This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

If you have any questions send us a comment; we love to hear from our readers.
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Monday, 28 February 2011

Stuffed Burgers

Friday we reluctantly leave the desert and head for Yuma. We have had such a great time here with friends we never knew we had. The "Airstreamers" here in the desert have made us feel so welcome and we have enjoyed many activities together. Our "Gypsy Rally" calls but before we go I still have a few post to submit from the desert at Quartzsite.

I have eaten stuffed peppers, stuffed turkey, stuffed chicken breasts but never stuffed burgers, so when Mike offered "stuffed burgers" for supper we were curious. Jimmy (the man in charge) gave instructions on how it all goes together then we hit the table with all the fixings.

Note the charger in the bottom left corner; not part of the fixing package for our burgers. This is camping, so what's on the table at supper time, just gets moved to the side.

Take two patties and then select the fixings you want to add.

Carefully arrange everything so it all fits, then close the top patty and squeeze the edges all around.

There you have it, one stuffed burger.

Of course you have to cook your own, but that's part of the fun and allows us to socialize as we wait for the burger to cook.

Now there's a heart attack maker ready to be devoured. It's a good thing we don't eat like this every night. I think tomorrow we should all bring salads; give my pipes a chance to clean out.

We love our "Happy Hour" and the chance to learn new things. Whether it's cooking, Rving, new sites to see in the area or how to hook up your solar system, someone here has the answer. Who would have thought we would find such a knowledgeable group out here in the desert?

Drive safely and we hope to see you down the road. Let us know where you are when you write.
Art & Mary

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dutch Oven

When we travel we are always trying new cooking techniques. One method we haven't tried is the "Dutch" oven. As you can see hot coals are placed on top of the oven and the pot is also placed in a bed of hot coals. This provides the oven effect, heat from top and bottom and your, stew, or bread is nicely cooked from two side.

Another benefit of the "Dutch Oven" is the social discussions that occur as you cook outdoors. Food cooking over a fire always brings a crowd of people. Some even bring their fork, ready to sample if such help is necessary. Campers are always ready to help their fellow camper.

Another technique which we have used is the outdoor bake oven. I once read a blog where a couple travelling across the USA built their own bake oven because they were camping in the same location for a month.  Back home Mary built our  bake oven from clay and does it ever produce delicious pizza, cookies, and muffins.

You first heat the clay with a fire, then once the clay is hot, either remove the fire or push it to the back.

In goes the food of your choice. Close the door, check on progress, then out comes your delicious meal.

Doesn't that look easy?

A more traditional approach to cooking while camping is the open fire. Here you can prepare vegetables, or meat in a variety of methods. One technique we like is to place corn on the cob directly into the fire while you cover the other foods in foil and cook on a grill.

Whatever method you use, enjoy the food and company in the great outdoors. Can't wait to get home and have the gang over for a cook-out. You're all invited.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Exploring Quartzsite

Yesterday we took the truck out into the desert looking for old stone buildings and abandoned mines. We were not disappointed. This area is littered with old mine shafts, many wide open and just left as the miners gave up and walked away.  Come along with us as we drive the bumpy narrow trails to find these "gems" in the desert.

Click on this image to see how well protected this cactus is. When driving past these, we were often scraping them and had to make sure arms and hands were inside the truck.

Sequoya Cactus dot the desert here. Someone said the Sequoya have to be 75 years old before they start putting out arms. Amazing they can survive that long in this climate.

This was one of the better sections of the back roads we were following.

Mary, framed by tumbling walls.

Same cabin, different angle. I don't know how people survived in such a harsh environment.

Can you see the cribbing used to keep the mine shaft from collapsing? We didn't try to enter, just stood in amazement at the labour spent to construct the shaft and extract the gold.

Another entrance to an abandoned mine.

Could you climb down this ladder and work in the darkness and dust for 8 hours?
I think I wouldn't last too long.

Mine entrance, note the way the timbers fit together.

The day is getting late and we must soon head back down these trails for home................. but first......

Gillian, and Don help Mary carry rocks  back to the truck.

Soon we will be heading south to Yuma and the "Gypsy Rally" Thanks for keeping an eye on us and remember,  we love to hear from our readers.  Talk later.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Breakfast in a Bag

Today the "Airstreamers" in Quartzsite gathered at Jim & Mini's trailer for "breakfast in a bag" Everyone brought something to contribute and the breakfast was delicious. Enjoy the pictures and try it yourself. It's easy and delicious.

Here's the "old" gunfighter, still carrying his weapons.

Phil, Tony, Sherri, Mary and Mike keep an eye on the Dutch Oven. Phil was cooking his famous potatoes in a pot. Delicious!

This is what "Breakfast in a Bag" looks like; easy and everyone can make their own. No mess, no fuss.

Thanks for taking the picture Mike. Not sure of your technique, but I do look slimmer.

Mary. Mike and Tony wait their turn to boil their breakfast. Once your selected ingredients were in the bag, the bag was placed in boiling water. In just a few minutes you had a delicious omelette.

Jim, getting ready to re-load his plate.

Everyone enjoyed the party.

Barb and John just arrived yesterday; all the way from Niagara Falls. Great to have a few more Canadians down here.
This is a great way to feed a bunch of hungry folks. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and next year come on down and join us.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

More Dough Please

My posts lately seem to all deal with food. Here in the desert there is no shortage of sharing recipes and ways to cook while on the road. Yesterday, Mary held cooking class 101 in our trailer. Now if you know our trailer you may wonder how can someone hold a cooking class in that little space. Although tight, she did manage to squeeze in her students and all left with sour-dough bread almost ready for the oven. Take a look.

Here Sherri, Tony, Mike, Mary and Phil check recipes on-line. It's remarkable the way we can get and share information at the click of a button.

Kneading the dough, a critical step in the production of bread. One soon learns when the dough is ready by the texture of the ball.

While the cooking class was going on Mike came over to get our blog address and check out our battery Tri-metric Meter. This device lets us monitor the battery, check on the charge level and see how many amps are going in our out of storage.

Tuesday was testing day. The breads were baked and brought to "Happy Hour" to be sampled. Every one was delicious and appreciated. They all disappeared very quickly. Don't be late for "Happy Hour" if you want to enjoy the samples. Doesn't that look good? 

Jimmy and Lucy having some quiet time during "Happy Hour"

Write when you get a chance. Next post Saturday.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Home-made Sour-dough Pancakes

Do you enjoy pancakes? Here in the desert we get a craving for a pancake breakfast at least once a week. Mary makes her own pancakes from a sour-dough starter she got from Phil, adds her home made yogurt, fresh pineapple, blueberries and maple syrup from Bancroft and you have a breakfast as Pat says "to die for" Enjoy the pictures, I wish you could smell and taste them, believe me, it's a great way to start the day.

A plate fit for a king; pineapple, home-made yogurt, blueberries, home-made sour-dough pancakes and maple syrup, YUMMY!

Cooking in the trailer

Home-made pancake batter

Would you like the recipe? You won't be disappointed. I think I'll have another one. Talk later.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Petroglyphs and Grinding Holes

There are so many interesting places to visit out here in Quartzsite. Friday was a good day to go exploring. It was cool and overcast and we didn't feel like sitting around our camp-site so off for adventure we sailed. Well we didn't actually "sail" that was a figure of speech. We drove.

Our destination was the Indian petroglyphs near Tyson Wash and the grinding holes left in the cliffs by Indians grinding mesquite seeds a long time ago.

This is the entrance to an old mine abandoned years ago. The petroglyphs are around here somewhere.

Here they are, not 100% sure they are ancient Indian paintings, but they did get us climbing around the rocks and burning up a few calories, YEA!

This is Tyson Wash a dry river bed this time of year. Imagine a wall of water surging through here every time it rains. Seems unbelievable.
  Next we had to search for the grinding holes which meant, more climbing. No, Mary didn't have to pull me up the cliff, just looked after my camera while I used both hands, just to be safe.

Voila! Here they are, hundreds of years old, just as the Indians last left them.

I use a Verizon card to stay connected while we travel. I am able to use 3 GB per month on my plan but pay extra if I go over. It has been 8 days since we returned to the desert and we have used 1.4 GB so far. I think I will limit my entries to 3 per week just so I don't exceed my plan limit. 
One final note from the desert, it has been raining very softly all night. We are looking forward to seeing water in the washes and new growth on the plants. I'll post pictures in a few days. Enjoy the weekend. Talk later.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Pizza Party

Last night "happy hour" was extended and we had a community "PIZZA PARTY"!

Everyone brought their own condiments, Phil and Mary prepared the dough and as you can see by the photos we all had a good time. We are not starving or suffering here in the desert.

Once the dough was ready it was up to you to build your own creation.

Some creations needed two men to handle them.
  Careful Tony, don't drop the pizza!

You loaded whatever you found interesting and then Phil and Brian would help get it on the grill.

Production time.

Heavy concentration.

The lifting was critical. Don't damage the goods!

Sherri is ready to put hers on the grill.

As you can see, sometime two hands weren't enough.

Success! We made it without dropping it.
Doesn't that look delicious?

Those pizzas were the best. Aren't you hungry?