December 23, 2015
This year's Christmas gift started in Arctic Valley picking all of the blueberries we could find while tring to avoid grumpy bees (some of us were more successful than others on the bee front and did not get stung, those whose names rhyme with Va-lette).
Arctic Valley is gorgeous and the day was gorgeous and the entire expedition was perfect*.
*except for bees
Plus! We picked a ton of blueberries! Wild Alaskan blueberries are smaller and a bit tarter than what you might find at the grocery store, which is to say they are DELICIOUS. Every time Steve caught me picking blueberries and putting them directly into my mouth, he yelled at me. There was a lot of yelling. I didn't care.
Once we got the blueberries home, we washed them and picked out all (I mean, most) of the sticks, leaves, and rogue lingonberries. We did not bring any bees home, unlike the year we picked gallons of fireweed petals and a couple of pollen-drunk bees came along with us.
Maybe if this year's bees had been drunk on pollen they would have been less sting-y.
Most of the blueberries went into ziplock bags and into the freezer for muffins and pancakes, but a bunch went directly into our dehydrator. And then the house proceeded to smell like hot warm blueberries for the rest of the day and I could barely pull my face away from the steam vents it smelled SO YUMMY.
We got a couple of different kinds of teas for our own custom blends:
Blueberry Breakfast - a blend of hand picked Alaskan wild blueberries and black teas
Orange Fireweed - green tea with orange zest, Alaskan fireweed, and rose hips (fireweed and rosehips were picked a different day and dried with the orange zest in our dehydrator).
But before we could start packaging the tea mixes up, we had to MATH. We knew how many weight ounces of tea we had and we knew how many bags of tea we needed to end up with. We needed to convert that weight into volume, and determine how many cups of tea needed to go into each bag so that we had enough for everyone.
All of our hard mathing ended up being CORRECT and we put 0.75c of tea in each bag. I mean, ish. For varying values of 0.75. We only had to redistribute a couple of bags' worth of tea at the end.
Steve made labels again this year, one for each tea. Brand cohesiveness, we has it.
Every bag got a label and a little oxygen absorber packet, and then was heat sealed with a heat sealer because we're faaaancy. And amazingly, nobody burned themselves.
Some of us didn't even help. Or want to pose for photos. Some of us don't love our mother. Which is okay, I suppose, to break your mother's heart like that.
We portioned out into boxes one bag each of Blueberry Breakfast and Orange Fireweed, a tea infuser, and four flavored honey sticks which Steve had to make labels for after Donovan and I almost mixed all of them up. We added in some pretty colored tissue paper and our holiday card, taped all of the boxes up, slapped on labels, and Steve took them to the post office.
He stood in line behind two people who had a Thing to mail but no box and no complete mailing address and you should have seen the text messages I got about THAT.
I wish your holiday is oh so very joyous.
Gifts of Christmas past:
March 20, 2015
Two weeks ago I looked at my dogs who were both covered in mud, with sticks and grass and various weeds stuck to one scruffy underbelly in particular, and I wondered aloud to Steve if perhaps it wasn't time to make a grooming appointment.
We usually get Olive groomed once or twice a year, the first one around the beginning of May to coincide with breakup and the amount of nature she drags in attached to her legs.
But this winter has been stupid and non-existant and two weeks ago it was 45°F and muddy everywhere. So we made the appointment for the following week.
We woke up the morning of Olive's appointment and found the temperature to be -6°F. Shaving off a dog's winter coat when it's below zero is a terrible and heartless thing to do.
We are terrible and heartless.
Behold, herein lies photos of the dogs before and after Olive's grooming.
Mitzi has developed a deep distrust of modeling for the camera and pins her ears behind her head and runs away despite all of the Yummy Chummies in my pocket.
Olive is the best dog model and will do anything provided I follow the Dog Model Union Compensation Schedule of one Yummy Chummy per every 4 photos, no less. And she's a stickler about those rules.
The dogs had a slumber party with Hoff the day I took the After photos, and he definitely enjoyed the attention. And the Yummy Chummies.