Back on the Farm

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Here’s a little update on our farm and how things progressed this winter.


We still have our chickens.  The site of chickens running towards you is hilarious.  They have been doing great laying over the winter.  We never did put out a light but they kept laying 5-8 eggs on average.  I was impressed.


We got our piggies early this year!  Say hello to Pepperoni, Deli and Hot Dog.  We talked about raising winter pigs so we wouldn’t have to worry about them while traveling over the summer or the smell in the warmer months.  Then we found a guy that had 3 month old pigs.  Score!  We usually get pigs at 2 months so that was one less month we had to feed them.


I love it when they line up like little sausages!

This year we decided to put the pigs in a different pen and use theirs for our larger garden items.  Corn, squash and what-have-you.  This also gave them a little more space and new ground to till.


Each year we try out a new feeding system for the pigs.  This “clean-looking one is this years.  So far so good.


We still have our sheep Shawn and Shannon.  At least for now.  Shannon is pregnant again and we are waiting for lambs.  Our very loose figure is mid March.  I am really hoping she is a better mama this year and takes care of both of them, should she have twins.


Pregnant sheep have those hard to reach places too!

As soon as the babies are born Shawn will be finding a new home.  His purpose at the moment is just company for Shannon.  We had our experience with a ram and are now done.  I think if we had more land and more ewes for him to keep track of I wouldn’t mind keeping him but for now we are thinning out the farm.  When the babies are done nursing Shannon will also be looking for a new home (sooner if she’s not a good mama).


She gets extra lovey when she’s close to her due date.

We are done keeping them over the winter.  If we want lambs we will just get some in the spring.  We will also be sending them all over to our friends property to gorge themselves on the pasture over the summer.  Tis the season of simplifying!



Hey! Did I ever mention I got a barn!  A red one.  I love, love, love it.  It has two stalls on the pasture side and storage on the other for hay and grain.  It has already needed repairs as Shawn was using it for target practice but she held her own pretty well.  It will be so great to be able to keep chicks in there when we need to freshen our flock.

MCI Bus Conversion

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How about we take a break from the trip and see a bit of real life around the Thames house.  A while back we shared the news about our bus conversion.  We (Greg) have been working hard to get things designed and built.  Each step comes with its own unique challenges.  All I can say is thank goodness for internet!  We have spent countless hours looking up designs and options and reading (and trying to learn from) the experiences of others.


So, here she is.  Our bus.


This is what it looked like when we got it.  The front…


The Back.  12 bus seats, one couch, a table, a desk/cooking table, a bookshelf and a full size bed.


The first thing for us to do was to remove the overhead luggage racks.  Greg and I both hit our heads a number of times just in the short time we had the bus till this day.  They had to go immediately.  These things are seriously sturdy.  They did not come out without a fight.  But, stubborn as we are, we won.


Some of the screws would not come out and needed grinding.


One down, one to go.


Finally, clear sailing for our heads.  I was amazed at how large it was in there once the bins were removed.  Greg also removed the covering for the air system.  It stuck out from the wall about 6 inches on each side and we needed all the width we could get.  He will be building a cover for the system in the front so we can use it while we are driving but the back will remain wide.


I am so thankful Greg took on the job of cleaning out the vents.  30 years of…well…I dont even want to think about it.  Thank you honey for taking (another) one for the team!


Next the walls started to get some framing and the back bench/bed is started.  I was playing with some different settings on the camera.  The bench was great at holding still but, not so much with Greg.


Now the walls are almost in.  We are so very thankful for the J family for giving us their extra insulation from their house remodel.  We had a propane space heater in the bus as we were in the middle of winter and with each panel of insulation we could feel the bus getting warmer and warmer.  There will be no problem keeping the heat inside this baby!

We blocked out three windows on each side.  This area will be bunks, bathroom and closet.


Our first set of bunks.  We decided to have three bunks on each side.  The kitchen counter has been moved in to help us get a better visual of spacing but not in its final home.  The bathroom sink and tub you see here we were not able to use so those have been moved out for better fitting items.


Bunks coming along and the bathroom is framed out.  Building inside a bus has many challenges.  Nothing is level nor could you every hope to actually make it level.  “Eyeballing” it is really the only way.  Each and every board is measured separately, cut and checked immediately to be sure its right before you can move to the next board.  The floor is on a slight incline from front to back.  So the hight you had for your 2×4 at one end of the bunk is not the same at the other end of the bunk.  The most fun was the curved ceiling walls.  We made a template for each wall then transferred that to the plywood and cut.  I think only once did that actually work the first time.  Our record for number of cuts on one board was 6.  In and out, in and out.  6 times.  Each cut taking just a fraction of an inch off.


Back to front.


The kids are very excited about the bunks.  Oliver talks about them constantly.


The fridge is moved into position.  And how, might you ask, did you get that in there?  If you’ve ever been in a bus you might remember the doors are not all that big.  But…those windows are.  Yep, pop out a couple pins, remove a window and be sure to invite some strong men over to help.  I am very thankful to Jeff D and my brother Michael for helping load some of these heavier items.

So, that’s all for updates on the bus for now.  I will try to get up to date soon.  There are many more changes to share!

Avilla Beach

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After leaving Anahiem we were on our way to San Francisco.  Its a bit of a drive though so we stopped off in the Avilla Beach area for an overnight.  This was one of our best out-of-the-blue stops.  We camped next to a couple that, noticing the bikes on the back, directed us to a bike trail just down from the campsite that rode down to the beach.  What a perfect way to end a day in the car before starting dinner.  The trail was an easy 3 mile ride, almost all flat, down to the beach.  A huge sandy beach.




Toby did noot want to move from this spot!

Dogs are allowed durring certian hours of the day and we arrived just at the right time for Toby to head down with us.  He, of course, thought we were trying to kill him forcing him to run 3 miles!  Little did he know he would have to run back as well.


The little town of Avilla



More trouble for Toby. An ‘unexpected’ wave actually got him wet!  Greg feels terrible.  Really.  He does.

As the sun started setting we headed back to camp.  If forced to spend more time here I would be OK with that.