Went with Laura to pick blueberries last night. This is the earliest I’ve ever picked blue berries by at least a month. Berries were abundant. Picked 8 cups worth and Laura got about the same or more, I think. Will take the berry picker rake next time, as it’s much more efficient it seems for the blue berries. Still have blue fingers today. A little rain then more warm weather on the way. Losing the king salmon to the seal still stings today!
As a postscript to the last blog entry, Jeff sent the following:”It wasn’t over yet. After I dropped you off the net blew out of the boat (how I don’t know) and 3 yes 3 cars ran it over before I could get it. HOW do 3 cars run over a big net in the middle of the road? Wouldn’t you think they would drive around it!”
I went to my father in law’s memorial service in Anchorage Wednesday and Thursday. The outdoors memorial service at Fort Richardson was very nice on a beautiful day. The reception that followed was nice, too, with good food and lots of memories shared of my father in law. He was a great guy – I think he started the Anchorage Nordic Ski Club and the Moutaineering Club. He wrote a couple books on cross country skiing in Anchorage. Attempted an ascent of Mt. McKinley. And he was a lucky charm out fishing. I whale watched all day on Friday. Whales were bubble netting and so that’s about as easy as it gets. Watch them bubble net. Drive by the marker with the sea lions on it on the way back. Take a photo of the glacier if it’s now covered by clouds. Drop off one group, pick up another and repeat. Everybody’s happy. The berry crop is still coming on strong. I grabbed the empty 2+ quart clear plastic jars with lids that Costco cashew mix comes in after the Anchorage reception and threw those in my bag. Those were the ticket for berry picking. I picked about 15 lbs of salmon berries on Saturday morning. I came home, vac packed the berries, and went back and got 20+ lbs more in the afternoon. I figure that’s about 100 lbs in the freezer now. On Sunday, Jeff and Teri invited everyone over for dinner. I would make desserts and try to catch up on some things for Sara. Jeff and I fished at 4 am till about 830 am for king salmon. As usual, we watched everyone around us catch one but we did not. After a nap, lawnmower repair was next. The carb came in to fix the lawnmower. It was an easy job to change out. Of course, then the kill switch cable was broken so I had to order that and hopefully when it gets in the mower will be back up and running. Other chores like fixing the wheel jack on the boat trailer, replacing the house siding where I repaired rot and building a new deck for Sara in the back yard will have to wait. I made 2 pies and a crumble to try out salmon berry desserts. 1 pie I’d leave for Sara when she got home from Anchorage. I dropped one pie on the floor as I was heading out. Pie plate fell off the counter after doing a perfect 180 and splat. All over the floor. So I was down to 1 pie and 1 crumble. Sara was SOL. I used little sugar in the dishes and everyone seemed to like them that way. Luckily there was some pie left for Sara to try. The obsession to get more berries is about as bad as the hooters calling earlier in the spring. I even heard a lone hooter up the hill as I picked on Saturday and it made me smile.
Went back to the hotspot and picked over 20 lbs of berries in about 2.5 hours. My friend Kurt is harassing me because when he asked me to go fishing – we haven’t caught a fish in for. Ever. He said I can buy Smuckers at the store. I told him Jerry’s meats has nice king salmon all the time. One thing for sure is this berry patch will be a sure thing for I hope another week at least. I’ve got my system down now, too. I carry a coffee can which I stuff in the top of my overalls, which are heavy duty and the salmon berry (and devils club) thorns can’t penetrate. I can use both hands to pick this way. When the can is full, I put the berries into a gallon zip lock, which just fills it up. I put the bag of berries in my pack and continue. I think I picked 6 coffee cans full tonight. When I get home, the newest berries are mostly whole with little juice. The bags on the bottom of the pack have squashed berries and lots of juice. I dump each bag into a small colander that sits in a bowl. I pick out the leaves and sticks as I pour. Any juice goes into the bowl, and I then dump the cleaned berries into a vac pack bag. By the end of the 6 coffee cans worth of berries, I had over a quart of juice, which will make nice jelly. I’ll make mostly jam from the berries. I then vac pack the berries and freeze them. The first few tries yesterday left me with a vac packer full of juice until I adjusted the vacuum time and drained what juice I could before hand and now it all went smoothly today with no leaks. I’ll get another day of picking in tomorrow, then up to Anchorage to join Sara for her Dad’s memorial service on Wednesday. I thought today as I drove with both truck windows down how few times the weather calls for that here. It was 70 degrees today with a light breeze. What more could I want for a summer day.
Today I had an extra day of whale watching as they were short
Spent the last 2 weeks in Northern Virginia and Hilton Head, SC. Hardly a speck of rain and 80’s and 90’s every day. I’m not a big fan of hot. Used to be people down south would ask you what you thought about Sarah Palin. Now they ask about any number of Alaska reality shows. We don’t have cable television, so I don’t know the shows they are talking about, but it seems Alaska has become one big reality show. Jeff took me fishing my first day back on Saturday, and we caught a king salmon. Kurt caught one with friends yesterday. Kurt, Jeff and I caught one this morning before work. It’s good to be home in the rain and 55 degrees. –