Author Topic: Rainy Raccoon Camp-Missing Ham Steak  (Read 1803 times)

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Offline bearthedog

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Rainy Raccoon Camp-Missing Ham Steak
« on: August 14, 2015, 09:39:02 AM »
Spent the last few days in my camp with some good overnight thunderstorms, an incredible missing ham steak and very sneaky Raccoon!

Autumn is coming?

Only the essentials

Gathering water from the calm stream (sometimes called a river)

This is where my story begins and the mystery of the ham steak takes place. I anchored down the ham steak for the morning (still in the package), which I tried to retrieve the next day. I made sure to put it out of the reach of the casual hiker and hopefully away from pesky animals. I used a big rock, heavy, hopefully it would be enough. The water was clear and easy to see the ham from a standing position.  What could go wrong?

I needed a good bed of coals for cooking sausages, slow. I used whatever scrap wood was around to light the thicker, harder maple and oak for my coals.

While my coals were developing and the sausages browning, I needed to do some food preparation, but first?a cutting board!

I looked for a small log with a natural crack in the middle. I used a small knife to carve a few rough wedges for whacking with my mallet. Important note: let the wood separate on its own. A few whacks and then leave it, listen for the slow cracking of the grain. This will help it split more evenly and natural?then repeat.

Cutting board in action?

For night wood I usually just drag the wood over and burn. Since the wood is still dry there is no need to split, chop or saw. The long-fire is about 6 feet-long with about 12-15 foot logs burning.

At some point around 2 am there was a walking, crunching sound in the camp. I thought it was a deer or bear, but to my surprise it was a pesky raccoon. It didn?t want to leave the camp and wasn?t afraid of anything I threw at it or the noise I made. I even used an air horn for scaring away bears and it only flinched. Finally, I was close enough to poke it with a stick and it left, but it sure took a long time for it to get the hint.

At around 4am the thunder and rain started. It was strong enough to put out my long-fire, which takes a lot of rain to put out. I?ve had them in rain before and never had them go completely out. I don?t usually use a blanket, or backpackers quilt (never a sleeping bag) when sleeping outdoors. I like the warmth of the long-fire. So, around 6am I put my emergency/luxury items on?fleece cap and long sleeve. 

Camp in night mode

With a thin, sharp knife I got a wrist-thick chunk of wood and started shaving it down to the dry parts. This took about 5 cuts before I had arrived to the dry wood. I made a pile of sticks between toothpick and pencil thickness as my kindling. I planned to get a fire going with only small shavings and kindling shaved off of the log to raise enough heat to dry the small sticks that were finger thick. I will call this, the tedious fire-lay. It worked just fine, no splitting, chopping, or batoning. Just good old fashioned knife work?simple! 

With a small fire going I was creating enough heat to dry the fuel and make some brew?

Now for the ham steak?

As I arrived to the calm, tranquil creek?

It was raging. All the sediment was stirring up and I couldn?t see anything in the water. I searched like a wild animal on all fours for my ham steak. It just wasn?t visible. I eventually gave up, filled my water containers and set back to camp. I ran out of iodine, but was staying longer there in camp, so I needed to go back and fill up more water for boiling. Anyone who has ever had to boil water as their main means of purification knows how tedious this is. Lots of fuel, time, energy, and then you have to drink it hot.  But, as I returned to the river, there it was?my floating ham steak. Yes, my ham steak was floating down the river (Junkyard Willy).  I did the found my ham steak dance, and rushed back to camp to smoke it.



Meanwhile, I set off to work on some other camp projects while I wait for ham?

Found some tinder fungus

Older Possibles pouch

Branch grill

Split a stick to get more uniform sizes

It will be my bread warmer used over coals not direct heat.

Exploring the surrounding woods is always exciting!

The rain had tattooed its? signature on every part of nature

Offline hunter63

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Re: Rainy Raccoon Camp-Missing Ham Steak
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 10:20:37 AM »
Hey, Great pic's thanks for brings us along.

Thought you were gonna say the raccoon got the ham steak....
We had part of a ham...wrapped in foil, in a cheapo Colman cooler.....had seen a little raccoon around earlier, guess he was used to hand outs.

Anyway cooler was back away for the fire on a picnic table....and we had piled enamel ware dishes and cops on top as a "burglar alarm".....
Hear the alarm go off.....the sneaky little beast....unlatched the latch....and still had enough time to swipe the ham and scamper off.

I put a self tapping sheet metal screw in the latches of coolers now in conn country.
Nest they will be carrying screw drivers....with different tips.
Geezer Squad, Evoking the 50 year old rule..First 50 years, worried about the small stuff, second 50 years....Not so much