This summer has felt a bit wonky for me. The weather, the timing, the whole thing. I know rationally that it is mostly because I was gone for 5 weeks of it. Missing the month of June wasn't just the shock and weirdness of going from one climate to another 4000 miles away, and then back again, missing out on the gradual and dramatic shifts of light and plant growth. It wasn't just missing the roses and the irises. It was also, albeit a conscious one, a choice to skip out on my usual early- summer activites. The hauling garden dirt and top soil, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting. Add that to a realization that my job is not truly serving my highest purpose, is draining my energy, and causing me to occasionally shut down and be unavailable for my loved ones; and the subsequent so-far-unsuccessful job search and really its no surprise my summer feels a bit wonky. That and there's already frost in low lying areas in Fairbanks. And one of the birch on my drive home has started sporting a golden bough... I'm not quite ready to welcome fall, just yet....
But even with all of that, there has been some summer harvest and preserving going on.
I've been wildcrafting like crazy: yarrow, horsetail, plaintain, clover, and coltsfoot are all drying in my kitchen. I've been drying continuous batches of (feral) red raspberry leaves in my mother's dehydrator I borrowed last year and have yet to return. ahem. The calendula I grew from seed is far more prolific, flower wise, than the starts I've gotten from Calypso in the past. So I've got lots of calendula being dried. Bachelor buttons too. Did you know they taste like nutmeg? I have plans for teas and medicines and facial steams all winter!
Note to self: Next year, do lots of starting from seed!
A massive amount of canned nectarines and peaches await pies this winter, along with the cherries from an earlier post (I got nine quarts, by the way. So that comes out to more like a $3 quart, which means it is half as expensive - and so much better - than buying canned peaches at the store. Did you know Fairbanks has food prices comprable to Manhattan?).
I've eaten so many and many raspberries off the feral canes all over the yard. There's a quart or two in the freezer. Next year, the raspberries will be re-tamed and cultivated in their own patch.
I went berry picking near my house, and got a few quarts that are in the freezer awaiting pies. Can you tell I"m a fan of pies? Our picking spot is all picked out by now (unfortunately other people know of it!) but there's a few later-fruiting spots that hopefully we'll get to too.
As far as updates go: That birch gruit ale we bottled? Turns out I'm real good at making vinegar. Fortunately I have a friend who likes to drink vinegar for health purposes. More power to him! I know what he's getting this year for Yule.
The saurkraut I tried again? Turns out I'm real good at making mold be really happy.
The only thing I've been sucessfull with fermenting this season is Kefir. But it is awesome.