Sunday, September 6, 2009

Red ruby berries

Hmmmmmm.... cannot resist those little rubies nestled among the tiny bright green leaves. They are sour, bitter, tough, and seedy. And in November, after stewing in their juices with just the right amount of raw sugar, they transform into the most delicious sauce on the planet. I am, of course, talking about Alaska homegrown wild lowbush and highbush cranberries. The season is NOW. Don't believe those who claim the berries are better after the first frost. They are just trying to get you to wait to go picking until after they have snagged all of the berries.

We went picking today. My role was to keep the dogs out of trouble, as they've been eating grass and berries and generally annoying Kayt while she picks. Kayt's role was to bring back a few berries for us. She picked over a pound of delicious, tiny little ruby fruits!! The dogs and I skipped down the path to the bottom of our property and Ursa found a wet pond puddle. Borealys was shocked to see Ursa dripping and promptly went scouting to find where she had gotten wet. She came back grinning from ear to ear and running figure eights around us in and out of the pondlet. We finished off our evening with dinner on the porch while the dogs tried to stay awake enough to pretend they were watch dogs. At the last night night potty we heard a fox sing/bark in the southwest corner of our land where it turns to tundra. The full moon has a tiny slice from its side. Still lovely and silvery white with dimples. Happy fall, everyone.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Moon hooting

I know it's embarrassing, but I can't stop. I'm a moon hooter. I grew up hooting at the full moon in rural North Carolina. Hooting surges through my blood. It's in my genes. Built into my DNA. I'm a sociologist, so I don't really think these things, but I really did, honestly, grow up hooting at the moon. It's something I can't really control. When I see the full moon, especially after months of infernal light when there are no moon sightings at all, joy wells up, surges past my sense of propriety, and spurts out my throat. Really, I can't help it. It's a southern thing. My friends BeJae and Jackie admit to moon hooting. Kayt claims it scares the dogs and cats, and perhaps it does. But mostly I think she's ashamed of me, worried that the neighbors will think they let a bunch of country hick ruffian pagan moon hooters move into the neighborhood. Well, and they would be right. Early early this morning, about 4:00 AM, the puppy and I were outside for her early potty. A fox was barking from way down on the tundra below our land. Now why would a fox be barking at that time of night? The answer seems obvious to me--she was hooting at the moon. Moon hooters unite!


On Wednesday, the sandhill cranes and the Canada geese left Interior Alaska. For weeks, the fields around Fairbanks had been filled with tall, lanky cranes and squat geese gorging on greens, grain, and bugs. Creamers Field swarmed with birds--ducks, geese, swans, cranes. We humans watched as entire fields of birds wheeled overhead, circling and calling, exercising their wings.

MP at Mattie's Pillow speculated that the birds were calling to each other in confusion--"which way? I thought you knew!" But I think the birds are saying something different: "Hey, this feels great! You're doing good! That's the way to do it! It's a long way South! Let's get going!" The skies have been filled with cacophony for days--sqawks, honks, calls, trumpets. Dozens of clumps of birds, heavy and awkward on the ground, but graceful in flight. And then, suddenly, sometime around noon on Wednesday, the skies fell silent. We went outside to notice the quiet. Nothing on the horizon but blue skies and lumpy clouds. Farewell, birds! See you this spring! Fly safe, be well, and come back to us.