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Sunday, July 25, 2010

CAMPING – SATURDAY – at Paint River Forks in the Ottawa National Forest in the U.P. of Michigan


This post is about Saturday at the Paint River Forks-----

Well, it was supposed to be rainy and icky all day, according to the weatherman (which we know is usually wrong) ....  We woke up to a few drops of rain, but by 8 am it had stopped and we were up and at ‘em. 

Both of our neighboring campers packed up and left, so it was just us and my sis and broinlaw. We had the place to ourselves!   Amazing that people will leave on a Saturday morning just when it was getting nice out?

After coffee and cinnamon rolls from the Easy Bake Oven, paint river forks july 20105


we decided to to work.... 

it was time for making PICKLES!!!  Yes... PICKLES!

See, on Friday morning my brotherinlaw stopped at a Veggie Guy stand on the way out to The Forks, and managed to get a bushel of cucumbers!   My sister had called me quick before we left Oconto to tell us that and bring supplies!  We were gonna can pickles!

Here is a blog post of doing pickles while camping another year too.... http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/2010/04/campground-review-runkle-lake-at.html

My sister and I like to preserve and can produce each year, but we live 120 miles apart and only see each other on weekends when camping.  So why not bring the canning things along and do them while camping? 

We geared up with two turkey fryer bases that run on propane tanks, our big kettle for canning 9 quart jars at a time, and a tall kettle for brine.   3 dozen jars and lids and rings, and we were ready set go!

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We cut some in spears, some in chucks and left some whole.    We stuffed our clean jars, ladled in our hot brine and sealed them in a hot water bath for ten minutes for quart jars.

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It didn’t take us long, because we have done this so many time together, it’s like choreographed music!   We did up 33 quarts of pickles.  

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As you can see, our jars came out lovely and all sealed ... PING PING PING -  Music to a Canner's Ears!   LOL   

Yes, we are crazy, but can you imagine the guy who stopped at our campsite to chat with us?  Turns out that he normally does canning with an arch-nemesis of mine whom I beat in the Iron County Fair with my Best In Show Pickles!!!   That other guy was sooo upset when I won, a mere woman, that he made me leave working at the beer booth and go all the way up to the exhibits to taste his pickles and tell him why mine were better!  LOL....  and mine WERE BETTER!    He wanted to know our secret.  He has pried all our family to learn about our secret.   They have all given him some bogus answers, right down to revealing that we buy store bought pickles and reseal them in canning jars to win the ribbons at the fair.   (we don’t)   And now this friend of his is going to go find him today and tell him the secret:  WE USE THE WATER FROM THE PAINT RIVER IN OUR PICKLES!    HARRDEEEEHARRRHARRRRRRR

Other times we have canned up stewed tomatoes, hot salsa,  spicy dilly beans and my sister does a lot of sauerkraut, but that is a bit hard to do when camping .

Once our pickle mess was done and cleaned up and stowed away, we relaxed for a bit. 
Linda hauled out a lawn chair to weave on --  she wanted to get this one done over the weekend.  I hauled out my knitting. We spent a pleasant afternoon doing our art.

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Note--- see my past post about the woven lawn chairs:



The guys were busy yapping with the friend from the cottage down the road, and all was relaxing and nice.   Suddenly, Linda could hear a faint splash splash sound coming from the river... we got to the bank as quietly as we could. Yes, a young deer had been coming right down the river.  I managed 2 shots before she dashed into the woods.  Only one turned out enough to see that it’s a deer.  Look to the opposite side of the bank….

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Then.... it was time for Blueberry Picking!!!   The wild Michigan blueberries are in full swing right now... but remember, a wild blueberry is much smaller than the commercial ones you see in the grocery stores.  So it takes a LOT of picking to fill an ice cream bucket!  

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Steve and I did about a gallon worth of blueberries, and also they got some raspberries.  At one point we saw two logs ripped apart obviously by a bear… looking for bugs.  My sister also found a pile of bear doo doo, so it's best to move on and find another wild patch.   I am going to make Blueberry Jam from my berries…. and Schmoo is going to bake Fuzz a raspberry pie!

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Suppertime was cooked on the fire ---  It was 4 "Biggen" baked potatoes  (Yes, that is the brand name on the bag)  2 slabs of salmon and some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and salad.   Yummmmmm   They guys cooked with the tripod, and we women got the table ready.

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Dessert was, of course, S'mores!


I hauled out another bottler of wine, and we listened to the coyotes howling around at the moon and we looked at all the stars in the sky.  So remote, no lights, no noise and no other people in the whole campground.


At one point the coyotes were getting too close and too yippy, so we put our dogs in the rig for safety.  We carry a can of bear spray too, but we didn't think that they would venture too close to the campfire.  But you never know...




  1. Sounds like a very productive pickle day. Alot of work done in canning that many pickles. Those blueberries look really good too.
    I can only imagine how neat it was to have the campground all to yourselves.. such a peaceful setting.
    Take care!
    Mike & Gerri

  2. The pickles look so good. I've never tried making them, but my Grandma made some of the best.

  3. Ah the art of canning, my Mom & Grandma and all the Aunt's would can every weekend from August till October, some of the smell's were great, others not so great. Look's like a great weekened. One thing can be said the Pfundtner's sure eat good while ouy in the wild. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.


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