Tame Deer & a Teeny Tiny Campfire

Our teeny, tiny campfire!

At first Sunny and Sheba would bark their heads off when they saw the tame deer that roam the campground.  Now they are getting used to them.   Sunny will usually give one yip to

A deer across the street from our campsite

alert us that the deer are close, and Sheba will softly woof a few times.  Then they both settle down to watch the deer doggie entertainment show.  They are, of course, tied up, or else the chase would be on!

We had planned to go swimming while we were here.  But when Ron started setting up the fabric kennels, he discovered that Sheba had chewed the nylon zipper of hers to shreds.  No way could we zip the door closed.  She had chewed Sunny’s a while back, but since Sunny is not an escape artist, we were able to close the door enough to keep him contained.

No doggies allowed. Note the life jackets that are provided for kids. Nice touch!

Dogs are prohibited on the swimming beach.  And since we don’t dare leave Sheba in the Casita unless she is in a crate, that means no swimming this trip.

We also had to take them when we went to town today.  Very fortunately it was overcast and not too hot, so we were able to leave them in the truck while we ran into the grocery store.

Last evening two women walked by our campsite pushing a little white poodle in a stroller.  “Hello, Casita people,” one of the women called out.  “We are Casita people, too.”

Lola and Ellie’s Casita

Today we walked by their campsite and learned that their names are Lola and Ellie, and the reason the dog gets to ride in a stroller is because he is a 15 year old senior citizen.

While we were at the store today, I bought marshmallows so we could toast them over a fire this evening.  But instead of building a big campfire, I lit my Solo Stove and christened it a teeny tiny campfire.

It had all the ambiance of a big fire.  It didn’t leave us reeking of smoke –and it did a great job of toasting our marshmallows!  Best of all, we didn’t even have to buy fire wood.  Ron had gathered a few small, dead branches earlier, and that was more than enough.

Camp & Survival Cooking with the Solo Backpacking Stove

Dinner cooked on the Solo wood burning backpack stove

I bought the Solo Stove because I thought it would be a wonderful little pyrotechnic toy to play with.  After cooking dinner with it this evening, I am amazed at what a serious piece of quality gear it is.  Since it’s double walled, embers from the fire grate do not touch the surface beneath it, so it is safe to use on wood tables or on the ground.  It truly leaves no trace!

This shows the pot support upside down, stowed inside the stove.

Anytime you cook directly over a fire, your pots get soot covered.  I initially covered mine with aluminum foil to prevent that.  But after tipping a pot, I realized that the foil made the pots more likely to slide around, so I removed it and will just deal with cleaning up the soot.

My purpose in cooking with the stove this evening was to practice survival cooking — the kind you would do after a natural disaster when you didn’t have access to your kitchen.  I wanted a stove that was small, simple, and that wouldn’t require having to buy extra fuel if the emergency continued for several days…. or weeks… like the power outages after a hurricane.

Nutritious additions to packaged Ramen.

I also wanted to experiment with cheap, easy storage food.  And what’s cheaper and easier than Ramen?  But no way could it be considered nutritious.  So my project was to concoct a nutritious meal using Ramen as a base.

I added onion, celery, carrots, squash and, after they started getting tender,  shredded napa cabbage for additional flavor.  Almost any veggie combination would work.  And the veggies could be fresh, frozen or dehydrated.

Soup’s on!

Since I added so many vegetables, I was afraid the Ramen flavor packet would not be enough to season everything, so I added an extra rounded teaspoon of bouillon.  When the vegetables were tender, I stirred in a small can of chicken, and added half a package of crushed Ramen noodles.  Finally I stirred in the flavor packet and boiled the soup one more minute.

It turned our surprisingly good–a flavorful, chunky, satisfying soup.

Fried cornbread on the Solo Stove!

I also wanted to experiment with pan bread, and the little Solo Stove proved to be a champ at cooking fried corn bread.  I did have to watch the pan carefully because the large handle made the pan unbalanced and it would have tipped easily.  But with a little care, it worked well.

The best part of the experiment was how evenly the stove burned on such a small amount of fuel.  I had gathered various sizes of sticks, but after I got the fire going, I found out that sticks about an inch around or larger seemed to keep the flame at an even

Fuel supply with dryer lint as a fire starter.

temperature best.  I was scoring the branches with the saw on my Swiss Army Knife, then breaking them, when Ron got out the pruning loppers and rapidly turned the rest of the branch into perfect chunks.

I very highly recommend the Solo Stove as an essential piece of emergency gear.

If you get it, remember not to use sticks you find on the ground if you have any other option.  Hanging deadwood is drier and if you are anywhere near the woods, you will find it everywhere.  You can use damp wood once you get a hot starter fire going, but it will not burn as cleanly or efficiently.

And one final tip — the fastest way to smother and mess up a good fire is to try to feed it too much too fast.  Wait until the fire in your Solo Stove starts to die down before adding two or three more sticks at a time.

My new favorite toy/best gear!

I have reposted this blog entry as a permanent page to keep it from disappearing in the archives.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to Tinycamper's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 959 other subscribers
  • Cool Stuff!

  • My Blog Topic Categories

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,026,859 hits
%d bloggers like this: