Made By Gina's Custom Creations

Made By Gina's Custom Creations

My Spoonflower

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Michigan & the Fruits of my Labor...

I am slowly getting burnt out from all the canning I've been doing lately, and really missing my sewing room.  But I can't stop the canning as long as there is an abundant flow of fresh fruits and vegetables!  I hate to let things go to waste, so canning is one way I can preserve these wonderful gifts from nature!
Today was a very long day in the kitchen, and considering how many hours I spent canning, it sure doesn't seem like I got a lot canned!  But I only have one 4 burner stove and no dishwasher, so all the jars have to be hand washed, then sterilized in a HWB canner, so I can't use the canner for canning until the jars are's just the way it is here, and I am fine with it!  But what I wouldn't give to have a dishwasher....

Well, last weekend we spent a day site-seeing some places in Michigan, just above the Wisconsin border.  My parents and my dad's cousin (along with her husband & their oldest daughter) also went with.  We stopped at Irish Hollow Cemetery near Rockland, MI.  Then we stopped at the museum in Rockland.  We stopped at Old Victoria and toured the old copper miners' cabins...what a neat piece of history!  We had a picnic of homemade sub sandwiches at a park in Rockland before heading to Ontonagon, MI and Porcupine Mountains.  I have been up in these parts of Michigan, but not since I was a teenager.  My family used to camp up there quite often as I was growing up.  But Brian has never been up here.  I enjoyed being able to see it all again after so many years, and to show Brian some of what Michigan has to offer as well.
We also walked along the beach of Lake Superior and took in the sights there as well.  Here are some photos of our day trip to part of the UP in Michigan...

 ...Brian at Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area
  ...Brian watching Cliff & Dad looking for their namesthat they carved 50 years ago in the rocks
 ... Dad being goofy & pointing out his name...
and below is a closeup of his name...
he carved it when he was about 13 yrs old...
around 50 years ago...
and it's still there!

 ...Dad standing TOO close to the edge...
at Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area
 ...Brian & me at Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area
(above & below)

...Brian at the entrance of an old copper mine
 ...Brian & Dad at Lake Superior
 ...Brian & me at Lake Superior  
  ...Brian, Dad & me at Lake Superior

And now for some pictures of what I got canned today!

The apples we picked in Michigan... 

Brandied Apple Rings... 

Peach Rhubarb Jam, Apple Rhubarb Jam, Apple Maple Jam,
and the 2 oddballs in the front are Rhubarb Black Raspberry Jam.
(Not pictured is Blueberry, Apple, Banana Freezer Jam that is already in the freezer).

All the rhubarb came from our yard.
All the apples came from Michigan.
The peaches were fresh frozen from Spring Lake Country Store in Spring Lake, WI
(a Mennonite owned store with AWESOME fresh & bulk foods).
IDK where the black raspberries came from...
Brian had them in the freezer in a Ziploc freezer bag!

It's now time to say goodnight and head off to dreamland...

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Season for Canning!

Last year I learned how to make pickles.  This year I learned how to make jams and jellies.  And all in all I love to do both.  In fact, I love canning in general!
This year we have been so fortunate when it came to fruits and veggies...between friends and family who have given us cucumbers, green beans, cherries and some apples, and then the fruits from the trees in our own yard and the wild grapes I found along a country road this fall, and even some overloaded apple trees along the roadsides...we haven't had to buy any fruits or veggies for canning at all!
I've been busy off and on for the past two months making jams & jellies, pickling dilly beans, pickles and other veggies, making apple juice and sauce...WHEW!  I'm starting to get burnt out, but it's not over yet!  While in Michigan this past weekend, we ended up picking more apples from trees in the wild, because the apples were so sweet we couldn't pass them up!  And tomorrow morning I am going raspberry picking with one of my quilting friends!
It has truly been an amazing year for the abundance of fruits and vegetables, and we are so appreciative for it all.  Our root cellar is full, but it doesn't stop me from preserving and sharing some of it with others as well!
I did tell my family that we don't need to buy any jam or jelly for the next year or so!  LOL!
Here are all kinds of pictures to show some of the things I canned this fall so far...


  One of Brian's best friends, Bill, and his wife Linda, graciously allowed Brian to pick as many cherries as we wanted from their sour cherry tree, and I ended up with even more jam than what's pictured below.  This picture shows what I got made before running out of pectin...

7.29.2013 - Next came...
30 qts & 17 pints of pickles, and 6 pints of dilly beans 

These came from cucumbers I got from my parents' pickle farm, and the green beans came from Tea Pot Quilt & Garden Center in Montello, WI.
The pickle recipes I used are: Grandma's Dill Pickles (Taste of Home), Spicy Dill Pickles (Emeril Legasse), Bread & Butter Pickles (Taste of Home), Claussen Kosher Garlic Pickle Copycat, and Polish Dill Pickles from a Mrs. Wages pickling packet.

Then Brian's brother, Duane, gave us all these cucumbers and dill from his garden, including some green beans that aren't pictured, so I had to make more pickles and dilly beans!
 31 quarts, 25 pints & 1 half pint of pickles!
Varieties of pickles I made on this 2nd round are: Sweet Gherkins, Grandma's Dills, Fast Favorite Garlic Dills, Aunt Agnes Garlic Dills, Old Fashioned Garlic Dills and Emeril's Sweet & Spicy Pickles. (All recipes were found either online or in my Taste of Home Canning & Preserving cookbook).

9 quarts and 1 pint of dilly beans

From apples I picked along the roadside, I made Spiced Apple Rings...

Wild Grapes I picked along a roadside...
 ...became Wild Grape Jelly

Left to Right:
Burgandy Wine Jelly, Boone Farm Blue Hawaiian Wine Jelly, Honey-Chiante Jelly

Pear Jam from the pear trees in our yard...

Dilly Beans & Pickled Peppers

9.9.20137 pints Spicy Pickled Beets
14 pints of my Grandma Klemp's Pickled Beets recipe.

Ground Cherries from Brian's brother, Duane's garden...
Freshly picked...
 After Brian husked the ground cherries...

Brown Sugar & Maple Ground Cherry Jam...
...Plum & Ground Cherry Jam
(plums were picked from the plum trees in our yard)

Best Apple Pie Jam

Garlicky Pickled Mixed Veggies...
 ...all garden fresh veggies used: carrots, green & yellow zucchini's, onions, hot banana pepper, cucumber and green beans. Recipe can be found on pg 15 of Better Homes and Gardens 2013 Canning magazine. The recipe called for a few other veggies, but I could only use what we had on hand.
2-1/2 Quarts of Home Canned Apple Juice (on the left); 8 Pints & 1 Quart of Applesauce

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Quilters at the 2013 Portage County Fair

Once again it's the end of another summer, which brought the Portage County Fair to town for Labor Day Weekend!  This is the second year that Tuesday Quilters will have hung member's quilts in the 4H building for the duration of the fair (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon).  This year there were a lot more quilts hanging than last year!

Here are the pictures of the quilts being prepared & hung before the fair...

And here are the pictures of the quilts after the building was open to the public...