Salmonberry Jam/Jelly/Syrup/Compote

2014-08-05 08.09.08

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.

Local, Renewable Garden Boxes

I had signed up for a plot at the community garden before we even arrived in Kodiak.  It is only 3 miles from the house, but sadly, 3 miles soon proved to be 3 miles too far.  I may still try a potato crop in the bed that I so fervently attacked with shovel and cultivator, but I needed something here at the house.

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The very nice man at Sutliff’s Ace Hardware asked me, “How handy is your honey?”  I assured him of Steve’s amazing carpentry skills, and he directed me to the local mill.  And by local, I mean, LOCAL.  A true Alaska experience.  Island Lake Sawmill is a small diesel/gasoline driven mill that cuts local spruce logs into rough planks.  I wouldn’t say they were over the top friendly, but they were incredibly helpful in wedging 5 8-ft lengths of 2×12 on top of bags of dirt and between two car seats in our Highlander Hybrid.

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I talked with them a bit about my time on the logging sports team in college, but I’m not entirely sure they believed me.