Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Run, Taj! Run!"

With all the tragedies that have occurred in the last few years from severe weather and other natural disasters, it has really had me thinking about this lifestyle that Heidi and I enjoy so much. Not negative thoughts or worry mind you, rather a bit of comfort and peace in the fact that we can, more often than not, drive out of an area that is threatening dangerous conditions.

Yesterday was an excellent example that clearly illustrates this fact. Early morning, before we were ready to climb out of bed, we heard the thunder and saw the flash of lightning reflected through our uncovered skylights. The rain poured down and the hot muggy temperatures were even more intense than in recent days. A little later, as we enjoyed our coffee in the house with my sister, we learned that the day was going to be filled with severe weather and potentially large hail. Pretty sure I heard Taj make a loud, nervous gasp about then!

Large hail is some seriously scary stuff to a vanhome! Even hail half the size of the one pictured above could potentially ventilate a B's fiberglass roof, and the windows, as well as creating a mess of the sheet metal. Definitely something to avoid, and yet, quite easily done when your home has wheels!

We spent the day in Bloomington which is a few hours South and out of the main "line of fire" for the storms.

In the end, it turned out that the warnings were accurate concerning the strong winds and severe thunderstorms, but overall it was more mild that it first sounded, and at least for the immediate area there was no hail. I am still very glad we left. We did have some specific business to take care of in Bloomington anyway, and really, what good is the ability to avoid damage if it isn't used? Had we not left, and there had been hail, this would be a very sad post, especially since we had warning.

I have decided that a weather radio is now going to be in our future, sooner rather than later. I have read some very interesting blogs concerning them lately and really believe it will be a wise move. I will do a bit of a review after we have done our research, acquired and tested one.

The big message here though, is 'having wheels on your home is really a handy thing!'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Regaining Balance

There just isn't much question that balance is one of the most necessary things in life to keep things going smoothly. I tend to be horrible at maintaining it! I, and my wife Heidi as well, both get our minds on something and almost everything else is put off until we have satisfied that particular interest to a cogent state of being. We both however know this about ourselves and constantly work towards more equilibrium.

While working to get the big wave of modifications done on Taj, we had put off many of the healthy and fun activities we normally do. There are still many projects in progress and in the future for Taj, but now that the majority of the larger ones are done and we are again living in a more nomadic way, we are back to trying to get our lives in balance. The guitar has come out of it's case and my fingers are again sore but it is a pleasant pain! The mountain bikes both have dirt on the tires other than from dust settling on them while perched in their rack. The jewelry tools have come back out of hiding and a dozen other activities are again part of our lives and will be the subject of many future blog posts! This blog is also going to be given an increased effort to make it a hopefully more enjoyable and interesting place to visit.

The goal is simple. Balance in all areas of life; Spiritual, Health, Family, Fun, and "Work" (though it is hard to give it that name). Living the Vantramp lifestyle makes all of these goals much easier to attain for us. We hope that you are all able to find the right balance in your lives as well.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Solar cooking and other fun!

Heidi and I have been having a wonderful time hanging out with my sister Traci and her family here in Minnesota! The picture above was taken in her front yard where we decided to park Taj in an effort to avoid the hot summer sun.

In addition to playing tons of card games, shooting guns & slingshots and driving the 4 wheeler, Heidi has found time to torment poor Taj (click on the next picture).

Traci of course provided the pancake and was involved in the conspiracy to humiliate our trusty VanHome. Taj was really not happy about having her picture taken with dead Minnesota bugs all over her front anyway...

Traci and Heidi are outside at the moment creating a very temporary solar cooking oven to compensate for the failure of the regular gas fired oven in the house. The sun looks a little low in the sky to me, but like a good brother and husband, I am rooting for them... I am really enjoying watching them become really great friends!

It is quite a change of pace here for us, still feels very relaxed, but Aaron, Traci and the kids are a very industrious and creative lot! More than a few times since we have been here, almost everything on the dinner table has come from their land and labor. As a family, they are truly inspiring beyond description. They work hard and play hard together, live a very spiritual life and have more love and respect for each other and others than I have ever witnessed. Pretty great vibe to be around!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Racoon kids

Is that not the cutest thing ever? The racoon is pretty cute too :) Okay, now that my sucking up to the wife is done for the moment, I will explain! The racoon in this picture is one of three that found their way to a friends house last week. The mother is nowhere to be found and sadly is assumed dead. After the first day, one of them disappeared, but the other two, now named "Sam" and "Chipper", still remain and seem to really like their new home!

I have heard baby racoons referred to as "pups", these two really fit that name well. Those are Dan's feet(one of our friends) which Sam and Chipper followed quickly around the yard like they always do. They are 5 weeks old and quite energetic little critters each with a very distinct personality. Sam is very mellow and sweet, while chipper tends to be a little more of a character.

We really had a lot of fun visiting with Dan & Linda and Chipper & Sam! Hope you enjoyed the pics, wish you could of been there with us! After the visit, we ended up back in Floodwood at the little community campground which we had all to ourselves.

This was our view of the St Louis River in the morning when we woke up. This is such a wonderful lifestyle!

Note to Nellie: This was a stretch for me since it wasn't a wiring/technical post :) I hope it was decent! Heidi will be contributing a post soon. She promised me she would!