Monday, July 27, 2015

Camping Answers

There were several questions after our camping posts!

* Recipe for sausage skillet?
Super simple! Slice one package sausage, add a can of green beans and I used three potatoes diced. Season with salt and pepper and I put in maybe 1 Tbsp. of butter just to help it not stick to the pan as much. Took maybe an hour over a camp fire.

* How do you store/keep your food cold?
We had a borrowed cooler in the back of our car and when we started out, I had frozen an empty milk jug full of water. That big block lasted us over 24 hours in the beginning. After that, we bought a bag of ice every day to keep things cold.

* How did you like the book pictured here?
 The book shown is From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Formed and Identity is Found. Since I haven't finished it yet a week and a half later, I think that speaks that it is not really drawing me in.  It's not a writing style I love and not exactly what I expected, though I do think I will make the effort to finish it.

* How did you find a creek to camp next to? And, is it in South Carolina? Did you have to get special permission?
This creek is in North Carolina. And, it is actually just a regular camp ground. There were two tent spots right on the creek. We spent quite a bit of time researching a camp site and even called first to make sure it would be a good fit for us. It can be hard to tell from tiny pictures on a website, but in this case it worked out to be very scenic!

* How do you pack light and still have homey touches?
Camping takes a lot of packing and a lot of stuff to pull off, it seems to me. It is tricky to set up house away from your house and outside no less. I think I actually did better at this last summer than I did this year where I was working sort of last minute to get everything ready to go. We all have different priorities about what to bring and what to leave home.

But, let me address the homey touches. For me, this is a huge priority because I know I will enjoy it that much more! Instead of paper plates and plastic ware, I find it pretty easy {and cheap!} to just bring our picnic dishes from home. We use the same dishes at every meal and wash them as we go - more about that below.

A vinyl tablecloth {$3ish at Wal-Mart} helps in keeping the table tidy but also pretty. And, I held the jar of flowers for the entire trip {five-six hours} there just because I didn't want to throw them away at home while they were still so pretty.

Last summer, I just brought an extra camping mug and we picked whatever wild flowers/blooms/leaves we could find camping - it is a fun hunt for children and mama alike to enjoy what is growing near where you are camping. The Queen Anne's Lace shown in a few food photos came from the side of the road.

I also brought one apron to help keep my clothes clean while I was cooking, but I found it was delightful to cook outside and wear an apron!

These were really just a few small things that made a big difference in contributing a homey feel to our campsite.

* Packing Tips?
Last summer when we camped in two different states on the same trip - I was super organized with our food. I had boxes with lids {copy paper boxes} divided into which state we'd be in and put the canned/pantry goods for those planned meals into each box. This helped me know where to find what I was looking for when I needed it.

I struggled with knowing where to look for things I knew I'd brought this summer, so I definitely need to improve on that in the future.

Some things that I bring are born out of difficulties I've had in the past - like the time it poured rain and all of our bedding got soaked! Now, big black trash bags are a definite pack for me and I can put our bedding in the bag during the day when we are not at our tent site if I choose to.

One year we forgot camping chairs and really had no nice place to sit and relax, we brought some this year and was such a nice addition. Plus, we did but all of our bedding up on the chairs every day just to make sure it was not sitting on the ground in case it rained.

Not sure I have a lot of efficient packing ideas to offer - anyone else want to chime in?

* Washing Dishes? 
We have a tradition of bringing two dish tubs {dollar store} and heating water on the campfire or camping stove to wash dishes. To start, I try to scrape the plates really well and maybe even wipe them off with a paper towel or used napkins from dinner. Heat the water in a kettle - we use a propane stove. We have two dish bins - one for wash and one for rinse. I fill those about half full with cold water from the provided spigot. Then when my water is hot, I put about half the kettle in the wash bin and about half in the rinse to warm it up.

My three children take turns with the three jobs: wash, rinse, dry and I put things away. We bring a length of rope or line to hang between two trees for a clothesline to hang our wet rags/towels on when we are finished.

This is the way my parents always set up dishwashing {only we heated the water over a fire!} when we went camping as children so it is just what comes easily to me. This summer, our campground had a dishwashing station which we used twice when our propane ran out at the very end of our trip.

Disposable paper goods are an easy alternative, but I love the charm of our enamelware camping dishes!

* Where is the hike? We are going camping in NC soon and are looking for a new adventure!
The hike is Linville Falls, near Boone, NC!

What are your favorite tips when planning a camping trip!? 


pat said...

can you share the name of the campground?

Monica Wilkinson said...

Hi Pat: It was Grandfather Mountain RV & Campground

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

Wow!! some helpful and awesome suggestions. Love it!!

camping together is something that may start up happening for our family. It's been a slow start. We're just now slowly getting some camping essentials... because my husband is cubmaster of my son's cubscouts and they go camping all of the time. Soon enough us girls will join along and we'll do this, too!

Lisa said...

Thanks for answering my question about the book. My library did not carry that one, and now I do no feel like I am missing much.

North Carolina is gorgeous in this area. I think doing as much as possible ahead makes things easier. I have a diet which forces me to plan a menu or dining out no matter where we are. Bringing my own food is easier so camping does not bother me. My boys go with scouts all the time, and I wish the girls got to go more.