Monday, November 9, 2015

Rhi and Evie get a good Knight's Rest

About two months ago, Evelyn and I got to talking. After comparing notes, we decided that we both needed a bit of a sabbatical. We needed to get away from "civilization." And people. And stress.

You know, go hide in the woods away from the modern world for a few days - or in our case, just shy of a month - to re-center ourselves within ourselves. by getting our hands dirty destroying a few things, and building a few other things, and generally just hiding in the woods for the sake of hiding in the woods.

Since I have multiple ongoing projects out at a farm owned by friends, where we're busy trying to build a reproduction Viking Village, I offered Evelyn a chance to come visit rural Oklahoma and help out with a few projects out there.out at Knight's Rest Retreat, in Bristow, Oklahoma. Those of you who are regular readers probably remember me mentioning projects on the Village when I helped build the Earth Oven.

Over the next several weeks, Evelyn and I will both be posting various stuff about our Most Excellent Adventure. Some will be individual efforts, some will be joint efforts, and they will be a mishmash of things ranging from product reviews (we both tried out several new gear items) to general knowledge & advice for prepping and camping, to some of the more wild (but true!) tales of what all happened during Evelyn's month here in Oklahoma!

Just to whet your appetites, some of the things we'll cover will include:
  • What happens when horses decide to go stomping through your tent?
  • Dealing with pregnant livestock and getting kicked by calves
  • Butchering Fowl 101
  • Puppies, and sheep, and horses, oh my!
  • Stumbling across wild bee hives
  • Old wives' remedies - bunk or beautiful relief?
  • Pygmy rattlesnakes and Evelyn's skillful shooting
  • Underfished ponds and lure-eating fish
  • Dogs that can work zippers
  • Why camp cooking doesn't have to taste nasty

Needless to say, it was an educational and entertaining month full of both fun and surprises. Some of the surprises started before we ever left for camp, when Evelyn decided to raid my yarn stash because she decided we were going to need pot holders for the various pots and cast iron that were going as part of our combined camp kitchen! Those are the pair of potholders and the dish cloth that she completed in about an hour the night before we headed out.

This was Evelyn's original tent, while she was still busy organizing.  Oh, the joys of figuring out where to put everything on that first day in camp!  This tent did not survive the month, thanks to one of the horses.

Evelyn uses a tent that can be easily carried as part of a backpacking rig. It's a great size for keeping in your bug-out out gear, and easily sets up in just a few minutes. It doesn't have a lot of weight to deal with either, so it won't weigh someone down while hiking out to a location away from chaos in the event of needing to get the heck outta dodge in a SHTF.

My tent, unfortunately, is a massive beast of a cabin tent.  It will sleep 8 comfortably, 12 in a pinch if everyone is really cozy and concerned with staying warm.  It weighs a significant amount (about 65 lbs, when you count fabric and poles) and is absolutely not suited for something like backpacking to your bug out location. It will fit comfortably on a travois though, which would help in the event of being unable to use the car to get there. My cabin tent takes much longer to set up than Evelyn's smaller one, though if you're very familiar with the set up of whatever tent you choose, that cuts down on the time spent.

This is my tent. And my bed. That's a king-size air mattress on a queen-size expanding accordion frame.

Just for perspective - Evelyn's tent will Comfortably fit INSIDE my tent - and still leave room to set up my bed!

This was our camp kitchen, other than the fire pit which was off to one side. I've had this particular camp kitchen table for about 9 years now, and it has seen some serious use during that time. It's still dependable as ever and going strong, being an old model of Coleman Camp Kitchen. You can find something similar at Amazon for about the same price that I paid so long ago. Bass Pro has a slightly nicer model, but it's significantly more expensive, so unless you have extra money to throw at a camp kitchen or plan on using it a lot for a long time (like I have) it isn't necessarily the best choice available out there. Personally I'm looking to upgrade my camp kitchen to this setup, simply because I use it so frequently. However, this upgrade is much more expensive than either of the first two, being a "gourmet" model with sink included!

This was the fire pit we used the first couple of days in camp. It is a backyard fire pit that my boyfriend and I purchased 2 years ago during Black Friday sales. It's fantastic for a little fire in the back yard, but not so great for camping! So we talked to the great folks who own Knight's Rest, and they delivered something better to our camp up in the pines: a recycled tire rim from a tractor! They use several in the main camping area for moveable fire pits, and it didn't take Evelyn and I long to figure out why!

That's a full-size grill across the top of that bad boy! And it could take a lot more wood, of a lot larger diameter and length, than my rather limited backyard fire pit.

That's all for now. We'll both be writing up the rest over the course of the next few weeks, so don't worry - you'll get the whole story before we're done!

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