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August 9, 2017: Berry Picking

I woke up early, so I woke up tired. And I stayed tired all day. Had to resist the urge to nap on a nice soft bed of moss. Was hard, but I knew that I would not again, have the opportunity afforded me again this year, which was to get our yearly supply of berries.

I got up extra early and got Raudi and Tinni out for a short jaunt. Then I took Hrimmi out. It was different, going out in the morning. The horses were in a good frame of mind, which was remarkable given that they were being deprived of half of their breakfast. And I was in a good frame of mind given that I was being deprived of all of my breakfast.

I must give myself a pat on the back because I took the initiative, so early, to get the beasts out. But this is what having horses is all about. They must be tended to, and they must get exercise. They are physically strong animals, but in their own way they are also very fragile animals. Neglect them physically or mentally and they go downhill pretty fast.

We pulled out of here at 11 a.m. We were late because Pete had to make blueberry pancakes. This was actually a good decision because this bigger breakfast stuck to our ribs for most of the day. We originally were to leave here at 10 a.m. but oh well. (There are a lot of oh wells time wise in our lives).

We drove to Eureka, a one and one half hour drive from here. The drive there has to be one of the most beautiful on the planet. For some ways it parallels the Matanuska River and to the right, heading out of town are glaciers and mountain peaks. Though it takes some time to get to where the berries are, the drive alone is worth it.

And the drive is also worth it because of the destination. Though there were ATVers on the road, there were no other berry pickers in the adjacent land. It was relatively quiet – the view was quite remarkable – and the berry picking was excellent. You could pull them off the branches with your hands.

Our hard work netted us eight quarts. We finished late, so we ate dinner at Sheep Mountain – a good decision because we didn’t get home until late – and the chores still needed to be done.

On the drive home, we stopped in and gave our good friend Bill Schmidtkunz one quart – the quart container that it took me two hours to fill. I reminded myself that generosity is a wonderful thing – Bill has routinely been coming to our place and taking the manure and spreading it on the side of the highway. And he came every day and fed Ranger and the chickens when we went to Fairbanks. And if Rainbow had still been around, he would have tended to her. Now, in retrospect, that would have been a heartbreaker.

So now we’ll freeze some of the berries and Pete will make jam out of the rest. This will add to our already full larder.

Next: 17. 7/10/17: Dealing

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