Posts Tagged With: Camping

A day at the cabin (part 1)

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On the way in!

Sometimes, in the dead of winter, you get 2, 3 or 4 really kick-ass days that let you know that the world isn’t freezing you to death. You know the ones; where, after a week or more of relentless snow dumps, rotated with ice storms and more snow dumps, you get a forecast of “Holy Shit, it’s gonna be 7° C (which in real terms is almost 45° F), so we should go to the cabin and chill and stuff”.

It’s like falling in love, or seeing Guided By Voices play live as often as you want, hanging with Bob, Doug and the lads. It’s pretty freaking amazing.

Side-note: Nobody asked me if I wanted to switch from Imperial to Metric, and I’m still traumatized by the whole event. Would you prefer to hear it’s 17° or 64°? I know which I prefer. Metric blows goats. The warmer it is, the higher the numbers should be, FFS!!!!!! Anyhow.

This weekend is one of those wickedly brilliant times. Family Day weekend, 19 Feb 2017.

We had originally thought of taking the dogs with us, spend the night, have a blast. But what we did not know was the condition of the way into the cabin once we got to the end of the cleared road. It’s a 2km hike in, once you stop at the school bus turn-around circle. In lots and lots of snow.

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Riding the snow-shovel down a hill on the way into the cabin.

Sure, it’s sometimes packed down by ski-doos or ATV’s, but ya never know. So we left the amigos behind today, and made a half-day trip of it for us. Just to see the Burrow, tell Her we loved Her, and to attempt a few challenges.

Don’t get me wrong here; the cabin is just that, a cabin. Not a beach house with hydro and running water. It’s completely off-grid, as are the other cabins around us. It’s a brilliant adventure, even when we can drive in via the goat paths that lead to Her. But today, after all the crazy weather of late, we did not know if the dogs could actually walk through whatever snow was there. A Bassador, short and stocky, a Lurcher with long, spindly legs, and a Spanish Galga; same legs as the Lurcher. It might have been a total disaster.

We hit the road, drove for an hour, with a coffee pit stop, arrived at the stopping point for wheeled vehicles, geared up and headed forward.

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That’s a lot of snow for a plastic kid’s shovel!

Another side-note: I’m recovering, still, from a mis-diagnosed broken ankle from over 2 years ago. 2 surgeries later, I’m just recently at 8% Dorsi-flexion….which is at the bottom level of normal human walking range. My PT consists of (trying to) walk like a normal person; without limping. Fun. Not. Snowshoes however, make life a whole shitload easier.

We managed the entry hike in 45 minutes (I think it’s mostly more downhill than on the way out).

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Yeah, that’s the BBQ! Sigh.

Once we actually made it to the cabin proper, we stripped off snowshoes and jackets, and got down to the fun task of shoveling the accumulated snow from the steps and part of the deck, so we could actually get to the door and open it. Trust me, it was a bit of a chore!

Once enough snow had been cleared away, we greeted the Burrow as we usually do, with compliments and expressions of love.

We chatted with a few neighbours who either skied in or walked in, and got the 19th century cook stove going….after I had to dig out the chopping stump to build up our firewood supply for the day, dig out the fire pit for a couple of really cool and uncommon fire-starting challenges (more on that in part 2) and my partner snow shooed a path to the outhouse. Good times!

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Re-hydrated gruel!

We had lunch, a first test of a real dehydrated meal (we have made jerky, dried apples, kale chips, dried peppers, etc; but never anything substantial). It rocked. Dehydrated ground pork, corn, chickpeas (garbonzo beans), rice and separate salsa to add flavour.

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Dried Gruel!!

Yes, the video I watched showed how to make everything together in the dehydrator, but I  didn’t totally trust the presenter on his YouTube channel. No I won’t name him, or others who give shit or dangerous info, in this post. That is a totally different blog post. Just be careful what you learn from YouTube. Lots of dangerously stupid people have computers……

Lunch consisted of 2 home-dehydrated beef jerky (bottom round roast) flavours, spicy and curried, dehydrated Mexican, cheese, dehydrated apples, trail mix, chocolate and water. Nothing spectacular, but frigging amazing.

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The sides.

As it’s February in Canada, water for dish-washing was provided by melting snow in the over-sized kettle. Gotta love simplicity. Dishes were washed in the main room, where the stove is, giving us a bit more warmth. Water was disposed of outside in the snow, away from the cabin, and certainly not down the sink as we do in good weather. No point in messing around with a frozen septic bay, is there?

With the fire dwindling in the stove, we got dressed again, to head out and commence our fire-starting challenges, which will appear in A day at the Cabin (part 2). Prepare to be amazed and amused, folks, because now is when everything gets pretty damned wicked.

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Curious? You should be!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Cabin, Cabin food, Camping food, Jerky, Knowledge, Learning, Off grid food, Respect the Old Ways, survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Food variables: Eating made fun while wasting far less (than we used to).

2016 wasn’t a good year, for myriad reasons. I won’t delve into that. One good thing that happened though, was that we purchased a Dehydrator from Cabela’s in Ottawa. No, it’s not a super-top-of-the-line Excalibur, but a higher-mid range Cabela’s store brand. It retails for about 225$, was on sale for 150$, but with the staff discount offered to first- responders and military over the 11-13th of November, it came out to 119$. Can’t complain about that!

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The beast with apples drying.

Now, all I had to do was figure out how to use the damn thing!! It turns out that we had a Trail/Camping cookbook that was heavy on dehydrating. We thought it was just full of fun new recipes to make ahead of time, or variations of good old standards. What it held was a treasure-trove of info.

The dehydrator sat in the basement, out of the box and all ready to go until 1 January, 2017. We got our big-kid pants on, and while my better half was walking the dogs, I sliced up some apples for a test run. After verifying with the Trail cookbook, everything was a go (next time I’ll peel the apples so they dry better, and increase the heat a bit – the Trail cookbook says to dehydrate EVERYTHING at 130°F, except herbs, which are done at 110°F).

 

 

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Who knew kale could be so much fun?

The apples were going along nicely, so I upped the game to kale chips. Yes, kale. We made a commitment to start juicing again in 2017, to get our energy and health levels back up. No point in having something that just collects dust, is there? Buy it and use it…but I’m not advocating a disposable economy, where we buy a new wardrobe every two weeks, even though the other clothes are perfectly fine. I suppose you can blame social media, corporations and the sheeple mentality for that.

Kale leaves ripped off stems, rinsed, dried with towels, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of Slap Ya Mama seasoning from New Orleans (hard to find in Canada, but easy via Amazon), and into the dehydrator. A few hours later (about 4), we were happily munching away on kale chips (a bit too much salt) and apple slices that were almost ready (in the end, the apple slices didn’t quite make it; the skin being left on inhibited the dehydrating process, but we ate them anyhow).

On the 2nd of January, we tried to make juicer-pulp crackers from the remnants of our morning juice. The idea is solid, but we lack experience. We spread the pulp out and put it in the machine, and several hours later, removed and bagged the cracker-like mass. By the next morning, it was a soggy mess, as we did not get the thinness equal all over, so some areas were still wet inside, which rehydrated everything. Live and learn!

On the morning of the 3rd, I got damn good and brave. I’d gone to Costco and picked up a package of sirloin tip steaks. I then got me a fierce hankering for jerky. Enlisting the help of Google and YouTube, I learned how to (safely) make jerky. Did you know that only cooked meat should be dehydrated, UNLESS it has been properly cured and spiced in a brine or cure that contains NITRITES, or cooked until the interior temperature reaches 160°F?  Nope, neither did I. Some/most brines require a 24 hour marinade process. Some cures are rub-and-go. I’ve done the rub-and-go Red Pepper Dry Rub & Mix by SmokeHouse.

 

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The first Jerky batch before….

Sirloin sliced, home-made marinade applied and then popped in the oven at 170°F for an hour or so to bring internal temp up to 160°F, then into the dehydrator for 6 hours. Damn, that was the longest six hours of our lives! Needless to say, that small batch of jerky didn’t survive 24 hours in the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…And after. Damn good!

Between 1 January and today, 8 January 2017, we have dehydrated kale, sirloin tip steak (side note: a package of 4 rather large steaks will run you about 18-25$ at Costco. Based on the average price of 7.00$ for a large bag of jerky found in most stores, our 20$ steak investment provided us with the equivalent of 160.00$ of pre-made, store-bought jerky. Just saying; the dehydrator has already paid for itself.), apples, juicer-pulp crackers (second batch in right now, and this time I used a rolling pin to create equal thickness) and bell peppers. I bought a big batch of peppers (8 large peppers) for 2.50$ at Farm Boy, from the reduced produce section (not a damn thing wrong with them, except for a few wrinkles). I had a massive tray of peppers that dehydrated down into a medium Tupperware container, now in the pantry. The idea is to add them soup or stew in the near future, but we keep nibbling on them.

The peppers, before and after:

 

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2 types of nitrite based rubs/brines. We have used the top one, dry rub (spicy!!) so far.

We used to get rid of a fair amount of food, because we forgot about it, or didn’t have all the ingredients for a particular dish. Now, that’s irrelevant. If we lack something that moment, or it seems to be getting a bit wrinkled, we dehydrate it and use it later. So yeah. It looks like 2017 is going to be a whole lot better than 2016 (which can kiss our collective asses goodbye).

 

 

Categories: Cabin food, Camping food, Dehydrator, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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