New Product Up: Chickens Coasters!

Plastic canvas chickens to cluck around and peck up all the drink rings off tables!

Now in the Shop and available for purchase!

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Nomad Life Part 4: The Holidays

How does one celebrate holidays living in a vehicle, with space at a premium?

A tiny tree, maybe, sitting on a dash… or an ornament suspended from the rear view mirror?  Is it new every year, or a gift held for ages, lovingly tucked away in a drawer in memory of times past?

And gifts… are gifts exchanged at all?  Perhaps small necessities to make life a bit easier, or brighter… something to commemorate the giver?

Does the vehicle dweller in question live alone, or with a significant other?  How about pets?  They’re part of the family too, of course.

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Nomad Life: Part 3 – Vehicle Dweller or Homeless?

Do you live in a pickup, or a van?  Maybe a motor home?  Something other than a fixed structure like a house or apartment?  Depending on your local laws, you could very well be considered to be as homeless as someone curled up on the sidewalk without any shelter at all.  Heck, in some places even people living in transient motels are considered homeless.

Wintertime is a bad time to be without shelter, of whatever type.  My joints still hurt 25 years later, after a winter outside without blankets.  No vehicle, mind you; groves of trees and stands of grass were what my ex decided were appropriate places to sleep.  Always moving around, no place the same two nights in a row.  There’s more than one reason he’s an ex.

I would rather have had a van back then, or even a small car.  A home of some type, out of the elements.  A way to get somewhere warmer, out of the cold and snow.  Or heat, in the summer.  Though I could easily have done without the ex.

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Christmas Shipping Deadline

The last day I’ll ship something ordered for Christmas is the 15th of December.

There are always shipping delays of one type or another this time of year, and I want the packages to have the best chance of making it to their destinations in time for the holiday.

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New Product Up: Chess Set

Chess set now in the shop as well… fully playable, yet decorative at the same time!

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New Product Up: Building Logs!

Now I seem to have forgotten (if I ever knew) how to put a proper link in a post.  So head on over to the Shop and check out the Building Logs!

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Nomad Life: Part 2

Seasons as a nomad.  Each one has its own challenges.

First off, winter, since we’re either headed into it or already there, depending on location.  If you’re on foot, you’re out in the cold, slogging through snow.  Sometimes fluffy white snow, other times hard and crunchy more akin to ice.  In a vehicle you’re at least inside, though a set of snow chains don’t go amiss this time of year, as well as driving slow and careful.  Watch out for black ice at any time, however.  And sleet, sheets of glare ice that send vehicles careening if their drivers aren’t extremely careful.  Someone on foot would be smart to stay inside if at all possible when its sleeting.

Maybe a trip to Arizona in the wintertime?  Nice and warm down there, or so I hear.

Next, spring.  The snow has turned to slush and muck, slippery and muddy.  On foot, its miserable and cold.  Hiding under bushes and in groves of trees to attempt to stay even half way dry.  The temperature might be higher than in winter, but its still bone chilling cold, especially if you have to sleep outside.  Vehicles still need to drive slow and careful, though the snow chains may no longer be necessary.  Don’t get rid of them though; there’s always next year.  As it warms up more, the ground thaws out and it isn’t quite as miserable outside.  People start planting gardens this time of year, though too early and the young plants still get frost bit at night.

On to summer.  Hot, hot, and more hot.  You’re more likely to hang out in the shade rather than full sun like winter or spring, otherwise you’ll overheat.  Well insulated vehicles with fans going are a great benefit… also driving to where its cooler than, say, Arizona in May.  Last time I was there it was 125F in the shade…. I about passed out walking from the truck to a store for a soda.  And I was thanking any and all gods I could think of that the a/c worked without a problem.

Summertime, getting and staying cool and hydrated is the main issue.  Rain is a benefit, whether a short downpour or slow drizzle over the course of days.  Shade is always a good thing, especially when you have to be outside for a long period of time.  Carrying drinks is a must, though you do want to avoid sodas; sugary drinks just make you more thirsty.

Summer’s the time a nomad wants to head north, where its cooler.

Lastly, fall.  Or autumn, as its also referred to.  About the reverse of spring, temperature drops, nights get colder, urging people to go inside and otherwise figure out how to get and stay warm.  Mucky slushy wanna-be snow, finding ways to stay out of same… time to head south again, just not so early in the season that you fry instead of being comfortably warm.

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Benefits and Drawbacks: Road Life (Being a Nomad)

Living in a car, van, motorhome or trailer and travelling around all the time can be seen as romantic and freeing.  However, there are both benefits and drawbacks to a lifestyle of this nature.

Benefits:  Freedom to travel around when and where you choose.  No bills (or very few).  Not much stuff to deal with.  Being able to go somewhere else at the drop of a hat.  Seeing the country.  Living on a smaller budget than an apartment or house.

Drawbacks: Possible problems with police or security.  Knowing where to park… and where not to.  Knowing what type of rig you need for the lifestyle you want.  Knowing exactly what equipment (and how much) you need for the lifestyle you want.  Dealing with weather (example Hurricane Harvey or Irene).  Staying safe.

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How much equipment and what type you need depends on exactly what type of lifestyle you want.  Someone backpacking will need (and be able to carry) a lot less equipment than someone living out of a car, van or pickup, and the vehicle people will need less equipment than someone living out of say a class A motorhome will.

I have noticed no two nomads ever have the exact same equipment, though everybody had the same basics.  Basics being, shelter, food, clothes, restroom use, staying clean.

When I lived out of a backpack on the road with shows, I always carried a certain minimum of equipment.  A tarp, in case it rained.  A nylon sleeping bag.  At least one bottle of water.  Granola bars for emergency food supply.  A spare set of clothes.  Sewing box, with several different colors of thread, a packet of needles and a small pair of scissors.  A small first aid kit, with several different types of band aids, Ace bandages, sterile gloves, white bandage tape, scissors just for the first aid box, OTC remedies like asprin, Tylenol and ibuprofen.  A mess kit and mess kit silverware.

Due to space and weight issues I didn’t bother carrying cooking pots or pans, or a stove of any type.  I also didn’t travel alone, but was always in a group.  More than once I ended up sleeping under the boss’s trailers, though I did try to stay hidden from anyone outside the group.  Eating was expensive, since it was always in a restaurant or something.  I think my biggest expense back then, bar none, was food.

One year I was running with a show, I think it was my third season out.  The crew was making a four hour jump from one spot in northern Nevada to another in central California.  I’d brought all my gear (I didn’t have a bunk room, being on a different crew); it fit on a 50lb max carry luggage cart.  I actually had an extra item that year, a folding chair.  The crew member who got dropped off with me didn’t have any of his gear, it was all in his bunk room.  Reasonable, until you figure that the bunk house was not being pulled by the truck we were on.

So here Jeff (if I ever knew his last name I don’t remember it now) and I were, left in Anaheim with the Extreme and the generator, while the truck went back for another load.  It was getting dark, and even in September in central California it starts getting cold outside at night.  So I laid out my sleeping bag, rolled up in my tarp, under the 5th wheel of the Extreme and went to sleep.  Poor Jeff ended up sitting in my chair freezing his keister off in his overalls and t-shirt trying to sleep as well.  I was so grateful I had all my gear, and didn’t have so much that I couldn’t carry it all.

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Fall is here… Happy Halloween!

Fall is here, which means harvest festivals, pumpkin patches, and Halloween.  Kids have been back to school now for awhile, and they’re likely getting anxious for a break.  I know I did, at this time of year.  Though we didn’t get a break until Christmas, where we had 2 weeks solid off.

Trick or treat, pumpkins on porches, candy in bowls at the door.  Adults answering in costumes, children going through neighborhoods with parents in tow.  Scary decorations festooning the walls… usually indoors these days, I’ve noticed.

Chilly, blustery days, golden leaves falling from trees, Jack Frost nipping at the windows, snow’s just around the corner.  Make sure that snow blower’s maintained, and fuel it up so its ready to go as soon as that first snow falls.  Chains on the tires, tools in the trunk, just in case you happen to get stuck.  Or if you’re like me, have a snow shovel or two handy, as well as an extra pair of hands to help with the shoveling.

Happy Halloween!

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Back to School…

Traditionally, in late July and August people started thinking about the kids going back to school.  Whether its elementary school, high school or college makes no difference, the first Tuesday in September after Labor Day was the first day of school.

Weather cooling off, crops from summer gardens are in, school supplies and clothes being chosen and bought.  Teachers waiting to instruct kids who might only be there because they’re told to be… or not knowing how important an education is to whatever they choose to do later on in life.

Once in awhile, though, there comes along a special kid, one who’s determined to get out of whatever situation they’re currently in, who has distinct goals in life and a path to get there.  Sometimes said path takes detours, but that’s life.  Things don’t work out one way, try another, until there is success.

Success… slippery word, that.  Just what is success?  That depends on who is asking, since success means different things to everyone.  Also each person takes a different road to get to their own success.

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