23 July 2016 2.00 PM 74 F Cloudy
Summer in Alaska is a time of great activity. The near perpetual daylight for weeks on end, means that one’s perception of time gets a bit distorted. It is not uncommon to find yourself outside doing chores or gardening at midnight and thinking that it must be getting close to dinner time.
This summer, we’ve had some wonderful sunny weather, days of endless sunshine and temperatures in the 80s – which is verging on the ridiculously hot for us and the dogs. It has however, meant that our garden has done well, in great part due to the generosity of the Willow Garden Club, who organised a program to donate a variety of plants to those who were affected by the Sockeye Fire. The splash of color that our new flowers have brought is always a welcome sight.
Additionally, we’ve been enjoying the fruits (literally) of our labours. I say “our”, but last summer a dear friend brought over and planted quite a number of strawberry plants. Those have flourished remarkably – so much so that they’re at risk of taking over the driveway, never mind the patch of garden they were put in – but they have produced a great number of delicious strawberries and we did intend to thank Carrie for her hard work by giving her some of them. But, you know, they just tasted so good and ummm, well, we ate them all.
We haven’t had the same success with our raspberries, similar to to the strawberries, the plants themselves are making a land grab, plus we got several more raspberry plants from the Willow Garden Club, but for some reason, none of our bushes flowered, and we managed a total haul of 5 raspberries, yes FIVE, not pounds, not gallons, five solitary little berries. But our rhubarb, which survived the fire,looking just a little frazzled around the edges, continues to live up to rhubarb’s reputation as the plant you can’t kill. Our 4 have so far given us 6 kilograms of rhubarb, and we’re hopeful of a good second harvest as well.
The beans we planted, courtesy of WGC and Carrie are also doing well and have been fun to watch grow. They were starter plants, germinated by the kids at the local Elementary School. Labelling of the different varieties was, let’s call it broad brush – everything was “bean”. So far, we have identified, french beans, runner beans and yellow wax beans.
Of course, living in Alaska, we are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities to get fresh meat and fish. As someone who is a terrible shot at anything more than about 50 yards away, I tend to shy away from hunting. The fact that we’re not the biggest fans of the taste of moose either (whisper that, it seems to be sacrilegious to admit it out loud up here) means that is less of an issue for us anyway. However, the fishing is a different tale, and the opportunity to bring home fresh salmon and halibut is always seized, when offered.
I’m not long back from a trip to Seward to go halibut fishing, which also doubled as a sightseeing visit, never having been there before. The trip was great, the fishing good, the scenery wonderful and the natural wildlife amazing. As well as catching halibut, rockfish and a ling cod, we saw several whales, lots of sea otters, a couple of sea lions and a porpoise or two.
With our house finished being rebuilt, our furniture finally delivered, and all of the back garden fences reinstalled, it’s time to move back in to our home and resume normal living.
This past year or 13 months have been rather eventful, here’s hoping for a quieter year to come with a winter full of running dogs and lovely snow.