Thursday, September 22, 2011

Foraging in the tundra

We have been having fun berry picking, and I thought I would post a few pics from last week, and from this. What a difference a week makes!

It was so warm when we headed out last week that little Miss A stripped down to just her undies and went running barefoot through the tundra. I luckily convinced her to at least put her leggings on and some shoes ( honestly you never know what metal and WWII relics are buried right below the surface waiting to slice open a foot), especially where we were picking at.
We were out for hours, and A found a spring, well springing out of the ground. Of course she had to play in it. The water was cold...it is Unalaska after all, but she had so much fun, and got very very wet!
We also found a Nagoon Berry. They are extremely rare....and extremely yummy! Unfortunately they do not tend to grow in patches. So we split this one. It was absolutely delicious. I so wish we could find more. A has been on a hunt for another one since, and has found the leaves, but no berries. Maybe next year.
So that was last week...What a difference a week makes. It has been rainy, squalls, and really windy this entire week. Fall is here! The air is chilly, our high temps are in the 40's and some of the mountains actually have snow on their tops now. The Bering Sea is angry looking, the fishing boats are stocking up and wiping out entire aisles of the grocery store getting ready for the start of a new season, but despite the weather, we have bundled ourselves up and headed out everyday that we possible could. We have been caught in the rain the last 2 days, getting soaked in the process (but hey that's why we all have heavy duty rain gear), but have been busy foraging for the fall bounty of berries. Mountain Cranberries, also known as Lingonberries, are supposedly rare here. So much so that people guard the location of their patches. Well, My kiddo is an expert cranberry finder. I am seriously impressed, and honestly I don't know if I believe they are super rare here, but more that they are difficult to find and grow deep in the underbrush of the tundra. It totally helps that my child is ALWAYS crawling in the tundra, laying in it, frolicking, and picking crowberries. She is so proud of herself every time she finds a new patch, and I am impressed with her plant knowledge. She knows and can identify every berry on the island by sight and leaf, and can tell whether they are edible, poisonous, taste good raw or need to be cooked, and what there growing season is. Seriously impressed. She loves sharing her knowledge with others, and introduced the berries of our island to our new neighbors the other day. It warmed my heart to hear her pointing out berries to Steve and letting him know. "I wouldn't eat that one if I were you!" Just makes me smile.

Here's a shot of the mountain cranberries. They are much smaller than regular cranberries, but taste pretty much the same.
I think I have maybe a few more days to pick blueberries before the season is over. I would estimate that this year I have put up about 55 to 60 cups. A lot less then last year's 120 cups, but this season they are not as plentiful, and well, the weather has been much more difficult to work with than last year. I am going to try to get another 10 cups at least this weekend before the town's Blueberry Bash this Sunday. I still have some berries from last year and I am going to use those to make jelly and pie filling to can.
And here is our bounty from the last 2 days.

I was able to get everything sorted and cleaned tonight and put up. Tomorrow the forecast actually calls for sun and a high of 48. But forecasts are notoriously WRONG here. So we will just have to wait and see.

School has been going great and we are still exploring Ancient Egypt in depth and reading a really great book that was written by the head of Archeology for the Egyptian government that focuses on the curse of the mummies. It neither dramatizes it, says it is real, nor seeks to disprove it, but instead weaves interesting stories filled with amazing facts and ancient history. A is enthralled.

She has decided what she wants to be for Halloween, but that is another post as I am to tired to explain LMAO!

Back to homeschooling- we are trying to get back in the grove after all the illness, sickness, and injuries of the last few weeks. A has decided to focus on animals in science so we are going to start exploring the classification system, as well as choosing one class of animals to study at a time. She headed to the library today and FILLED the bag with books on insects of every kind. She even spent hours observing an insect of some sort that had found its way into my house today, following it with her microscope, and refusing to let me kill it, or help it outside until she was done observing it. So I think she will love this focus.

Alright, I think that's about all I can manage tonight. I plan on starting to post more picks of our daily life, homeschool and play, especially as the long days of winter set in. As for now, I still need to go back and edit the typos from last nights post. That"s what happens when I post after taking Tylenol pm :) Have a great Friday everyone!


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