21 December – Sunny and 29°F – Super Windy
The first day of winter!
We are still here in the camper but we are pleased with the work that is being done on the house. The texture is almost complete, they should be done today. The painter is supposed to be here and working behind him, so hopefully we will have the house painted by this weekend.
Yesterday we spent the entire day in Rapid. We spent a long time at Lowe’s looking at lights and a little time at Menard’s doing the same thing. We had lunch and then went to the commissary to do our grocery shopping for the month. We also went by Creative Marblecast to look at the sinks again, since we are having a hard time deciding what color we want in the bathrooms.
We stopped in Custer on the way home to fill up propane bottles and get some movies from the library. We don’t have cable TV, and finally got ourselves a TV/DVD player so we have something to do when it gets dark at 4PM. It feels much like a deployment when you watch a lot of movies in your down time.
We arrived back here after dark and tackled the enormous task of unloading groceries into a tiny camper fridge and freezer. Fortunately, it is still below freezing outside so we put what we couldn’t fit in the freezer in a cooler out there. We have been trying to do a big shopping trip for groceries only once per month, and supplementing perishables with little trips here and there to Custer or Hot Springs. When we go to the commissary we really load up on canned and dry goods.
The limited grocery trips and the very limited cooking area require some creative cooking and meal planning. I have even considered auditioning for the Next Food Network Star show. They always have these aspiring chefs with interesting points of view like: Farm to Table, Creole Cooking, Family Style Cooking, Gluten Free, etc. My point of view would be cooking in a camper. Dave said I could call my show “The Campered Chef”. I would only cook meals on a 2- burner gas range, the oven is too small and burns everything. I would also have about 3 square feet for all preparation and dishes. Everything would be served on paper plates. I would limit the ingredients list to what is in the cabinet, leading to some interesting recipes toward the end of the month! The judges would say things like, “I would not pay to eat this in a restaurant.” Or, “The presentation is messy. It looks like you just dumped it out of a pot into a bowl.” And I would say, “Yes, but I made it all in the camper with limited space and limited grocery choices….. and it’s cold and we’re hungry so we aren’t picky!”
Seriously, Dave and I have been eating pretty well. He is an excellent chef, but it has been too cold to use the grill and we have been coming up with some pretty good dinners despite the circumstances. For Christmas, we have traditionally made a very fancy meal of things we wouldn’t normally make. Favorites from the past have included a standing rib roast, lobster, bananas foster, crab bisque, crème brule, and one year we had elk stew. I seriously doubt this year we will be making anything you have to light on fire, and we are in fact struggling for determining the menu. Suggestions? What are people in real houses having for Christmas this year?
We are sincerely wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas. 2016 has been an exciting and eventful year for us and we are very grateful to all of our friends and family for the love and support – AND for not having us hauled off to the looney bin for chasing this crazy dream!