Thursday, June 28, 2012

Raspberry Jelly!

This year we actually kept up with our raspberries and picked them often so they kept producing and the bugs stayed away! We had lots of yummy berries to enjoy :)

So I tried my very first batch of raspberry jelly! Mmmmm delicious :)
Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam
Yield: Makes 4 cups (1L)

4 cups (1 L) granulated sugar (comments on the original recipe suggested 3C which is what I used because my berries weren't too tart)
4 cups (1 L) raspberries
3T lemon juice if the berries are sweet (another suggestion in the comments)

1. Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)   I think I skipped this step ;)

2. Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel (see tips below), about 5 minutes.

4. Ladle into sterilized jars (I had my jars in hot water and then just poured the jelly in and let them seal as they cooled).

• To determine when the mixture will form a gel, use the spoon test: Dip a cool metal spoon into the hot fruit. Immediately lift it out and away from the steam and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drip off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later — the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon.

• "The intensity of this jam is due to the fact that it has no added fruit pectin," says Topp. Adding pectin helps the jam jell, but necessitates more sugar, which dilutes the natural flavor of the fruit. Making jam without added pectin requires more careful cooking (see notes about the spoon test, above), but the extra effort pays off in a deliciously old-fashioned, fruity product.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Place 5k!?

Grant, Catherine and I ran the Tanner's Team Foundation 5k in Sauk Rapids today! Catherine and I had been training for the 10k at Mama Marla's in April so figured we'd try a 5k to see what kind of time we could get after all that training.
We all did way better than we thought! Grant was the first of the three of us to come in and he placed 31 overall and actually was third in his age class (which you can see on this sheet) but they made a mistake on the first sheet that they went off of for awards and had written down the wrong age for him - dangit - so he didn't get a medal :(  Then I was next with an overall place of 46 and a time of 23:47 (average 7:40 min miles) - my best 5k time ever! And first in my age group (out of 28)! I don't think I've ever even placed in a 5k before! And Catherine was next with an overall place of 67 and 8th (out of 56 in her age group) with a time of 24:57!! She had told me she couldn't run it in 25 minutes and she did it even a little under that!  Woot - that was fun :)

Me on the left getting a medal!

Here are the official results! Hey look at that - I was 8th out of 180 females :) Fun! I'll probably never be able to do that again ;) lol

And Grant's official results and Catherine's too!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Horseback Riding in Custer and Climbing near Mt Rushmore, SD

The next morning we were all up bright and early. Chris took me on a horseback ride which was a ton of fun :)

Then Brody and Grant went to a spot near Rushmore to climb. They dropped Ang and I off and we ran back to the Wilgers' on a nice trail!

They did a two pitch climb called Waves

Grant belaying Brody at the second pitch

The view from the top!

Grant after making it up his first multi pitch climb

They did one more climb after the multi pitch and Grant cut his finger wide open so they called it a day ;) We all had a really fun time hanging out in Custer!

That evening we started making our way towards MN. We stayed at a free camping spot (donations accepted) in Faulkton and woke up the next morning to a flat tire ;) lol! But, Grant got the spare on and we made it home from another super fun road trip!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Climbing in the Needles, SD

The next day was mostly spent driving from Moran, Wy to Custer, SD where Brody and Angie were staying with some friends of theirs! Here's Leidy being the patient traveler she is ;)

Hanging out with the Johnsons at the Wilgers' place! Grant and Brody did the dishes so it had to be captured on camera ;)

The next day we went to the Needles to do a little climbing! That's Brody.

And Grant.

And me!

Pretty scenery!

Grant doing a climb being belayed from the top

It was a long climb! He's that little dot up there to the left of that rock sticking out ;)

Grant's pictures from the top of the climb

Ang was belaying him from up here

Brody setting up the ropes to rappel down

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Driving from Pinedale, WY to Moran, WY

The next morning in Pinedale we splurged again and went out for breakfast after our backpacking adventure.

Grant couldn't resist some Wyoming biscuits and gravy. AND he finished that whole giant plate!

Such gorgeous views of the Wind River Range driving out of Pinedale.

It was an AWESOME drive from Pinedale to Jackson!! I'm sure my family was tired of seeing pictures of mountains as I was texting them pictures like crazy because there were just more and more mountain ranges all around us the whole way and I just couldn't believe it! So pretty :)

And then the familiar views of our favorite spot - the TETONS! :) Happy day

Of course we stopped at the Snake River Overlook, as always. And had our first family photo there ;)

Love that view!

Leidy! It's your mountain :) Yup that's her for the very first time in front of Mt Leidy. We're such nerds. But it's one of our favorite winter spots ;)

After settling in at our old stomping grounds for the night we drove up the road that is the snowmobile trail in the winter.  We stopped to play fetch and relax at the overlook that we directed lots of renters to when we used to work here :)  What a fun day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day hike to Shadow Lake, Wind River Range, Wyoming

It's lovely waking up in the mountains ;)  It's like a picture from a backpacking magazine, right?!

Our bear bag hanging spot ;) No sign of any bears the whole hike!

Today we did a day hike to where we could see the back of the Cirque of the Towers!
This is after Grant told Leidy she didn't have to be in EVERY picture!  It's true, she was always out in front so got in a lot of pics like the one above ;)

As we hiked we could start to see more of the peaks of the Cirque!

We love the mountains!

So pretty! There were lots of willows along the creek that flows from Shadow Lake

Leidy = exhausted. She was quite the trooper!

When we got back to camp we decided not to tough out another FREEZING cold night and packed up to head back to the trailhead. I wasn't so sure about this idea since it was about 9 miles back after we just did 4 on our day hike (keep in mind we were at about 10,000ft and don't do a ton of backpacking except on trips like this ;) But we headed out anyways!

Do the views really get much better than this? Lovely trees, lakes, mountains, my pup and my husband :)

Still going :) and still awesome views!
There's me stopping for a pic looking back where we just came from. This is back by Fish Creek Park where we spent the first night

Leidy and I racing to the trailhead ... almost there almost there ... oh goodness my feet and shoulders hurt ... how are your feet little pup? And the bugs are starting to come out!
Ahh back in the car. We completely wussed out and drove to Pinedale and stayed in a motel! lol! We didn't have any more ambition to set up our tent again and freeze at the trailhead ;) But check out those mountains as we drove away! We'll be back again that's for sure!
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