Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Coming to a Close

We have hosted our last official camp, with a few short time activities left before snow flies. We are loosing about 6 minutes of daylight now. In the past nine days we've lost almost an hour of daylight. Seems strange to wake up at 2 or 3 AM in the dark. Perhaps we'll see an aurora soon.
Mickie, one of our counselors, reflects all of us as she collapses after the last youth leaves for home. However, the follow weekend we hosted 20 teens from Delta Baptist who went on a night hike and then camped over with us. We fed them breakfast, then cleaned up. A typical day.

On my rare off time, I designed and beaded a necklace using a beading loom that Dale helped me put together. I entered the necklace in the Delta Fair and won a blue ribbon. So much for having a little time off.

We are using time off a little more practically. Lynne, Dale and I spent one afternoon picking the blossoms of fireweed. The plant begins to bloom from the bottom of the stem, like a bluebonnet, and continues to open blossoms for a short period. The lower flowers become seed pods which open releasing dandy lion like fuzz called, "cotton". A week after we picked the blossoms, the fireweed began "going to cotton". This indicates summer is almost over.

Returning to camp, we spread six gallons of blossoms on sheets to allow the hitch hikers (small green bugs) to scamper away. The blossoms were then bagged and frozen until we had time to make jelly.

Never idle, with a servant's heart we agreed to power wash the new asphalt parking areas of the church to remove the silt and grit that had blown in from the Delta River.
The parking area dried in the unusually warm (70 degree) sun. Our next entry on our resume of jobs was to spread sealer on the clean asphalt. We didn't expect this job to take four days!

In between working at the church, Lynne, Dale and I took time off to head by four-wheel drive to our favorite, secret blue berry patch. In two hours we picked two gallons of tiny but sweet berries for jelly making.
Back at camp we utilized the camp's large kitchen to boil fireweed blossoms (back pot), then strained the juice (front pot), added pectin and sugar and boiled into jelly. The largest pot holds the hot water bath for sealing the jars.

We got so busy that we didn't take pictures of the 150 jars of finished fireweed jelly. Here we are with 50 jars of blue berry/rhubarb jam, and a few jars of plain blue berry jam. Don't we look proud?
I'll be bringing everyone a sample. Can't wait.

This is the view of the north slope of the Alaskan Range as seen from the church parking lot. Notice that the snow is fresh and terminates at an even elevation line. This termination dust, as it's called, is an indication that summer is almost over.
While we were working on the parking lot, we had many visitors who drove or walked to the back of the church to photograph the mountains. We met ladies from France and Quebec, and RV caravans from the lower 48. They were invited to stay and attend church.  
As summer comes to a close we are planning to do volunteer work in Anchorage and then in Tok at the Mission Training Center before heading south.

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