Grown-up Friends and Families and Scouts . . .

Comments Off on Grown-up Friends and Families and Scouts . . .

I have been busy with PineWoodDerbyWorkshop and School, and this week we have to move our beehives to Missouri.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But this is what I have in the oven for starting with people in the campsite . . . 45 incredibly beautiful, quiet acres in McDonald County, Missouri.

This is the listing I have at the website: http://www.windwalkercamp.com.  Click on over there and check it out.  This is for grown-ups.  Former students (college age or better), teaching buddies and their kids.  This thing will be free-form.

View Series - across the flying field from North to South . . .

View Series – across the flying field from North to South . . .





deck panorama 5

Uncle Pat’s First Primitive Do-It-Yourself Camp for Teaching Buddies, Former Students, and Scouting Friends
Come out; bring your friends; bring your kids. This is a camp for pretty much anybody I’ve taught with, taught at, or camped with and their kids. It’s a family camp that includes singles. Here’s how we charge and what we’re doing.
We charge $85/day for people over 12; $65 for 12’s and younger if you bring your own tent/trailer. If you would like to sleep in one of the tipis, we charge an additional $25/person/night. (We like to put six people in a tipi.) This includes meals and a wood deck whereon to pitch your own tent or a grassy spot to park your camping trailer. We serve family-style breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, snack. Iced tea and iced water all day.
You can haul your family or group over to canoe trips at several outfitters on the three rivers within an hour or so of us. There are caverns within another hour. Or, heck, you can drive to Branson for the day, or over to Rocky Ridge Farm to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in Mansfield, or to George Washington Carver’s farm right up the road in Diamond, or into Joplin to see Harry and Bess Truman’s home. Or you can sit on your cannister and not stir from the place and just listen to the wind hushabye through the trees.
You can bring your own .22 rifle (no pistols or larger calibers, please) and plink on the gun range. We have paper targets and tin can lids. If you want to start saving tin-can lids, by all means do; it’s very satisfying to plunk those things. You can use our long guns.
We will brew a little root beer (takes two days to fizz up right . . . and you HAVE TO KEEP IT COLD, or it tastes yeasty. We will crank out a little homemade ice cream. We will make s’mores from free-trade chocolate around a campfire or whatever works if there’s a burn ban.
Yes; we will have sardine-tasting parties and haiku slams.
Yes; there will be organized nature walks — with sketch/photo opportunities.
Yes; there will be opportunities for butterfly/bug collections and leaf collections.
And all kinds of Citizen Scientist stuff.
Rockets, engines, and ammunition are available from the camp store.
There’s more, but I have to leave a little to the imagination.

You don’t need to stay the whole week if you don’t have the time, but you are welcome to do so if you do.
I realize this is short notice, but, what the heck, why not go for the burn . . .

Respondez sil vous plait.


“Houston, We have root beer!

Comments Off on “Houston, We have root beer!

“The clock is running!

My fellow Americans, the first batch of root beer has been brewed.  (Brewn?)  Know what?  It tastes like root beer!  And it’s goooood.  Nice dark, sweet flavor.  Sassafras tang sort of lingers a bit on the back of your tongue.

But it’s not so sweet that it’s cloying.  Has just the smallest hint of a bite to it.  I like it.  If it weren’t so doggone late right now, I would go taste test another bottle.  It’s all in the interests of science, right.

Since it is too late for root beer, and, of course, the blackberries were starting to be in the refrigerator too long, Kathryn and I decided to put them (the blackberries) out of their misery and have a half pint of them with a small bowl of blackberry ice cream . . . did I post here about blackberries frozen in homemade ice cream being like eating very delicious marbles?  Well, they’re good, but I’m going to whang the bee-hoopers out of ‘em next time.

Oh, mercy; there’s only tomorrow and Friday of Mid-Term tests before Christmas Break.  Then I can think and plan about and for WindWalkerCamp full time for two weeks!

Give me strength.

Thanks for reading.  Stay thirsty, my friends.


What the hands learn, the mind cannot forget.

Root Beer, Campfire Onions, Family Camp

Comments Off on Root Beer, Campfire Onions, Family Camp

The weather is staying cool enough that I can stash root beer in the woodshop.  Other people have a garage where they park the family cars . . . I have a woodshop where kids and I can build pinewood derby cars (www.pinewoodderebyworkshop.com).  I like my way better.   So I’m going to move a shelf into a corner of the shop over the weekend and stash fifty-three 12-ounce bottles of root beer out there after they have fermented for three days.  I’m wondering if I should rig up some kind of basin around the base to contain the overflow should any of them pop their tops.  Well I’m just going to have to figure that out.  Keep reading;  I’m never totally sure where tomorrow is going to wind up.

 That was prognostication.

 This two bits is history.  “Campfire Onions” is a really simple recipe for baking onions in aluminum foil in the embers of a fire or in your oven in the kitchen.  My Fellow Americans, this recipe works.  Delightfully so.  After forty-five minutes at 350 degrees, the onions came out just crunchy enough, not at all squishy.  And the flavor is sweet without the tang of a raw onion because of the brown sugar.  I’m not certain what the beer added (I use non- alcoholic) except, possibly, undertones to the brown sugar.  But this is a delightful addition to the family/camp cookbook.

 I’m still working on the mold for pewter-casting a spoon and a fork.  I will figure it out.

 I’m looking at the last week of WindWalkerCamp schedule this summer – 21-27 July—–

and I’m figuring out how to work this.  We’re going to have a ga- boodle of options.  I think we’re going to set it up so that each family has a tent . . . as opposed to camping kids away from parents . . . then having separate activities for moms, for dads, for kids, for moms and dads together.  It’ll be “interesting” to schedule, but it’ll be a good time.

 Thanks for reading.  Stay thirsty, My Friends.


 What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.


Root Beer Brewing and Texas Weather

Comments Off on Root Beer Brewing and Texas Weather

The instructions say, and I quote, “ . . . let the bottles sit a room temperature for a day or two to let the yeast eat some of the sugar and carbonate the root beer or soda, then we chill the bottles to 45oF or lower to stop the yeast.”

It’s not 45 degrees outside right now.  The challenge is that a five-gallon batch makes fifty-three bottles of root beer.  Therefore, half a batch makes 27 bottles of root beer.  Kathryn and I only have a single refrigerator here at the house.  I am not going to put a second refrigerator in the shop just to chill root beer.  (. . . Now that’s not a bad idea when I come to think about it.)

At summer camp we’ll have to come up with a way to keep it cool in the Missouri Ozark summer.  Set the bottles in the creek when it’s flowing.  Talk to the neighbors across the road about stashing them in the Buffalo River.  Set a hose drip on a burlap sack.  This sounds like an engineering challenge to me.

Theoretically I can proportionally divide the recipe, but that can get squirrelly in a hurry.  I just checked the five-day weather forecast . . . holy cow!  It doesn’t even get that cool at night.  WindWalkerCamp is a rustic camp . . . that means “tents.”  That is a good thing.

I guess I’ll have to go to Plan “B” or Plan “C” or just “Fake it; smile; tell ‘em it’s in the Lesson Plan.”

Fortunately Plan B is “mix up a batch of homemade ice cream” (after all, somebody has to test the recipe), and Plan C is “start collecting lumber to build the trebuchet.”  This one is a project I’ve been working toward for half a dozen years.

So those are in the works.  Also this week is testing an “E”-series model rocket to see how it flies on a “D.”

Thanks for reading.  Stay thirsty, my friends.


What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.

I bought three cases of 12-ounce beer bottles on the way home from school today.

Comments Off on I bought three cases of 12-ounce beer bottles on the way home from school today.

There are two dozen bottles per case.  And a package of “light ale yeast.”  And a bag of caps.

“Stand back and watch this.”

 Got to wash the bottles first.  That will take a little time.  Then I will follow the written instruction on the packages more closely than I ever followed Miss Stovall’s 10th-grade chemistry lab notes . . . I was never going to drink the stuff we concocted in her lab.  Ever.  But I am looking forward to drinking this.  I have three different root beer flavor extracts. We’ll be able to pick and choose at summer camp.  Five gallons a batch as a rule.  But the old-fashioned one (it’s supposed to be a darker flavor) only makes two and a half.

There’s a family story that my father brewed a batch of (non-root) beer and stashed it under my crib to age when I was a baby.  He didn’t refrigerate it, and the bottles exploded.  I figured Mom probably cleaned up the most of it, while Dad supervised and swore as only a fighter pilot knows how.

I do not intend to have to mop this batch up.  The light ale yeast goes inactive when it is refrigerated, but when the brew warms back up, it reactivates.  Like I said, I’m going to follow these instructions.  (Please don’t rat me out to the Guy Police for that.)

Not tonight.  Too late for that. Tomorrow’s my men’s group night.  Thursday then.

Thanks for reading.  Stay thirsty, my friends.

Uncle Pat


What the lands learn the mind cannot forget


Table manners, haiku, and badges

Comments Off on Table manners, haiku, and badges

Summer camp is coming already . . . can you smell it in the air?    With the bun warmed on the grill so it has the same char marks as the burger itself?  With an icy-cold root beer to wash it down.  Can you taste the root beer on the back of your tongue?

 Friday I ordered a 5-Gallon Root Beer brewing system.  As I’m writing this, I just realized I forgot to order bottles.  Shoot fire and save the matches!  Well, I’ve just priced three cases of bottles (per five-gallon batch).  I’ll call in the order Monday.

 Now, we have to talk about table manners.  Breakfast is informal.  Lunch is informal.  Dinner is a separate deal altogether  Dinner is formal..  Camp Dress shirts with patches and braids.  White tablecloths (really).  Multiple forks and spoons. And multiple glasses and cups.  We’re going for the gusto here.  It won’t be easy to execute, but we’re going for it.  With the Staff setting the standard, the guys’ll get with the program because it’s cool to be classy.  To be stylin’.

Dinner is for more than just refueling.  It’s knife, fork, and spoon (not “shovel”).  But it’s a time for real conversation and discussion as well.  It’s time for manly beauty.  –The girls will thrill to a guy who knows which fork to use at the restaurant with her parents after church on Sunday.  —  That is why we will have an emphasis on excellent manners . . . and a haiku contest at each dinner, with every camper contributing original poetry from memory.  The winner of each evening’s competition will be awarded a black lanyard to wear on his dinner dress shirt for literary excellence.  We’re still working out all the details, but you get the picture.

We’re gonna have a good time.

 After dinner, before lights-out, the absolutely best thing you can do around a campfire is read a book.  A really good book full of short stories.  Oh, the stories I have read . . . Civil War ghost stories, science fiction (?) short stories, stories of the battles of Julius Caesar or George Custer or Henry V at Agincourt.  Books of poetry now and then – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Or Homer’s Odyssey.  Good bloody stuff.  Like Shakespeare.

 A couple of nights we’ll have a movie with the award of mission patches . . . Have you gone online to see the joint mission patch for the Russian/American joint mission aboard the Leonov to rescue Discovery in a decaying orbit around Jupiter in 2010?  We’re working on getting a sewing machine out there to put the patches on jackets right after each movie.  Or how about the squadron patch for The Last Starfighter?  
Go online and look them up; they’re really cool.

The guys are going to look like the Ruratanian Secret Police!

 We’ll talk about other awards another night.  But patches and cords are a heck of a lot more fun that grades.  I’m a teacher; I know.

Go check out our website at www.windwalkercamp.com.  Between there and here you’ll know a whole lot more about what we’re going to be doing.  This is not a camp for geeks, but it helps if you’re smart and like to work with your hands to bend the fabric of the Universe.


What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.