Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sustainable Lifestyle

Lately my family has been living sustainably. Well, not quite and certainly not in the same way my family did while I was a child. My father and mother hunted and fished to fill our cupboards and not just for fun. In addition, my parents always had a vegetable garden. I remember making current jelly and chokecherry jam and picking huckleberries until my fingers were blue. I remember my Mom making pickles and bread and cinnamon rolls.

Meat and fish and foul were always in the freezer and we feasted on food that any gourmet restaurant in Seattle would be pleased to serve. Ducks, pheasants, sage hens, geese (but mostly ducks) were on our table and I remember every delicious bite though I learned to be careful of the buckshot. Alternating with the poultry, we ate elk, deer, antelope, and once a moose. I remember I loved the moose because he was kind of tough so my Mom had to be a little creative with stews which were yummy. Only in the summer would we sometimes have beef steaks and usually we still had elk and deer burger left. Summer also brought trout and the king salmon caught in Idaho.

I did not realize that when I took lunches to school, I was eating gourmet food. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed with my home made bread and sage hen sandwiches. Why couldn't my Mom give me a perfectly shaped white bread sandwich with bologna like everyone else?? And now I am aware that my childhood diet was very healthy except maybe for the lime jello--but even it had garden carrots in it.

Anyway, zoom to the present. Last year we tried a little garden in pots and it worked well so this year we put in a bigger garden in the corner of the yard. Unfortunately, sun can be a funny thing around here and this corner isn't quite sunny enough. Nevertheless, we are getting a few things and it looks like from this photo, we are able to grow weeds very well.

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The yellow squash and the tomatoes have been doing ok but the peppers have completely failed. Our herbs, including basil and rosemary are making me happy. Down on the beach, we had a good yield of clams which produced a great big pot of chowder with enough for the freezer. Lucas came home with enough crabs one evening for a couple of meals. Because Kaley is allergic, we had to cook them outside and we ate them while she was at music camp. We will eat a lot of crab after she goes to college! And the pink salmon, also known as humpies (I'm not making this up) are having a litte run right now. Dave and Lucas have been out there on the water in the past few days and they came back with one--it was enough for three people. Dave is always checking the boat parade as they go by our house in what is called Humpy Hollow to see if they are catching anything.

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An odd houseboat out in Humpy Hollow!

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Even people in yachts like to fish!

And finally, we have these weeds here called blackberries which are now in season. They grow behind our fence and keep our back yard from falling down a cliff--at least for the time being. So far in the last week, we have made seedless blackberry jam and blackberry cobbler. We've had them on cereal, waffles, ice cream, and pancakes. And today, Kaley made blackberry ice cream which was the most beautiful lavendar color I have ever seen. We have yet to eat it.

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Blackberry bushes behind our fence.

And tomorrow Dave and Lucas leave for Alaska because our freezer no longer has halibut or salmon left from last year. Best of all, we wash all of our meals down with Dave's wine made by his wine group. 2002 was the best year; 2003 is good everyday wine; and we are really looking forward to 2004--a good year. To conclude, I spend way more money at the grocery store than my mother ever did--especially on coffee but we do try to take advantage of our natural resources because everything is so darn scrumptious.

(All photos taken today--a kind of cloudy misty day and it feels good.)