AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY In the Canadian Wilderness
“Want to go to Canada for the summer?”
nowhere, with no idea of what to expect for the summer.
That was more or less what my dad asked me in May of 1974, just after I had finished my sophomore year of high school. His secretary at Lockheed Martin, where he worked, knew some missionaries who ran a summer camp in Ontario, and they were looking for volunteers to help expand the campground. They needed help three weeks from the day that my dad told me about it. I didn’t know anything about what I was getting into, but I said okay. March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day. Anyone who knows of J.R.R. Tolkien knows that he wrote “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” — both books about characters who seize opportunities to go on unexpected journeys. While I did get about a three-week warning for my own unexpected journey that summer, it was short enough notice that it felt like I might as well have just been swept out the door with my sleeping bag and duffel right after the conversation with my dad. We flew all the way from Georgia to the Ontario wilderness in a little Cessna airplane. There were four seats, three of which were occupied by my cousin Tim, a guy named Robert, and me. The three of us would all be working at the camp for the summer. My dad, who had just received his pilot’s license, was flying the plane. At the time of our flight, he didn’t have his instrument rating, which meant he technically wasn’t supposed to fly us in unclear conditions. My dad, being adventurous and kind of crazy, took off from Georgia on a cloudy, rainy day, and aimed for a little patch of blue that punctured the sky. I’m glad I didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to fly in those conditions until after we landed in Ontario. “It was short enough notice that it felt like I might as well have just been swept out the door with my sleeping bag and duffel right after the conversation with my dad.” It took us three days to fly to the camp because we always had to stop and refuel. Finally, however, we made it to the camp. It was probably 50 miles from the nearest town, and the nearest town was just a general store and a gas pump. We were in the middle of
It turned out to be both a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. I slept in a yurt with five or six other guys. Our only bathrooms were outhouses, and while there was a place to shower, it wasn’t anywhere near the
sleeping area. During the day, the camp supervisors had no problem finding things to keep us busy.
Most of the time, we were either building new cabins or cutting
firewood. We must have cut firewood every day for a solid month. I learned how to drive a dump truck with a double clutch out along the logging trails, and how to operate
a chainsaw. We also dug holes for new outhouses, which I guess you could say was my first introduction to the plumbing business. There were also a lot of horses at the camp, and while I never enjoyed it all that much, I learned how to work with them and ride them. We sometimes took them out for rides on our afternoons off. We had plenty of fun when we weren’t working. Along with horseback riding, we would go canoeing out on the lake and camping on nearby islands. One day, one of the camp counselors asked us if we wanted to go water skiing. We didn’t have a motorboat, but we skied behind a Cessna watercraft on a really long rope. We put in solid eight-hour work days, the mosquitoes were horrible, I learned a lot of new skills, and I lost around 20 pounds (I was a little pudgy before that summer). All in all, it was a summer of adventure I would have lost out on if I had said no. I guess the moral of the story is when adventure comes knocking on your door, it might do you well to answer. You never knowwhere you’ll be swept off to!
–Pa u l Little
All the Glory of a Home-Cooked Meal Phrases like “roughing it” might lead you to think you’re stuck with trail mix and dry granola bars on backpacking and camping trips. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, with a little preparation and some creativity, you can have delicious food on your next backcountry trip. Here are some tips to get you on the right track. Try pizza in the backcountry.
Yes, you can even cook pizza in the backcountry! All you need are a few simple ingredients and either a campfire stove or grate. You can buy the dough or make your own at camp by mixing flour, salt, water, and yeast. Knead the dough, then let it rest for 20 minutes. Add oil to your skillet and place it on your camp stove or campfire grate to heat up. Press the dough firmly toward the edges of the skillet, then place the skillet on the fire or stove and bake until one side of the dough is golden brown, then flip. Once the other side is cooked, add toppings and place back on the heat source until it’s ready. Enjoy!
Use premixed spice andmeal packets.
One surefire way to spice up any meal is with, well, spice! There’s no need to bring the whole container of cinnamon or cumin. For a tasty breakfast, mix oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cinnamon ahead of time and pack them in a container. Lentils, quinoa, and a cumin and pepper spice mix can make a great chili-inspired dinner.
Keep your food to yourself.
Turn to one-pot meals.
To protect yourself and wildlife while you’re enjoying your delicious meals, practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in. When critters begin to associate humans with food, it creates problems for every species. Always keep food away from where you sleep, eat at least 100 yards away from your tent, and use secure containers to store food for the night.
One-pot meals mean less clean up and more fuel efficiency, which is especially helpful for backpackers. With your premixed packets of food and spices, just add water and you’ll be on your way to a tasty meal.
DON’T LET A FEAR OF CRAWL SPACES
Lead to Your Next Plumbing Disaster
One of the first jobs I helped on as a young apprentice plumber was moving some pipes around in a crawl space. I did not want to go into that crawl space. The door was small and it looked very dark and creepy in there. The other helper on the job volunteered to go in with the plumber to assist. I stayed just outside the door and passed in tools and materials as needed. I ended up with a spider bite that swelled up my hand. The old plumber who crawled in said, “Oh yeah. Most of the spiders hang out around the door.” It took a while, but I overcame my fear of crawl spaces. I’ve seen cats, rats, snakes, opossums, and raccoons, dead and alive, in crawl spaces. Lots of bad things happen in crawl spaces when plumbing breaks, and no one knows about it until the leaky pipes smell of sewage or create mold issues you can’t ignore. Drainage or water line leaks in a crawl space cause serious damage if not caught right away. I’ve also seen many of the same scary things and disastrous plumbing issues in basements because they were only used for storage and no one ever went down there.
and drain pipes. If the crawl space is too creepy for you, hire someone to go have a look.
One of the services we provide for homeowners with crawl
spaces is to move the water shut off valves to an accessible location where you don’t have to go down there to get to them. In basements, if we have to shut off your water to make a repair,
and you have a gate valve, we’ll opt to shut it off at the meter, because chances are your valve inside doesn’t work. You may want us to replace it with a high-quality ball valve that you can trust will work.
Plumb Smart also carries and installs several high-tech leak detector auto shut off valves for single fixtures or your whole house. Contact us or visit our website for more information.
The moral of the story is to make at least a monthly visit to your crawl space or basement and check for leaks on water
IN A CAMP STOVE
ARIES BLOOM BUD FLOWERS
GROWTH LUCKY MELT PUDDLE
RAIN REBIRTH SPRING SPROUT
ORANGE GLAZED SALMON
• 2 salmon fillets (10 oz total) • 1 tsp salt • 2 tbsp ghee • 1 tbsp garlic, minced • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped • Zest from 1 orange • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice • 1 tsp tapioca starch
1. Heat oven to 425 F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Salt each fillet with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake for 6–8 minutes. 3. In a saucepan, combine ghee and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. 4. Add rosemary, zest, and juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in tapioca starch until lumps disappear and mixture thickens. 6. Plate salmon and top with orange sauce.
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
175 Goldfinch Path Acworth, GA 30101
An Unexpected Journey 1
If You Don’t Like Your Crawlspace, Call in the Experts 2
Orange Glazed Salmon 3
The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day 4
Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland vs. America
From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American — despite its Irish heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways. On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration.
the booming post-World War II economy, various businesses aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do. Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American
addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck.
However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. Then, in
Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the
St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.
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