Monday, August 23, 2010
I’ve decided to make it camping week here at R&V. With Labor Day right around the corner, there’s still time to pack up the tent and get out there for the last gasp of summer.
Just don’t expect to see me there.
Pre-child, we were fairly seasoned campers, so this summer we tried camping with our one-year-old Ben. Hilarity ensued.
First, we chose what turned out to be the coldest weekend of the summer. Yay.
Next, Kent wanted to bring The Big Tent instead of our little tent so we'd all have extra room. Ok, makes sense, fine.
And then there's the vestibule.
Kent has a big tent. I mean BIG. He uses it as a portable hunting lodge in the fall and winter, so it has a wood stove with a stovepipe that sticks out the top of the tent and a couple cots that fit inside with room to spare.
He loves this tent. He'll set it up in the backyard sometimes, just to see it standing up in its glory.
Did I mention he really loves this tent?
Last fall while tenting during hunting season, he thought it would be handy to have a separate space for hunting gear, keeping the tent living area clean and dry.
This is how the vestibule entered our lives. It’s an entryway for the tent, set up like a tent attachment. A tiny tent for the big tent, if you will. Here are the boys in front of the vestibule in front of the tent.
So there we were at Cross Ranch, a lovely nature preserve along the Missouri River, tucked amidst the tall cottonwood trees. Just the three of us and the huge tent. And the vestibule. And the cots. And the inflatable mattress. And all of Ben’s baby gear. And the dog. And the dog’s gear. And the coolers. And...you get the idea.
They say you don’t own your things; your things own you. As camp set-up dragged on into the evening, those words kept ringing in my head. I helped with set-up too, but my focus was on keeping the little guy from falling in the river next to our campsite.
I realize Kent had good intentions with all this. He set all this up because a) he loves us and wants everyone to be comfortable and b) he loves gear, especially camping gear. Very Clark Griswold. However, with the cold weather and fussy child, my patience was in limited supply. I wanted our little pup tent, the one up by myself in ten minutes flat. I wanted a hot meal. I wanted Ben to stop fussing. And, ok, I’ll admit it, I just wanted to be home.
The campsite was set up, vestibule and all, just in time for us to cook dinner on the camp stove, take a walk, then get Ben ready for bed. Fortunately, dinner was hot, quick, and good – fish and rice. I usually pooh-pooh any recipe that starts with “First, rip open a package of instant rice,” but I make no apologies in this instance.
And the rest of the trip? After tossing and turning all night, trying to keep Ben warm and comfortable, we tore down camp on Saturday morning, got home by noon, and slept blissfully at home Saturday night. And that made me a very happy camper.
Don't worry, one bad night won't keep us from getting out and camping again. After all, all the hassle may just be worth it, if only to enjoy views like this.
Camp Fish and Rice
We store walleye fillets in Ziploc bags filled with water so they freeze in a solid block of ice. This way, they’re portable and can be thawed out on either Day 1 or Day 2 at camp. And if you caught fresh fish out at camp, all the better.
1 pouch Lipton/Knorr 7-minute rice sides, whatever flavor floats your boat
1 lb. walleye fillets, cut into chunks
1-2 Tbls. butter or oil
Cut-up vegetables (optional; cut up dense vegetables like carrots finely so they cook through)
Start cooking rice according to package directions with the butter included in the boiling water. Once boiling, add veggies and fish. Cover and cook until rice is tender and fish flakes with a fork.
Posted by Rhubarb and Venison at 6:58 AM