Thursday, March 28, 2013

CAMPING ON THE FARM--1926

Apparently in times past, not every Girl Scout was a part of a "Troop." This article was written for the many "Lone Girl Scouts" living in 1926.

Every Lone Scout will, I hope, take her younger sister or older brother or neighbor, or visiting cousin, out this summer to spend at least one day "in camp," in some lovely spot not too far from home--probably right on the farm, but seemingly very far away.

Those who have already had the delightful experience of camping out for a day or more by a lake or river, or in the mountains, or down by the creek in a corner of the orchard (away from the house), will never forget the rich flavor of a crust of toasted bread, or the tantalizing smell of bacon cooked on a sharpened stick over hot coals!
I look back with great satisfaction upon the memory of days spent on grandmother's farm. We youngsters used to cook out-of-doors a great deal. Almost always we went down to one certain pasture where there was a lovely elm tree and a creek.

My grandmother always had plenty of tomatoes ripening in a row on the kitchen window sill. The dish we prepared most frequently was stewed tomatoes. We skinned and quartered the tomatoes, brought them to a boil, and then stirred in, for thickening, a little milk and flour mixed into a thin paste, some salt and pepper. When done we served them on toast. Buttered toast, if you please. Our bread was home-made and was toasted on sharpened, forked sticks before the fire. Sometimes we spread the bread with butter before we toasted it. This made it toast delightfully brown and taste particularly delicious.
 
I wonder if any of you have tried anything like this? A fork, spoon and cup, a small frying pan or a quart-sized stewing pan, and a pocket knife, are all the equipment you really need. You, too, can cook tomatoes, or you can toast bacon on peeled green sticks and scramble or fry eggs. If you are quite ambitious, you can try pancakes, with brown sugar syrup. It doesn't matter what meal you go out to cook. Simple dishes are best any way.

As far as I am concerned, I still think there is nothing on earth more fun than getting up when everything is dusky and dewy, and going off to cook a breakfast of bacon and eggs as the sun rises. Do try that sometime. Again, try gathering your equipment and food supplies together for a noon meal. Make a list the night before. See if you can get everything all ready before you start off so you won't have to go back for a single thing. Check with your list in hand. Then, leave the house promptly at ten o'clock and go down into the orchard by the creek for the day. Plan where you are going to put your things so they won't get messy. Here is a nice stump, or there a flat rock that will do for a table. Plan to gather your wood, build your fire, set your "table" and get your lunch ready by twelve o'clock.

After your fire has been going steadily for several minutes, put your skillet on with two or three strips of bacon in it. When the grease is melted out, lift out the bacon and drop in your eggs. Baste the eggs with the sizzling bacon grease. That will make them turn white on the top. I leave it to you to judge when a perfectly good fried egg is done, and to finish it by serving it on toast or making an egg sandwich.

After lunch, clean every dish and pot, and prepare to leave no trace of your occupation behind you. Burn all fruit or vegetable skins or papers in your fireplace. Girl Scouts are clean campers. Before you leave, see that your fire is positively out. One spark left might cause inestimable damage.

Now, lie down awhile on your back and watch the clouds go by. What shapes are they? Have you ever read any poems about clouds? How many colors do you see about you? Any birds? Walk over to the top of a knoll for a lovely view, if possible. Wade a bit, if the brook is shallow. Look closely at a handful of wet sand. What is it like? Model a little skillet or a bird out of clay, if your soil is clayey.

When it comes four o'clock, gather up your equipment and start home. Arrive home by four-thirty and put your equipment away in a suitable place, all clean and ready for next time.

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