels quite safe. My initial glide with a spotter had me on my own in less than a minute, moving carefully within a small area for a couple more minutes then gradually extending that range. If you have ever been interested in trying a Segway out, definitely check for a local Segway Tour company. They are fairly common now and will be fun and educational. Great way to explore local scenery!

Steve and Taj have had a chance to meet of course but for the moment, the Dodge truck, Seth, gets the hauling duties until Taj gets a new hitch receiver for the carrier to mount to. (pictured below)

   This clever gadget for hauling the Segway was part of the deal. 

Perhaps not much of an update on what we have been doing, but I promise to get to that soon. With the winter months coming soon, I expect I will be online again a lot more often. Wonder how Steve does in the snow...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Leatherwork - Fun, useful skill and perfect for vantramping!

After collecting some tools, doing a bit of reading and finally applying some of the learning, I am pretty happy with my first leather creation. These are the pants I made for Heidi's favorite folding knife, "Willy"(yep, we still name everything). Most of the design is my own with the exception of the bushing that helps auto-open the blade when un-sheathing the knife. I had seen that before online somewhere a while back and thought it looked like a good idea.

Leathercraft is definitely a nomad friendly hobby! I enjoy it about the same as doing jewelry work, and it is just as easy to do in the small spaces of a van or RV. Of course I plan to do a lot more of it and have a few ideas even to dress Taj up a bit, but she isn't getting pants! That is just way more hand stitching than I could handle!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another New Foal & Andy Update

Welcome little friend! I am not really sure what this little guys name is just yet, but he is a sweet one! His Mom, Ellie, has been carefully watching over him as his first few days were a bit difficult. His right rear leg/foot was turned outward a bit at birth and both rear legs were pretty weak to where he wasn't standing on his hoof rather more the back of  his calf. 

Took just a few days and he is just fine now & having a little fun!

He is as cute as they get and has a very sweet personality! 

Andy is doing very well also! He is full of attitude and energy which makes him loads of fun for Heidi and Dad to train! 

Hope you enjoyed the quick update! The next post is a Taj mod! About time eh?! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

New somewhat furry Baby!

This cute little critter is a new addition at the Thomas Morgan Ranch, (also known as Dad's place). He was born on Tuesday, April 24th and was quickly dubbed "Atlantis Crossing". We call him "Andy" for short and he is apparently a bit of a ham! Tongue out at the camera! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Research & Planning

This is the fun part! With probably at least two years of scrimping & saving to afford land, Heidi and I have lots of time to plan and research and dream! The simple picture above is a product of my thoughts lately. The layout and details are way off from what the likely end result will be, but some of the basic pieces are there. I really am getting into the idea of "Auquaponics"! Healthy, nummy fishies and organic vegetables from one efficient system, whats not to love?!! 

The dome greenhouse is another concept I have been digging into as I really think it is the perfect home for a nice AP system. That funny looking grid thingy on the right is an idea I have been wanting to experiment with for capturing the heat of compost to heat water. That isn't an original idea as many people are doing it successfully already, but it is something I want to try on a very small scale to see if it will work for helping heat the greenhouse in winter. We have many sources of compost here to experiment with, perhaps even this summer. Should be interesting!

Wind power is another topic that will likely see some "pre-land" experimenting. Dad's ranch may just end up a bit greener if he is up for it! Combined with solar(PV etc) and conservation, I really believe we can comfortably go without any connection to the grid on the future homestead. 

I realize I haven't mentioned much about the main living quarters & "docking station". Both are topics for future posts for sure! I will say that so far, cob construction is in the lead but nothing is decided yet of course.  I better also say that this post is mostly about some of my ideas, Heidi supports them but also has a ton of really great plans of her own for our future home.  

When it all comes down to it though, planning is fun, but none of us knows what will happen tomorrow. Having something to reach for is good for the spirit though! Now I really just need to get into shape!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Driving Change

Most folks that know Heidi and I well, know how much we enjoy Taj and the nomadic lifestyle. So why are we now, at least partially, changing direction? Coronal Mass Ejection? Peak Oil? The threat of economic meltdown? Angry Birds perhaps? 

Nah...None of the above. After facing our own dire health predictions for 40 some years, doomsday scenarios don't really get us too excited. Besides, we both believe "To live is Christ, to die is gain" 

Really, it is very much for the same reasons we both love VanTramping. We want to do as much as possible to live in simple, self sustainable ways but even a bit beyond that. We want to do whatever we can to help others in that same quest. We both believe that going for a complete and efficient off-grid style homestead will give us the best chance to accomplish those goals. 

This blog is still very much about VanTramping too. I expect at least half of what we blog about in the future to be very relevant to the nomadic lifestyle. From the tons of mods I still have planned for Taj to the ideas that can function in either mode(stationary or mobile), we will always share information relevant to life on the road. 

Realistically, it will likely take us two years or so to save enough to acquire the amount of land we want.(2.5 to 5 acres) In the meantime, lots of fun research and experimenting!. Solar & wind power generation, dome greenhouse, aquaponics, and a bunch more projects could get built ahead of time if things work out well. 

Perhaps one of the best reasons driving change is the overwhelming feeling that it is the right direction for us. The more we think about it, the more it just makes sense.