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Many Nebraskan’s enjoyed visiting state parks and recreation areas during the recent 4th of July holiday period. For the most part, it appeared to be a good time for all. However, the unfortunate downside of a big holiday period is that lots of people generate lots of trash.

I guess I am a bit of a scrounge at heart because I like to walk through camping areas after a big holiday and see what got left behind. It is quite amazing what you can find! I have found many fishing poles leaned up against a tree, left by whoever camped there last. The majority of these get cleaned up and given to a young angler to use.

A campground that is vacated quickly due to a storm blowing up can provide some excellent treasures. Camp stoves always seem to be left on picnic tables or on the ground where campers were frantically loading gear before rains and winds hit.

In my most recent walkthrough, I found a very nice battery-operated lantern that was left near a fire ring. It appeared to be in perfect shape outwardly. I picked it up and tried to turn it on…nothing happened. It felt like the batteries were in it, but I opened it up to check. Yep…four “D” cell batteries were in place, but very corroded. The batteries had split and leaked out all over the inside of the battery compartment. I think I know why it was left behind.

Now, being the scrounge that I am, I couldn’t walk away from a lantern that looked so good on the outside. Being what some people might term an “old cheap guy” I knew I would have to attempt to fix it. And because I am an “old guy” I have learned a few things over the years. This lantern provided the perfect opportunity to use one of the tricks I’ve learned about cleaning corroded battery terminals.

I took the lantern home and put it on my work bench. Next, I found a large bowl, one big enough to hold the base of the lantern…the portion that held the batteries…and poured Coca-Cola all over it. I used enough Coke to cover all the metal contact points.

Coca-Cola can be very effective because it contains phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is an ingredient in many commercial rust-removal formulas. It will eat away battery corrosion so fast it will scare you and you will wonder why you drink Coke to begin with! Long story short…the lantern works great now and I’ll probably get many years of use out of it. What was considered trash by its previous owner is now a small treasure to me.

One more tip…you can avoid the battery corrosion issue on all your battery-operated equipment if you remove the batteries when you are not using it. Corrosion is a problem that can easily be eliminated. Remember this tip the next time you run into a battery corrosion problem.

Camp Cooking

Kabobs can be made from about any combination of meat and veggies on a skewer, so let your imagination run wild. This is my version of a simple kabob recipe I use in many of my camps.


2 Pounds of ground venison, elk, antelope, etc. sausage

6 Eggs

2 Large onions

1 Large red bell pepper

1 Large yellow bell pepper

1 Small bag/box of cherry tomatoes

1 Pound of thick sliced bacon

1 Bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce (or your favorite kind)

1 Bottle of red wine vinegar

1 Box of herb seasoned croutons

1 Bag of bamboo/wooden skewers

Directions - Soak the skewers in red wine vinegar. Crush the croutons into crumbs. Whip the eggs. Mix the meat, eggs and crumbs together and roll into golf ball size portions.

Wrap each meatball in bacon. Cut up the veggies into bite-size chunks and alternate meatballs and veggies on a skewer. Cook on a hot grill for about 5 minutes, turn/flip once.


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