Elkhorn Campgrounds is well into another season of outdoor fun for the hundreds who call a tent or camper ‘home’ for part of the Wisconsin summer. Two things that are undeniably Wisconsin are cooking outdoors and managing the bugs around us. We’d like to think Wisconsin mastered the art of cooking out, and Minnesotans sent us the bugs out of jealousy. Here are four hacks for making the best of both.
1.Mosquitoes hate sage. One way to keep bugs away from your campsite is to add sage to your fire. (See our earlier Elkhorn Campgrounds fire tips) Just buy the cheap sage from the store, not the expensive, top-shelf, organic spice you use for gourmet meals at home. Sprinkle some on the fire every 15 or 20 minutes and the mosquitoes are at bay.
2.Mosquitoes hate burning cow pies. Where else but Wisconsin, right? They don’t stink horribly when they are dried, and humans don’t detect a stench when a cow pie is aflame. There’s just something in the smoke of burning cow poo that drives the winged bloodsuckers away. FYI: The pioneers survived long winters and mosquito swarms by burning buffalo chips.
3.Ticks suck. Literally. If you find a tick attached to you, take a cotton ball and put some liquid soap on it, then place it over the tick. The tick will let go and reattach to suck the cotton ball. There were rumors afloat that ticks were especially bad this year. Recent weather has tamed that problem.
4.Cooking over evergreens will coat your food with a black tar. It tastes horrible. Wisconsin has a lot of pine trees. The needles make excellent kindling. The wood you buy locally – required because you cannot bring it from home – could be pine. Make sure you ask. Pine is fine if you’re just using the logs for heat or the beauty of a campfire. If you’re cooking, choose other wood. Or stick to charcoal. If you have no choice but to use pine, wait until it burns down to coals before cooking.
You might want to skip the cooking all together if you're with us July 14-16 (and we have a few spots remaining). Elkhorn Ribfest is walking distance away that weekend, on our property in fact, and Ribfest features some of the best competition BBQ you'll lay your tastebuds on all summer. Admission is free!