Caravan Family

During the heyday of Caravan living it is important to remember that these were rarely the dwelling of a loner. The Caravan was the hub of the nuclear family and groups of wagons represented larger, extended family groups and allies. We are social creatures that thrive in community.

Traveller Life

Every traveler has a campfire has the center of daily life. The hearth has been our home for 1.5 - 2 million years now. No wonder it fascinates us and brings so much comfort. Nomads in a stationary culture are often tolerated at best and left only marginal space to congregate. This will probably never … Continue reading Traveller Life

Interview Time

Well this is exciting. I got interviewed at winter count near Florence, Arizona back in February. It's heavily edited from a much longer discussion but I don't think I sound too stupid here talking about the Vardo.  The interview is very close-up and tight but you can get a feel for the interior layout. There … Continue reading Interview Time

Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

A look at the origins and evolution of our favorite camp stove... This post was going to be a few words about the Primus stoves we all love and some images I've collected from around the web.  As usual, I found myself rambling all over the topic without a clear direction but here is a … Continue reading Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves

A View from the Vardo

Working away on a weekend day a little while back.  Enjoying time on the prairie in my little rolling home; coffee, a banjo, and connection to a HotSpot so I can get some work done.  The best of all worlds. I don't remember for sure but I suspect there is a dog or two laying … Continue reading A View from the Vardo

Wyoming Sheepherders

Today, it's sheep camps from Wyoming from the Wyoming Tales and Trails webpage.  Great photos and some good information about Western history. Note the important things; wood stove, wash pan hanging on the door, the big tub sitting outside, and a fiddle for company.  I could spend a good chunk of my life like this! Another … Continue reading Wyoming Sheepherders

A Story of an Old Time Sheepherder

It was a lonely life on the range.  “Even if a herder does not particularly care for reading, he will be driven to it in self-defense."  I wanted to re-share a good story about sheepherding life.  Gilfillan was a shepherd for 20 years and went on to become a well-known humorist, author, and speaker. "Archie … Continue reading A Story of an Old Time Sheepherder

A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon

I love these the old sheepherder camps.  I've seen quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho and even a few in Arizona.  I know they aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists who have access to land.  Far better than a housing complex … Continue reading A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon

Yet Another Sheepherder…

(from the Paleotool vault) I love these things.  I saw quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho last week.  I know they aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists.  Way better than a housing complex or apartment for sure.  The photos link to … Continue reading Yet Another Sheepherder…

A Guest Vardo

I always appreciate getting mail and comments on the blog; especially when someone is able to take information away and create something of their own.  I recently received some fine photos from Kevin with his own Vardo build.  I emailed back for more information but haven't heard anything yet. The wagon is a lovely and … Continue reading A Guest Vardo

A Sheepherder in South Dakota Magazine…

(from the Paleotool vault) A lonely life on the range.  “Even if a herder does not particularly care for reading, he will be driven to it in self-defense”.  This is a good story about sheepherding life.  Gilfillan was a shepherd for 20 years and went on to become a humorist, author, and speaker. "Archie Gilfillan … Continue reading A Sheepherder in South Dakota Magazine…

Wyoming Sheepherders Again

 (from the Paleotool vault) Sheep camps from Wyoming from the Wyoming Tales and Trails webpage.  Great photos and some good information concerning everything "western." A self-contained base camp in a sheep wagon provides a cozy home on the prairie. A beautiful culmination of cultures a innovations created this iconic American living arrangement.  We can learn a … Continue reading Wyoming Sheepherders Again

Fitting Out and Fixing Problems, Vardo Remodel Part 9

Sink, seating, and storage galore - I'm finally moving onto the luxuries that make this addition what it is meant to be; essentially moving some outdoor activities and living indoors with more amenities and easier foul-weather living. Beginning with a little sink re-purposed from an old copper mixing bowl set -  This one was the … Continue reading Fitting Out and Fixing Problems, Vardo Remodel Part 9

Door and Frame, Vardo Remodel Part 8

Every home needs a door.  It's a tricky bit that must fit well, open and close easily, provide some security, and hopefully, look good doing it.   We found a mahogany, two-panel door at the Habitat Re-Store in Lubbock a couple months ago and since the price was right ($10), we bought it.  It was … Continue reading Door and Frame, Vardo Remodel Part 8

Progress is slow but steady, Vardo Remodel Part 7

The weekend was cold, I was tired (read lazy), and other things had to be attended to so this update is just baby steps in the big scheme. Although mine is a purely pragmatic build, I wanted an homage to the classic Dunton Reading wagon. Taking a plain profile and giving it simple compass curves … Continue reading Progress is slow but steady, Vardo Remodel Part 7

Tying it all together, Vardo Remodel Part 5

All earthly structures begin with a foundation of some sort, even living wagons. In our case, the trailer frame is the earth, the ledge and subfloor serve as the foundation upon which, all is built.  I proposed to attach the new section pretty much the same way and addition is connected to a house, by … Continue reading Tying it all together, Vardo Remodel Part 5

“Give me a long enough lever and a place to stand and I will move the Earth” Remodeling the Vardo, Part 4

Taking the Biggest Step of All; Transferring the old vardo to the new trailer. Now that I was confident that the box was going to hold up under the stress of the transfer I was ready to slip the trailer under the body.  It was a whole lot less dramatic than I was afraid it … Continue reading “Give me a long enough lever and a place to stand and I will move the Earth” Remodeling the Vardo, Part 4

Naked and Afraid! Remodel of the Little Green Vardo, Part 3

Caution - suggested nudity, implied whiskey, and some old-fashioned Scottish engineering to liven up the day. Now that I have your attention: Saturday morning came and it was time to start stripping down to the bare essentials (hence the first part of the title, suggested by SB). After an evening of pulling everything out of … Continue reading Naked and Afraid! Remodel of the Little Green Vardo, Part 3

Remodel of the Little Green Vardo, Part 2

Preparing the trailer and laying the foundation for the Vardo. A couple of issues had to be addressed before any real construction could begin.  Unfortunately, a day job and early sunsets dictate my work hours so I only have a short time each night to get something done throughout the week.  Here's the summary: The … Continue reading Remodel of the Little Green Vardo, Part 2

Remodel and Rebirth of the Little Green Vardo

It just seems right. The timing, the monetary investment, the effort. After adding up the mileage from the log book I keep with the Vardo, I see we have clocked over 21,000 miles since she was first put to the road in February of 2010.  I have, no doubt, missed some small side trips and … Continue reading Remodel and Rebirth of the Little Green Vardo

A Classic Sheep Wagon in a Modern Setting

I love these old sheep camps.  There are many on ranches from New Mexico to Idaho and beyond in old sheep and cattle country.  They aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists.  For many of us, living this way would be far better than a housing … Continue reading A Classic Sheep Wagon in a Modern Setting

Sheepherders’ Camps

Here are a few classic Sheep Camps from the Wyoming Tales and Trails webpage. There are some great photos and some good information on their web page.  I personally took a lot of inspiration from these resourceful and low-cost housing solutions. There's a lot of other information and photos of western history here too.  Have a … Continue reading Sheepherders’ Camps

Sheep Camps are Alive and Well in the West

I have posted quite a few images and links to classic old-time sheep camps here over the years.   If you travel the small byways of the Mountain West you will still see plenty of old sheep camps in use or parked around ranch houses today.  But the sheep camp isn't just a thing of … Continue reading Sheep Camps are Alive and Well in the West

Vardo Plans: Reading Caravan

Many considerations concerning floor plans and general layout have come my way over the years.  I am compiling as many as possible to post here.  To start things off, here is the iconic Reading Waggon by Dunton's (note: two "g's" in the older British spelling). This design is truly the classic.  When one sees this, … Continue reading Vardo Plans: Reading Caravan

A Vardo Build Recap

This post is a re-cap of the Vardo build.  I get questions about this project at least three times per week and I think it has inspired a few other people to make the leap.  I still consider it a work in progress even though it is four years old and has 18,000 miles under … Continue reading A Vardo Build Recap

Sheepherder Wagon Community

Kent Griswold posted another fine link to sheepherder wagons.  The community provides the few essentials not found in the wagon itself; shower, full kitchen, internet, etc. Watch the video here.  Or see it on AOL's website.