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Tuesday Postscript - Having the Summer Off

Good morning.  It's overcast and looks like rain today.  I thought I'd give you a little look at what having the summer off has looked like for me.  I haven't had a summer off since high school and that was 20+ years ago.  I've had a few people make off-handed remarks about how nice it must be to "relax" all summer.  While I have done some relaxing my summer has looked more like this... I get up usually around 5:30 am, grab a cup of coffee and my glass of water, then head downstairs to the computer in my studio.  Contrary to how that sounds, I'm not a morning person and I prefer to have a bit of quiet time before I have to engage in conversation.  I read a few headlines, catch up on the blogs I follow, and then generally write a blog post.  If I've already written the blog posts for the week I will work on scheduling posts for my handmade card business - Inked Inspirations . Breakfast during the week is had around 6:30 am.  I start breakfast while hub

Monday Postscript - Berry Picking

Good Morning.  It's a beautiful morning here in Alaska.  I have a bit of a busy day ahead of me today, but I'm taking a minute to talk about part of our weekend.  Sunday we went out to do some berry picking.  It's blueberry and raspberry picking season.   One thing you learn when you harvest berries in Alaska, you have to find your own spot and you don't disclose where that spot is.  Our spot this year was perfect and full of lovely little plump berries.   Berry season is very unpredictable, some seasons are bountiful and others not so much.  We didn't get a chance to harvest last year, timing and weather were never on our side.  The year before the berries were smaller and not as juicy.   Wild berry harvesting was never something I did until we moved to Alaska, but they are so easy to find and harvest here.  We have strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries in our yard.  We have our spot for blueberries and we found another great place to get raspberries this week

Thursday Postscript - 16 June, 2020

The rain is back.  I was just starting to really enjoy the sunshine and the rain is back.  I spent some time yesterday working in the yard.  I weeded and mulched the rose bed.  This task was long overdue and I'm glad it's completed.   I picked another two cups of wild berries.  There is something very enjoyable and peaceful about sitting in the yard picking berries listening to the birds and watching the bees and butterflies travel around our yard. This batch of strawberries was turned into a puree and went into the dehydrator to become fruit leather, along with a couple of trays of rhubarb leather.  I haven't done much in the way of making fruit leather.  I took them out this morning and both are delicious.  I could have made them a little thicker, but the flavor is fresh and yummy! There's a lone zucchini growing in the greenhouse, a couple more days, and I can pick it for eating.  We haven't grown zucchini since living in Missouri and I have to admit I'm a li

Wednesday Postscript - Schnapps and Liqueur

Good Morning.  Do you have your coffee?  Good, let's chat.  The summer is running away with us.  How is it mid-July already?  I have no idea where the summer has gone.  Living in Alaska, the summer always seems to slide by quickly.   This year we're trying a little something new for us, we're making schnapps and liqueurs.  The process is really simple.  You'll need a jar, sugar, fruit, and vodka.  There are scads of recipes out there, I started a board on Pinterest for the ones that interest me.   I started with a small quart jar of rhubarb schnapps.  I started with this recipe and scale it down based on what I had on hand.  I also used vanilla vodka because I had a bottle in the cupboard.   Rhubarb Schnapps - Day 1 ( 12 June 2020) Rhubarb Schnapps - Day 11 (22 June 2020) According to the recipe, this little jar of goodness will be read on Juen 24th, which is a week from Friday.  We'll crack it open and learn the results then.   Our second jar is Strawberry Liqueu

Tuesday Postscript - June 14, 2020

I've been dehydrating for several years.  I love using our Excalibur dehydrator.  We have the five tray middle from about 10+ years ago.  I also have the sheets for drying fruit leathers.  The companion to our Excalibur dehydrator is our Food Saver food sealer.  We store our dried foods in canning jars and the Food Saver has a jar attachment for both regular and wide-mouth jars. Over the 4th of July weekend our local grocery always had a big produce sale.  I'll admit, this year I wasn't as impressed with the quality of the produce as I have been in years past.  We did however, make a few purchases for drying to use through the fall and winter seasons.  I dried 16 red and yellow bell peppers, which got me nearly a full quart jar.  We also dried eight pounds of strawberries, getting us roughly two quart jars.  I'm always amazed at how much fresh produce reduces when dehydrated.  Once my jars were full I added the canning seal and use the jar vac sealing options on our Foo

Monday Postscript - June 13, 2020

Overcast this morning, our summer has turned out to be the rainy and chilly version.  I can honestly say I prefer the hotter, smoky summers.  Yes, that does mean dry conditions with more forest fires, but our summers are long on daylight and short on time.  The fireweed is starting to bloom and Alaskan lore states that once the blooms reach the top tip summer has run out.   I'm eagerly awaiting the ripening of the tomatoes that are hanging on the vines of our many tomato plants.  We have several varieties, all with blossoms and fruit on them.  I'm ready for ripe juicy fruit to make Caprese salad and maybe some gazpacho before the season shifts back into hearty meals and colder weather.   Our corn is growing well, even with the rainy weather.  Our goal this year is to get a few ears for drying and seed saving.  This is a dent variety from Colorado that is cold hardy.  Dent corn varieties are used for drying and grinding into cornmeal.  No corn on the cob from this patch. I'm

Shots from Our Alaskan Life

I think I'm one of the few women in my age bracket that hangs clothes on the line, not out of necessity, but because I like it.  I love fresh line-dried laundry, especially towels and sheets. This is very much a morning ritual.  I drink coffee and read things on the internet, while Lemon sits on my desk for some loves and to get a better view of the birds out my window.   The dragonflies in Alaska are big.  I'd never seen dragonflies this big until we moved here.  This one was easily three inches long.   The strawberries in the fairy garden are finally ripe for the picking.  The berries are tiny but the flavor is big and sweet.  I enjoy snagging them and eating them right out of the patch.  What's better than berry picking and coffee.

Growing Sprouts

Growing sprouts is such an easy way to add fresh ingredients to your daily meals.   Sprouts also pack a great nutritional punch.  We started growing our sprouts a couple of years ago.  Recently they have made a strong come back to our regular meals, they seem to fit into summer meals so well.  In my cupboard, you'll find the Protein Powerhouse Mix (bean mix), 5 Part Salad Mix, Radish, and alfalfa. I use one to two tablespoons of sprouting seeds each time I start a new batch of sprouts.   We use them on sandwiches, salads, add them to pitta pockets, and serve them with cheese and crackers.  Sprouts are really versatile, you could easily add them to every meal.  I've been really enjoying goat cheese on homemade bread, topped with radish sprouts and tomatoes. I use a sprouting lid and mason jar to grow my sprouts.  There are other options on the market, but we love our sprouting lid.  In fact, I just ordered a second one so we can do two jars at a time.  I like the bean and radish

My Questions & Conflicting Feelings on COVID

As COVID counts in our tiny town rise, my own anxieties and frustrations go up.  We're back posting infographics about wearing masks and for fun, scare tactics are also filling my Facebook feed.  Let me remind everyone that frequent handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing are guidelines. I have questions and conflicting feelings about the following and the practices of said guidelines.  I don't think I'm the only one asking these questions.  Are we supposed to live the rest of our lives wearing a mask?  Do we spend forever sanitizing every surface?  Is there another lockdown in the future?  Today I wanted to talk about my own thoughts and issues with some of these things.   The mask, oh the mask.  I wear it when it's required by an establishment I am frequenting, but I don't wear one if it's not required.  I hear the gasping and the lectures rolling in now.  It's a choice, my choice.  I suffer from claustrophobia and as I have gotten older it has go

Our June Day Trip

We've spent most of May and June focused on yard work and getting the garden going.  We hadn't taken any time for downtime until this past Saturday.  On Friday evening over dinner, I asked Hubby what he thought about taking a drive on Saturday and he agreed that was a great idea.   Our original plan was to drive what we call the triangle (see map below), but we got a late start.  There was a little sleeping in and a loaf of no-knead bread that needed baking before we could start our day.  The weather also looked a bit iffy at 8 am, so we opted to stick closer to home. Having never really spent any time at Quartz and Little Lost Lakes we opted to take the 20-minute drive and have a picnic lunch.  While the day-use area parking was a bit flooded we got one of two dry parking spaces, being the only ones there.   There's a nice hiking trail in the area, we opted to walk part of the trail before having lunch.  The trail was a haven for dragonflies, there were literally everywher