Salmonberry Jam/Jelly/Syrup/Compote

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A few weeks ago, we went camping at Ft Abercrombie for the express purpose of picking enough salmonberries to make jam.  And we did it!  It was slow going, since Allison is a salmonberry eating machine.  She can spot them on the bushes, and will point and gesture and fuss and grunt and carry on until you give her one.  She eats them really fast, too, so it’s hard to keep up with her demand and fill a bucket at the same time.  But we managed.

Rachel and I made salmonberry rhubarb jam and salmonberry jelly.  I thought that the salmonberry jelly had not set up despite the hard boiling and addition of pectin, but it actually gelled pretty well.

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We put it on our French toast tonight, and I’m eager to have it in oatmeal this winter.

It’s almost the end of August, and the salmonberries are all done for the year.  The fireweed is almost all dead, too.  The northern slopes of the mountains are becoming more tan than green.  Fall is on the way–so strange, compared to living in Florida where August is the height of heat and humidity!

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We’ve been harvesting lettuce for a month now.  It is thrilling!  It tastes good, it is fresh, it is organic (except for the MiracleGro potting soil) and Rachel is willing to eat it!  As long as it is slathered in copious amounts of ranch dressing. It is the first time ever that I have put something on my grocery list, looked at my garden, and then crossed off the item because I was growing it, and didn’t need to buy it!

The vicious slugs have attacked, but I am rather successfully baiting and drowning them with Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Glad they’re cheap drunks.


This is what happens when you your family doesn’t watch TV/Movies/Netflix/iPad games.  Your children watch the washing machine instead.

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And play in the rain.

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And, in an effort to get everyone outside, you all don hiking gear and hit the trail for some quality family bonding.

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And you read books.  Lots and lots of books.

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And enlist their help in chores.  And read more books.  And play Candyland.  And laugh as they raid the laundry baskets and parade around with random articles of clothing on their heads.  To spare my dear daughters future embarrassment, I don’t have a picture of that!

A lot of people assume that we must watch a decent amount of TV, at least, because it rains here a lot.  It has rained 5 days in a row, and it doesn’t look like it’s letting up anytime soon.  We haven’t seen a scrap of blue sky or sunshine in 5 days, which is tough in the beginning of August.  But at least it’s light out, and not too cold.  Honestly, we are so busy in our small world of naps and meals and art and books and laundry and cleaning and hiking and playing and swimming (indoors!) that I don’t know when I would fit TV in.  For our family, no TV is the answer to a lot of potential problems.  Hopefully I still feel the same come January!



Summer Curriculum

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Rachel can correctly identify:
Chocolate lily
Spruce cones
“Not Pushkie” aka Queen Anne’s Lace

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 We are working on:
Purple harebell
White bog orchid
Alaskan chamomile
Watermelon berry
Enchanter’s Nightshade

Take that, Common Core!


P1040217We have our camper trailer!  “Tinny” is a pre owned A Liner Expedition.  Steve found Tinny advertised on Craigslist in Anchorage, and arranged 4 days of leave + ferry passage to and from Homer in order to procure Tinny.  Ah, the remoteness of Kodiak is beginning to set in.

We took Tinny for our first camping trip last weekend, and it was wonderful.  We do have a few kinks to work out in our “system”.  For instance, I used to get the girls dressed and the tent in working order in the mornings while Steve got oatmeal ready.  But when you sleep in/on the dining room table, that isn’t such a possibility.  We managed to fit the pack n play in for Allison to sleep in, but that left approximately 8 square inches of floor space to maneuver in, and she got too cold to stay in there all night anyway.  Our new plan is to put the girls horizontally on the couch that pulls into a queen bed, with a divider between them, while Steve and I snuggle on the twin bed.  Good thing we aren’t large people.  And that we like each other.  By the end of the summer, we mean to have life in Tinny running smoothly.

Here are some pictures.  Hope to have a chance to clean Tinny with bleach spray next time we go out.

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We camped at Chiniak and it was gorgeous.  Remote, beautiful, quiet, spectacularly Alaskan.  My heart fills daily here with the wonder of God’s creation.

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