Saturday, March 29, 2008


PS, asked about the pizza in a bag. The couscous was good and I will use it in other recipes. As for as it being Pizza, well um er...I make a pretty mean pizza in a dutch oven, but thats another story.,,,

Was out chasing treasure today!
Geocaching is one of my favorite ways to get out and get moving. I happened upon an article in USA today about this pass time several years ago and immediately got hooked. This satisfies the geek gear and outdoor all at the same time. Picture this:
folks take a container - ammo can, tupperware, peanut butter jar (micros as small as 35mm film can), maybe wrap some camo duct tape around it ( you do have camo duct tape right??) and hide it somewhere - usually in a park, along a bike path, on top of a mountain.

Now in this container they put treasure (often toys or geo coins etc,). Now other folks (you and me) take a handheld gps unit and drive as close as we can and then hike to the location and start searching (gps is good, but there are limitations) usually the geocache is within 30 feet (average) of where my unit says zero. You open the cache and take out something and you bring along something to replace it with. (you trade treasure trinkets etc.)

Inside the cache there is usually a log, where you write when you were there what you took and left. Sometimes there is a disposable camera to shoot who you are and leave that too. Its fun to see how long it has been since someone visited the cache, once in a while you realize that you passed the last cacher on the way in.

Then you log your find back at the website keeps track of your finds and show nearby caches by zipcode, you can map them and plan a hunt on your next business trip or family vacation. It is a free service
Anyway the hunts range from super easy drive bys to bushwhacking and bolder scrambling,


Now playing: R. Carlos Nakai - Song for the Morning Star
via FoxyTunes

Thrift Store

My Mother devours books and my wife loves to find bargains, so they often hit the local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores. Yesterday, I got a chance to go along.
Being a gearaholic, I tend to internet shop too much, the thrift store provides a good alternative.
The thrift store is a great place to go to outfit a new camper or Scout or to find materials for DIY projects.
Cooking Gear - maybe not lightweight backpack stuff, but lots of pots, some the handles could be removed etc.
Water bottles.
Sleeping Bags and Blankets
Clothing - cargo shorts, tee shirts, all sorts of fleece sweaters, rain jackets, jeans, caps.
Duffle bags.
Great way to recycle and support a good cause.
NgmugI scored a nalgene bottle ($0.50)and a 24 oz enameled mug ($0.90) I also got a like new pair of adidas nylon wind pants for $6 - great for pulling over shorts on the trail.
We also picked up 3 or 4 brand new colored tees shirts for my son at $2.99 ea.

Tried a couscous recipe from freezer bag cooking last night - pizza in a bag
I had the ingredients on hand - turned out fine, couscous hydrates well with boiling water.

My favorite FB dinner and real popular with the Scouts is Thanksgiving on the Trail
I just use regular stovetop stuffing, chicken in a pouch, chicken gravy packet if I can't find turkey and cran raisins.

Friday, March 28, 2008



Breakfast in camp or on the trail is often the relegated to the oatmeal/creme of wheat/grits category of breakfast foods.
The instant varieties of oatmeal are OK but to me lack a lot of substance texture and in some cases taste. Breakfast is an important meal as they say, so I want something a with a little more substance.
With a little preparation we can have our own "instant"size breakfast ready to go with some hot water. The benefit: you control the content quantity and quality. If you do not like eating out of the bag, you can dump the bag into you bowl, sierra cup etc.. Eating out of the bags as I demonstrate eases clean up in camp or on the trail
PS recommends Quaker Simple Harvest, I will have to check this out, probably more viable for quick resupply in town when away from home.
I start out with regular either quick or old-fashioned oats, seems like either one hydrate fine with the boiling water using freezer bag techniques.
I usually don't - so it was different to actually measure the ingredients for the pictures. And I figured out why I don't measure-as I got the nuts in the measuring spoon, then dropped it and them all over the floor :)
Anyway, here's my version of oatmeal or is Tinny at mini bull design calls it “goatmeal.”
Start with a half-cup to 1 cup of the oats.
I had a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
I also usually add some wheat germ at this point - I have a jar in the pantry that I have been trying to use up for who knows how long.
And I add 1/4 cup (small handful) of dried fruit of some kind raisins, Cran raisins, apricots. Whatever's on hand in this case it's cranberries and spiced apples, really good.
Then I add a 1/4 cup (small handful) of what ever nut's are on hand in this case was almonds. I like these and walnuts, but peanuts cashews or whatever you have on hand his great.
Okay that's it. The bags gets sealed up and put in to your food bag and pulled out when you're ready to use it on the trail.
As far as heating it up, just bring the 1 cup of water to a boil and add as much of it to bring the oatmeal to your desired consistency. you can have the bag in a cozy or container to do this.
Then just kneed the bag to mix it up completely.
And if you want, you can put it in a cozy to let it hydrate or cool off a little bit. Most the time I'm ready by the time it's thoroughly mixed up.
You can either eat it straight out of the bag or you can put the bag into the medium twist lock container. (see the coffee system post) As I've shown below.
Then as you consumed the meal out of the bag, you can roll the edge over the sides. Kind of like rolling your socks over- to bring the food up from the bottom. This allows you to use a regular size spoon or spork.
Well that's just one example of eating out of a bag, again the benefit is that you control content and preferably have less processed more whole foods. Also cost, if you have priced the prepackaged "backpack" meals they can really add up. They can also be high sodium etc.
Take a look the freezer bag cooking dot com link on the left for more great ideas or to buy Sarah’s book or check out the gear she has -Great site.. Don't be afraid to substitute ingredients and use whole foods versus dried while testing around a home. See the harmony house link for source of dried ingredients.
Today, I used the hefty zipper bags usually don't use the kind with the plastic zipper. At home, I just washed out the bags for reuse, on the trail rinse and pack out with other garbage.
PS suggested using the new steamer bags that are out in the store now, they should stand up as you add the water. I will have to try those.
Clicking on pictures here will take you to larger copies posted on flickr if needed (the originals are huge)
Next pizza in a bag.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Marvelous Light

Could not sleep last night, probably got the caffeine balance out of wack at work yesterday, looking back it was coffee and ice tea and zero water for the day not good. Too easy to grab a coffee or ice tea (not sweet tea (PS) this is the North) from the breakroom - worse still in a Styrofoam cup I am going to designate a nalgene widemouth for work, more apt to dump some ice and water and sip that all day..
Anyway tried to read for a while (Clive Cussler's Treasure) I grabbed my Palm TX which I use for audio - books and music as well as text documents (couple versions of the Bible on Bible+) decided music and played one of my favorite inspirational songs Charlie Halls Marvelous Light
Maybe the beat is not soothing, but the message truly is.

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Just wanted to share that

It is easy to ramble on blogs.
I use to be a purist and say leave the technology at home when heading to the wilderness, but that Palm PDA is lighter than a paperback, I can jot down thoughts, compose emails, read books, listen to books and music.
The popular Christian music out today is great, my teenagers and I listen to the same radio station and share mp3s

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Coffee system

This is the coffee system that I use, it is my version of skidsteer's (over at whiteblaze) coffee system.
Here is the video I copied from C8B3E000423CF3686
The system consists of a stove with built in pot stand, windscreen, pot (20 oz Heineken beer can), fuel bottle, which all fits into the container pictured.
What I used was a medium (32oz) twistlock ziplock container for the base


and an 8oz snap lid ziplock "bowl" container for the top/coffee basket, I used a soldering iron to make the holes. the number of holes determines how fast the water will travel through the grounds and thus how strong your coffee is, start with fewer and test, it is easy to think you want a bunch, but stronger is better in my cup.


the twist lid from the 4 cup container cut out for bowl to fit. razor knife or scissors works fine

once the twist lid is cut out, the bowl can just rest on top of it or under


I use the #2 Melita filters

coffee in the filter sitting in the 80z ziplock bowl

Stove is blackfly2 from minibull design
the pour from the heine pot

coffee going in
you cant see it be these containers are graduated in 1 cup increments, you could add 1/4 and 1/2 with sharpie etc,

Because I often make coffee for two or three, I can run another heine pot of water and add through the same grounds.I also hold my freezer bag meals in the container so I made a cozy to fit over the whole system. this can be used with just the hot heine pot or keep coffee warm in the container.

the 'cozy is made of reflextix insulation material available at Lowes etc.
The body of this stove fits under the heine pot and then there is room for a small fuel bottle (not pictured) inside.

Mac Hanging Out

Hammock Deck Hang
Hammock Deck Hang

this is me, so when you read my posts, you can imagine me relaxing in one of my hammocks typing on the laptop.....