Sunday, May 29, 2011


Today I found 14 dozen canning jars at the transfer site!
All in their original packaging, though obviously having been in a damp basement or something. They'll need to be washed well, and most of the lids and rings won't be worth much... But you don't need rings on the jars while they're on the shelf - only for processing and then after you open them. And lids are only really good for a year anyway, though that is one I still struggle with- it seems so wasteful to toss out what appear to be perfectly good tops. I mean I use used tops for things like the jar of a weeks worth of salad dressing in the fridge, or a jar of soup to take to work; but you're not supposed to CAN with used lids. And those bacteria are not ones I want to take chances with...

My other beautiful news of the day is that I went back to the cabin to get pots for planting starts tomorrow; and found that in the perennial bed I worked on the past two years, there are lillies, poppies, daisies, chives, and rhubarb coming back. Wheeee! I hope the tenants enjoy them. It was really nice, going back there on a gorgeous sunny day with a little bit of distance and seeing how much I really did accomplish on that little piece of muskeg. I'm not as ineffectual as I sometimes think i am. It gives me perspective for this upcoming move... The past week or so I've been itching to be working in the dirt and railing against the time line I'm stuck with, wanting to dig in asparagus, and break ground for perennial beds, decide on where to plant the lilacs and chokecherries and apples and what should be garden and what should be pasture; but knowing that all those decisions, realistically, will be next years'. Oh, and the wedded tree came back strong and healthy. Darlin' man is going to hate me when I tell him I want to dig it up, drive it 20'miles, and then replant it at the homestead...

All things in good time. This is what I need to keep in mind. And in the meantime, wild herbs can be gathered, mountains hiked, rivers canoed, and herbs and flowers grown in pots.

Dinner, straight outta the backyard: young fireweed shoots

Fireweed shoots taste kinda like asparagus...

Fireweed pasta with local beef... Moose woulda been better!

Riverwalking by the slough

Late night driving home

Monday, May 23, 2011


We are officially under contract.  The inspection is scheduled for June 1st.


For dinner tonight, I put rice on cook, and left chicken breasts in the oven covered in a peach conserve I made and canned last summer.
In the back yard, still mostly brown and covered with last years dried stalks of firweed, bleached by the winter and the snow, I harvested a colander full of baby chiming bell leaves, and tender fire weed shoots. I had anticipated dandelion greens galore as they are blooming at my mothers on the hill and on campus, but I only found two single little leaves, and going farther afield through the woods and back up the road, only found two plants...
I sauteed them just until they wilted in butter and balsamic. I had thought of making a salad of the dandelions and fireweed shoots, but chiming bell leaves are furry, and are better cooked. The Chiming bells we have up here, which my wild herbal distinguishes from the bluebells of Scottish folk songs, are a relative of borage- a well known edible and medicinal herb.
Dinner was delicious with a glass of wine and plans for the homestead: perennials to plant, beams to refinish, walls to paint, and floors to lay.
When Darlin' Man came home later to a plate waiting on the counter, I told him I'd picked the greens out of the back yard. He looked confused for a moment, asking what backyard? then raising an eyebrow and looking out the window asked disbelievingly 'this backyard?' Following his gaze I understood his wonder.

If I was gardening this year, plants wouldn't even go into the ground till after memorial day.  That's when, this year, I'll buy started herbs and flowers at Calypso's plant sale for the pots you see on the table. The first CSA share pickup isn't until the week following that, yet tonight's dinner greens were harvested from an uncultivated backyard covered in last season's dried stalks. Blessed be the earth, fecund and sprouting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Growth

Our offer for the homestead was accepted today.  
We go under contract tomorrow.
Soon, my hands get to delve into long-dreamt projects.

And here in Fairbanks, almost overnight, leaf out has happened.