Friday, April 17, 2009

Hobo Stew & Spring Digging

Spring always gets me in the mood to dig in the dirt, but I don’t know if my back will take anymore of the heavy work. This year, I think I will rent a roto-tiller from our local hardware store to turn up the dirt and mix in some compost before planting this year’s plants. Last year I told my boys that I needed the garden dug up and turned over; my middle son dug a 6-foot deep hole in the middle of my would-be potato patch. Not exactly what I’d had in mind.

My husband uncovered the flowerbed about 2 weeks ago. Already, the bright green shoots of my baby iris were about 2” tall. Those were a gift from my mother-in-law about 2 years ago when she divided hers, and I will probably have to divide mine within a year or two. No flowers yet, but it actually got up into the upper 60’s yesterday, so hopefully I will get some good pictures soon!
I have some big irises, also – another gift from a friend who needed to divide up an overgrown clump of plants on the side of her garage. These did not bloom last year, but I only just put them in the ground the previous fall, and then they were trampled by my horrible dogs. Those cute little garden border fences that are made of coated wire are useless against pit bulls! Do not get me wrong, my dogs are far from the vicious man-eaters the media will have you believe all bully breeds are.

Our female dog is afraid of most men and will cower behind me if my husband raises his voice to one of our kids.
Our male dog (her puppy who was born on 1/1/08) is my protector and best bud. He’s half pit-bull, half dachshund. Yep – go ahead and laugh, he looks like a wiener dog on steroids.
They are members of our family, but they are, of course, dogs – they have no concept of what garden borders and decorative edging are for. I believe I will invest a few more dollars this spring for the 2’ tall wrought-iron border fence. Maybe that will stand up to pit bulls! Although if I really need help digging, I’m sure they’d be happy to help...

When we are spending so much time outdoors, I love to grill. There’s no need to be stuck in the house, watching a boiling pot on the stove when you can be doing something better, outside! Not only that, but we are in the woods, so we don’t need air conditioning to keep the house cool (unless the oven is on). If it does get hot in the kitchen from cooking, it usually takes a while to cool down, which gives me another excuse to cook outdoors. We have a fire pit, in addition to a regular charcoal grill, so if I am really lazy, I can tell the boys to throw some sausages or hotdogs on a stick and put it in the fire for a while. Not much effort there, and Dad can supervise the fire so Mom doesn’t have to stop digging or planting or whatever! Then, if I am really lucky, one of my boys will even cook something for me, too. It’s nice when they are old enough to do things for Mom without being asked!

Here’s an easy recipe for the grill or over some coals on the edge of a campfire – I like to do this when we go camping, as there is very little mess!
Hobo Stew Packets

Ground beef (about 1/4 to
1/3 pound per person – do not use extra lean, you will not have enough moisture and the food may burn)
Vegetables (about 1 cup per person) – I use the frozen bags of mixed dinner vegetables
Cheese (2 slices per person, Velveeta, Bongard’s or other processed cheese works well in this recipe)
Tin foil – 1 square for each packet, about a foot to a foot and a half long

To prepare each packet, crumble ground beef onto a square of tin foil, top with vegetables and 2 slices of cheese. Wrap the foil around the food, sealing the edges. Place either on a hot grill or over coals at the edge of your campfire. Depending on how hot your coals are and how rare you like your hamburger, the packets should be done in 15 to 25 minutes. Be very careful removing these from the fire pit, use tongs if you have them as the packets will be very hot. The meat juices mixed with the melted cheese will make a gravy as everything cooks together, so be careful to open packets from the top, over a plate. Season to taste with salt & pepper & enjoy!


  1. We are working over the road ... its been a year already. I really miss having a garden .. so, I am sooo jealous right now ... :O) :O)
    Thanx for the receipe ....and sharing your 'puppy-family'.

  2. Sandi K,
    Were you ever a Girl Scout? I taught camping skills to girl scout leaders and that is one of the recipes. Hobo Stew and Campfire Stew (dutchoven)were the two staples for taking a group of girls out with the tents.
    Brings back memories,


Thanks for stopping by - please feel free to comment!