It seems like I get to the end of each day here and I can’t believe how little I’ve gotten done. The process of settling in is slow and I have a hard time being patient. Selma has started school, so her routine is underway, and she is happy with it. Jay’s preschool doesn’t start for a couple more weeks. He’s still a bit out of sorts and asking periodically to go back to Maryland. I’m hoping once he’s in school too, I’ll get my own daily rhythm and I can get more done.

This is fireweed. It grows everywhere around town. The other day I went berry picking and we collected about 5 quarts of fireweed blossoms. Shelly, who was our guide for the day gave me recipes for Fireweed Jelly and Fireweed “Honey” which is a sugar syrup flavored with fireweed and clover.

I soaked the blossoms overnight as Shelly instructed, then I drained them, rinsed them, and boiled them in a little water and lemon juice (about half as much water as blossoms). Then I strained the juice in a mesh strainer and then through a cheese cloth. (The cheese cloth was a good idea–I strained out some dust and tiny critters that way). I froze the resulting juice and I’ll make the jelly later when I’ve accumulated some canning supplies.

We picked berries that day too, but we ate practically all of what we picked so it will take another trip if we want to can some jam or make pies.

These are Alaskan Wild Blueberries–they are a bit more astringent than regular blueberries but they have a nice fragrant flavor.

This is a Salmonberry. It is a little more tart than a raspberry, and it’s bigger and more fragrant. Also, the bushes have far fewer prickly parts. Salmonberries grow everywhere around here. The ripe ones range in color from yellow to dark red, you have to tell by plumpness an feel rather than color. Selma wants to can a batch of orange salmonberry jam if we find enough of them. Melissa is willing to climb steep banks to get the ripest berry:

Berry picking is not something folks are encouraged to do alone because the berries are bear food and you don’t want to get in between a bear and his snack. Most people find that having a gaggle of kids along with you on a hike discourages any wildlife from coming too close.

Finding Rhythm