© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
Being 50+, I shouldn’t have a great deal to “learn” I thought, until 2020 came along. I guess I am never too old to learn something new or to relearn things I had forgotten. I thought I would share my year 2020 list.
Dehydrating Herbs/Veggies –
I maintained or helped to maintain three gardens with a variety of plants this summer. Those gardens produced more than we could eat right away. We decided to purchase a dehydrator and started dehydrating the extras. We now have a huge quantity of items that can be used for our future camp meals. If any of you have ever purchased dehydrated meals for camping you know those meals are expensive. The reason is dehydrating is time consuming and tedious process. The best part of learning this new skill is we now will know 100% what is in our camp food.
Drinking Fresh Ginger Tea-
Somewhere this summer I read that fresh ginger tea is good for the digestive system. As I age, it seemed that what use to work perfectly now needs some extra external encouragement. I tried fresh ginger tea and it helped many of digestive issues. I learned to try a new food this year.
I took an online class this fall on herbal remedies. Mostly to try to beef up my knowledge of natural healing by using herbs. I learned a good deal of information. I am still learning each time I pick up one of the several herbal remedies books I purchased. Witchcraft? Not really, these herbal remedies have co existed with humans since the beginning of time. I like to think I was just relearning an ancient natural trade.
Sharing in the time of need.-
This is something we all like to think we are good at but I know I struggle with this as I get older. I am a bit more pessimistic about the world. It is also hard to gage sometimes when it is the right time to help and when it isn’t.
This year I volunteered at a local community garden. A great deal of energy and courage goes into just getting to the point of asking to volunteer. As a foreigner living in a country not of my birth, speaking a language that is not my native language, putting myself “out there” in any normal time is scary but this year it was dangerous.
Did I have the strength to control my doubts?
My way of gardening differs vastly with gardening techniques used here in The Netherlands.
Personalities and group dynamics (just like everywhere in the world) in volunteer organizations sometimes don’t click. This summer was a personal challenge for me and many times I had to catch myself from not doing the eye roll or just telling people to stop treating me like a child. Yet, in this time of COVID I just needed to be part of a group and feel connected to this adopted land where I now live. I volunteered through the challenges. This year helped me learn that sharing can help me build new relationships, it also helped me practice controlling my eye rolls and to hold my tongue.
That I am only guaranteed today.-
It is a lesson many of us in the 50+ group understand as we have most likely have lost friends, co workers, and family with more than a half century under our belts, but… this year was hard.
We have had friends and relatives pass away this year suddenly. I have paused, thought “wow, I didn’t think that the last time I shared a cup of coffee at their table, house, apartment would be the last time”.
Did I say all I needed to say to them? Was I as kind as I could have been then? How can I do better today? What can I do today to dispel misery right now with my own hands?
Today, is today and I am not guaranteed tomorrow. I learned I can always do better, be kinder, listen more…today.
Democracy is not dead.-
I had my doubts. I am now certain that people will make their voices heard by voting.
Now, Congress…so called “leaders”, listen! Fix this democracy to help all the people from the far left to the far right! Because, each of us has a voice and even if the voices differ in a democracy they all should be heard and considered!
Analog vs Digital.-
My generation 50-60 year olds, we came of age in the computer age. We like our technology. Maybe “like” is a bit strong of a word, we mostly embrace technology.
Flashback- The school I attended in the late 1970’s in Northern Minnesota had one of the first computer science classes. We used a dial up modem to the University of Minnesota where we could write programs that printed out cool stuff like a Christmas tree in ones and zeros. Wow! In eighth grade that was really cool.
Flash forward to last December and I would never (even after a career in high frequency radios, satellites, and computers) think there was anything else I needed to learn about technology.
Then there was the year, 2020.
WordPress “blocks”, Zoom chats, and my very first National conference attendance via online participation!
It still makes my head spin from all the new terms I needed to learn, protocols I had to follow (push the little hand in the tool bar if you want to ask a question), proper clothing to wear for these events (as long as you are sitting the bottom half of your body can still be in pjs while the polished business like attire must be seen in the camera view).
We have determined here at The Cedar Journal that we still prefer books with pages, paper and pens, and dressing like we are going out to canoe at any moment without having to schedule a zoom, team, or other social media video event that is socially distanced.
So we learned we are more analog (old school) than digital (modern). We are very OK with that!
We waited in lines, we waited for months for mail to arrive on the slowest ship the USPS could have contracted to save money, we waited for an election, and we waited to hear from friends and family. Some of those times it seemed like the wait would never end, like time was waiting for us to choose to stop the waiting. But, we waited anyway and found time did move on even if ever so slowly.
We learned to wait this year and hopefully that will give us a bit more focus and make us a bit wiser on how we can move forward in 2021.
What new things did you learn this year?
© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
There certainly hasn’t been a lack of Hummm this year on the International level. Some of it has made me also consider the hummm or just be totally flabbergasted at how the world has changed due to a virus.
For those of you who may just need to have a reminder of why my hummm file exists, here are links to my past entries. Hummm…2020, Tired Tuesday…Hummm, Hummm…Georgia, Hummm… 2020 Already?, The Hummm File of Scary 2019, Hummm…The file is full!, Things that Make Us Go Hummmm- 2019 First Edition, More things that make me go “Hummmm” in 2018, Strange Things That make Us Go “Hummmm”.
Now that we are nearing the end of the year, it is time to do some file clean up. I found there were several items still in the Hummm file that needed to be released into the world. I didn’t think I had much this year as we spent most of our time locked in our house or when I was out and the strange things I saw or heard I never seemed to have my camera on me. Hummm… a universe conspires to provide me with tons of hummm without a way to document.
My adult children still provide me with plenty of hummm. Last week as I finished up my Christmas online shopping and had the online companies impersonal gifts delivered. I received this message…
Hummm…. after thinking he at least was using part of the gift. I had a zoom call from him where he told me his co-workers gave him crap that his Mom sent him kiddie dishes! Hummm… I am thinking his co-workers are jealous that he has a cool Mom that sends cool environmentally friendly camping gear.
© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
This year we added some really cool equipment to our camping inventory. The Jetboil MiniMo that I wrote about on my last blog was one of only a few additions that has enhanced our camping experience. We also added a Yeti cooler, a GoalZero solar system, a solar interior USB lighting system and our beloved CADAC cooking system.
We purchased this small cooking system this Spring to add as our primary cooking system when we use our VW Caddy for camping.
It seemed like we could prepare about anything on it as it comes with a grill, stove, and flat surface plate for making things like pancakes. We also purchased the small pizza stone to expand our options.
From reviewing my pictures for this blog, it would seem we only used the pizza stone on our camping trips. That is not entirely true, although we were always trying new ideas for our pizza stone, we used all the features available at some point this summer but I guess taking pictures of our pizza stone experiments was more exciting.
We used this grill many times this summer when we were stuck to our house routines. This made it a very special extra to our lock down experience. Since we don’t have a large area for an American size BBQ grill we still were able to enjoy the grill experience with the CADAC without the size of a large grill. The clean up was fast and easy also with the special drip pan that comes with this system.
After a summer of use it was easy to store for the winter in CADAC carry bag and only takes up a small amount of room in one of our storage closets, where it will wait for our next season of camping.
What we like about the CADAC cooking system:
- Easy to clean.
- Compact system with a handy carry bag making it easy to keep everything together and to transport.
- Small size making it perfect for two people.
- Price was reasonable to other camping grills of the same size.
What we don’t like about the CADAC cooking system:
- That the system doesn’t have something to place the hot accessories on after use. If we used the grill and wanted to switch to the stove option the grill would be very hot. Putting it on the grass burns the grass and I am sure is not the best for the grill over a long period of time.
- The propane tank and the stove combo is not practical for canoe trips. Perfect for camping at a campground but not for taking on a canoe trip.
- All the options available can cause planning issues, making it hard to decide what option you want to use on a trip. (Maybe that is not a CADAC issue but our issue. LOL).
- Lack of a wind screen makes it challenging in some locations to maintain a constant even flame.
We recommend the CADAC cooking system for car camping, tent camping, and backyard grilling. As this system comes in several sizes it also makes it easy to determine a good size for your camping needs.
© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
Back in the Spring (April 2020) I ordered a new backpacking stove. I really didn’t need to add to my collection of small camping stoves, I own between 5 to 8 of these small wonders. Why would I need another one? What great marketing ploy made me want this stove?
I liked the look of the MiniMo. Self contained stove camping system that could heat water to boiling point in under three minutes! I read the reviews, it clicked all the core “must have’s” in a hiking/solo camping stove.
I tried at first (this was April 2020) to order one direct from the manufacture and have it sent to The Netherlands. That was not an option due to EU rules, regulations, and industry legal documents. Instead, I ordered one and had it sent to my son in St Louis to test out and to store until I could make it back to the states. Not knowing then, that it could be 2021 before I returned to any outdoor activity or visit to the USA.
I later found in mid-May that the Jetboil MiniMo was available here in The Netherlands through (online only) Bever outdoor store. I could even have the gas canister sent via the mail (you would never see that in the USA!). I ordered and received it in the mail the next day.
I couldn’t wait to use this stove and see if it lived up to the reviews. I went to the backyard and tested it out.
I decided that one of my rice camping dishes would be a good first challenge for the MiniMo.
I liked that the MiniMo has a wide opening for making a one pot camping dish. The handles on the side of the MiniMo make it easy to steady the pan while stirring, a struggle with most small camping stoves. The intensely focused heat of the flame did make it a challenge cooking without burning at first. All camping stoves, I have found, have “hot” spots and the MiniMo can easily burn food if you are distracted. Although the flame is easier to regulate to simmer than any other camping stove I have used.
What I like, was the MiniMo was extremely easy to clean. I washed it the first time in the kitchen sink. This summer I made several meals while camping, cleanup was so simple by just adding a little water, dish soap, short heating over the flame, rinse, dry and done! Just what I would like if I was out on a long hike with limited water and time.
- I think the lid could use a redesign. I have steam burned my hands several times in trying to life the lid. Solution is a good multitool to lift the lid.
- The MiniMo is larger and bulkier than my other backpacking stoves. The bulky nature takes up a large amount room in my backpack.
- The lock system for attaching the pot to the burner is difficult to release when cooking is complete. Watch for burns to hands or spills of contents when this happens.
- Weight of the MiniMo is heavier than my other backpack stoves, making this not my first choice for longer pack trips.
- Price, for less than half what the MiniMo stove costs, smaller backpack stoves will offer the same capabilities.
- Heats water to boiling point fast! This was a great selling point for me as being able to stop while hiking and get a hot drink in under three minutes us a real moral booster on a cold rainy hiking day.
- Can be used as a pot for cooking or as a cup for hot drinks. This is a multi purpose camping cooking system.
- Simple and easy clean up.
- The handles and cozy make it easy to handle when hot.
- Perfect for canoe camping reducing amount of equipment needed for preparing a meal.
- Has removable cozy that you can replace or purchase extras in another color or design to fit your hiking moods. I liked this idea of adding color or individual branding to your activity, sadly they didn’t offer any canoe designs and in Europe I was only able to purchase the black cozy.
Recommendations: I would recommend this stove for day trips, canoe paddle trips or car camping. It is efficient in fuel consumption. Has a fast heating time and is easy cleanup.
© The Cedar Journal, 2020 all rights reserved.