We’ve had four dry days here–and a little sun each day, which has been a wonderful change from the previous several weeks. Yesterday was particularly glorious–people really appreciate the sun here. Selma’s third grade teacher made sure the kids had extra time outside canceling science class in favor of an hour on the playground. People everywhere were out walking and hiking and boating and berry picking. I should have been berry picking but I was mostly working. James and the ship left yesterday for Hawaii, and I was catching up since we had spent the weekend doing family stuff.

Today was my drop-in class at The Net Loft–I spend two hours a week there just helping whoever comes in. I had a full table today and taught spinning, crochet and sock knitting in the space of two hours.

Tonight was the Berry Festival sponsored by the Copper River Watershed Project, a non profit whose mission is to protect the environment and encourage responsible land use in the area. The “festival” is a potluck dinner, silent jam auction, and raffle. We like potlucks here because there are few restaurants and no professional caterers to handle fund-raising events. I like them because there are a lot of great cooks in town and its fun to see what people will make. This time, all potluck items (even the savory ones) were to include local berries, and the items were automatically entered into a contest and the best in each category won prizes. (I don’t know what the prizes were). My dessert didn’t win (and even Selma preferred the winning desert to mine; she said mine was second best), but I thought mine was pretty yummy, so you get to have the recipe. A few of the ingredients are indigenous to this area, and I’ll note substitutions.

Fireweed-Nagoon-Pear-Custard Bars

For Crust:

1 c. flour

1/2 c. butter or margarine (non-hydrogenated like Earth Balance)

1/2 c. fireweed honey (substitute 1 c sugar or 1/2 c agave syrup or honey)

Mix flour, honey and margarine until combined. Press into parchment lined 8×8″ baking pan and bake @ 350F until edges are slightly golden (about 15-20 minutes).


2 ripe pears, thinly sliced

1/4 c. fireweed honey

3 T Nagoon berry jam (substitute raspberry or blackberry)

1/3 c. flour

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

juice of 1 small lemon

Combine flour, baking powder, lemon, honey, salt, and jam. Gently toss pears in filling mixture. Remove pears and arrange evenly on top of the crust. Pour the extra filling over the pears. Bake @ 375F for about 20 minutes or until the filling is puffy and no longer jiggly.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing into small squares.

Recipe: Pear Custard Bars