Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cabin Life: A Good Year for Jam

The JamWell, the fall-like weather continues, reminding me every day that winter is coming.  But there are still signs of summer besides the humidity to remind me that it’s only August.

For instance, we just finished up our second batch of jam.  The first batch was straight blueberry, and we got ten small jelly jars full.  This second batch was blueberry-raspberry, with a few random blackberries thrown in just for the heck of it.  This batch made twelve full jars, and it looks good.

I had planned on a good berry year, and it looks like I’ll be able to get one or two more batches of jam done before the berries are gone.  And that’s without hitting up the other big blueberry patch.  There’s a patch in the lower field, and one on the road to Upper Camp.  So far I’ve only been picking the lower field patch and have pretty much decided at this point to leave the other patch for the bears.  The logic is that they will have no reason to hang out by my cabin if there are no berries.  We’ll see I guess.

There has been bear scat around, both in the driveway and on the road.  I have no idea if there’s one or more, and the neighbor down the road hasn’t said anything about seeing bears on his trail cameras.  But they are around, and I think it’s only a matter of time until we run into each other.  I still always shine the big light around the yard before letting Pico out at night, just to make sure.

My biggest fear with the bears is that the Upper Field will be a big attractant.  Chest-high brush, chock full of blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes only a few dozen yards from my front door.  It’s amazing to me that with all the food up for grabs in the immediate vicinity of my house that there’s not bears in my yard all the time.

The other night I had a fire going in the big fire ring and was picking raspberries.  It was dusk, and it all of a sudden dawned on me that this would be the worst possible time to run into a bear.  I scanned around, being a little paranoid, and jumped at every sound I heard.  There I stood in the middle of huge field of food, literally dripping blood from the mosquito bites, and all at a predator’s favorite time to hunt.  It was a bad idea perhaps.

But I didn’t get attacked or have my face eaten off, so I guess it turned out alright.  The blueberry jam is delicious, and the blueberry-raspberry jam looks so good that a big spoonful didn’t even make it to the jars.  It was amazing, and totally worth the risk.


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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

One Response

  1. Cindi says:

    I grew up canning, my favorite is doing jam. There is nothing more rewarding than picking your own fruit & making your own jam! On cold, snowy winter mornings, you’ll be happy you made the effort! Enjoy!

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