If you want something done right….

I have recently dusted off the ole thread injector (sewing machine) and have started trying my hand at making my own outdoor equipment.  I have been very pleased with the results so far….

I recently completed a KAQ (Kick Ass Quilt) under-quilt for my hammock and wow is it toasty with that thing hung up under there.  It was even given the nod of approval from the wife who used it on an overnight hang on top White Rock Mountain recently.  The temp hit the low 50′s possibly even the high 40’s that night with strong winds and she had to even open up her sleeping bag because she was getting hot!

I love hammock camping and cannot wait to see if I can hang all winter this year with my homemade quilts.  You just feel so amazing when you roll out of a hammock after a truly good night sleep on the trail.  Stiff sore muscles and joints just melt away (unlike on the ground in a tent sleeping on lumpy rocks and what have you.)

I also made a G4 ultra-light backpack, a 50L+ pack that weighs in less than 1 lb!!  Even a year ago, I’d have never thought I would, or even could, make my own backpack.  It was surprisingly easy to make, still it is probably the most complex sewing project I have ever done.  It is a frameless pack so I wouldn’t try putting more that 30-35 lbs into it max.  I am planning to try my hand at another one soon with modifications for a sleeve to hold an internal CamelBak and an outlet port near the shoulder straps for the drink tube.

Next I want to try my hand at making my own hex rain fly for my hammock.  It seems I can buy one for $100 or make my own for under $50.

I posted most of the gear plans I plan to make here on my blog for any who are interested.  I will also get some pictures up soon.

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The Tastes of Fall

I love fall!!!  It is far and away my favorite season.  And in the spirit of living more naturally and celebrating the impending arrival of my favorite season I made homemade pumpkin bread with homemade pumpkin puree.  No prepackaged, canned, preservative filled pumpkin paste in here.   Delicious!

Pumpkin Bread

Scrumptious pumpkin bread topped with almond slices, cinnamon and sugar.

Ingredients:

2 cups Homemade Pumpkin Puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Sliced Almonds
 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.
  5. Pour into the prepared pans.
  6. Top loaves with almond slices and then sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool and enjoy; tastes even better the next day.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash the pumpkin(s) under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt and dry well with a clean towel.
  3. Cut the pumpkin in half.
  4. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a metal spoon. (Save the seeds for toasting, if you like, and discard the innards.)
  5. Rub the cut surfaces with oil. (this step is optional if you would prefer pure pumpkin puree)
  6. Place the pumpkin chunks on a pan; you may add a little (1 cup) of water to the pan if desired.
  7. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes or until tender.
  8. When tender, remove the pumpkin halves from the oven and place on a flat surface to cool.
  9. Once cool enough to handle without burning yourself, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and discard the outer skin.
  10. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor or by whatever method you prefer.
  11. Pumpkin flesh can holds a lot of moisture. If necessary, line a sieve or fine mesh colander with a coffee filter or cheese cloth and set over a deep bowl to drain for about 2 hours (stir occasionally).

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