Set up two forked stakes about five feet apart and four feet to the crotches. Across them lay a green stick (lug-pole) somewhat thicker than a broomstick. Now cut three or four green crotches from branches, drive a nail in the small end of each, or cut a notch in it, invert the crotches, and hang them on the lug-pole to suspend kettles from. These pot-hooks are to be of different lengths so that the kettle can be adjusted to different heights above the fire, first for hard boiling, and then for simmering. If kettles were hung from the lug-pole itself, this adjustment could not be made, and you would have to dismount the whole business in order to get one kettle off. *
* It is curious how many different names have been be-stowed upon the hooks by which kettles are suspended over a fire. Our forefathers called them pot-hooks, trammels, hakes-hangers, pot-hangers, pot-claws, pot-crooks, gallows-crooks, pot-chips, pot-hrakes, gibs or gib-crokes, rackan-crooks (a chain 01 pierced bar on which to hang hooks was called a rackan or reckon), and I know not what else besides. Among Maine lumbermen, such an implement is called a lug-stick, a hook for lifting kettles is a hook-stick, and a stick sharpened and driven into the ground at an angle so as to bend over the fire, to suspend a kettle from, is a wambeck or a spygelia — the Red Gods alone know why! The frame built over a cooking-fire is called by the Penobscots kitchi-plak-wagn, and the Micmacs call the lug-stick a chiplok-waugan, which the white guides have partially anglicized into waugan-stick. It is well to know, and heresy to disbelieve, that, after boiling the kettle, it brings bad luck to leave the waugan or spygelia standing.
If this catalogue does not suffice the amateur cook to express his ideas about such things, he may exercise his jaws with the Romany (gipsy) term for pot-hook, which is kukauviscoe sasterx.
If forked stakes are not readily found in the neighborhood, drive straight ones, then split the tops, flatten the ends of the cross-pole and insert them in the clefts of the stakes.
You do not want a big fire to cook over. Many and many a time I have watched old and experienced woodsmen spoil their grub, and their tempers, too, by trying to cook in front of a roaring winter camp-fire, and have marveled at their lack of common-sense. Off to one side of such a fire, lay your bed-logs, as above; then shovel from the camp-fire enough hard coals to fill the space between the logs within three inches of the top. You now have a steady, even heat from end to end; it can easily be regulated; there is level support for every vessel; and you can wield a short-handled frying-pan over such an outdoor range without scorching either the meat or yourself.
For baking in a reflector, or roasting a joint, a high fire is best, with a backing to throw the heat forward. Sticks three feet long can be leaned against a big log or a sheer-faced rock, and the kindling started under them.
Often a good bed of coals is wanted. The camp-fire generally supplies these, but sometimes they are needed in a hurry, soon after camp is pitched. To get them, take sound hardwood, either green or dead, and split it into sticks of uniform thickness (say inch face). Lay down two bed-sticks, cross these near the ends with two others, and so on up until you have a pen a foot high. Start a fire in this pen. Then cover it with a layer of parallel sticks (aid an inch apart. Cross this with a similar layer at right angles, and so upward for another foot. The free draft will make a roaring fire, and all will burn down to coals together.
The thick bark of hemlock, and of hardwoodi generally, will soon yield coals for ordinary cooking.
To keep coals a long time, cover them with ashes, or with bark which will soon burn to ashes. In wet weather a bed of coals can be shielded by slanting broad strips of green bark over it and overlapping them at the edges.
In time of drought when everything is tinder-dry, or in windy weather, especially if the ground be strewn with dead leaves or pine needles, build your fire in a trench. This is the best way, too, if fuel is scarce and you must depend on brushwood, as a trench conserves heat.
Dig the trench in line writh the prevailing wind. The point is to get a good draught. Make the windward end somewhat wider than the rest, and deeper, sloping the trench upward to the far end. Line the sides with flat rocks, if they are to be found, as they hold heat a long time and keep the sides from crumbling in. Lay other rocks, or a pair of green poles, along the edges to support vessels. A little chimney of flat stones or sod, at the leeward end, will make the fire draw well. If there is some sheet-iron to cover the trench a quite practical stove is made, but an open trench will do very well if properly managed.
Good for a shifting camp in the fall of the year, because it affords first a quick cooking fire with supports for the utensils, and afterwards a fair camp-fire for the night whefii the weather is not severe. Cut two hardwood logs not less than a foot thick and about six feet long. Lay these side by side, about fifteen inches apart at one end and six or eight inches at the other. Across them lay short green sticks as supports, and on these build a crisscross pile of dry wood and set fire to it. The upper courses of wood will soor burn to coals which will drop between the logs and set them blazing on the inner sides. (If the bed logs were elevated to let draught under them they would blaze all around, and would not last long).
After supper, lay two green billets, about eight ;nches thick, across the bed logs, and aut night-wood on A, to be renewed as required. In the morning there will be fine coals with which to cook breakfast.