Tag Archives: camping for non-campers

How to Keep it Cool When It’s Sooo Damned Hot!

closeup photo of green cactus

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on

It’s already been established in my last post that it’s hot as hell in the Texas Hill Country (as usual)! It doesn’t change the fact that there’s plenty of work that’s got to be done to get ready for the upcoming hunting seasons. Staying cool when there’s so much to do is a top priority. I don’t need to tell any of you that you need to stay hydrated, wear light colors, and use plenty of sunscreen. We take our Yeti Roadster cooler in the truck to carry cold drinks and some chilled fruit when we’re working on feeder pens and hunting blinds.

Of course, everyone will also need to eat and they will want to eat well after all the hard work they’ve done. Nobody, however, wants the stove or oven to heat up the camper, cabin, or ranch house no matter how delectable the meal. That’s why the meals should be carefully planned so that the indoors stay as cool as possible.  Using the stove heats up the quarters less than using the oven.  If you must use the stove, be sure to take hot skillets or pots outside after they’ve been used so they don’t continue to radiate heat.  An even better alternative is to set up an outdoor propane stove, like the Camp Chef, Browning, or Coleman, so that all the heat stays outside.

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This camp stove is from Browning.  It’s almost identical to the Camp Chef and costs much less.  This one came from Bass Pro Shop several years ago.  I purchased the griddle, separately, from Camp Chef. It fit perfectly! I absolutely love it.  In addition, I bought the zippered carrying bags for the griddle and the stove making it easier to keep the components together and haul around.

When planning for breakfast, always make arrangements to have the accoutrements for coffee! There are several ways to prepare coffee for the hunting camp.  See them here.  Milk or cream, raw or white sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Recently, since it’s just Deerslayer and myself heading out to work,  we’ve been going pretty light for the morning meal; cereal, fruit, breakfast muffins, and of course milk, juice, and coffee. A heavy meal in the morning before working in the hot sun can lower one’s productivity.

Everyone is usually ready to come in for lunch early because of the heat and I’ve been serving sandwiches (BLTs, ruebens, sliced turkey or venison), cold watermelon, and some chips or soup.  I will usually cook up bacon ahead of time and bring it with me.  Reheating it for sandwiches requires much less time at the stove than cooking it as needed.  Don’t forget to take the skillet or griddle outside as soon as you’re finished with it if your aren’t cooking outside!

For dinner, I’ve come to rely on my sous vide cooker pretty heavily. Check here for more info about how it works.   I can actually set it up before we head out to work in the afternoon. I use it for chicken and venison, preparing more than we need for our meal.  The leftovers can be used the next day for tacos, tostadas (sometimes called chalupas), or hearty sandwiches. My next post will include instructions for using the sous vide to get several meals with leftovers.


The key is in the planning.  I plan my menus out before we get to the ranch.  That enables me to have what I need for my recipes (which are pretty simple) and make a grocery list.


This is an app that my daughter put on my phone called “Keep Notes”.  I love it for all kinds of lists including dates that we fill feeders and how many bags of feed we used and/or need.

Like most hunting ranches, ours is out in the middle of nowhere.  A trip to the grocer would be more than an hour.  Nothing is worse than planning and looking forward to wonderful Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches (BLTs) only to discover that there’s NO “L”!

As all the deer slayers and their wives know, this time of year can be brutal.  But the reward will be great.  Stay tuned for some recipes and prep tips.

Please share any tips of your own and your thoughts.


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What It’s All About (Camping for Non-Campers)

camping prep 020There are so many reasons that campers camp.  My first camping experiences were not the greatest.  Nature was not my friend. Nobody said there would be bugs or that I would have to sweat.  Veteran campers never brought up the whole “powder room” issue.  It REALLY should have come up at some point, although I’m not sure when would be an appropriate time.  In retrospect, I should’ve researched, bought a book, or read a blog.  Oh yeah!  There weren’t blogs when I started camping.

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After my first camping trip with my Deerslayer (and a very small junior deerslayer) I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel.  I’d had my brush with nature and was ready to call it a day.  My very handsome Deerslayer was very persuasive, however, and I headed out for a second, and then a third trip.  Each time, I learned a couple of things, wrote down things that I’d forgotten to bring (enough warm clothes, gloves), things that I didn’t know I needed until I was without them (eye drops, allergy meds, tissues, anti-itch spray), and determined which extras it would take to get a non-nature type back into the wilderness (a plastic stemmed wine glass and bottle of Prosecco). Each time I headed out with my tiny junior deerslayer in tow and the ever-increasing admiration of the Love of my Life, I was a bit better prepared, less cranky, and open to all that camping has to offer.

camping prep 029Over the years our camping trips have allowed us to have family time in beautiful laid-back settings.  The ability to sit outside watching the stars, telling stories of camping trips of years past is priceless.  Some of our trips have evolved into precious family reunions.  One of my favorite camping moments now is early in the mornings when those who rise early show up at our camper with (or without) a coffee mug.  camping prep 008After a while, the camper is full of the early-morning-coffee-drinkers talking in hushed voices (My Deerslayer is usually trying to sleep!)  We all head to the community campsite and carry on the coffee drinking and story-telling until mid-morning.  The teens start to stir, so appreciative when they realize that breakfast is underway on one of the propane cookstoves.  

It’s magical when three generations share stories, coffee, food, and enjoy just being together. The senior members of the group look forward to the annual camping get-together as much as the teens.  It’s what camping is all about for me.  It’s a part of my life that I almost missed out on.  If I hadn’t made the effort (and lists) I would’ve missed out!  

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My advice to non-campers who might be thrust into a “nature experience” is to have a sense of humor (I did not!), write down what you need for “next time” (It will give you a subconscious mind set that I didn’t have!)  Following my advise will allow non-campers to skip the cranky phase of of the process.

Trust me,”it’s what it’s all about”.


Posted by on July 26, 2013 in camping, Uncategorized


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