Sometimes I think about our Michigan garden.
The pinnacle of our gardening and canning experience was in 2011. My grandparents had a nice garden and CD was invited to tend to it for the summer. Our garden was mostly tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, strawberries, onions, and potatoes.
My brother offered some space at his house so we planted black beans for fun. I don’t mean that we germinated beans and planted them carefully. We bought a bag of dried beans, planted them in rows, and hoped for the best.
The garden was a huge success! We were eating vegetables all day, every day. Days were busy with chopping and freezing, canning, and canning more. We couldn’t keep up.
I stopped by an apple orchard to ask about some seconds and they offered me bushels of beautiful seconds for nearly nothing. Now I was coring and peeling, chopping and making sauce, and canning some more. We couldn’t stop. Did you know that green tomatoes make great muffins? The first two dozen or so are great anyway. We had muffins and frozen muffins and chopped green tomatoes.
My back was aching but I felt great. We had endless cans of whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato chunks, salsa, banana peppers, and apple sauce. The freezer was full of zucchini and peppers.
Black Beans and our Michigan Garden
I took a breathe and decided to check on the black beans. They had drip irrigation but other than that, we had not seen them in months. The garden was full. Black beans were everywhere. I have no idea how or why it happened but it seemed like every bean we planted produced dozens more.
Thank goodness for the internet because I had no idea what to do. We got the beans from the pods, put on cookie sheets and put them in the oven on low until they were fully dry. This yielded gallons of dried beans.
Post Garden Bike Trip
With the garden mostly under control, CD had wanted to take a bike trip so we headed to Glen Arbor on a weekday in mid-September. It was quiet. The weather was as good as any summer day. We stayed at DH Day campground and packed the supplies for our trip.
It wouldn’t be possible today but, at that time, DH Day was happy to let us leave our car there. The next morning, we hopped on our bikes and headed to Northport. Our route was through Glen Arbor and mostly up the center of Peninsula. Farm markets and apple orchards were everywhere.
We checked into Leelanau State Park in Northport by dinner. Hardly anyone was there so we picked a prime lake-side campsite. It was easy to sleep after riding my bike all day.
Back to our car in Glen Arbor by dinner the next day. my legs felt great. My first overnight bike trip was a success. Every year since then, CD has suggested more and longer bike trips. We have yet to make it happen but maybe this is the year!
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