Sunday, April 8, 2018

Rhi Readies for the Ride

A few years ago, Evelyn and I took a month-long sabbatical, camping out here in my home state of Oklahoma on the land owned by some good friends of mine. We had some interesting adventures together out in the piney woods, with bacon-stealing dogs who let themselves into my tent, horses that decided to investigate Evie's tent, fishing, and one bitey duck who was rather delicious once we got through with him.

We're both in need of another month away from the stress of modern life, and this time, I'm going out to Arizona for the trip.

Unlike last time, Evie and I won't be someplace where it will be convenient to hop into town on any sort of regular basis, which means that there are items that stayed home on our prior trip which will go with me this time, like my full blown camp kitchen with its own pop-up canopy, all of my camp kitchen gear, more than one stove, my foldable Coleman camp oven to set up over one of the stoves, and several extra pieces of cast iron cookware that usually only go to Reenactor events with me.

Cast Iron Waffle Maker!

One of the better finds during a recent flea market scavenger hunt for cast iron was a really neat waffle iron! I'm planning on packing it into the camp kitchen gear box, along with some already made up "just add water" waffle batter, so we can have waffles and homemade buckboard bacon for breakfast early in the trip. The bacon is currently curing here at home, and will be going into the smoke house for a 12 hour maple smoke bath tomorrow.

You can see from the photo that the waffle iron I found comes with its own ring stand (also cast iron) to set it over the fire. I'm planning to replace the old handles with a new pair of wooden dowels that will have a nail through the pin hole to hold them in place. It was a truly spectacular find at only $7.

I'm also taking along a custom made cast iron tripod to hang things over the fire, such as my 6 quart dutch oven, my 8 quart cauldron, and the ever important coffee pot!

While I was able to repair the tent I previously used, it has since gone the way of the dodo and been replaced. My new tent is about the same size as my old one (meaning it technically has room for 12) and is what I still consider to be a pretty near "perfect" size for me. It wouldn't do for backpacking, or even for bugging out unless I had enough warning to pack up the car first, but it's great for my Reenactor Weekends or a long term camping trip such as this one will be.

Many of my food preparations are quite similar to those which Evelyn is making. Foil-packed tuna in several different flavors has become a staple in my home and is a part of my bug out bag. They're cheap, they pack small, and they make great individual size servings. There are also a few types of Ramen style noodles in my kitchen box as well, along with regular pasta, regular rice, and quick cook boil-in-bag rice.

I'm also packing honey rather than regular sugar. It takes the same amount of space, but I like the flavor and nutrient value of honey over processed sugar. Whether it be Honey Stix or the ubiquitous bear, honey is an all-around great way to add some sweet to morning coffee, fireside pancakes and waffles, or just as a quick pick me up when added energy is needed.

I've also been experimenting with pemmican. These days, it's easy to find freeze-dried vegetables and fruits at the grocery store, all of which powder well. There is even freeze-dried cheese powder, if you're willing to look for it. So rather than just the standard pemmican of meat + berry + tallow, there are going to be a few different varieties to try out: I'm adding powdered freeze-dried veggie mix to some, cheese powder to at least one batch, and freeze dried fruit to another batch. I'm also making a couple of batches with just meat, but which will be seasoned with various herbs as they're being put together.

In all, I'm hoping to have about 10 lbs of pemmican ready in time for the Ride. I'll probably also pack along the remaining tallow that I rendered for use in campfire baking during that month. If we get a strong response on our Facebook Group, I'll include my pemmican recipes and methods (along with my notes about what worked and what didn't) in the future.

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