First Time Feeding A Chipmunk

It’s been awhile since we’ve been camping.  My father-in-law was in town visiting and we missed a couple of weekends of camping. Since it was a short weekend, we decided to go back to the very first campground we visited,  Swanzey Lake Campground , and see how we liked it after all of our other experiences.  It was more crowded than I remembered, and noisier so I think I will be downgrading it a pine cone, but we still enjoyed our stay.

First off, we were out of practice.  The easy routine we had developed after the last couple of months was definitely missing, although once we setup things were definitely smoother.   The best part was we made friends with a very feisty chipmunk Lee named Ralph.  We had a bag of peanuts Lee was feeding him and he got so brazen that he was all over our campsite.  Lee is a videographer by trade and he put together this short video to show Ralph at his finest 🙂

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I also had read something about making my own fire starters out of pine cones dipped into paraffin wax and wanted to give it a try. Finding the pine cones, melting the wax, and then dipping was a very fun hour or so.  Not sure how well they will work but it was a fun thing to do and I felt very industrious and thrifty while doing it.  I hate paying what they charge for fire starters, so I hope these work.  Update:  They didn’t really work which was a shame because it was fun.  If you’re looking for a thrifty alternative to fire starters tortilla chips or Doritos work pretty well. 

My favorite part of the weekend( besides snuggling of course) was just hanging out and really relaxing.  It has been awhile since I have felt the particular relaxation that comes with camping and I missed it.  I also cooked three new recipes and they were all a big hit which is always great.  See below for the specifics if you are interested.  Next weekend a visit to the big RV show in Hershey PA to look at fifth wheels and the week of the 23rd it’s our first week-long camping trip, driving out to see our daughter in Minneapolis, MN and maybe our first experience with boon docking.  Stay Tuned!!!

Lessons Learned

  • Your experience in the same campground may vary from trip to trip
  • Dipping pine cones into paraffin wax is a fun and economical) way to make fire starters

 

Sausage Stuffed Biscuits with Country Gravy

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice sausage into 1/2″ patties
  3. Lightly brown each patty on both sides in a medium skillet over medium low heat (They do not need to be cooked through)
  4. Unwrap biscuits and gently separate into 2 pieces on sprayed cookie sheet
  5. Place a sausage patty on the bottom part of the biscuit then lay the top of the biscuit on the patty.  Gently mold the top biscuit half so it is around the patty. (It doesn’t need to be perfect)
  6. Cook sandwich in oven for 14 minutes
  7. Make sausage gravy per packet instructions
  8. Place sandwich on plate and cover with sausage gravy

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First Time at a “Back In” Campsite

Finally we have a chance to stay at Oxbow Campground in Hillsborough NH which was my absolutely favorite from our two-day trek visiting all the local campsites.  Also to add some excitement we were going to try backing into a campsite.  Thus far it’s been all pull through’s, which has been great in most cases, but in this campground we wanted a site up in the corner and we needed to back in.  One good thing, is because the site is on a corner Lee was able to pull straight up the road and then back straight in.  This made things much less stressful.  Plus we had our handy walkie-talkies and wow, was that helpful.  The alternative would be us yelling back and forth to each other, I am sure to the amusement of the neighbors which is really not my style and frankly could devolve into something less pleasant quickly.  By using the walkie-talkies we could talk in a calm voice which I think helped considerably.

First we both got out of the truck and walked the site and agreed upon where we wanted to be.  This was important because we both got a say on exactly where we would be, the main conversation being around the length of power and sewer hose and how close we wanted to be towards the fire pit.  Fantastic fire pit by the way, surrounded on three sides by stone, really nice.  Anyway, after we decided it was simply a matter of me directing him to that spot.  It went pretty well, but once we were in we noticed that the camper wasn’t level. Before unhitching, we went into the camper and there was a definite lean.  Lee tried to use a level to see how bad it was and in what direction, but didn’t find it that helpful and instead put his tube of ChapStick on the table and it rolled right off.  I definitely felt like I was falling over and after some discussion we decided we didn’t want to feel like that all weekend. We had to move it twice more each time getting closer to the center of the site and farther away from the fire.  Unfortunately the fire pit ended up being behind us (although that worked out fine in the end) and we lost a lot of room on the lot.  The good thing was because we were on a corner our view was great, so it didn’t matter so much we were in the middle of the site. Lee says the solution is leveling blocks which we don’t own.  Kind of surprised we haven’t run into this until now but I suppose sticking to pull through sites has made it a non issue.  It worked out ok in the end but definitely a lesson learned.

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The campground was really great, everything I remembered.  The owner is very nice and very attentive.  We saw his presence several times.  He even helped our neighbor get his slide out to deploy when he was having issues.  It’s a large spacious campground and immaculately groomed.  Grass was cut, campsites free of debris and obviously well cared for.  Bathrooms were clean and numerous and my favorite part was that it had a little pockets of camping for different styles.  There was a nice meadow (wooded on the edges) for those that like that type of camping.  another meadow had a fantastic view of the valley.  Several pull-throughs close to each with additional parking for guests, the area in the back that was wooded and less campers, pond views, wood views, and even a set of sites by a stream.  The campground has a catch and release fishpond, a swimming pond, and a small boat pond with free paddle boats and a canoe.  Seriously, aside from a lake or an ocean, this campground has a little bit of everything.

There is also a nice sense of community with seasonals interspersed through the weekender population.  We saw several volunteers on golf carts and they provide trash bags and pick up your trash at your site every day before 3pm.  There was a lively game of horseshoes that weekend, several groups sitting together at campfires, and several kids of different ages using the playground and swimming areas, but the well-behaved kind 🙂  Lee even got to see a chipmunk which came onto our site in the early morning Saturday and jumped on a log and then scolded him.  Lee’s very fond of the chipmunks.  My favorite thing was a small petting farm with a horse, donkey, and several chickens.  What a great idea and the kids loved it, wandering up to see the animals.

The only down side was no wireless except at the main house and a very small and nearly empty store.  Camper’s World is only an hour away and a full grocery store and McDonald’s is within minutes in Hillsborough (which is a very nice New England small town) but I was surprised they didn’t offer more.  They do have a large rec center with some very old arcade games… Lee and I played a race car game that we had played when we were kids together, an air hockey table, pool table, and a big screen TV.  Despite the wireless issue (we used 4G successfully all weekend) I have to give the campground highest marks definitely 5 pine cones!!

Lessons Learned 

  • First time on a back in site, make sure you can use part of the road to help you maneuver
  • Corner sites are great for a better view and more separation between campers
  • Seriously get walkie talkies 🙂
  • Leveling blocks or leveling pads are a good thing to buy in advance because you never know

Fresh Blueberry Griddle Cakes

An old recipe I found in a cookbook, simple yet so good.  The  fresh blueberries pop in your mouth.. yummy

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • Pam

1.  Beat egg until light

2.  Add salt and milk and stir

3.  Mix baking powder with flour

4.  Add flour mixture into egg mixture slowly, beating until smooth

5.  Add blueberries you’ll be tempted to add more blueberries leave it at 1/2 a cup 🙂

6. Use Pam to grease skillet and heat until you drop water on the pan and it pops

7.  Drop one large spoonful on skillet or pan and gently spread out

8.  Brown on both sides over medium low heat the cake brown very quickly so watch them closely 

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