This year will be different than most as we celebrate at home and not camping like we did in 2019.
The Dutch government made it unlawful to shoot fireworks this year. I celebrated the no fireworks rule! Hopefully a new tradition as it would be better for the environment and better for those of us who suffer from PTSD.
So instead we decided to make some traditional Dutch treats. Oliebollen and appelbeignets. Known in English as oil ball donuts and apple donuts.
We did take the shortcut of making these from a box.
We started with the apple donuts.
We decided we would use our CADAC cooking system outside for this part of the process.
Then after we ate enough of those we just had to stuff ourselves with the next traditional donut. Oliebollen!
There is a reason we only eat these treats once per year. When we eat a few of these on New Year’s Eve we are really sick of them until the following year!
Happy New Year to our followers, friends and family. We wish all of you a healthy and happy 2021.
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.
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.
When we attended the Dutch Open Canoe Festival a few weeks ago we decided to accept a suggestion of staying at a less busy camping location not far from the Weerribben.
The Hubby and I had visited another area of this forest earlier this Spring and knew it had features we wanted to explore including a lake.
As we pushed the canoe cart towards the lake we were stopped by the Park Ranger who was clearly a wooden canoe enthusiast. He asked us all the normal questions we get about the canoe. Did we build it? How it was made? How does it paddle?
Then he informed us that the beautiful lake was not available to paddle but that he would allow us if we respected the wildlife. We quickly thanked him and continued to the lake and had a very nice paddle on a lake that reminded us both of areas in Northern Minnesota.
The campsite was spacious and the campground had done a great job of making it as COVID 19 social distancing proof as possible. This was comforting as we camped through the busy weekend we never once felt we were at risk of catching the virus from any of the other campers.
There are a number of hiking trails located within walking distance of the campground. With hidden treasures of nature or man made features waiting to be discovered.
The park has several tipis for rent but this one seemed to be used for nature programs that the Park Rangers provided.
Not that a small gnome house would be surprising to see on this trail. It was a children trail and what better way to inspire children in nature than to feature gnomes and a small house.
I would recommend this beautiful forest location for anyone who would like to get out of the house and into nature.
I recently ordered some glass spray bottles online. It was a great price on several sizes and options that I could combine while making concoctions from my herbs. But… this one could go into the Hummmm file for thought.
Pay close attention to number four in the instructions. Hummmm….