Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall Clean up and a Road Trip...

Last Tuesday, the 13th, was our anniversary... 14 years and yet it seems like only yesterday. To celebrate, we took the truck on a road trip to the eastern edge of northern Wisconsin, almost to the Michigan border. We spent the day exploring the towns of Manitowish Waters, Mercer and Presque Isle. Just to keep this motorcycle related, I was also looking for possible motorcycle routes to ride next spring.

A caboose and a big loon in Mercer...

Manitowish Waters is a cool small town with interesting shops, and it's the starting area of 47 miles of paved bicycle trails. At Rest Lake, the big lake right in the middle of town, there were bicycle racks with free loaner bikes and a nice city park.

Bike/walking trail...

When dinner time approached, we headed to the Little Bohemia Lodge to eat.

I had a very nice chicken parmesan and Nancy had a thick boneless pork chop. The lodge has a great history including a shoot out between the John Dillinger gang and the FBI led by Melvin Purvis. The lodge has newspapers from the 1930's hanging on the walls telling the story of the shoot out. Check out the Little Bohemia Lodge's web site history page. It's a great read.

Bullet holes in the dinning room wall...

I made another batch of jalapeno jelly and we made 2 batches of salsa using my old recipe from the 1990's when I had my last garden...

Today has been the coolest so far this fall. The high was only 41 and it's expected to get down to 25 tonight.

I spent most of the day outside. I made a compost bin out some large pallets and started to load it with garden debris.


  1. well ya live in a nice part of the world
    cannot imagine having that bike system in very many places nowadays and it working

    around me they would take the rack as well

    other than the compost bin have you gone into a worm farm for the household waste
    great benefits for gardens

    1. I often wonder what the rest of the world thinks about life in the USA. For the most part, it's not anywhere near as dangerous as the nightly news makes it out to be. Yes, there are areas where I wouldn't want to live, but up here in the north it's nothing like the news makes it out to be. We have an occasional break in of vacant summer cabins, some drink-drug offences, atv/snowmobile thefts... It's not perfect, but close.

      For the last 10-15 years I've motorcycle traveled many places in the US and never had a problem. I avoid staying near big cities and prefer middle of no where type trips.

      Now, with a compost pile we'll put the kitchen scraps in it. We were tossing them in the woods (veg only, no meat) an let the critters and nature have it. There are worm farm kits available, but we've never tried them.

  2. Erik - have you a great salsa recipe? I had one that was awesome many years ago. This year got one off the internet ... not so good, actually yuck! What a waste of good produce. Happy anniversary.

    1. I have an excellent salsa recipe! Up to now it has been classified as TOP SECRET...
      One year, back in the 90's we made 96 pints! That's 13 batches.. a lot of salsa..
      You need.....
      9-10 cups of washed, peeled, cored, and diced tomatoes. 3 cups of finely diced green peppers, 3 cups of finely diced onions, 2 tsp. of oregano, 1 Tbsp. of salt, 1 Tbsp. of sugar, 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar, 3 ounces of lemon juice, 2 tsp. of minced garlic, 4 Tbsp. of canned tomato past, and finally, jalapeƱos, diced fine, to taste. It varied from year to year.. some years 2 or 3 did it, some years 5 or 6..

      Combine everything in a large stock pot, bring to a boil and stir frequently. You don't want it to scorch on the bottom of the pot.

      Here's where things vary.. the longer you boil it, the thicker things get, so you might only fill 5 jars, maybe 6, with some left over to eat right away. So, I usually start the dishwasher with 7 pint jars in it when the salsa starts to warm up. My dishwasher runs 1 hour, so the salsa boils nearly and hour.
      This is not a "thick and chunky" style like from the store, it's a thinner, but flavorful salsa perfect for scoop type chips.

      When the jars are done, I add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice to the hot jars, fill to 1/2" of head space, seal, and process in a water bath canner for 45 minutes...

      To save on produce, you could always make a 1/2 or 1/3 batch as a sample first before diving in to a full batch.

    2. Awesome Erik - I will try it. Thanks.

  3. Bullet holes in the wall. It adds a lot of character. I like the free bikes in the rack. They just started a service here where you need an phone app to unlock the bikes. Not really sure how it works yet but for now they are still free.

    1. I don't remember if it was St. Paul or Minneapolis, but one of them had yellow painted bicycles free to use in the city. I don't know if that program still exists or if all the bikes were eventually stolen and sold as scrap... lol

  4. Very nice! Would you mind posting that jalapeƱo jelly recipe, or is this a family secret... ?

    1. No, it's no secret...
      Take 12-14 ounces of jalapenos, wash them, cut the open and remove the seeds and ribs (the more you leave them in, the hotter it gets)
      Put the jalapeno chunks in a blender with 1 cup of cider vinegar.. blend until the bits are small.
      In a large pot add 1 more cup of cider vinegar, 6 cups of sugar, and the blended jalapeno and vinegar mix. Bring to a boil... stir constantly. boil 5 minutes, remove from heat, add 2 foil packets, 3 oz. each, of liquid pectin, return to heat, boil 1 more minute... pour into sterilized jars, top with new lids/rings, boil in water bath canner for 10 minutes.... let cool and enjoy!

      I add a few drops of either red or green food coloring in the last minutes of cooking.

      I tried a batch using only 1 pouch of pectin. I wanted a softer jelly for crackers and cream cheese. I haven't opened one of those jars yet bur we'll see how it turns out.

      1 batch fills about 7 of the 1/2 pint jars

      The recipe is right out of either the Ball or Kerr brand canning books

  5. Belated Anniversary wishes to you and Nancy!! It looks like you had a nice day away to celebrate.

    Your weather sounds like it is getting a tad chilly. They are predicting a warmer drier winter for us here in Oregon. How goes your winter forecast for WI?

  6. I've been Manitowish Waters. BTW; glad your blogging again.