Sunday, July 31, 2011


I found them growing in singles off low-lying plants, like aqpiks, not on canes, like raspberries and blackberries, nor on bushes, like blueberries and cranberries. And although very ripe, they took the sepals with them when I plucked them, unlike raspberries, that let them go and come to you ready for eatin'. They are also shiny, like blackberries, not fuzzy, like raspberries.

They were absolutely indescribably delicious! The best berries I had ever had. Only about ten of them were ripe, and I wolfed down almost all of them before realizing I didn't have my camera and wanted to save some for identification. I brought these three home and then to my neighbors. As I was talking to the wife, the husband, who is Inupiat, glanced briefly across the room and asked, "Are they delicious? The most delicious berries you've ever tasted?" I said, YES! He responded, "Oh, I know what those are. They are hard to find. We always called them dewberries, although I know that that's wrong, but that's what we called them." Sure enough, I google image 'dewberry' and find another plant. I love his identification methodology though. The most delicious berry on earth? Yes, that's the one!


Earthy woods, and other miscellaneous photos, and other navel-gazing

There is a woodsy little trail I like to walk with the girls. I like that it's a short (6.4-mile) loop, so we don't have to turn back. Yesterday after I picked them up from the dogsitters', I took them directly there to burn off excess energy. It's the coolest (temperature-wise), dampest trail that I know of, and it's a quite different ecosystem to the other trails we hike.

Look, there are 'shrooms:

Whole colonies of them, standing at attention:

Mountain bikers add little things like this to enjoy themselves:

Oh, on my way home the other night, there was this unusual rainbow:

I swore it had shadows cast upon it. How could that be?

Here is a photograph of a pretty pink flower cluster on a tree in Mississippi:

I was walking around Starkville one night in a place that was a busy suburban street, but had no sidewalks. See, this is why it is said that both urban folks, who have commercial districts to stroll around, run to catch buses, and have to park a mile from their destinations, and rural folks, who split wood, shovel snow, and work their land, are both healthier than suburbanites, who drive everywhere and park right in front. The streets are not even amenable to walking, with no sidewalks!

So there I was walking up and down this street in my shorts and sandals, ankle-deep in grass, when suddenly it occurred to me: "Arvay, you have no idea what could be in this grass. This is not California, where harmful snakes are very large and make noise, and you know what poisonous spiders and bad plants look like, nor Alaska, where the only things that can harm you are very large and very obvious. You need to get out of this grass. Now."

It's probably a good thing to remember for the rest of my life. I am a west coaster and know what our "bad things" look, sound, and smell like. Just because I am a seasoned hiker with a well-stocked pack, it doesn't mean that all I need to add is a local map and I can walk out anywhere I want with no more preparation. It's also best to talk to local folks first! I, in return, would be happy to inform any visitors to California or Alaska how to identify bear sign and poison oak!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Veggies for three days

Last week, I let my hare care person have my veggie share from the farm. Anticipating three days of veggielessness, I accepted my neighbor's offer of some veggies from her garden. Of course, I had to take photos for my seven loyal readers:

This'll do for three days:

Notice the paw and the out-of-focus slurpy nose, LOL.

Also "helped with some weeding" on Millie's behalf:

So I snapped these photos mostly as a survey of what does well and what doesn't over an unusually rainy summer. From my own garden, I can tell you that the tomatoes and basil are doing poorly (the latter plumb died), but the potatoes and cilantro are doing fine. My neighbors would report that:

The broccoli is growing insanely huge, but not flowering, so it's become effectively another form of kale:

The zucchini is still doing fine (surprise!):

The veggies that are "winter veggies" Outside--kale, collards, mustards--always do fine:

The nasturtiums are doing fine:

The rhubarb, a perennial, is doing just fine:

Corn is always hit or miss in Alaska. This year, obviously, it'll be a miss:

The exotic Korean turnip is definitely not doing well at all!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mississippi Love

I am on my way home from my annual check-in with the mother ship, at Mississippi State University.

Here are photos of things I ate:

Rib plate:

Pulled pork and fried catfish, with hush puppies, cole slaw, beans, and corn salad:

Alabama peach:

MSU AG school's ice cream:

And cheese store:

This place was okay, but not as good as the barbecue and fryer places:

Here I am with some members of the research consortium:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blueberry picking

This is what blueberry country looks like:


At one point, I stretched out onto the spongy ground, and the girls came over and flopped beside me, so I took some self portraits. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Botanical Garden

Here are some photos from the Georgeson Botanical Garden on campus.

Giant cabbage!

With my friend V, for scale:

Alaskan kale:


I had heard that due to budget cuts, no-one was weeding the garden this year, so I decided to help, and also bring back a present for Miss Millie!

I wrote this yesterday to go live today. At the time you are reading this, I am out picking blueberries! Yay!

Friday, July 22, 2011

She picks Aqpiks

and blueberries:

and raspberries:

and crowberries:

and, in another month, cranberries:

Flower shots!