A lifestyle blog about life and living in Southeast, Alaska.
A BLUEBERRY HARVEST
August 6, 2016
One of my favorite things to do towards the end of summer is go blueberry picking up in the Chilkat Valley. My husband and I usually pick several gallons to freeze for the winter. The berries are tart and a little sweet and they are a staple that I use in morning pancakes or dessert crisps.
Blueberries grow abundantly in Alaska. But to get to the thick blanket of blueberry bushes that reside on the mountains, then you must drive about 30 miles outside of town. Six of those miles on an old logging road that you can't go much more than 15 miles an hour. Once you've found a small pull out to park your truck then you must apply a bit of bug spray, grab your blueberry dumping bucket, and your blueberry picker and start the trudge through the thick devil's club and alder trees that lie in between all the blueberry bushes.
I love blueberry picking with my husband because he is fearless when it comes to hiking around on the mountains. He usually goes a lot deeper and higher into the woods than I do. I've always got an ear out for bears that live in this part of the land. I usually like to stay close to the road for that reason. But we brought our dog Calli with us on this trip (she has barking problem, so she usually stays home) and I felt more comfortable venturing up from the road than I usually do. Although that didn't last long because I had to change Lo's diaper, get Charlie snacks and water, and then help Charlie find a caterpillar so we could take it home and with big hopes of it making a chrysillis and turning into a butterfly. We found one and "Leaf" the catepillar now resides in an empty strawberry container on our counter with a strawberry and blueberry leaves to eat.
I also placed Loralai right smack in front of a plentiful little blueberry bush just low enough for her to snack on. I think she stood there for 20 minutes just picking and eating berries. Each time she would find one she would get so excited, giggle, and yell "booberry mama!" After about an hour and half and almost 4 gallons later we ventured back down the logging road and onto the highway where Lo and Charlie both feel asleep on our way home.
When we pulled into our driveway. Our neighbor Jerry, who calls himself someone between a hippie and a Hawaiian surfer, shouted over to me as I was unbuckling a sleepy Loralai out of her carseat. "Hey! I made you a fresh cherry pie! It's just cooling down. I'll bring it over in a minute." I smiled, thanked him and waved. Jerry, and his wife Betsy, live in Hawaii in the winter months and have 3 little chihuahua's that Charlie loves to play with. He is a very charismatic person, loves to tell a good story, and rides a little scooter around town. Usually if we make cookies or muffins, we take them over to Jerry's house so the leftovers aren't so tempting for me to eat. I just got the kids settled in and started de-leafing the berries so I could start putting them in freezer bags when Jerry came over with the pie. He was astounded at how much we had picked. I gave him little bag of blueberries and told him to put them in his next cherry pie. He was so happy, he said he was going make another pie tomorrow! I told him "Isn't it nice to being neighbors Jerry?", he replied with a big smile "Well of course! And aren't we just so lucky to in Haines?" I smiled, chuckled a bit and said "Yes Jerry, we are."
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!