Pantry-Shopping

My friend C. Jeanne Heida recently wrote an article for Associated Content about “Shopping Your Pantry For Grocery Savings.” That’s excellent advice. Jeanne suggests stocking up on staple items (anything from whole fryer chickens to oatmeal) when they’re on sale, and then storing them for later, freezing as necessary. Then, plan meals around what you’ve got in your pantry.

Well, I’m highly imperfect, so sometimes I do this and sometimes I don’t. It’s more likely that I’ll really turn to the pantry when we’re running out of money, and this is one of those weeks.

I decided to cook up a large bag of pinto beans that has been sitting around for a while. Sometimes I cook from recipes, and sometimes I don’t. Today, I didn’t feel like searching for a recipe and stressing about whether I had the right ingredients, so I decided to just wing it.

I boiled the beans for a few minutes and then let them soak for a couple of hours (no need to soak overnight). Then, I drained off the soaking water and replaced it with broth. I had one carton of beef broth, one carton of vegetable broth, and half a carton of chicken broth. I used them all. I added several spoonfuls of minced garlic from a jar, a couple of chopped onions, some cayenne pepper, and several dashes of hot sauce, and then let the whole thing simmer while I fried up some bacon.

After crumbling in the bacon, I let everything keep simmering while I made some cornbread. Oops! I had two boxes of cornbread mix, but no eggs, which are required ingredients on the box, and I know from experience that omitting the eggs doesn’t give a good result.

I decided to look up a cornbread recipe in my copy of The Little House Cookbook. Ma Ingalls’ cornbread recipes do not include eggs. I then decided to use the Johnny-cake recipe along with my boxed mixes. I used my two boxes of Jiffy corn bread mix in place of the dry ingredients, bacon grease for the fat, molasses sweetening, and regular milk with a tablespoon of vinegar in place of buttermilk. It turned out just fine — in fact, everyone loved it. The molasses was the perfect sweetener.

This was a highly successful shopping trip, and I’ve got plenty of leftovers for the week.

Candlelight Vigil for Camp Arrowhead

The Girl Scouts Columbia River Council Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the pending sale of Camp Arrowhead. A candlelight vigil will be held outside the office. Members of the Girl Scouts are invited to gather beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Girl Scout Council office is located at 9620 SW Barbur Blvd in Portland, near the Barbur Transit Center.

A petition to save Camp Arrowhead is also available at http://www.petitiononline.com/arrow631/petition.html

Only registered members of the Girl Scouts Columbia River Council should sign the petition.

I’m not so sure about this now…

I think I need a tranquilizer or something.  I’m tempted to at least go out and buy some Benadryl or something.  Or maybe I just need to be around people.

I’m in my hotel room — it’s a studio apartment/suite, which I got for cheap on Priceline. It’s OK.  The decor is a rather odd green, and the outside of the bedspread has holes in it (burn holes?  they look melty, but no black or brown edges), but it’s comfortable enough.

There are no reunion events tonight, so I’m just hanging out.  However, my stomach is churning.  Actually, it feels like my insides are churning from my belly up into my chest.  The butterflies are busy in there.

One thing that set me off was an email about Camp Arrowhead.  This particular email, although it really changes nothing, disturbed me for some reason.  And no, I can’t tell you what it said!  I guess it’s the attitude of some of the parties involved that disturbs me.  They’ve got their minds made up one way and can’t or won’t listen to anyone else.

I’m also dealing with a personal financial issue.  Nothing drastic, but those are always stressful.  And, as I said, I’m in my hotel room — alone.  That magnifies everything.

I can’t get rid of the anxiety, but I can get through it.  I have before.  I will now.

I’m not so sure about this now…

I think I need a tranquilizer or something.  I’m tempted to at least go out and buy some Benadryl or something.  Or maybe I just need to be around people.

I’m in my hotel room — it’s a studio apartment/suite, which I got for cheap on Priceline. It’s OK.  The decor is a rather odd green, and the outside of the bedspread has holes in it (burn holes?  they look melty, but no black or brown edges), but it’s comfortable enough.

There are no reunion events tonight, so I’m just hanging out.  However, my stomach is churning.  Actually, it feels like my insides are churning from my belly up into my chest.  The butterflies are busy in there.

One thing that set me off was an email about Camp Arrowhead.  This particular email, although it really changes nothing, disturbed me for some reason.  And no, I can’t tell you what it said!  I guess it’s the attitude of some of the parties involved that disturbs me.  They’ve got their minds made up one way and can’t or won’t listen to anyone else.

I’m also dealing with a personal financial issue.  Nothing drastic, but those are always stressful.  And, as I said, I’m in my hotel room — alone.  That magnifies everything.

I can’t get rid of the anxiety, but I can get through it.  I have before.  I will now.

Traveling

I’m officially in the airport, on my way to California for a 15-year college reunion.  It’s also my first time with a laptop in the airport.  I think I’ve been spoiled by the excellent wireless service in my place of employment.  Out here, the connection is quite slow, and I actually lost the connection at one point, even though I’m sitting in a cubicle in the little business center area.

I’ll be able to keep in touch, though, which will be nice.

Effort Underway to Save Camp Arrowhead

Press release from soon-to-be official nonprofit group Friends of Camp Arrowhead:

Girls ages 7 to 17 have been experiencing the wonders of nature and learning valuable leadership skills at Camp Arrowhead in the Columbia River Gorge for nearly sixty years, but the members of the Girl Scouts Columbia River Council may soon lose their only summer resident camp property unless they can convince the Girl Scouts’ Board of Directors to withdraw the camp from a sealed-bid auction ending November 14.

 

Members were shocked to learn in September to learn that the Board of Directors had voted to sell the camp without soliciting any input from members. A group of adult volunteers and former campers and camp staff is currently organizing a letter writing campaign and a petition drive to convince the board to withdraw the camp from the scheduled auction, and may seek a legal injunction to stop the sale of the camp until the safety issues and needed repairs can be fully investigated.

 

Camp Arrowhead, located near Stevenson, Washington in the Columbia River Gorge, was closed this past summer due to problems with the camp’s water system. The cost of repairs was originally estimated to be $450,000, but now the board claims that repairs will be $800,000 to $1 million. The board also estimates that additional, unspecified property repairs needed would bring the total amount to $3 million.

 

Although members of the Girl Scout community are willing to put time and money into the project, the board claims that the property isn’t worth putting money into because of various safety concerns. The membership, however, isn’t convinced.

 

Members see problems with several of the reasons given for selling the property. For instance, the board claims that the property is unsafe due to danger of landslides. In fact, this particular site was chosen because it is stable, unlike some of the neighboring land. The board also points out that the camp is used by less than five percent of the membership during the summer. However, this figure does not include weekend usage during the school year, and the decline in usage is also due to decisions made by council staff that limited available weekends for troops and groups, and failed to adequately promote the camp to the membership.

 

Members are also concerned about the lack of communication with the membership during this process. The Board of Directors voted on August 16 to sell the property, and began informing the membership on September 18. Members and council delegates were given no opportunity to offer input, and didn’t even know that the board was seriously discussing the sale of the camp. The board has no more meetings scheduled before the auction ends on November 14.

 

Girl Scouts Columbia River Council has owned this property since 1948. It was originally called Camp Wind Mountain, and buildings and activities were centered on the property’s Home Lake. In 1962, the original lodge on Home Lake developed electrical wiring problems and was destroyed in a building fire. Soon after this, the land east of and around Home Lake became noticeably unstable, due to a slow-moving landslide known as the Collins Point Slide. The Girl Scout council decided to abandon the old camp buildings, and build a new resident camp. A geological study found stable land west of Home Lake, on a forested knoll of Wind Mountain, and the camp was rebuilt as Camp Arrowhead in 1968. This part of the land has remained stable since then.

 

Camp Arrowhead is uniquely suited to serving a wide age range of girls. For instance, girls can progress from sleeping in cabins to sleeping in tents or tepees further away from main camp. The camp also provides a wide variety of hiking opportunities, from simple hiking around camp to climbing nearby Wind Mountain and Dog Mountain, both of which adjoin the camp. Unique opportunities for nature study are available as well. The camp includes lakes, ponds, marshes, forests, meadows, and the infamous Collins Point Slide, which provides excellent opportunities for learning about geology.

 

The group working to save the camp has only a limited amount of time to preserve this land for generations of girls to come. Members are being urged to sign a petition requesting that a Board of Directors meeting be held as soon as possible to discuss and vote on withdrawing from the auction. Members are also urged to write letters to the Board of Directors asking them to hold a meeting as soon as possible.

For more information, contact Kathleen at skmcdade @ msn.com

Brownies Tonight — Argh!

I love Girl Scouts. I’ve been one most of my life. I’m trying to pass the experience on to my girls, so I’m the Girl Scout Leader (if you want to know why that’s necessary, check out my article here).

It’s kind of stressful for me, though. This year, I was really happy, because we decided to combine with another troop, and I and the leader from the troop would have been handling things together, which makes a big difference.

Well, she’s just told me she needs to step down. She’s got a very good reason; I completely understand and agree. But I just found out today, and tonight’s the meeting, so right now I’m feeling like all I want to do is crawl under a table and curl up for a while.

It will be OK. There’s nothing here I can’t handle. I know that intellectually — but I’m having a hard time convincing my inner self of that right now.