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.