Camp Cooking: Some Lunch Tips

Lunch is often a quick meal because campers are busy with other activities. Here are a few quick tips!


Some Quick Tips for Lunch While Camping

  • Don’t make camping lunches the night before.
  • Substitutes for a sandwich:  a couple of hard-boiled eggs (with salt & pepper), left-over roast or fried chicken.
  • When boiling eggs, white vinegar added to the boiling water will keep the white part from running out of the cracked shell.
  • Gamey-smelling lunch boxes (or bags) will smell sweet if you place a slice of bread (dampened with vinegar) in the lunch container overnight.


Today’s Recipe

Food just tastes better while camping!  Maybe it is because camp cooking takes longer and we are ravenous by the time it’s ready!


Dutch Oven Biscuits 

This is a very simple recipe!  It serves 6 to 10.

Mix Bisquick-type mix according to recipe directions on the box.  DO NOT OVER-STIR THE MIX!

1)  Put the hot coals outside of the fire pit.  Oil a large Dutch oven inside thoroughly.

2)  Set the Dutch oven on the coals to heat for about 10 minutes.

3)  Spoon the mixture into the Dutch oven and cover with the lid.

4)  Shovel hot coals onto the Dutch oven’s lid.  Cook for 20 -30 minutes, depending on how hot the coals are.

5)  After 20 minutes, check the biscuits.  They are ready when they are lightly browned.


‘Secret Lake – used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


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Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Camp Cooking: Breakfast Cooking Tips

Outdoor cooking can be a challenge! Here are a few tips.

These tips are tried-and-true … hope they help you!


  • Making pancakes?  Rub the griddle with cut potatoes instead of grease.  There will be no odor after cooking.
  • Turn the pancakes when the bubbles (in the batter) start to break or pop.
  • Using an aluminum griddle for your hotcakes?  Don’t use grease on your griddle, add melted shortening or oil to the batter.  Use fine steel wool to polish your griddle.
  • Serve pancakes and eggs immediately, do not stack and hold them on the griddle.
  • Cook bacon in a baking pan in the oven.


 Today’s Recipe

This recipe is for breakfast, lunch or a trail snack.  They are nutritious and very tasty.  Bake some to take on your next outing.

Hunter’s Take-Along Biscuits

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

2/3 cup water

2 and 1/4 cups complete pancake or baking mix (Bisquick-type)

1 cup rolled oats, uncooked

1/4 cup margarine or butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts:  walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup raisins

Mix all dry ingredients together (pancake mix, oats, sugar, cinnamon, nuts, raisins) completely.

Add liquid ingredients together (water, butter or margarine) and add to dry mixture.

Continue mixing until everything is well-moistened.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Makes about 12 delicious biscuits. 


‘Evening Call’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on Camp Cooking: Breakfast Cooking Tips  
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Do You Know? Quick Outdoor Water Safety Tip

You are hiking in an unfamiliar area and are running low on water.  You find a meandering stream of water.

You put some sand and charcoal in a sock and allow the river water to seep through the sock — to remove the impurities.

Is it safe to drink now?

Assume all the Water You Find in the Outdoors is Contaminated


No.  It must be boiled — or chemically treated.

How long should it boil before you know the water is safe to drink?

Clean Water = Life!

Suspect water must be boiled or chemically treated.

The rule of thumb is:

Boil water for 1 minute plus 1 minute for each 1000 feet over sea level.


Thus, if you are 2000 ft. above sea level, you must boil the water for a total of 3 minutes: 1 minute for sea level and 1 minute for each 1000 ft. above sea level!

This is the absolute minimum.


If you have the fuel, boil longer.

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Published in: on March 7, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments Off on Do You Know? Quick Outdoor Water Safety Tip  

Want to Try Camping (On the Cheap)? Here’s How!

Where are the Campers?

States have noticed that ‘going camping’ is a dying art.  State parks especially, have noticed the down-turn in campsite usage.  And some states are doing something about it!

{This article is about Texas parks.  I’ll give suggestions:  how to see if your state has a program.}

The New Wrinkle in Camping: Your Tent Attached to Your Vehicle!

Texas Outdoor Family Program

Chris Holmes, director of the program, Texas Outdoor Family, explains. “We’ve recognized that fewer and fewer people are camping, especially in state parks.

People are becoming more and more disconnected from the environment, and they view the outdoors as a scary place. This new generation of parents never went camping themselves, so they just don’t know how to camp.”

Texas Parks & Wildlife has created a program for folks interested in giving camping a try … but don’t know where to start.

What to Expect

This weekend adventure includes camping equipment, expert help and learning activities.  What does the $55 charge include?

  • Individual car camping site for each family (up to 8 persons),
  • the camping equipment needed for the weekend,
  • professional park ranger-led programs and instruction,
  • a curriculum developed specifically for use and enjoyment of a state park,
  • state park junior ranger certification programs,
  • a “Leave No Trace” certified program,
  • restrooms with hot showers and
  • overnight state park police officer and security.

Before You Arrive

After signing up for the adventure, you receive checklists:

  • a suggested packing list for personal items and
  • special shopping list and menu

What Will You Do When You Get There?

Instructors will teach you how to

  • choose a good camp site
  • set up a camping tent
  • start a safe fire and
  • enjoy family camp cooking

Things that Vary According to Park

Everyone learns the basic skills.  However, parks offer different amenities.  They may include:

  • fishing
  • kayaking
  • equestrian skills
  • wildcrafting:  the art of finding useful and edible plants
  • “geo-caching” a game involving the use of a GPS device to track down a “cache” or a supply box filled with “treasures” for the kids
  • programs are available for minority or special-needs groups

Sounds Great … Where Do I Sign Up?

Check for dates, locations.

Call the Texas P&W Reservations Center:   512- 389-8903.  Operators answer questions & make reservations.

After registration, a confirmation packet will arrive with directions and more details.


How about your state?

Google:  (your state) programs + family camping

(ie: ) Virginia programs + family camping


the Month of February

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10 Tips for Hiking in the Wilderness

Hiking in a Wild Area

The tough thing about venturing into a wilderness is that there are no convenience stores handy, if you forget something critical.  Thus, planning and making lists are critical.


Things in the Wilderness are Rarely as Easy as This Scene Suggests


The First 5 Tips

Cell Phones: Although you should make sure that your phone is fully charged & bring along a spare, be aware that getting a signal (to use your phone) is spotty, at best.

The further you are aware from a major highway or urban center, the less likely your cell phone will work.

Safety Through Communication: Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return.

“Wilderness” implies things that are unknown.  It is foolhearty to assume that nothing can happen while you are away from your support system.

Personal Items: Even if you are hiking in winter, take sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.   If you are wondering why you might need them year-round, refer to yesterday’s article, ‘How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?’

Protect Your Feet: You won’t get very far if you don’t take care of your transportation system – your feet!  Take extra socks and a pair of waterproof shoes.

It’s better to use 2 thin pair of socks, not 1 thick pair.  Layering your clothing is a smart way to conserve heat, yet release perspiration. This method prepares you for whatever weather arrives.

Packing: Place the heaviest items you are carrying in the middle of the backpack, close to your back.  This balances the load.

The Second 5 Tips

Basic Equipment: Hikers need a compass and a pocketknife.

Getting Around: A map of the unknown territory where you will hike is important.   If you have a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, now’s a great time to use it.

Fire Supplies: You never know when you will need a fire.  Be sure to bring a lighter and/or waterproof matches & lint from your clothes dryer.

Keep Everything Safe: Zippered plastic bags are great for hikers.  They protect items from water, damp and other mishaps.

Water: Either be ready to bring your own water or bring a method of purification (iodine tablets, a filtering system, etc.).


I’m aware a hiker needs food, clothing and other necessities.  These items are better covered in a more comprehensive list.

Need a Camping Checklist?  Use ours!


‘Morning Glow’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


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Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on 10 Tips for Hiking in the Wilderness  

Outdoor Situations: How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?

With the wild weather outside, today might be a great time to talk about …


You and some friends have had a great day out in the snow!   It’s late in the

'Fun in the Sun' Calls for Quality Sunglasses Year Round!

afternoon when suddenly, Jim calls out that his eyes feel like he has grit in them and he is seeing red.

The group soon realizes that Jim is experiencing snowblindness.  It will be dark soon; what should you do?

Your Choices

For the conditions outlined here, which of these 3 possibilities is the best solution?

1) Someone offers to stay with  Jim while the rest of you go back and get help.

2) Cover Jim’s eyes and lead him back home as quickly as possible.

3) Wait until Jim’s snowblindness passes.

A Few Facts About Snowblindness

  • Snowblindness is an eye injury that can be serious and can be permanent!
  • It is caused by the reflected sunlight off of ice, snow or water.
  • Essentially, it sunburns the cornea of the eye.
  • Symptoms include:  dry eyes, headaches, seeing red, dizziness, swelling of the eyelids, pain.

The Solution

Snowblindness Occurs Most Often on Sunny Days, But Can Happen on Cloudy Days Too!

Jim’s snowblindness is not going to pass as long as he is out in the sun.  Therefore, waiting won’t help.  So neither 1 or 3 will work.

He needs to get inside quickly; into a darkened room until his eyes recover.  Covering his eyes while he travels home is important; his eyes can start to recover because he is no longer looking at the reflected light from the snow and ice.

How to Avoid Snowblindness

  • Wear quality sunglasses with at least 90% UV absorption.
  • Reduce glare by smudging the area under the eyes with charcoal (think football players).

Another Tip

Use a cool, damp cloth on the eyes.  Applying a hot, damp cloth to the eyes only increases the pain!


Tomorrow: 10 Tips for Hiking in the Wilderness


Occasionally: I’ll pose another ‘Outdoor Situation’ with Some Tips


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Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Outdoor Situations: How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?  

Camping: Choosing a Great Campsite!

Factors to Consider

Choosing a great campsite isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Various factors are important to your choice.

  • The season,
  • The weather,
  • The wind direction and strength,
  • What amenities are available in the area you want to use?
  • What do you want to do while camping?  (hiking, fishing, geocaching, exploring, etc.)

Prepare for Unwelcome Visitors!

Taking Stock of the Situation

High on everyone’s list is choosing a scenic spot.  However, high winds and/or damp weather will be more important factors in choosing a site.

Experienced campers recommend a fairly flat area, with some shelter from gusting winds and damp.   Make use of a gully, a clump of bushes or trees, a low wall or even a rain fly — when wind and rain bear down on your site.

In case of rain, make sure that your site is not a low place where rain will settle.  Depending on the weather and your cooking plans, do you need to find a locale near wood?

Water Issues

During hot weather, each person will need 6 quarts of water per day.  Will you be bringing that with you?

In colder weather, 3 quarts of water per person, per day will suffice.  What do you know about the area where you will camp?  Is the water there drinkable?

I recently read an article by a ranger who stated that campers should assume any water source available in America is polluted.

That means you will need to have a way to decontaminate the water:  iodine, a means to boil water or a filtering system.

Make sure your water bottle is safe; once opened, bacteria and mold grow in bottles of water (I’m referring to using bottled water from the grocers) .

Locate your site some distance from a water source, so you do not contaminate it.

Wild Animals

Most animals are happy to scavenge for a free meal.  Raccoons love to show you how fast they can open the snaps on any Igloo container!

Leaving food in the camping area is an open invitation to night-time dining guests.   Go online for directions on constructing a ‘food cache’ — a way to hang your food up high — between 2 trees — at some distance from your sleeping tents.

If you are camping in bear country, be sure to decide on your ‘escape tree’ — a way for you to get away from an over-friendly (or aggravated) bear!

Still want to go camping? 😉


Need a Camping Checklist?  Use ours!


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Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 12:08 am  Comments (1)  
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What is the main ingredient of WD-40?

(The fishing danger article is going to take a bit more work; I expect it to be ready soon.)

Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is?

A neighbor had a new beige truck.  Overnight, someone had sprayed it with a can of red spray paint.

Give WD-40 a Try When You Have a Problem!

Another neighbor knew to spray over the new paint with WD-40.  It removed all the messy red paint and the truck was beige again!  It didn’t harm the original paint!

WD-40 = ‘Water Displacement # 40.’

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts.

WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘water displacement’ compound.  They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

  • The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts.
  • Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you…

Uses for WD-40 That You May Not Know About!

Fishing and Outdoor Uses

  • WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
  • Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
  • Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
  • Keeps ceramic/terra-cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
  • Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
  • Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
  • Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on  riding mowers.
  • Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
  • Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.

Cars and Vehicle Uses

  • Removes road tar and grime from cars.
  • Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
  • Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
  • If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.
  • Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.

Home Use

  • Protects silver from tarnishing.
  • Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
  • Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
  • Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
  • Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
  • Removes splattered grease on stove.
  • Loosens stubborn zippers.
  • Untangles jewelry chains.
  • Keeps scissors working smoothly.
  • Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
  • Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
  • It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
  • Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
  • Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
  • Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
  • Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
  • Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
  • Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
  • Removes all traces of duct tape.
  • Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis   pain.
  • WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.

Laundry Uses for WD-40

  • Removes lipstick stains.
  • Removes tomato stains from clothing.
  • Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
  • If you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!

Unusual Uses

  • Keeps flies off cows. (I love this one!)
  • Restores and cleans chalkboards.

Some States Use Lots of WD-40

  • Florida’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
  • The favorite use in the state of New York: WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.

Now, What is WD-40’s Main Ingredient?

Fish Oil!


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Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 9:22 am  Comments (1)  
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How to Use Animal & Insect Behavior to Predict Weather!

Weather can change in a matter of minutes.  If you want to maximize your time outdoors, you need to learn to read the signs.

Sometimes, it is as simple as looking at the wild life around you!

These Horses are Reacting to the Gathering Storm (Used by Permission of Vantage Point Graphics)

Domesticated Animals

Horses and cattle respond to a storm by gathering together in their own groups.  They turn their backs to the storm and lower their heads.

Instinctively, they understand that they should leave the tops of hills — or any place that is elevated and open.

Wild Game:  Deer, Elk, Sheep

Like their domesticated brethren, wild game move off higher terrain and down into the more protected areas of valleys.

As they sense the passing of a storm, they return to grazing and foraging in the higher regions.

Sea Gulls

When a hurricane is heading to our shores, sea gulls move inland to local vacant parking lots.  They ride out the winds and rain on the ground, patiently waiting for the storm to pass.

Actually, they do this when any large storm heads our way!  It is amazing to see thousands and thousands of sea gulls standing silently on acres of empty parking lots.

Wild Geese

Biologists theorize that birds (including geese and sea gulls) stay on the ground because a gathering storm causes the air pressure to drop.  As this happens, birds find it more difficult to stay aloft on the thinning air currents.


An increase in frog serenading indicates that a storm is on its way!  Why?  Generally, frogs must stay in water to keep their skin moist.

However, when a storm is approaching, the heavy humidity in the air protects the frog’s skin.  Thus, he can  sit on the shore and sing!

Flies and Mosquitoes

Want to know when you can avoid flies and mosquitoes?  The short answer is:  Go fishing 1 hour before the start of a storm!

When flies and mosquitoes sense the coming of a storm, they dash around madly, trying to eat enough to carry them through the storm.  Generally, they start this mad noshing about 12 hours before the storm’s start.

However, they spend the last hour before the onset of the storm finding good hiding places!


Biologists measure some of the strangest things! Want to know the outdoor temperature where you are?  Count the number of cricket chirps for 14 seconds + add 40.  That is the temperature in Farenheit!  Try it;  it works!


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Published in: on January 12, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on How to Use Animal & Insect Behavior to Predict Weather!  
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Predicting Weather for Outdoor Hunting, Fishing, Etc.

Learning to Predict Weather

With all the wizardry that modern science offers meteorologists, it still seems  impossible to offer accurate long-range forecasts.  There are just too many variables involved in weather.

It is one occupational path I’ve never wanted to follow.  One has to have a very thick hide to take all the ribbing and griping directed at the weather-man (or woman).

However, to engage in outdoor activities, it is helpful to learn some basic weather facts.  If you recall, a few weeks ago, I wrote about a careful angler who was struck by lightning, during light rain with thunder sounding many miles away.

Sometimes, you can rate the weather with these facts — so you can take a

Cumulus Clouds are Fluffy and Aren't High in Altitude

quick hunting, camping or fishing trip (even when weather folks can’t give a clear prediction).  Also, these hints may help you decide when to abandon your activity.

Fair Weather Needs

  • You can expect fair weather when early morning fog burns off by noon
  • Wind is blowing from the west or northwest
  • The barometric pressure remains steady or rises slowly
  • Cumulus clouds are in the sky

Cold Temperatures Need

  • The night is clear, with no clouds or wind
  • The barometric pressure is rising in winter or
  • The pressure rises before a front blows into the area

Rain and/or Snow Needs 

Clouds Darken, the Air Feels Saturated with Moisture, Winds Shift & Strengthen


  • The sky grows darker
  • The barometric pressure is falling
  • Winds from the south get stronger
  • Cumulus clouds darken, thicken and get taller
  • The wind shifts counterclockwise

Weather Will Clear When

  • The barometric pressure starts a quick rise.
  • Wind direction shifts from south to west

Watch Those Cloud Formations!

Clouds are important indicators of weather changes.  As you see from the two pictures above, as the clouds get larger and thicker, the weather is changing — for the worse.

Watch the speed of the cloud’s movement.  As clouds move faster, they are telling you 2 things:  the wind is changing and the barometric pressure is changing.   This can be an early warning of a storm.


If you are observant, you can maximize your time outdoors.  Learning certain truisms of cloud formations and  how weather changes, will help you make better camping, hunting and fishing decisions!


Soon: How Does the Weather Affect Wild Game & Their Terrain?


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