Jam, Sausage and the Flu

Finally got out to set some crab pots earlier in the week. I set them, spent the night at the cabin, and checked the next day. Just a couple tanner and a dungy but all the bait in the jars eaten up so must be lots of sand fleas down there. I rebaited and will let them soak a couple days. Not much going on at the island. No snow under the trees but about a foot in the open area of the trail to the cabin. Had a peaceful night reading old Alaska magazines and drinking coffee.

When I got home, I decided it was time to do some canning to get ready for next year. I pulled out 42 cups of blueberries – I bag them in 4 cup batches so I don’t have to measure when I take them out, and got to making jam. I didn’t use pectin and tried to duplicate the jam my nephew Eaton and I made last summer, but the jam was runny. I think I tried to make too big of a single batch instead of smaller batches.  I let the jam sit a few days thinking I could just use a spoon instead of a knife to use it, but I finally couldn’t take it. I bought some pectin, poured all the runny jam into the pot, and put it to simmer. I then pulled off 8 cups at a time and added pectin, sugar, and lemon juice from a fix for runny jam I found online, and redid it all. Came out good this time. Jello-y but not too stiff. I noticed when I was in the store, the shelves were full, including toilet paper, as I’d heard things were low due to the mass panic over the coronavirus.

After the jam was done, I got to making something from the Stikine River geese and ducks in the freezer. I knew Sara had picked up some organic pork fat on her way through Seattle at a farmer’s market, so I decided to make breakfast sausage.  I found the waterfowl has to be frozen well or it will come through the grinder pasty. When I saw that happening from some of it that was pretty well thawed, I stopped and put it back in the freezer till it was frozen but just barely pliable enough to cut through. The frozen fat ground beautifully. I made two 10 lbs batches, with 16 lbs of waterfowl and 4 lbs of pork fat. I first mixed the ground fat and fowl together. And no way to do it really than by hand, but  it’s easy to tell when it’s well mixed since the fat is so white and stands out from the reddish bird meat.  One batch was to be kind of an Italian blend with fennel and parsely and the other sage and thyme and . I measured the spices for each, and put them in a little food processor to mix them well.  Like mixing the fat, the spices have to be well worked throughout the meat by hand. The meat was so cold I had to pause a few times to let my hands warm. After both batches were done I made a little patty from each batch and fried it to test the recipe. It’ll work.

Sara wanted me to get some frozen vegetables in case something happened to supply of fresh vegetables. I’ve got enough canned salmon, deer, jam, high bush cranberry ketchup, fiddleheads to last a year, along with some canned shellfish and kelp relish from Sara’s sister. That’s not counting any of the moose, ling cod, salmon, deer, blue berries, cherries and cranberries still in the freezer. We’ve got rice and flour and sugar and other staples here and there. I’m not worried about any food supply. But seems like lots of people are. When I went for the vegetables, Costco was mobbed. Long lines at all the registers. And this is mid-day on a Thursday. Not a Friday night.

During President Obama’s term, somebody got someone to start a rumor that gun ammunition was going to be restricted or outlawed or something, and suddenly – and then for a long time – it was hard to get .22 ammo. Stores were putting limits on how much you could buy. And the tighter the limits, the more the demand, even if you wouldn’t shoot that much ammo in your lifetime.  The power of the NRA.

Under President Trump?  It’s toilet paper! Our Costco here is actually limiting the amount of TP per customer because people are going crazy buying 20 cases at a time, according to one of the checkout people.  The media has people in such a panic they are worried that somehow what- TP is going to be outlawed?  And, unlike .22 ammo, there are alternatives. Tissues. Paper towels. We used Newsweek Magazine pages in the Peace Corps.  The power of NPR.

The panic is complete. I’ve got .22 ammo and toilet paper currently in stock. If I was a prepper, I’d have my gun loaded next to the door  and my TP in a safe underground. Luckily I’m not, so the guns stay in the safe, and I look forward to helping my neighbors if they run out of ammo or need a roll.