Thursday, October 20, 2011

Barn Burner BBQ

Paul and I traveled last weekend with our cabin on wheels to Libertyville, Illinois,

to work with our nephew Chad as he competed in

a KCBS sanctioned contest. Chad arrived at Lamb's Farm on Friday morning to set up and get organized and we got there in the early afternoon. We were challenged with a brisk, cold and blustery wind all weekend. We had to batten down the hatches so things didn't blow across Lake Michigan!!!! Paul and I returned to the warmth of our camper Friday night while poor Chad stayed at the contest site and braved the cold to tend the smokers.

When we returned on Saturday morning, there was a smoky haze over the contest cooking area.

The place was hopping. There were 57 teams from across the United States in the competition.

My favorite part of the event was spending time bonding with my nephew.

He is a master chef, let me tell you. He cooked six racks of ribs, two briskets and two pork shoulders for the contest.

He also did chicken thighs

and chicken breasts.

Once the turn in times started, we were all busy preparing the boxes. First turn in was chicken. Wow, believe me, it was so good!!!!

He placed tenth in chicken, which is fantastic in a contest with that many teams!!!

Next turn in was ribs. He used Berkshire for the first time and they were fantastic. I thought they were perfect. I am NOT being biased, either. We are certified judges, you know!!!!

Next turn in was pork shoulder. Again, extremely good, I must say. So moist.

And last was brisket. Chad understands how to smoke a brisket. His tasted fantastic on Saturday.

I can only imagine your mouth is watering as you look at these pictures. Everything tasted as good as it looks. There was lots left for us to sample!


And, just to make it an even greater weekend, I was able to hold our new great-niece, Anna Grace.

She was born to Chad and Emily a little over a month ago! She melted my heart. She is Marlys and Paul's first granddaughter. Quite a beautiful addition to their five grandsons!

Thanks to Chad for letting us join in the competition. Next year, nephew Kevin will hopefully be able to join us again.  Team DGQ, what a fine tradition!!!! Have I said today I'm glad we're retired?

We did some meandering on our way home from Chicago with Bauxite Betsy and just arrived home yesterday. I'll add an update soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bear Head Lake State Park and Ely-September 13-20, 2011

We moved from Temperance River to Bear Head Lake State Park for another week of fall camping. We had a choice campsite right by the lake. Making reservations far in advance is a good thing!

After the warm temperatures we experienced during our stay on the North Shore, we noticed a bit of a change. That's alright, though. It is supposed to be fall.

We tested our furnace and it works well. We even spent a cozy day inside, playing Scrabble, watching movies and reading while it rained. No problems, except my Scrabble scores.

In fact, we even experienced our first snow of the season while we were at the International Wolf Center in Ely. Shortly after Paul took this picture, huge snowflakes started to fall.

Isn't he handsome?

The nice thing about spending a full week in one location is that a day or two of cold, rainy weather doesn't spoil the whole experience. We still had plenty of great weather to get out and do some hiking and canoeing.

We drove northeast of Ely on Fernberg Road and hiked the Blackstone/Secret/Ennis Lakes loop trail.

What an incredible hike.

It makes one wonder how many lakes like this there are to hike around in this great state.

We saw several beaver swimming in these lakes.

And very few people.

I'd love to go back. It was a "grand" day!

We toured the Dorothy Molter Museum, located on the outskirts of Ely. She was known as "The Root Beer Lady." Notice the root beer extract under her signature sign.

She lived by herself on an island in the Boundary Waters for years and made root beer to sell to the canoeists who passed by her place. After she died, they moved her main cabin and belongings to the present museum site.

Another day, we drove up the Echo Trail and hiked the Bass Lake/Dry Lake loop. The BWCA fire continued to be a presence in our days. However, we were on the other side of the smoke now, as opposed to our hazy days on the North Shore. We obviously avoided this spur of the hike.

If you are ever in this area, we recommend this hike. This lake has an interesting history. I'm not going to tell you what its story is, but encourage you to make the trip! No spoiler alerts here!

Of course, we had to spend time out on Bear Head Lake. We were camped right by it!

It's a good thing we weren't depending on a meal of fish to fill out our menu plans.

But, it didn't stop us from enjoying the better part of two days out in our canoe.

I told Paul that out of the 52 weeks in a year, I hope to be able to continue to spend at least two of them camping in northern Minnesota.

It is where we have shared some of our happiest memories.

And, I'm telling you, this Air Stream deal is the best! Next? We take the tin pickle north of Chicago for a BBQ weekend.

I'll talk to you soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The North Shore 2011

Northern Minnesota is one of our favorite places to visit. For the past four years, we have spent the week after Labor Day at Temperance River State Park.  I made a slide show out of the pictures Paul chose. If you want to get a look at our week, here it is.

Oh, please excuse my

pictures. I wear my binoculars all day when we are camping and I realize they don't make the most attractive jewelry. Here's where I'm at on the fashion issue:
Have I said today I'm glad we're retired?
The music is "Minnesota" by Austin Kyle. If you click on the youtube icon, you'll be able to view it in full screen. Enjoy!

Now, on to Bear Head Lake!
I'll talk to you soon.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Celebration Time!!

Wednesday was Nick's birthday. How could he be 25 already??? We headed into the city that evening to celebrate.

We had a great evening. We had appetizers at their apartment. Then, Nick, Ellen, Suzanne, Paul and I had dinner at Rinata, an Italian restaurant within walking distance. Delicious!!! A little poppy seed cake finished the evening. Nice!

Nick is a good and kind person. We are very proud of him and love him dearly. He likes his job. He has a wonderful partner. He and Suzanne have a close relationship. We are blessed.

Now, I am on to sorting our pictures from our northern Minnesota camping trip.
I'll talk to you soon.