Caught By Surprise – Hurricane Matthew

Best Freeze Dried FoodHurricane Matthew has come and gone from my area. I consider myself lucky, really lucky!

– Not too much flooding, just a foot or so in the front, water was up to the axles of my truck
– No fallen trees on the house
– No real wind or property damage
– Time to rethink flood insurance
– Minimal power outages, just a few hours or so
Continue reading Caught By Surprise – Hurricane Matthew

Pamunkey River Trip

A view along the Pamunkey River
A view along the Pamunkey River.

Had a chance to get out on a much needed and very relaxing late March canoe trip down Virginia’s Pamunkey River.

We managed to catch a ton of fish. Once we figured out the pattern and started giving them what they wanted, we just couldn’t keep the fish out of the boat. They literally would jump out of the water after the baits. One nearly made it into the canoe!

We were using little pink and chartreuse crappie baits rigged up like a beetle spin. I always pack these beetle spins along, everything that swims seems will go for one.

I have been practicing throwing these things with my fly rod. I saw really little beetle spin type flies not too long ago when visiting family. I just might try this combo out on my next outing if I can make it work.

My area does not have a fly-fishing store and it sorely needs one!

My tally was six different kinds of fish, — largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, catfish, and even a shad. Each and every one of these fish were released back into the water from which they came.

Oh yeah, the weather was okay, at least it was on the warmer side. Had to deal with some rain, but hardly noticed because the fishing was awesome!!! <= note the three exclamation points.

Freeze dried breakfast
Freeze dried breakfast
I did bring along some single serving freeze dried food pouches. The Biscuits and Gravy and Beef Stroganoff for one breakfast, and another Biscuits and Gravy and some Beef Stew for the second breakfast.

The remaining meals were cooked over nice little campfire. Not every meal needs to be a lightweight and easy to prepare outdoor feast. Not even for a hardcore travel-light kind of person. I wanted to just relax and enjoy the nice spring weather.

You know how spring weather tends to go, warm and sunny one day, snowy and cold the next.

The scenery was awesome, saw and heard a lot of critters. Saw a beaver as big a large German Shepherd. The thing was huge! He let us know that we were not welcome here on his part of the river. He gave us the stink eye and a loud tail slap before diving down and swimming away.

A view along the Pamunkey River
A view along the Pamunkey River
Had a lot of problems with those little black flies swarming around. Next time, I want to have one of those head nets! I managed by keeping my raincoat hood on, that made it a bit more manageable.

We knocked out close to 23 miles over the weekend and had a grand time.

Click here to see a complete list of the best freeze dried food reviews. Those items I have tried and used in my outdoor experiences.

best freeze drived food guide pamunkey

Winter Storm Jonas – Snowed In

We had another epic snow event here in mid-Atlantic Virginia. We didn’t get the 20 to 30 inches other folks had. We measured in at 2 or so inches in the backyard. Yeah, stop your laughing!

They called it Winter Storm Jonas!

A few inches might not seem “epic” to some folks!? It does around here in my neck of the woods!

I am glad that weather geek Jim Cantore from Weather.com never showed up!

Here, it seems like most folks around here have no idea of how to deal with driving on ice and snow! As I was making my way home from another long day at work, drivers were moving way too fast for conditions and were losing control and smashing into whatever was in their path.

Yep, witnessed it a few times, just need to day alert!

This morning, I couldn’t get out, the roads were just too bad, lots of ice. I tried to get out, but the 4×4 was sliding around too much. So there no breakfast with the gang down the road.

A Minor SHTF Episode

Well, with nothing in the fridge, I pulled out two of my Mountain House freeze dried food pouches and whipped up a quick and tasty breakfast.

I had picked these up at Walmart a while ago, –maybe it was sometime last year? I have been restocking my camping pantry with a bit of this and that with every paycheck. Freeze dried, canned goods, and generally stuff that will last a while.

I am a big fan of the Mountain House biscuits and gravy, so I pulled out one of those. Next I grabbed one of the scrambled eggs with bacon and boiled up some water on the stove.

In short order, I had a hearty breakfast on the table! The dogs were looking at me hoping for a tidbit or two, –they were not disappointed with their scrambled egg pieces!

Just Doctor It Up A Bit

I added some hot sauce and red pepper flakes to my portion. Not to long ago, I picked up some really awesome red pepper flakes from Penzeys spices when I was visiting my Mom. I must say, these are WAY better than the big-box store variety! Lots more flavor!!

I know where I will be picking up any new spices for the pantry, camping, survival, or otherwise.

Anyhow, you never know when something might happen. It really pays to have something on hand for a major or minor SHTF episode in your day to day.

Gear Maintenance – I

A Day For Gear Maintenance

Spent a lot of time today pulling out some of the camping and outdoor gear and doing a bit of maintenance.

I want my gear to last a good long time and not break down when I need it most.

Time For Some Backpacking Stove Maintenance

Today, among other things, I am cleaning up my backpacking stoves. I have several of them. How many folks take the time to do the basic preventive maintenance recommended in the owner’s manual?

Taking a few minutes in the garage sure beats messing around with these things out on a camping trip. I have learned that one the hard way.

I also take it a step further by lighting them up to make sure they work as expected. My belief is that the more you use this gear, even in the garage, you will be a lot more familiar with how it should work when it doesn’t.

Lantern Maintenance

Come to think of it, I have a small Coleman model 229 backpacking lantern and a bigger Coleman model 288 lantern that needs a bit of TLC. I can’t believe the 288 is considered an “old” lantern!! The smaller model 229 lantern is a bit bulky and fragile in my opinion for stuffing into a backpack. But I use them when car camping, canoe camping, or just sitting out by the fire pit. The noise it makes reminds me of those family camping trips made years ago.

Come to think of it, I should probably pick up a few mantels next time I get out to the store, –if they have any. I also like to have an extra gallon can or two of fuel on hand. Everything here is electric, so if we lose power, at least I have a way to generate some light if needed.

Anyway, all I do for the regular preventive maintenance on my stoves is to inspect the rubber bushings and O-rings. Then give them a good lubrication with a bit of mineral oil.

Afterwards, I clean all of the soot and carbon that builds up. Some of the stoves have shaker jets, so I make sure these all move freely.

Lastly, just fire them up to make sure they work as expected!

Making Some Pine Needle Tea

The stoves are working pretty good. I grabbed a hand full of pine needles earlier while walking the dogs. I think I will brew up a batch of pine needle tea here in the garage while I do a bit of maintenance on the fishing gear.