A Double Standard At My House!

Any husbands/men here you might want to not continue on”¦there will be some ranting, complaining and speaking about the current loathing I have at the moment for men in general”¦my dear sweet husband of 22 years in particular. Ok”¦any men still reading on you have been warned”¦ladies”¦I know you ALL can relate!

My husband is a hoarder I fully believe he was a squirrel in a prior life”¦he throws nothing away but stashes it away someplace until he deems it useful again (which BTW NEVER happens). He has kept every curling iron, waffle iron, blow dryer, CD player, iron and power tool that has ever broken in our house hoarded away like some pirate treasure in our basement and garage. “Never know when I could use a part.”, he has told me on occasion. Every major appliance or electronic item he has kept the box for”¦in case we move as better to pack it in the original carton (we have lived in the same house for 13 years). Don’t get me wrong”¦I love and adore my hubby”¦he is a good man, great dad, and a super husband. BUT I am up to my wifely behind in his pile of nuts!

And here comes the real rant”¦the final straw or should I say NUT that broke the camel’s back. My husband I do believe is in full swing of his mid-life male “mental”pause crisis”¦which started a few years back and hit the height (so I thought) with his volunteering to go to Afghanistan two years ago. After he came back I thought it was all behind us. Before I get too far ahead of myself let me go back to the beginning and give some details”¦back in the late 80′s we bought a little red sports car”¦a Mazda RX7. Cute, fast and fun”¦we were young and had no kids”¦it suited us at the time. I even think it was my idea. Ok”¦I admit that. We took it with us when we moved to Germany and had a blast hitting 120mph on the autobahn. But like all good things of youth they come to an end,”¦we grew up and came home with a baby and the little red sports car with a burnt out engine. We bought a van and garaged the RX7 (a baby seat wouldn’t fit anyhow). And I thought he’d tinker for a few months and sell it for parts”¦wrong”¦13 years later it is still in my garage. The engine is in the back hatch waiting for my husband to “rebuild” it. I gave him a deadline that he needed to put time into it by his 45 birthday”¦he’s now 50 and it still sits. He refuses to discuss it or listen to my pleading to get rid of it.

Ok, any men still with me”¦poor souls”¦now tell me this”¦me being a woman”¦if I had a project ah”¦say sewing a quilt for example that I started over 13 years ago and it was still laying all over the dining room table”¦making it unusable for holiday meals”¦company dinners”¦keeping YOU DRY WHEN UNLOADING GROCERIES (ok that is a garage issue) would you”¦speaking to any of the brave men”¦.think that a bit inconsiderate of me? Wouldn’t you expect me to finish up and clean it up say before the END OF TIME????

Yes, I “get it” the little red sports car/manhood thing”¦feeling young and all that. But we purchased a house with a garage for a reason and I do not remember it being for his RX7 to decay in (did I neglect to mention that all 4 tires are dry rotted and flat?) I can think of 100 other more important things to spend money on right now or even in the near future other than restoring a car that only two people can ride in. And to be honest it’s so low I’m getting too old to get into it. And before you ask”¦I rarely spend on myself”¦I do NOT buy shoes, get my nails done”¦I am about as low maintenance as they come.

What am I to do? Let him have his little red sports car and his youth? Maybe he’ll tinker after he retires and I can take up a hobby like pottery? Or maybe I’ll have a mid-life moment and hire a young strong man to work on the car”¦shirtless”¦with tools”¦hmmm”¦maybe he can keep the car.

Preventing the burden of back pain in pupils

In the UK, half-term is over and the kids are going back to school – and carting my daughter’s schoolbag and gym bag in for her this morning reminded me of the warnings that growing numbers of children are developing irreversible back deformities because of the weight of the bags they carry to school.

A study by the organization BackCare last year noted that half of all schoolchildren report some kind of back pain by the age of 14, and doctors have pointed to an increase in the case of spinal abnormalities, including scoliosis. And one of the major contributory factors is those increasingly heavy bags – which are apparently up to double the size of those carried just a decade ago.

While children risk long-term, perhaps permanent, damage if they regularly carry more than 15% of their body weight over their shoulders, BackCare reckons many are carrying as much as 20%, with a significant number carrying 25% of their own body weight to and from school.

And that will have long term consequences for a LOT of pupils.

Give a child a large sports bag – and they’ll fill it, not least because, in their eyes, filling a bag with everything they might possibly need that week is a lot easier than thinking each morning about what they’ll need that day. Like a snail, if they carry their entire home on their backs, they’ll forget nothing. And when parents are squeezing in extra sport, extra music, extra drama on top of the curriculum, then that’s more books, more clothes, more equipment on top of an already hefty burden:

  • Textbooks: 8lb
  • Laptop: 8lb
  • Lunchbox and water: 3lb
  • Notebooks: 1lb
  • Pencil case: 1lb
  • PE kit and trainers 3lb
  • Phone, wallet/purse/mobile phone: 1lb

And there’s usually more – the extra book, the musical instrument, and so on. They can easily be carrying 2 stone a day. And often over one shoulder (always carry a backpack over both shoulders!)

The answer is so obvious, it barely needs stating – kids need to carry less. Just to take what they need for that day. The answer to that isn’t to take stuff out, but to help them put it in. A child’s paranoia about forgetting something fuels the ‘take everything’ process. If a parent or teacher can help a pupil self-organize better to take only what is the need, then they will be more mentally self-sufficient – and less prone to long-term damage.

Mushrooms are Taking Over!

I like mushrooms. I like them on a burger, I like them in a salad. I even like them on steak and any number of other ways they can be prepared and consumed. Where I don’t like them is in my yard!

It’s a tough balance between watering enough to keep my yard from dying and watering too much, which creates a heaven for ‘shrooms. What’s worse is no matter how hard I work to pluck those little buggers out if my neighbor isn’t quite as diligent, they are sure to come back again.

Last night we had some (much needed) rain which seemed to be the trigger for some dormant mushrooms to raise their ugly heads. This morning the backyard was speckled with white domes, which caused me a minor bout of anger leading to quick depression. I hate pulling the things, but that is really your only option.

‘Shrooms are feisty, resilient little things for which we have no offense other than to bend over and pull them – hopefully before they have sent out their little spores to create thousands just like them. If you don’t get them early, all you are doing is pulling out the stump for cosmetic purposes. There is no nice little poison you can throw down to kill them and no special treatment to prevent them. Mushrooms rule the yard whenever they darn well feel like it.

I know, I know, mushrooms do not feel and they are not calculating; but it sure feels like it sometimes. I’ll go weeks without one showing itself, and I feel like I have licked the problem; then, bam, just like that they are back with a vengeance. It may be due to that lack of diligence from my neighbor I mentioned; but whatever the reason, I feel like I am losing the battle.

All I know is I can’t give up. If I just let them grow what I see now will only be tenfold in a matter of weeks. So, I plug ahead each morning yanking out each one in hopes of making headway. At least my kids are not tossing them back for a mid-morning snack like one did several years ago. He learned via ipecac that was not something he wanted to repeat. But that’s a story for another day.

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

This post may not make much sense to those that do not have the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane in your area, but for those that do, you undoubtedly will have seen what I am going to talk about. For those that don’t know it by HOV, it is the commuter lane or the lane you can only use if you have two or more passengers in the vehicle.

The HOV is relatively new to Utah, and it was long overdue when it finally came in the recent widening of I-15, our major and practically only option running north and south through the major cities of this state. First it was added in Salt Lake City, and eventually, it was extended down through the Utah Valley to the south.

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

A couple of years after it’s an addition, the state decided to implement the limitation of where you can enter or exit the lane. The idea, at least as I understand it, is to limit the merging in and out of the lane for both safety and travel efficiency of the lane. Rather than have people treat it as the ultra-fast lane, the designated entry/exit points are to keep traffic flowing past some of the lesser used exits with the limitations. It has taken a little getting used to remembering where you have to get in and out, but after a while, it works.

After all that build up, this is what cracks me up. People in Utah speed. In fact, if you are not traveling at least 10 miles over the speed limit, you had better be in the right lane because traffic is moving at a fairly decent clip over to the left. So people are not afraid to speed, but when it comes to entering the HOV lane, they will wait patiently, or impatiently as the case may be, for a designated entry point to get into that left-most lane. Why are they ok with breaking one law of traveling 80 mph in a 65 zone, but will wait until that opening to merge their way over into that lane? Are there some unbreakable laws even for the habitual speeders?

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

Even more hilarious to me is the fact that while in the HOV lane moving along at such a breakneck clip will these drivers hug the tailpipe for miles of someone, not as NASCAR inspired as they are. Rather than drift over these ultimate double white line barriers to make the pass and keep moving along, Speedy Gonzales will instead dangerously tailgate for miles waiting for the opening to make the pass and once again gain pole position in their personal race.

Who was able to convince these people that the line is unbreakable when so many other rules go so lightly unobserved? Don’t get me wrong, I make it a point to observe the designated entry/exit points, but I am sufficiently impressed that the state has somehow convinced or scared these people into sticking to the plan. Whatever mojo they are working on that ought to be used on some other laws as well to keep a little more order on the freeways; that’s all I am asking.

So keep at it drivers, obey that law. While you are at it, pick a few others that you may be skipping and try out observing them as well. It can’t hurt, right?

Oh yeah? I have a better one for you…

There have been so many jokes about the “one-upping” habit that I am surprised that it still happens so much these days. There is no doubt it does. I am sure there could be, and perhaps there are, studies on why people feel the need to outdo you even on the smallest of things. Why is this? Why can’t people just enjoy a great story or give a compliment for something and move on? Let’s take a look at this phenomenon.

With boys – at least this the easiest childhood for me to analyze for obvious reasons – it roots back to the who has the better scar. This carries on well into adulthood, but even at early age boys have been loved sharing their big scratches, scrapes, and scars to the amazement of their friends. Getting that big group “Ooooo” or “Ugh, that had hurt” is the reward you seek and generally get. It doesn’t end there though. There is always some kid in the group that has a bigger scar along with the tale of getting it to tell. “That kid” will find some way to one-up you even if it isn’t his own story; he’ll tell of something he saw, heard or more than likely made up just to get the attention of the group to shift to him.

good enough relationship

Yep, you guessed it. This same guy carries on with those tendencies even as an adult. The scar and injury tales do continue on, but they are joined by any number of categories of storytelling for the attention and amazement of friends. The basketball stories – or any sport for that matter – including all sorts of amazing plays, hard fouls, and terrible refs. Dating stories, including the horrors as well as the stunning dates that you know he never really had. Fishing stores – remember the one-armed fisherman, his fish was this big. The list goes on.

The one that I experience most these days though is the “well my kid did [insert amazing feat here].” This one I know from personal experience is definitely a problem shared by both genders. My wife and I were just talking the other day about an acquaintance that has the one up condition in a bad way. We all do it to some degree I am sure because we are proud of our kids – or at least we want to be – and we love to share the fun or amazing little things they do. One-upping is not limited to the good things, of course, it comes out in full force with what the little terrors can do when they are at their worst. No matter how extreme you think your anecdotal may be, Mr (or Ms) one-upper is going to have something more extreme.

I have mentioned Brian Regan here before on this site, one of my favorite comedians because of his real-life, clean and original comedy. In his latest DVD, titled I Walked on the Moon, the headliner story is saved all the way to the end of the routine. Brian’s comedy is a half concept and half presentation, so knowing the punch-line won’t ruin it for you. The short version is wouldn’t it be great if you were one of the astronauts that walked on the moon. Noone could top you in the one-up conversations. You can just sit back with a smug smile on your face and enjoy the conversation until it has hit is the peak. Then pull out your big whammy. “Well, I walked on the moon.” Top that one-upper.

I am never quite sure when I identify what is going on when a one-upper changes the direction of a conversation. Usually, I just choose not to feed the animals. Let them have the attention they so obviously crave and move on. I typically check out the rest of the group – if it happens to be a group conversation – to see if others are aware of what is happening as well. It is gratifying when you get that knowing smirk, a slight nod or wink back; you know you are not alone.good enough relationship
Of course, if you are really brave, and have a good enough relationship with the one-upper (or could care less) you can have fun in these situations. Escalate the one-upping to unreasonable proportions and see how far they will follow. Now to pull this off you can’t do it all at once, or the gig is up. You have to do it gradually, upping the ante just a bit with each story. You also need to be a bit creative to make up good stories on the spot, and a good dose of being able to lie helps too. Eventually even the most hardened of one-uppers will figure out they’ve been had and will either scoff and try to shrug it off, be offended or the good at heart ones will laugh and realize the jokes on them.

So next time you’re in a one-up situation, just think “I walked on the moon.” Big picture, this isn’t competition if you don’t make it one. Unless you really have to have that spotlight shone directly on you, let the one-upper have their space or have a little fun with them. The choice is up to you.

Foreigners flock to mine gold illegally in Colombia

The number of foreigners involved in illegal mining in Colombia is on the rise as metal profits including gold exceed those of cocaine, police said.

Citizens from Italy, Brazil and China have been arrested in Colombia this year as authorities attempt to halt money flows and environmental destruction arising from the illegal activity.

“This is the biggest source of funding at the moment for illegal armed groups, bigger than cocaine,” General Luis Martinez, who heads Colombia’s rural police, said in an interview in Bogota. “The economy this is generating is extremely worrying. The criminal economy.”

A kilogram of cocaine is worth four million pesos ($1,860) in Colombia and can lead to a prison sentence. There’s nothing illegal about possessing a kilogram of gold, which is worth 90 million pesos, Martinez said.

An Italian and three Brazilians were arrested at an illegal gold mine in Colombia’s northern Antioquia province in January, with another Brazilian arrested in the same area in March, the police say.

In September two Brazilians were arrested in the southern Caqueta province, while seven Chinese nationals were arrested in the northern Bolivar province the same month.

Perverse Transfer
Foreigners involved in the practice typically own the illegal gold operations, organizing local communities to work at the mines, said Colonel Wilson Chaparro, who heads the rural police illegal mining unit.

“These people are also bringing technology that’s not permitted and damages the environment,” Chaparro said during the joint interview. “They’re teaching Colombians to extract gold. It’s a perverse and illegal knowledge transfer.”

Foreigners flock to mine gold illegally in Colombia

The mining frequently involves large dredges that suck up mud from riverbeds, from which gold is extracted using mercury and cyanide before the contaminated sediment is returned to the river, Chaparro said.

Platinum, coltan, coal and construction materials are also mined illegally by armed groups, police data show. Groups involved include guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as well as organizations without political ideology.

International Networks
Foreigners that run illegal mines in Colombia are also involved in exporting the metals abroad, Chaparro said.

“Illegal mining doesn’t happen by accident,” he said. “It’s clearly planned out. We can’t yet say there are sophisticated networks at the international level, but they are working on their construction.”

Police are collaborating with other authorities domestically to determine export routes and verify evidence that suggests some legal mining companies with concessions in Colombia may be buying the illegal gold, Chaparro said.

Colombia produced 56 million tons of gold in 2013 while the two largest legal producers, Mineros SA and Gran Colombia Gold Corp., produced 6.7 million tons between them, according to data from the mining agency and mining association.

“Where does the rest come from?” Chaparro said. “Part of the production comes from illegal mining, and part from gold contraband.”

Harper govt. expands support for offshore Canadian mining

Canada’s Ministers of Natural Resources and International Trade, as well as the minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for North Ontario unveiled Canada’s Strategy for the Extractive Sector Tuesday during the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) annual Mining Day on the Hill luncheon.

Key elements of the Extractive Sector Strategy include: leveraging trade and investment agreements to provide the certainty and the predictability necessary for Canadian mining and energy companies to invest and operate abroad; transforming business opportunities into business successes through ‘economic diplomacy’ and on-the-ground support; advocating for improved governance and regulatory frameworks abroad and sharing best practices.

Other elements in the strategy include: increasing training abroad to support the extractive sector; and expanding stakeholders’ linkages to ensure the Canadian government is responsive to the needs of mining and oil and gas sectors, including developing annual market access plans for priority markets.

The Harper Government also announced that it will work to “ensure the long-term success of Canada’s mining and oil and gas sectors by keeping taxation low, eliminating red tape, and modernizing the regulatory regime for major projects.”

Harper govt. expands support for offshore Canadian mining

“These companies, many of which are small- and medium-sized enterprises, have built a world-renowned reputation based on Canadian know-how in exploration, engineering, extraction, development and financial management,” said the agency. “When extractive resources are developed and managed in an economically, social and environmentally responsible manner, job creation is facilitated and sustainable economic growth can occur in countries and communities where they are operating.”

With interests in more than 8,000 properties, both domestically and in over 100 countries, Canadian mining and mineral exploration companies account for almost half of global activities in the mining sector, according to Natural Resources Canada. From 2008-2013, 39% of global mining equity and more than 70% of all global mining equity financings were handled through the TSX and the TSX Venture Exchange—more than through any other stock exchange in the world, NRC noted.

The nation’s extractive sector, which also includes oil and gas as well as mining companies, generated C$174 billion in exports for Canada in 2013 for 39% of the nation’s total exports. These industries account for 13% of GDP and more than 380,000 jobs in the country. Nearly 3,200 suppliers of equipment and services support the Canadian mining industry.

Canadian mining companies paid C$18.9 billion in the form of taxation and royalties to Canadian federal and provincial governments from 2008 to 2012, averaging C$4 billion annually.

“The mining sector’s financial strength helps to sustain private pension funds and the Canada Pension Plan,” NRC said.

“The Harper Government has negotiated and concluded free trade and foreign investment protection agreements at an unprecedented rate over the past eight years, positioning Canada’s globally-leading mining sector for success. The new strategy will add distinction to Canada’s mining brand and should send a clear signal to other mining countries to take note,” said Mining Association of Canada (MAC) CEO Pierre Gratton in a news release Tuesday.

MAC suggested that the Extractive Sector Trade Strategy complements the release of the renewed Corporate Social Responsibly (CSR) Strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way, which was announced by Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast on November 14th.

CSR Strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way

The 2014 enhanced CSR strategy is aimed at strengthening “Canada’s leadership and earned reputation for excellence in CSR,” said the International Trade Ministry. “It also demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring Canadian companies continue to exhibit the highest CSR standards and best practices while operating abroad.”Harper govt. expands support for offshore Canadian mining

“The Government of Canada is setting a high bar for corporate responsibility performance—one that our members embrace,” said Gratton. “The new strategy will add distinction to Canada’s mining brand and should send a clear signal to other mining countries to take note.”

Rodney Thomas, president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, observed, “The Government of Canada has an important role to play in supporting both the global competitiveness of the Canadian mineral industry and its ability to contribute to the sustainable development of the societies in which it operates. The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) supports the steps taken to promote responsible mineral development through this strategy.”

Among the CSR activities of Canadian Missions abroad are the first Base Metals Symposium in Cotê d’Ivoire this month and the Executive Program in CSR, Strategy and Management in April in Ghana.

In February, the Canadian Embassy in Peru launched the project, Promoting Competitiveness and Economic Diversification in Extractive Regions in the northern province of Trujillo, Peru. Co-funded by Barrick Gold, Antamina and Rio Tinto, the C$21-million projects aims to improve the economic and social conditions of people living in mining regions. It will support 3,000 family farms grouped in 30 cooperatives, mostly in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

Harper govt. expands support for offshore Canadian mining

In a news release Tuesday, Gratton said, “Taken together, these two strategies send a welcome signal that Canada supports and promotes a strong and vibrant Canadian mining sector both at home and abroad. The Government of Canada is also setting a high bar for corporate responsibility performance, which our members embrace.”

Gratton noted that the Canadian mining industry has also supported the government’s practice of embedding dedicated trade commissioners into industry associations. “As mining is both a complex and global sector, MAC has seen the benefits of this program as it provides a platform for trade commissioners to learn more about our industry and align government efforts to further enhance Canada’s strength in mining overseas,” he said.

“When taken with the CSR strategy that sets expectations of companies to adhere to international standards regarding social and environmental practices and strengthens Canada’s international dispute resolution mechanisms such as the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor and the OECD National Contact Point, Canada is well positioned as a global leader in the extractive sector,” the association said.

Sebastiya protests against sewage dumping

Today, the village of Sebastiya held its first demonstration in order to protest the flooding of its land by the sewage coming from the nearby Jewish-only settlement of Save Shomron. Around 150 people from Sebastiya, together with Israeli and international activists, participated in the demonstration which was broken up quickly by tear gas canisters and stun grenades.

Sebastiya protests against sewage dumping

A convoy of vehicles ran from the village to the land next to the settlement where the sewage water is being dumped. Palestinians held the Friday prayer on the fields and after that, demonstrators marched towards the settlement. Soon afterwards, Israeli forces started to shoot tear gas canisters and stun grenades at protesters. As people ran through the fields Israeli forces continued firing tear gas canisters and Palestinian youth threw some stones back. One person was taken away by ambulance as a result of overexposure to tear gas. The protest lasted for an hour.

Sebastiya

Sabastiya is an ancient village located just 10 km north of Nablus. For over a decade, residents of the village have been suffering harassment from Israeli forces and settlers. In 2001 settlers uprooted and destroyed around 1000 olive trees, substantially damaging the land of several families. In 2006 the Israeli army put up a fence in an attempt to confiscate the land where the trees had originally been, but farmers from the village pulled it down.

Sebastiya protests against sewage dumping

Recently, the nearby settlement of Shave Shomron has been pumping their raw and untreated water sewage directly onto Palestinian fields, poisoning the apricot and olive trees. In addition to holding demonstrations, residents of Sabastiya are currently bringing legal action against Shave Shomron in order to stop the settlement from dumping its sewage on Palestinian lands.

YouTube Time Stamp For Brands, Because “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”

How brands can take advantage of the new YouTube Time Stamp feature for targeted messaging and fostering social engagement.

In situations when a GIF or Vine just isn’t enough to fully convey the context of your brand’s message, you’d likely take the next logical step and include video. Problem being, that you usually only want to share a specific part of the video before your target audience loses interest, believes you’re crazy or responds with the dreaded “tl;dr”. If you were web savvy you could have included the #t=0h0m0s coding at the end of your YouTube link so your video started right where you wanted, but let’s be honest “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”

YouTube Time Stamp For Brands, Because “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”

YouTube has recently and quietly introduced what I am coining as the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” button. Now, instead of adding the time stamp coding to your link, you can simply click the “checkbox” and generate a link to the video starting it at the point where you want it. This is a good move for YouTube to help foster additional social sharing and make YouTube clips as ubiquitous as GIFs.

YouTube Time Stamp For Brands, Because “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”

This should be enticing for brand managers, as it gives the freedom to show and express ideas via YouTube by cutting the through the fluff and sending people directly to the intended point of interest. Brands could also use this for directed messaging, allowing the use of one video with multiple responses, rather than creating a number of videos, cutting down on expense and increasing overall views. By linking users directly to the content they’re looking for, brands can drive views on one particular video, increasing the potential for engagement without diluting the potential view count.

Backcountry Camping Food Ideas

When you are planning a backcountry camping trip, you must pack foods that will take up the least amount of space, require simple preparation and provide you with enough nutrients and energy. Select a variety of breakfast foods, trail snacks, beverages, dried beans and grains, dehydrated meals, meats and fish, and flavorings to sustain you while camping in the backcountry.

Breakfast Foods

Select easily digestible, instant carbohydrates and vitamin-rich dried fruits for breakfast. Cook instant oatmeal or farina in a pot over a fire or camp stove and add dried fruits and some sugar for an energizing breakfast. Other options include muesli and protein bars.

Backcountry Camping Food Ideas Trail Snacks

Snack on salty foods that are high in carbohydrates to help sustain your energy while hiking. Pack granola bars, cookies, trail mix and nuts. Put them in an easily accessible compartment so you can grab them throughout the day without stopping or digging through your pack.

Beverages

Always carry at least two 32-oz. water bottles or a large Camelbak with you. Plan on drinking about 8 oz. of water every 30 to 60 minutes while hiking. Invest in a portable water filtration system so you can refill water from any water source and safely drink and cook with it. Besides water, bring hot chocolate mix and powdered milk as supplemental beverages to provide warmth and extra calories.

Dried Beans and Grains

Dried beans and grains provide protein and fiber. Boil your beans in water for 5 minutes then cover. Soak the beans in the hot water for 45 minutes to an hour before cooking. Beans, rice and lentils can take one to two hours to cook after soaking, so start cooking as soon as you set up camp for the night. For a faster alternative, try instant rice and dry, powdered beans.

Backcountry Camping Food Ideas

Dehydrated Meals

A wide variety of dehydrated soups and meals are available for camping trips. Carefully read the instructions for preparation before buying; choose meals that require only one pot and limited ingredients. Buy dried soup and pasta mixes that only need water. Sporting good stores often carry a wide range of dehydrated meals, such as chili, mac and cheese, stroganoff, and chicken teriyaki, that are special formulated for hiking trips. Eat large meals at the end of the day when your body has time to sufficiently digest them.

Meats and Fish

Eat meat and fish sparingly and only at night because they require a significant amount of energy to digest. Eat canned tuna, sardines, spam and chicken immediately after opening. Choose beef jerky or other dried, lean meats for protein. Fresh meat will spoil quickly, so don’t take it into the backcountry. If you know how to hunt or fish, however, prepare wild game as you catch it. Try catching trout, walleye and rabbit for small meals. Eat them the same day.

Flavorings

Pack a selection of spices and other flavorings to improve the taste of dried foods. Bring salt, pepper, mixed herbs, sugar and bouillon cubes packed in small, airtight containers, such as film canisters or sandwich bags. You can also find small containers with twist-off caps at craft stores.