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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Simply Helping Others and Dream Camp Kitchens

I've been discussing Dream Camp Kitchens lately...
I've also been in a personal funk. As part of my process of working through the funk, I made a list of things I've loved, not liked, in the history that I can remember of my life. That was a good exercise. Its an excersize that I have taught in my Personal Project Planning workshops. Its an excersize that helps you to recall the reality of your best self. It helps you/me to recall the best physical things as well as the best activities and work, even workstyle that you have experienced.  Heres an example of somethings I listed in my I love it list.


  • I loved the hand blown wine glasses I had made for me years ago.
  • I love handmade!
  • I loved my silver spoon ring (remember those)
  • I loved how satisfied my work and daytime life felt when I worked on the Daffodil farm in VA. I picked daffodils 8 hrs a day!
  • I loved helping Travis & A refurbish that farmhouse in Costa Rica
  • I love, like love helping others. I nearly set up a 501-3C non-profit called Simply Helping Others. 
  • I love building a fire first thing in the morning!
  • I love how quiet it is when I get up first and its just me and God alone with the sunrise.
  • I love sharing my blessings with others - okay so much that I've given away stuff I needed and then had to find a way to get again. (Darn..oh well)
  • I love Ozzie. He's so strong and such a survivor. And he needs me, I need to  be needed.
  • I loved my MR2! Darn that was a fun car to drive, and it was so good on gas. I could go nearly anywhere I wanted.
  • I love clean hair
  • And hot water!
  • I love taking something old and kinda past its prime and making it beautiful and useful again.
You kinda get the idea.

I was feeling stuck and funky, tired of fixing on this current travel trailer when I went on my camping trip to Flaggstaff a few weeks ago. I perked up at the thought of being helpful to my friends Santa & Barb. I was nervous as well because I wasn't sure that I could remember how to do anything except feel stuck. I was pleasantly surprised to get 30 miles outside my daily/familiar territory and feel the excited relaxation of being where I belong! 

I excitedly arrived at the camp area and met a Facebook buddy, Pat, then comfortably set up my car campsite for the night. I need to set up a campsite,  unless we are overnighting in a stealth situation, because my dog Ozzie, who was raised in a shelter (think about being raised in jail to understand that),  needs consistency to be his best. Ozzie made friends with Pat's dog, Jake and they went exploring. As Pat and I got to know each other in person,  I so knew that I was back with my community. Visiting, walking and hiking, firing up the grill, fixing a meal. Cilling by the fire. Sharing coffee and news in the morning.... I was completely myself and forgot all about my funk. Moving over to a different campsite the next day to prepare for Santa & Barb's arrival, I continued to feel positive. I met up with other campers and boondockers that I knew and reconnected with some old friends along the way. 

Santa & Barb came, stayed 2 nites and then left, happy with what they learned and headed to Chicago! I love helping newbies learn they can be successful and get closer to their goals.... which reminded me of my PPP workshops! And my love of helping people to step off thier proverbial cliff, to find that they can fly! 

Santa & Barb left and an old RTR buddy stopped by asking for advice and my answers to her reminded me of the process I needed to do for myself to redefine my life. My stuckness was part depression (tho i have no chemical imbalances) and part lack of a goal! 

What in the world has this got to do with camp kitchens, you might ask?  Im getting there!

I left camp early because I was triggered by some pictures of my past life. I thought these pictures had been lost years ago. So, you might imagine the emotional overload I felt as I saw my children when they were young, or me when i was nearly 330 pounds, or the tiny house I designed and built when my oldest was 3 years old, or the  rustic home in St Augustine por Angustora CR ... or the picture of me at 130 pounds holding a copy of the book I wrote.  And I'm not any of those things...

I had to return home. I couldn't process all that in front of my friends in Flagstaff. When back at home my depression depened as I felt a failure with my whole life. Asking is this all there is? I refurbish this current trailer, make it comfortable for what? I can't imagine having enough money to afford a proper heating system or having the luxury of a comercial composting toilet. I've been paying down debt while truely living in survival mode for 4 years. 4 years! I know I'm nearly finished with that, but when I am finished, then what? I'm disappointed with the size of my body, with my sadness and depression... what?

I have been blessed with an affordable jetpack and mifi system and the unlimited solar power to run it, so I was catching up on Pintrest ideas until I was sick of them, then catching up on my old travel sites and cheaprvliving.com,  and boatgalley.com and... days of it, till my eyes were blurry with boredom of past life ideas. Homesteading. Tiny houses. Boat living. Costa Rica and its memories. Hiking long distance. Overlanding. Prepping.  Historic foods, cooking and reenactments. Raising quail. Dream camp kitchens. RVs. Vintage travel trailers. Tents. Domes. Earthhouses. Canned Hams..... arrrrg!

I am back on Facebook so I read friends posts, joined and then left groups. Read a few old books, mostly about self help or thinking....then I binge watched streamed movies and BBC period dramas. And I watched Bob Wells YouTube videos...nothing much new, and Jamie Dimon's Egmatic Nomadics videos...and Jamie was encouraging people to set a fitness goal. I wanted to but darn I dont want to fail. Then I learned that he's having another VanBuild event in early November. I wanted to go and to help but how? I can and do use tools, I refurbish trailers as a slow hobby...but last year the guys never really used my talents. I felt like I was in the way. I tried to help but I don't feel good in groups...and then BAM! It hit me, last year, I watched these guy work thier butts off and collapse with a cold drink around 5 pm. They didn't really seem to do meals...and I am really good at staying out of the way while fixing good healthy food! I contacted Jamie and volunteered to cook for the work crew. 

So now I have a focus, a goal.
Now the nervousness of do I know what I'm doing, do I have the right stuff, can I really....it happens to us all, it happened and one way out is to dream big, then find your way back to reality. Hence Dream Camp Kitchens!

And back to reality I've come. So who am I? Im a traveler and hobo (when i travel i often work/volunteer), not a nomad (travel on a route returning to locations w the seasons) or rubbertramp (travel and live in something on wheels). I'm kewl. I will get back to healthier. I won't stay stuck.
I wanna share more. Go more. Live more. Travel more. I don't want to buid a house and I do need protection from the weather on my property, thats why this trailer is here. I love traveling in my car/suv, its simple, it works.

I've basically got everything that I need. Even for the VanBuild. 

At the VanBuild I will need food to feed these people and I won't be able to afford doing that on my own food budget of $100 a month. I could use a couple lids for my pots and metal tongs for charcoal and a firepit poker...but most of the stuff I've got, I use it everyday. I simply have to pack it and take it.

So, Ms Katie, Im not going to create an Amazon Wish List. If people want to help,  they will contact me and we will figure it out. I will accept gift cards or actual items that I can use. Cards that can be used for groceries and small items, because Amazon is pricey and I can get cheaper deals on that stuff . BigLots for Olive oil and Java Time coffee. Walmart because its close to the location and Dollar General because it's cheaper than Walmart for stuff like honey or olives or tuna.  I'm human and I would so love a portable fire pit/stove like the Bad Idea Supply Co. one I posted before, or the Vortex blender or a campfire waffle iron, but truthfully I dont have to have it. The group of Nomads that will arrive are generous and would let me borrow stoves, even if I have to wear a face mask to prevent my getting sick with propane. Perhaps someone would come with a white gas stove to loan, or perhaps I will simply use charcoal with some adjustable height grill grate. And we should be able to borrow tables and coolers as well. 

Im also moving around and starting to do daily walks with a goal of getting in 1 mile a day consistently for 6 days a week by the time the VanBuild begins. I think that perhaps a flaw in my charecter has been consistency. Ive traveled and thrive on change so much consistency may be a challenge.

That's enough for today,
Simply,
Lesa









Friday, August 25, 2017

Continuing with Dream Camp Kitchens...

Omgosh.... I  just found this!



Its a Snow Peak firepit, grill, field oven - yup pizza too!
Okay its pricey, but its lighter weight than the other and a pizza oven!

Oh my who knew there were so many thing out there for overlanding style camp kitchens

Oh and they make a sit down stainless table thing to go with this!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Simply the Stuff Dream Camp Kitchens are made of!

Hi ya'll  - okay I admit I spent a lot of years in and around Virginia...hence the southern drawl flavor.

Dream Kitchens!   WARNING - Picture heavy post!
Shall we get right into it?

Woodstove - the main biggie  - I'm in love. Just found this from a newish company! It packs flat, so I could manage it. I chatted with one of the owners the other day. What I'd love is to have one donated for my review! I also am planning to ask for a modification to one side panel. I would be able to cook in my own campsite, not the large firepit where people are visiting and I can be overwhelmed.  The pots are at a height thats easier on my back and I will have some control over the fire as well. Yup need welders gloves too

 And the little back up multipurpose that can be used with anything from sterno cans & charcoal to alcohol or wood. And also folds flat for packing.



Dutch Oven - I have a great 14 inch Lodge already  see it on the ground there. Nope not packing flat!


Griddle - I also have a great lodge one already, its like this


Montana cowboy coffee pot - okay, hanging my head in shame, I gave my 2 gallon one  away when I was overwhelmed last year (don't you want to be near me when I'm overwhelmed! ). I can borrow it back I believe, if not I always loved my smaller black one like this.




Wok or wok pan - makes big amounts of stuff, makes great popcorn (ask Wolf!) I picked one up at a thrift store, i need a lid though

Vortex blender - because frozen iced coffee or frozen margaritas or healthy smoothies and home made nut milks! I had one of these at my disposal in Costa Rica and loved it.

Something for ice for those frozen drinks, tables, a bucket for dishwashing.... we will have to think about that later...I'm feeling tired, whew!

PS Ms Katie says that I should create an Amazon Wish List to share, so readers could buy something go help me out. What do you think? Would that be okay with you guys or what?

I am Simply going to LHC...

Jamie of Egmatic Nomadics is holding the 2nd Annual Van Build in Lake Havasue City, November 1 - 14, 2017. I will be there.

Last year, I watched the build crew go through their very busy days and collapse around dinner time mostly with a cold drink in their hand! This year I am doing something about that. Lots of work needs nourisment - so im doing something i do well. I volunteered to cook for the work crew!

Yup its a major undertaking.

Sooooo I am beginning my planning as well as my winter event kitchen set up.

When I travel alone i have very simple needs. Mostly, if i have hot water im pretty good. This is different and I want my bigger pots and things. I dont know if I'm only cooking for 4 or 5 people or for 15 - 20. I might not know till I arrive!  I need to be flexible AND I have health issues that can seem unusal to many others. I cannot use propane! So I  have decided to let you readers in on my planning process. I get asked about this all the time anyway so hang on lets go on a Simply Lesa is planning out her basecamp kitchen ride!


I wont be bringing my travel trailer on the road this year. It needs wiring for running lights, tires, heat... and an appropriate tow vehicle.

I can tow. And I don't love towing. I could get a small trailer and bring stuff that way...but I'd have to spend money and its not very simple...its not very me!

I miss the simplicity of living out of a backpack, where everything I own is with me. It's definately simple to make a change of plans and just stay longer or go left instead of right when everything is with you.  Mind you Simple and Easy are two very different things!

I  made a big mistake last year that cost me between $800 and 900. Darn I would be so much closer to my goal of being out of debt had I not done that. I'm not wanting to make another mistake that costs money this year. I'm so close to my goal! Financially moving around costs more than staying in one place. Its also boring as heck!

Space wise, I would prefer that everything fits IN the Honda! That's not very practical in this situation, besides the rear portion of the Honda is my bedroom!

Last winter I bought the cargo basket for the roof. Since I think that I should use what I have (this is a really good and thrifty idea people), it would be a great idea to simply travel with everything in and on the Honda, duh!

I have too much stuff - oops how did that happen in my minamalist lifestyle...I have too much stuff! Yikes! Freak out!

Oh okay, so there's some stuff i got only for the trailer...like a down comforter, a few cleaning supplies, the heavy firepit and racks, and bulk water tank...oh yes, they stay here don't they.... lol (you wanted along for the ride didn't you?)

Well let's take a break and look at Pintrest! Ya Pintrest picture ideas! Oooh googly eyes....

 I  could do this

na so much is outside 
it'd be hard to go shopping on the trip



Or um .. this...


 Well maybe...
Or ummmm


Yes, but we tried this already,
The wind blew it over and broke coffee cups and spilled stuff, 
What a mess..nope

Oh well, we're just gonna keep at this a bit
 as we K.I.S.S. the subject 
into reality!

For now
Simply,
Lesa


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Blog post..blog post...gotta write a blog post

And i cant imagine what to write.

I went camping in Flagstaff. As promised last October, I was there for some newbie RVers first nights on the road and their first boondocking. I also met some RTR and Facebook friends.

I had a great time!
Though for some unknown reason I was scared to go. I remembered how much i love and miss the simplicity of travel. I also rememberd a part of myself that I may have put on the back burner this year.... then on the very last nite, I came across pictures online of my entire life's history... wow

I havent quite been the same since. I can't decide if i am feeling depressed, was I triggered, or if I am simply re-evaluating everything from my life, past, current, future....

I cant write anything that seems interesting. Im filling my journal with lists and ideas and stuff i liked and didnt like. And how i felt or what caused a decision....
I want to get rid of stuff, like physical stuff that doesnt yell 'keep me you and I need each other'. Im burning trash, creating a donate pile - coffee mugs anyone need coffee mugs? - I m re-reading and re-evaluating books, quotes that formed thought patterns...im kinda hibernating.

I was thrown off by an unplanned visit which caused me some sleepless nights.
Ozzie is keeping guard, at times napping with one eye on me... we are sharing very quiet days.

Typing this has brought emotional welling up of tears that i dont understand....
And
I Simply will be fine
and I will write interesting blog posts again.

At least im open and honest and i live transparently. Its all good
Hugs, cause i do care
And
Keep It Simple!
See ya soon,
Simply,
Lesa

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Camping Simply!

Yup. Whoot!
I  am taking a break from creating my travel trailer docking station of sorts on my property. Maybe I needed this?
Simply meeting some newbie RVing buddies in a couple days near Flagstaff.
I took Kathleens advice and stopped at one of her favorite free campsites. Its lovely and peaceful  and I m gonna sleep good.

Ozzie seems to be fine, hes fitting right back into travel routine quickly.  Hes listening pretty well to, i think he knows better whats expected of him. Okay hes still Ozzie and his bark can be annoying and though mostly his excitement and wanting to play through his doggie lingo is messed up...I am looking into vibrator style bark collars for large events, we always have anxiety pills if we need them.

Simply on the budget side, this trip will cost me an extra tank of gas and a few groceries more than my usual budgeted living expenses because I stocked up the cupboards at home before I got the news that these friends were ready to rock and roll! I spent about $50 at a Wal-Mart along the way. I am using my tablet as my gps because why buy something else! Id been trying to figure a way for it to stand up without getting in my way..Wal-Mart had a rubber kiddy case with a kickstand for an iPad that fits fairly well, with access to the controls and it can ride on top of the cooler in the front passenger foot well. It was $14 and the only thing is that i have to make a hole for the camera.  And I've been wanting a cold icey drink, so I splurged on a bag of ice as well.

Im noticing some car issues that will need fixing, my hood started wiggling on I40 at 70mph so I slowed down to 64-65ish. Probably need to change out my front shocks too. And I want to replace my clutch before it gets too bad...of course I  have no EMF (emergency fund)  right now and no savings either. Im doing well in the bill paying department though and paid off in full one more debt this month!

Im gonna relax this trip. 😉

Monday, August 7, 2017

Simply rearranging

I did a liitle rearranging. I finally ditched the old crumbly foam mattress. I havent gotten to painting yet.
Ozzie seems to like it.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Simply too much!

I often suppliment my tight budget with foods from a food pantry. I qualify for food pantry assistance because I have a low income of under $1000 per month. Our local food pantry in the town of St John's AZ does not have  an income qualification. Thanks to Pastor Mike and the New Covenant Church, once a month we line up our cars on a Tuesday early in the month and collect our food boxes in a drive thru fashion. Its a very organized and personable process.

I was able to drive out of my property as the puddles have dried up, although the cattle made a bumpy mess of the closest puddle to me, by standing and wallowing around in it. Darn bumpy mess...haha. Back to the food pantry story. So I  rode into the food pantry with my neighbor Kathleen.  Im grateful that she was willing to drive. As you can imagine, after being home alone with Ozzie so much this month, the trip and interaction with others was nearly overwhelming.

Our food boxes nearly always include frozen meats and lots of produce. This month there was frozen shredded cheese, frozen sliced turkey, frozen hot dogs or frozen ground turkey, 1 loaf of bread, 10 pounds of potatoes, a very large cabbage, raisins, frozen cherries, grape juice, concentrated cranberry juice, canned pears, green beans and diced tomatoes. I think that was all. Kathleen and I went through the boxes together. Recently I  was able to connect Kathleen with a man who sold her both Mr Buddy heaters and a nice Whintner 12V refridgerator. She got my cheese because of my allergy to commercial cow dairy. We split up the meats and I put mine in my tiny cool bag, it will be fine a couple days because it is frozen.



I've wanted to make a stand alone solar dehydrator on my property but I haven't gotten to that project yet. Here's a picture of what i want because of the wind and sand here in Witch Well.  If it were ready I would dehydrate both cabbage and potatoes. I may make a small batch of sauerkraut, altho last year I didnt use the batch I made and had to add it to the compost pile before I traveled for the winter.



So what do I choose to do with things like my bag of frozen cherries? I cant eat them all right away and they sure dont stay frozen long.  Well fire up the wood rocket stove! Im making cherry preserves or jam or whatever. Old fashioned before the days of refrigerators style preservation. I learned many old school skills over the years and now I have the space and basics that I can process this abundance of foods that I have been blessed with.

Preserves love to be made in enamel ware pots, i have small ones right now. This one was big enough for the bag of cherries. I only use a wooden spoon for preserves or jelly and have a bamboo spatula thing so its what I'm using. The flies are annoying right now, so I've been placing the spoon inside a weighted plastic bag after stirring because flies - yuk. Ive got plenty of wood right now so a slow simmer for a few hours and then i will add sugar and finish up. I and some neighbors have been saving up tiny olive jars just for jellies and the like. Many of us live alone or in small families and dont want to open even a pint jar sized jelly or preserve, so i will wash and boil those to be ready for the end result.



There are many recipes online and I am making up mine as i go along today so I'm not going to provide a recipe. I thought it would, however,  be nice to share some of my Simply Lesa ways of thinking and living without a refrigerator as well as handling excess.

I hope you all have a great day! As always Keep It Simple Sweetie!
Till next time,
Simply,
Lesa