Archives For planning

When campers live far north, like I do, enduring seven months of bitter cold and then five fast months when camping is possible, we do all we can to be ready to go as soon as the weather allows.

Here are 3 photos of my camp bin being unpacked, showing essential items that help make my home away from home as cozy and as safe as can be.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Camp Bin includes: red first aid kit, small sleeping bag (an extra), blue camp hammock (a new fabric one!), mosquito jacket if bugs are really bad, two propane bottles, bear spray with belt holster, air horn (not shown), metal water bottle, bug spray, seat pad for picnic table, kitchen wash bin (see below), large tongs, green tablecloth, camp mirror, small dustpan set, lighter, bungee cord, solar shower, Off lantern with candles, LED lantern with batteries, shelter privacy wall (white shower curtain), small paper towel roll, 4 metal skewers, aluminum foil, fly swatter, and 14″ hatchet. Not bad for one bin!


Having an organized camp bin helps make the difference between enjoying a great getaway, or surviving an ordeal. Here’s my kitchen bin unpacked:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


1 – white plastic wash bin
1 – plastic cutting board
1 – wire rack (upcycled baking rack, to grill on fire pit grate)
1 – red silicone cutting/heat mat
3 – kitchen towels (1 cotton, 2 microfibre)
1 – cleaning supplies mesh bag (Biodegradable Camp Soap & dish brush, plus Pine-sol & Irish Spring as repellents only – not for washing)
1 – plastic water glass (with 1 silicone oven-mitt rolled inside)
1 – melamine cup (with a week’s worth of plastic bags for daily campsite garbage trips to the Bear Bins)
1 – camp cook stove attachment for propane
1 – small flashlight plus some extra cordage
7 – clothespins
2 – metal plates
1 – melamine bowl
2 – stacking pots with lid, black mesh bag
2 – extension fire pit forks
1 – cutlery bundle: steak knife, paring knife, 2 forks, 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, small tongs, metal spatula, military can opener

Beyond this collection of smaller items packed in to one main bin, there are other essential items for comfortable SUV camping that I’ll share about in upcoming posts. Bring on the milder weather!

.
.
.
.
[Copyright © 2017 Front Yard to Backcountry]

Art by Kiril Stanchev

Art by Kiril Stanchev

As soon as the weather warms, I find I spend more time outdoors than indoors. Whether I’m grilling my homegrown veggies on the BBQ or relaxing with an iced tea and listening to the birds, my backyard patio is a sanctuary to me.

One unfortunate fact is that I live on a corner, and a roadway passes my patio. Sure there’s a six-foot wooden fence, but other than visually there’s no real barrier. That is why this spring I am endeavoring to build a narrow raised garden bed in front of the fence that borders the road.

raised garden barrierPLAN FOR THE WORST – EXPECT THE BEST! Motivational speaker Denis Waitley gave us a gem with this catch-phrase, and it’s something worth remembering. While I’m an optimist, I do feel safer when I contemplate the worst-case scenario – and plan for it.

When we first moved into this home and I felt uncomfortable on the patio, I wondered why. Soon I understood. Every time a car turned the corner and sped down the road beside my fence, I held my breath. Apparently some of my neighbors are frequently in a hurry, and their roaring of engines and scattering of gravel was not conducive to my relaxation in this backyard space.

raised plant beds bench LG blurHowever, a solid barrier can make all the difference. Not able to invest in the cost of removing our six-foot wooden fence and replacing it with concrete or mason blocks, I have opted for another option. Raised garden beds!

I made them in the back corner for growing vegetables, so why not build them against the roadway fence as additional security? People spin out… roads get icy in winter… all kinds of things can cause drivers to lose control and drive through a fence. But a raised garden bed can certainly hamper a vehicle’s momentum. And THAT is a fact that helps me feel more relaxed when enjoying time with friends and family on our patio.

So if you have an alley or roadway that travels past your patio or deck, why not consider a narrow raised bed… maybe even with a built-in bench? We gain peace of mind when we refuse to worry of a wayward car coming through a flimsy fence. With a dirt-filled raised garden along the fence, we add beauty, security, and peace.

.
Link for artwork in image. 2 pics from Pinterest.