Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire Pit, Build your own

Making a large fire pit for our family campground was essential, for cooking and relaxing around. We were fortunate enough to have plenty of strong men in the family who carried large rocks from the creek and surrounding woods to form a huge 5-foot wide by 10-foot fire pit that is perfect for us. It should be noted that fire pits should only be built on privately owned land.
Items needed
Large rocks (number depends on size of pit desired)
Naturally formed dip in the campsite 5 foot wide by 10 foot long
Wheelbarrow, truck and perhaps a pick axe or shovel
Find a natural depression in the middle of the campsite, which Mother Nature herself has created. This area needs to be free of trees, roots and small stones, which could become projectiles when heated. Make sure there is no brush or tree branches that over hang this area.
Locate the rocks to line the pit; you need several huge flat rocks to line the bottom of the fire pit. By large I mean rocks, which are at least a foot long, and flat, the creek is the perfect place to find these rocks. You may need the truck to transport these large rocks.
The sides of the pit are lined with smaller flat rocks, which are at least half a foot wide. These can be found in the creek as well but also around the camp site its self. Once all rocks are in place the fire pit is ready to use. There is no need to concrete these rocks together as that would take away from the natural look of the fire pit.
In this one photo, you can see how we can place a grate on the fire pit for cooking, but this is a great place to roast hot dogs or marshmallows. In another photo, you can see how we all gather around the fire pit at night in the campsite so that we can enjoy each other's company. The bonfire in the fire pit was so relaxing, and with all types of chairs and benches around it was the perfect close to many days on our family vacation.
What types of food can you create in a fire pit this size? How about camp fire home fries, in a large amount to feed a huge family or group. Simply grab tinfoil, a few five-pound bags of potatoes, chopped peppers, and onions. Tear of a piece of tin foil place a raw potato, peppers, onions, and seasonings and wrap it up in the tin foil, so that you have an odd shaped ball. Toss it in the fire pit near the fire, but not in it. Allow the potatoes to cook in the tinfoil packets until they can easily be poked with a fork.
What would a bonfire be without campfire smores? For a twist use chocolate grams crackers and skip, the chocolate candy bar.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baked Beans Camfire

Here is a great recipe for baked beans that is sure to please a crowd, and it can be cooked on a campfire. This large recipe will feed up to 62 people with leftovers for the next day.
One number 10 can pound of Grandma Brown's baked beans
1 pound bags each of frozen peppers onions
2 pounds of sausage
1 pound of Kraft shredded cheese
One large canning pan
One cinder block campfire enclosure with grates
I gathered my supplies before I left home the night before the big picnic placing the bags of peppers and onions in a cooler along with the bag of shredded cheese. The frozen peppers and onions were chopped to ease my work at the campsite, and frozen to help keep the cheese cold in the cooler with minimal ice.
My sister had made fresh sausage to have with the pancakes that morning at the campsite, so we used the left over sausage along with some sausage from the store. The sausage my sister cooked was fresh made sausage from a pig she had slaughtered a few weeks ago.
Once the fire in the pit was going good I placed the pan on the grates at least a foot above the flames, and added the cooked chopped sausage into the pan. I added in the peppers and onions and let them simmer for about half an hour before dumping in the huge can of beans and the entire package of shredded cheese.
I allowed this to cook for 4 hours over an open fire stirring every half hour. Wood was added as needed to keep it going so our baked beans would be done by the 2 pm lunch time.
All around the campsite food was being cooked; brother in law Willie was making brisket on his grill. While brother, Scott used the smoker to make Hawaiian chicken, as mom made chili dogs on her camp stove. Brother Trace made a wonderful pasta salad, which he brought up in the saddlebags of his Indian motorcycle, and Sister Diane made marinated chicken and brought it over when it was time to eat. The smell of all this food cooking made us, hungry and lunchtime could not come soon enough for any of us.
Of course, we had vegetables and desserts on the table and the food looked so inviting! The spread of food covered three tables placed end to end underneath a tarp. Now you know how too cook the baked beans for 62 people, go ahead, and make your own. Remember it was all cooked at the campsite over an open fire; it was easy to create and fed many people. After dinner, the pan of baked beans fit in a cooler of ice, and it was reheated the next morning for breakfast, along with plenty of fresh fruit.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Recycled Bathtub Cooler

Keeping soda, and other drinks cold when you are camping can be quite mystifying. You can fill multiple coolers and keep filling them with ice, which limits the amount of drinks you can keep cool or you can adopt the way that we do. Here is an exceptional idea that allows you to reuse a used fiberglass bathtub into a huge cooler, which is large enough to handle drinks for an entire extensive family while camping. A bathtub can hold many drinks, and it is something that we needed as an extended family of 62, we grow over the past summer.
Obtain a used fiberglass bathtub, from a dwelling, which is being remodeled. This needs to be a full size tub, and it does not need to be perfect. I would stay away from tubs, which come from homes, which have been condemned, as you never know the health risks.
Take the tub home, and put it atop a table so that you can work upon it. Remove everything from the fiberglass bathtub, the drain, and the screws, which go with it. Use an electric or hand drill to put random holes in the bathtub, for water flow. You want water to circulate through the recycled bathtub naturally.
Make sure you put some holes high and low so if one is blocked by something in the water there are more areas for the water to flow into the tub. You will also need to drill a few holes on the end if there are not holes high and low. The water needs to go through the tub and come out on the other side so that it is not stagnating.
Load the bathtub in the truck, this is a job for the men of the family and, drive it to the campsite. Drive the truck as close to the water as you can get without going in it. Carry the bathtub to the creek and submerge it in the water. You want the water level at least partly up the bathtub and the water to flow inside, move if needed if the water does not flow inside the tub.
Place drinks into zip lock plastic bags and put them in the bathtub to get cold. The bag will keep your bottles and cans clean and allow for a quick pick up at the end of camping. With zip lock bags, you can keep condiments in this bathtub cooler and reserve your portable coolers for salads and food items.
This is a perfect camping fresh water cooler for when the extended family or a large group of people go camping together at the waterside.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Camping and a Wedding

I miss camping with my family a whole bunch. I used to go camping with my extended family quite often but after my dad passed no one felt like going. This is understandable but I still miss it just the same.

 This weekend as my one sister gets married; we have the opportunity to once more camp out. Considering I do not have a car and must rely on others to escort me places, I may end up camping out. This will be fun without a doubt but I sure will miss the comfort of sleeping in a camper where I am off the hard damp ground!

The wedding itself and reception afterwards will be fun. This is a unique wedding, which all second weddings should be. Our family is unique by any measure but this wedding is going to make us stand out. Yes, someone will be videotaping the wedding procession, which will be the unique part.

I have never been in a wedding so that alone will be different to me and to be doing this ‘first’ with all my sisters is awesome. Our dad will be watching from heaven as the ‘sisters’ give away our other sister to her new husband. I know this will be a very special time for all of us.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Camping fun with preschoolers

Camping is great family fun, and out in nature there are many things you can do that do not cost you a penny. Free entertainment is a great way to stick to your budget. Here are some fun ideas to try when you have preschoolers and toddlers at camp.

On our second full day of camping Wednesday July 1 2009, I woke to sunlight streaming through the windows of the camper and birds chirping all around me. There was a mist rising from the trees that simply was very breathtaking and relaxing.

There is nothing but trees and wildflowers when you open the door to our camper and it was so nice to see that image when I chose to get up and greet the day. Tons of berries are out there too, and the earliest berries are starting to ripen.

My daughter accompanied my niece to a doctor's appointment so my grandchildren joined us at the campsite for a few hours. They arrived early at 8:30 eager to start their day.

I stoked the fire with hopes of removing some hot coals to get a jump-start in the cinder block campfire stove to begin breakfast. However, plans for bacon and eggs were forgotten when I spotted the hot dogs. The little ones enjoy hot dogs and found it fascinating that I was cooking their hot dogs this way. Both little ones sat on the bench with eager anticipation.

There is absolutely nothing in the world that tastes better when you are camping than a hot dog cooked over the open fire. Those extended forks that you cook marshmallows on work excellent on hot dogs too, and cooked my hot dogs to darkened perfection.

My parents arrived on their four wheelers and brought scrambled eggs with cheese it was a nice delivery at the campsite. We had hot dogs and eggs for breakfast, which the little kids loved.

The little ones a preschooler and a toddler loved hanging out at the campsite, checking out the fire from a safe distance and stumping in mud puddles. When they get antsy with that they played on the many toys available. We have a central area for their playthings, such as bikes, slides, trucks, and dolls it is playtime heaven for these little ones.

I walked my grandchildren on a little hike where we saw a family of bunnies. We also picked fresh raspberries from the vine. Because we are in a field it is safe to allow the little children to run and play and my grandchildren had so much fun on that walk.

Allowing children to run and play in a field where they are safe makes, them feel more independent. I was always close by so they were safe, but they were free to run all over with no danger from being hit by a car.

My granddaughter who is five enjoyed her first ever four-wheeler ride with my mom. However, my grandson who is a toddler would not go near a four-wheeler while it was running. Tip if you are going to put a five year old on a four-wheeler you need a helmet, and the adult driving needs to take it slow.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Buy a cheap camper

Camping is a fun way to have a vacation and stay in your budget. However, purchasing a camper is usually out of the budget for most families in the current economy. I have a budget friendly way for you to be able to afford that camper so your family can enjoy a camping this year.

Look around your local area for these you can locate them as you drive to the grocery store or in the newspaper. Sometimes on bulletin boards in grocery stores, laundry mats, and libraries, you can find low cost campers.

If you cannot locate anything locally within your budget try eBay camper and RV search. You can find a motor home, pull behind, or pop-up camper within your budget. However, before you buy something expensive, ask the sellers for more images or travel to see the purchase.

Always check feedback and of course, any shipping charges before making a bid. Who knows this maybe just what you are looking for.

You may want to look on the site for good deals in your area or locations close to you. You can usually see more images and a phone number so you can call and ask questions.

You could try a place where they sell campers and rvs' and ask about the trade in models. These are usually outdated models but are usually in fine working order. Rich people simple change their campers as faster than the rest of us.

Sometimes with a used camper, there are minor things wrong with it. Some of these things are cosmetic and easily fixed. If the paneling is broken or scratched, you can easily replace that part or wall paper it.
If the refrigerator, electric or stove do not work who cares. Take a cooler, and use flashlights or those battery-operated lights at night. A broken stove is not a problem, as you should be cooking over an open fire anyways.

People do time shares on vacation houses and condominiums all the time, but it does get expensive. Have you ever thought of doing this? Used campers can run 300-700 dollars, which make it out of reach for some people.

What happens if you split that cost with two or three families this way no one is paying a huge price? You simply need to find enough families who have a little money to spare and that you trust.

Plan which family will have the camper on what weeks, this way there are no disagreements when it comes time for your vacation. Verbal agreements are fine for some groups, while others may need to have things written down.

If all families agree to keep the camper, clean and follow the vacation schedule and keep the camper in good repair than there should be no problem with this way of saving.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Camper or Tent?

Which is better, a camper or a tent when one goes camping? That of course depends on personal tastes, age and abilities. Me, I love sleeping in a camper in comfort but I will sleep in a tent if I have too.

The comfort in a camper is noticeably better then compared to sleeping in a tent. Even if you were sleeping in a tent on an air mattress or a cot, the comfort cannot match that of a camper.

Most modern campers have thick comfortable mattresses, but even if you have an old one you can still have added comfort simply by remaking the mattresses. Couch cushions when placed under the mattress will add comfort.

You can also add sheets to have a higher standard of comfort, because as we all know the material used to cover traditional camper mattresses needs to be durable, which means it is scratchy.
The ground the matter how many blankets you put under your sleeping bag, or air mattress is never soft enough to get comfortable.

Even if your camper does not have electricity to run the heater, you are still warmer in here than you would be in a tent. The structure of the manufactured camper will block out some of the wind and dampness allowing you to get a more comfortable restful sleep.

This storage options within a camp where are much better than a tent. With so many storage compartments, it is easy to store everything out of the way giving you more walking, sitting, and relaxing space.

Security in a camper is a better than a tent, simply because you can toss everything into the camper when you need to go away. As long as there is a lock on the door the items inside remain safe and secure.

Your family is also safer at night sleeping inside from erratic weather and the wild animals. Although I have never had a snake enter any tent that I have been sleeping in, I have heard of it happening. In a camper, it simply does not happen.

The tent is more portable if you simply have a car or truck without a hitch. It is so easy to pitch a tent in many places and to move it to change the scenery.

Whatever your personal preferences are I hope you remain safe on your summer vacations. I am so happy we have a camper, as I am too old to sleep on the ground comfortably these days. I still get to enjoy nature at its finest around the bonfire.