The "Tent" at "The Oasis", TX [Sweet and sour Chicken]

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you” [Wally Amos]

tent frame set up-2  

Is it just another tent? It is not. It is nostalgia to me, it is the closest, one of them anyhow, form of being with Nature and still have some protection and comfort, waterproofing and heat being added ingredients. It has kept me busy for a bit, the initial set up first with much leveling of the ground and removing all resemblance of rocks, anything that could be felt through the sole of my moccasins I always wear when not riding. It is going to stay up for a few months here while we travel the areas, it would have been however much easier to read the directions a bit more carefully.

tent frame set up-3  

I remember the day because I was going to have some help for a couple hours. Paid help, yes, to drive the big steel stakes at least half way into this solid rocky ground. I had even stopped by the day before to concur about the time. I am not going to say “of course” (even though I would like too…) but “my help” never showed up. Having never thought of that particular scenario, I had already set up the frame and the tent itself on part of the A frame. I did see him a couple days later, “I overslept… sorry…”, I smiled, because I like to smile when I really want to not smile, if that makes any sense. Better for the blood pressure. So first I put down a large tarp, bigger a bit than the tent, then came the floor which edges up which will prevent any water from coming in, same with the skirt around the tent itself when draped on the outside underneath the floor.

tent frame set up-5  

An easy set up it was for me, and yet, there is already a mistake in the pictures above. As the side poles will go up, I will not be able to reach the peak and tie in the two upper lines. Same with the fly. So, as I always say “hello Ara…”, smiling again, I started over and sure was glad that I did not forget the wood stove pipe which comes in 5 pieces, these where the top 3. The makers of the tent “Montana Canvas” where only a few miles from Manhattan, MT, where we were camping a while back, in Belgrade to be exact. More helpful I could not ask, they also thought as I did that such a tent would be a great addition to “The Oasis”, a sample of their work a couple thousands of miles away.

tent frame set up-6  
tent frame set up-7  

I was fortunate that the walls and the fly are made of their new material called “Relite”, a much lighter load as if being all canvas I would have never been able to do this. The skies were clearing up, the wind had picked up, and I realized that I better start my “stress test”, a free one, driving those stakes into the ground with my 4lb big hammer purchased for that purpose. I obviously passed the test remembering my Doctor always saying I needed to push myself a bit, at the same time memorizing my neighbor’s phone number, just in case as last year on November First. It was not a pretty day.

tent frame set up-9  
tent frame set up-8  

I had the good presence of mind to use a flat piece of wood to tap in the first two wood stove pipes, such hindsight unusual for me, as “little green giant” wheeled it all in. “Little green giant” was my savior. This would have not happened without him, it is my best investment yet, that little green cart with four real tires and a drop tailgate, featured in the first photo! The tent was carried by him and so was the table, upside down, everything from rocks to wood. I don’t have a name yet for the tent, “White Elephant” sits next to it, so does “Old Faithful”… I am sure it will come to me one of these days.

tent-4 tent-9

It is a tent! Heat with hot water, power from solar and 20th Century wi-fi. The Montana Canvas people have been very generous with us as it also came with more than enough hanging pockets, hooks, paper towel holders… The table was donated by a reader near by, a couple old chairs, my Kermit chair and cot. Add a couple Mexican woven washable carpets and I could not help buying the little hanging birds and turtles. Great view… If I was camping somewhere for even two weeks and could carry a couple hundred pounds, considering it is about half a day to set it up (after knowing what you are doing…) I would. Why not have the room one needs.

tent-11 tent-12
tent-13 tent-18

The room with a definite view and yet after a couple tires changes and some fresh oil we are now ready for some new destinations. It is always the case, perfectly knowing that just a few hours away I will miss this space. I am curious to find out about the wood  stove, how much it is actually going to heat the tent when it drops to the upper 20’s as last year. With my zero degree sleeping pad and bag maybe it should not be too bad. I have been already told about this idea being a silly one, one that will blow away by the winds so common here. It has already sustained 30mph ones, when the more powerful ones happen, we will not be here anyhow and the tent will be folded away in that big green monster… the shipping container, the one long enough to have a bowling lane!


Dinner! Not that much fun sometimes to cook for one, but the challenges of ingredients, lack of them, makes it interesting as I came up with this recipe a couple days ago.
2 Boneless skinless breasts of Chicken
1 C Breadcrumbs or Panko
2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
6 Tbs Orange Marmalade
4 Cloves chopped Garlic
1 chopped Green Onion
Vegetable Oil
Chopped red Pepper

Sweet and Sour Chicken  
Sweet and Sour Chicken-2  

I cooked the Chicken in the pan in a mixture of about half butter and vegetable oil after dipping it in bread crumbs. I use butter and oil to try to keep it light and healthy (!!!). Once the Chicken was done to a nice crispy brown, I removed it and place it in a dish on paper towels to absorb the… fat. In the same pan I sauteed the garlic and on added the rest of the ingredients heating till the sugar of the marmalade caramelized and thickened. Dropped it on the Chicken, added some chopped red peppers and green onions for color, and that was it. I will be making another sauce soon for Pork with Blueberry preserve.

Sweet and Sour Chicken-3  

Till next time, you be well.

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Ara & Spirit

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10 Responses to “The "Tent" at "The Oasis", TX [Sweet and sour Chicken]”

  1. texascindy Says:

    Ara! What a great addition to the Oasis! That is a nice set up. I hope it withstands all the weather that is thrown at it! I think you will be surprised at the comfort level inside it once the cold sets in. Such a nice place to stretch out! I know you have always said you feel more “at home” in a tent! Great stuff! Chicken looks awesome, too! I’ll have to try it!
    Safe travels and happy homelife!

  2. chessie Says:

    my mouth is watering Ara.
    My cousin has a tent from them. He uses it in the MOuntains of OR. in winter…as his hunting lodge…he says he loves his…I’m sure you will yours. Looks quite warm and homey…large enough to even entertain in! (I wouldn’t want to though, as I am too jealous over my private space.
    You stay warm Ara…
    Of course stay well.

  3. Carol S. Says:

    Very cool!! The tent makes more sense than a yurt because you can put it away easily in your big green “thing” when you travel. Chicken is on the menu for tonight, and cooking for 2 is almost as much fun (not) as cooking for one, and I have all the ingredients for your “Orange Dijon ” sauce. Sounds great. Enjoy your new digs!

  4. Louise Says:

    Wow, what a tent! I’m thinking it could be “The Casbah” or “The Taj Majal”!

    Completely understand the “ready for new destinations.” We have a bunch of items to make a campsite homey: reclining chairs, patio mat, firepit, even the hot tub. But by the time all that is set up, we’re ready to move on. I see RVs in seasonal campgrounds, with potted plants and christmas lights and gee gaw windsocks fluttering the breeze and it doesn’t seem like a mobile lifestyle to me. I feel better when I know we could stagger to the steering wheel at 3am and just drive away. Hmm. Wonder what I’m running from? 🙂

  5. Ellen Says:

    “The Canvas Casita”. Looks like an awesome place to spend some time. Wish I’d been close enough to help!

  6. Toni Says:

    Ara, Very cool tent and great views! what happens when the big winds blow? Interesting life style you have. chicken dish looks great. Be safe, well and happy. Toni

  7. Julie & Jimmy Kinsey Says:

    Hi Ara,
    Haven’t dropped by your site in a while; things are looking good & chicken delicious! Hope you and Spirit are well.
    Much love,
    Julie & Jimmy

  8. john Says:

    What happened to Michael Vick’s dogs,a very heart warming story ,about how good the pit breed really is.michael vic belongs in a kennal and not in the NFL. He said he payied his debt to society, he can never make it right to those poor dogs he help to tramatize. .

  9. David C. Says:

    Howdy Ara…

    I love the new addition. Question; is there an option to add no-seeum proof screen, over the door? As you know, here in South Florida, mozzies and no-seeums would make an open door a direct path to a bug buffet…

    Warm regards,


  10. Andre Shoumatoff Says:

    Very neat Ara,
    A couple tricks we learned at Burning Man, as our temporary buildings are always being hammered by the wind the entire week, is to hammer down the steaks (in our case we use sections of rebar) as the rope keeping the structure up stretches to its max. Ideally with the tips just a couple inches from the ground, then you can safely walk around the metal tips no matter how late or impaired or anything else along the lines you may be. And second is we take old tennis balls and cut small holes in them and stick them over the tips for the same reasons. Very nice addition indeed. Hope you’re well and your recent posts are particularly wonderful as always. It looks like it is going to be a good fall into winter. Chin up as always for the 20 gazillion reasons you deserve.

    Your friend,
    Andre in Utah

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