The Last Frontier

Friday, December 31, 2010

Flying Home in a Bush Plane

We charter a plane about twice a year to go into town for groceries, supplies and mail. Last summer I wrote a post about our upcoming shopping trip (Click here if you'd like to read about how we shop for 6 months to a year at a time). Here are a few pictures of my trip with the boys, starting at the air taxi at Lake Hood in Anchorage, and ending when the boys and I arrived home. Our shopping trips usually last about two or three days, so we're always more than ready to get out of the city.

I've read that Lake Hood is the busiest float plane lake in the world. I don't like busy places, so I'm not sure why it's my favorite place in Anchorage. Maybe because it's our connection to home and the way out of town. Even with all those small planes coming and going, it seems peaceful to me. After several days in the city, I breathe a sigh of relief as soon as I drive through the gate and around the lake toward the air taxi. 

Sign at the float plane lake in Anchorage
I always get a kick out of this sign at Lake Hood in Anchorage
 We don't have a car or truck of our own because we don't need one very often. When we go into town, we usually stay with friends and borrow their car to do our shopping. We try not to stay with the same folks more than once a year so we don't wear out our welcome.

When the car we're borrowing is full, we come to the air taxi and store everything in their shed until we're ready to fly home. We usually fly in a Cessna 185. I knew I was cutting it mighty close on the weight limit this time and was going to have to leave some of our groceries in town. What a surprise when the owner told me that the 185 wasn't available and we were going home in the Beaver, and at no extra charge. Hooray! ! ! If I'd known we were flying in a Beaver, I'd have done more shopping! A Beaver can haul about half again as much as a 185.

Loading the plane to come home after a shopping trip
Loading the plane at the air taxi in Anchorage.

This is the view of planes parked at Lake Hood as we were taking off.
Taking Off
Taking off. Float planes parked on the lake.

There's a strip for wheel planes, too. This is one of the "Parking Lots" for wheel planes.
Parking Lot
Wheel planes parked at Lake Hood

Leaving Anchorage and heading over the water toward home.
Good-Bye Anchorage
Leaving Anchorage

The boys were excited to be heading home. All of our stuff is packed behind the seats. As you can see, we had plenty of extra room this time. Usually it's packed full. They even load things in the floats.
We're on our way
Ready to get home!

After about 10 minutes in the plane, the engine lulls the boys to sleep.
Nap Time
A good time for a nap.

This is one of my favorite views in the world. As soon as we come around the mountain, we get our first glimpse of the lake we live on. Actually, we're about 3/4 mile back in the woods off the lake, but this is close enough for me!
First glimpse of home
First glimpse of home --- my favorite view in the world!

Ready to Land
Getting ready to land on the lake.

Chuck and our dog met us at the lake and began unloading.

Unloading the Plane
Unloading the plane.
The plane is almost unloaded. Jed had plenty of energy after that 45 minute flight. Once the plane leaves, we load up our backpacks, haul everything up the hill, and then head down the trail toward home. If our old 4-wheeler is working, we load up the cart, too (or the snow machine in the winter) and Chuck makes a few trips with that. But, I think it finally bit the dust this last fall. Next summer we'll be hauling everything on our backs again like we used to do.
Almost everything is off the plane
The plane is almost unloaded.

The pilot's heading back to Anchorage. We say our good-byes. Probably won't see him again for another 6 or 8 months. I used to look forward to trips into town and getting things we've been out of for a long time. Now, I put off those trips as long as I can. I'm content to stay home, even if we don't have everything we want. We have everything we really need right here. This life is such a blessing.
See ya in about six months . . .
Good-bye. See ya in 6 months.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Good Blog

Thanks to Sally and her blog, Daimonds in the Rough, I found another blog that I enjoy very much. Actually, sometimes when I visit, it makes my blood boil. Sometimes I just shake my head. I hope you'll visit Consent of the Governed and see what I mean. Here's a list of some of her most recent posts:
  •  Economic Collapse is Coming
  • Medicating America's Children
  • The Chinese Infiltration of American Education
  • FDA to Review Mercury Laden Dental Fillings
  • American History Lesson
  • The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America
  • Lt. Col. Lakin Folds

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boys' First Trapline

Trapping is a part of life for most Alaska bush families. The weather can be extremely harsh, and fur is the only thing that will keep us warm. Chuck has been a trapper most of his life, and when we married he taught me to trap with him. This year, the boys were delighted when their daddy said he'd teach them to trap.

Now, the boys and I have two lines that we snowshoe every other day. Sometimes we stop and build a fire along the trail to warm our hands, drink a cup of hot chocolate and have a snack. Recently, they were thrilled as we approached our last set on the trapline. There they found their first marten! (Marten and Sable are the same animal.) After skinning it, the boys wanted to dissect it. Both thought that was neat, but Jed especially enjoyed getting to learn all about the giblets. Here's a slideshow of our day on the trapline (no giblets). If it doesn't show, then click on the title above (Boys' First Trapline), and it should show up there.
(Hover your mouse over the images to pause or go back or forward.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Informative Blog

Quite some time back I ran across a wonderfully informative blog, Walking With The Wise. Every time I visit, I learn something new. Alice's views are far from mainstream, which is why I enjoy it. She expresses her opinions very well on many issues that are so important to me. I hope you'll take a look at her current post, "Jew Teaches Christians About Jesus", as well as her archived posts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse Fun

Last night, we got a special treat with the Lunar Eclipse. I've been trying the "star system" with my boys (more on that another time). I promised that as soon as both of them earned 100 stars, we'd do something really special. No surprise that they wanted to have a campfire with Homemade Marshmallows (click for my recipe). It just so happened that a full lunar eclipse was supposed to happen right about the time they'd probably meet their goal. Since I wanted to let the boys stay up to watch the eclipse, and since Zeke was a little short on stars, I needed to motivate him a bit. So, I promised that if both of them earned 15 stars yesterday (10 is their max so far in one day), not only would we have a campfire with homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate, but we'd make homemade ice cream. That did it for them! What a wonderful day we had. I've never seen them so anxious to do extra chores and to be so nice and kind to everyone! They were nearly perfect (spooky :) )

Here are some pictures I took of our campfire while we watched the lunar eclipse. We have about 5 1/2 feet of snow, and the temperature wasn't too bad --- about 5 degrees. Finally above zero. I apologize for the poor quality of moon pictures. Our camera is old, and by today's standards, very low end. I never could get the neat copper color that looked like the moon was glowing. But, here they are anyway.

Drying Homemade Marshmallows to roast over
the campfire as we watch the full lunar eclipse.

Full Moon before Lunar Eclipse
Full Moon rising through the trees before the total eclipse.

The fire kept us warm while we watched the eclipse

Tin Can Ice Cream freezing in snow
We made ice cream in a coffee can, and then used
snow and rock salt to freeze it. YUMMY!
Making Ice Cream
Jed and Zeke stirring the ice cream beside the fire.
Kind of ironic that they actually wanted ice cream with as cold as it's been.

Roasting Homemade Marshmallows
Roasting Homemade Marshmallows while watching
the total lunar eclipse. What a fun night!
Roasting Homemade Marshmallows
I can't resist roasting marshmallows!
Roasting Homemade Marshmallows
We had a great night, passing the time watching the eclipse.
The Lunar Eclipse has begun
The eclipse was starting, but my camera didn't capture it well.

Heating water for hot chocolate
Chuck had a hard time keeping the pot of water from tipping.

Drinking hot chocolate during lunar eclipse
Ahhhh. Nothing like hot chocolate beside a fire
to warm your bones on a cold night.
Warming beside the fire while watching lunar eclipse
Warming up with hot chocolate before
digging into the homemade ice cream.
Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse
The moon was glowing a copper
color at this point, but my camera
didn't show it.

Lunar Eclipse
This was the last shot I could
get with my camera. Too bad it didn't
show up as beautiful as it was.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Blog

Our laptop died a couple of months ago, and I thought I'd get back to blogging at HomeschoolBlogger within a few weeks. But, life was busier than expected, as usual, and then when I finally was able to start blogging again . . . . well . . . I'm working on getting most of my old posts moved here. I really enjoyed the community of homeschool moms at HomeschoolBlogger, and would really prefer to stay there, but my blog and template kept disappearing or getting scrambled. Like most folks, I don't have much free time to blog, so it was frustrating to waste that precious time on fixing my blog rather than posting. But, I'm here now and will try to make it feel like "home" soon.

I can't seem to get the import/export thing to work properly. We have a slow satellite internet connection, so maybe things are not downloading or uploading fast enough. Most of my general posts about life in Alaska, as well as articles on wild plants have been moved. I still need to copy some of my recipes, though. I just added a cbox, so we'll see how that goes. I've begun adding blogs and other links, and will add a few more things soon. Overall, it seems to be pretty easy to set things up here at blogspot. If you'd like to follow my blog, add yourself to my followers (on the right), or subscribe. :)

Shopping, Alaska Bush Style

Unloading the plane at the lake after a shopping trip.

The boys and I will head to town next week for a few days. A shopping trip isn't a big deal to most people, but I haven't been in town or driven a car in 5 months. It'll probably be at least another six months or so before I go again, so my few days in town are jammed. It always takes more time than I expect to get ready for the trip. That's why I have not posted much or visited other blogs lately.

I start making a shopping list as soon as I return from my previous trip. I always forget a few things, can't find a few "necessities", or run out of time (or steam) before I work through my list. I write my list in two parts. The first part is for things I absolutely MUST get or do while in town. The second half is what would be nice, but not major problem if I get home without it. Whatever I don't get we do without until the next trip.

I used to write a date on everything we opened (bags of oats, buckets of peanut butter, jars of spices, etc.). Then, when we ran out, I could calculate how long the item lasted, and how much we need for six months or a year. Now I pretty much know how much of everything we use each year, so I don't do that very often.

Before each trip, I inventory my kitchen shelves, and my husband goes to the cache to see what's there. In addition to the groceries, we try to think about equipment, such as chain saws, the 4 wheeler, snow machine and other things. Those are close to being necessities out here. (I expect the economy and political system to totally crash, and we'll find out soon enough that they aren't really necessities.) My husband uses the 4 wheeler during the summer to haul water, and the plane load of stuff to our cabin from the lake. He uses the snow machine throughout our long winters to haul water and logs for firewood. I don't like motors, so I stick with the dog, but that's beside the point. It's always a gamble trying to decide what is likely to break, and what will probably make it though without major replacement parts until the next trip. Several years ago the steering column on the snow machine broke at the beginning of the winter. I went into town a couple of months later, had it welded, and bought an extra to have on hand. That was five years ago, and it looks like the machine will die long before we need that extra steering column. So much for gambling (uh, I mean, planning).

My shopping lists are unbelievably long. Once, a few years back, I lost my list in the first store! What a disaster. I came home with a year's supply of some things we already had plenty of, and totally forgot things we'd been out of for months. At the time we didn't have internet, so I couldn't email my husband. We had a radio phone so I could have called him to make another list. But, the phone was on a huge party line, so all the other families and businesses scattered throughout the bush in this part of Alaska could hear our conversations, and our shopping list. So, now I make a few copies and keep them stashed in my suitcase.

I got sidetracked because I still have not organized and re-written my shopping list. My original has things from the hardware store mixed with groceries, as well as notes and errands to run, so I have to revamp it. Sunday I will bake some breads and cookies as gifts for the pilot, air taxi folks and the gracious friends who have offered to have us stay with them and let us borrow their car. I have finished all the birch bark baskets except one, have finished all the soap orders, and have even made a baby gift.

baby hat,baby bootiesHere's a picture of the baby gift. The air taxi owner's wife just had a little girl. I had so much fun knitting those pretty little girly things. I found the patterns on Ravelry. The hat is a pink Scalloped Lace Baby Cap by Carrie Griffin. I cannot find the pattern for the Mary Jane booties to give credit. I did not have a card or wrapping paper, so the boys made a little card. I wrapped the box in butcher paper, the boys drew colorful pictures, and then tied it with yellow yarn. So, now I'm almost caught up and ready to head to town. I'll try to get back to blogging (and recipes) when we return late next week.

Weekly Wrap Up - June 19, 2010


I have enjoyed reading the Weekly Wrap Ups from Mary and others, so I thought I'd join them. I will try to post either Friday afternoons or Saturday evenings.
On the Heart and Mind:
We have only one year-round neighbor out here. Bud is an 86 year old widower with great stories to tell. He's quite a character. When he was a teenager, his dad moved the family from the mid-west to the west coast, built a small boat (his first one ever), took the motor out of his car, installed it in the boat, loaded up his wife and many children and headed to Alaska for a new life. What an adventure! During World War II Bud was in the Alaska Scouts --- one of "Castner's Cutthroats", as they were known. They were some of the toughest men around at the time.
Bud and his wife homesteaded out here 6 years before we met them and obtained our homestead entry permit. They'd always lived in the bush, but this was where Bud planned to live out his days. He wanted to be buried here, had the place all picked out and said he'd even built his own box. He talked to us about what he wanted and figured we'd be the ones to bury him. But now Bud has decided to move to town.
He said his children convinced him that the land would be nearly impossible to sell if he was buried on it, so he agreed to be flown out when the time came. Then they convinced him that he couldn't keep living in the wilds of Alaska at his age. All these years that we've been here, Bud has accepted very little help from us. My husband offers to help him haul in firewood, shovel his roofs or help with other chores. Bud always says that when he gets too old to do those things for himself, then he's too old to be here. He's never stopped doing those things, although he has slowed down quite a bit. He always figured (and so did we) that he'd die living the life he loved most. But now he has his daughter looking for an apartment in town for him. He says he's only going to live there in the winter, and return to the bush for the summers. But, I imagine city life will be hard on him. If he leaves, I doubt he'll ever be able to return. Makes us sad. Bud has been a great friend.
Here are a couple more pictures of Bud, and then the rest of my Weekly Wrap Up:
Bud with sled
On the Home Front:
Until this week the boys have enjoyed lots of freedom to play at the creek below our house, get snacks from the garden at will, and go just about anywhere within earshot of the cabin. But we have started seeing both black bears and brown bears in the yard lately, despite our trusty guard dog, "Bear".
Thursday night just before I went to bed a brown bear came through the yard looking for a free meal. It wasn't until he decided to try to get into the outhouse from the back wall that "Bear" even noticed him. It's shooting light around the clock here in Alaska, so my husband went out after him. He was standing his ground under the cache against our dog, but when Chuck went out, he ran off through the bushes. From the sounds of our dog's barks, I think he stayed around a few hours, but he didn't come back into the yard again.

moose track
Moose Tracks

Friday we found tracks all through the yard and in our garden. The width of the front paw track plus an inch is supposed to be a good estimate of the size of the bear (in feet). Chuck estimated this one to be about 7 to 7 1/2 ft. tall. Chuck and I both got a decent look at him the other night, and he looked like a fairly young bear. There have been tracks of a smaller bear on the creek where the boys play, and Chuck saw him Monday evening. Some folks who have a vacation cabin on the nearby lake saw a young brown bear chase a moose cow and calf across the water and into the bushes Thursday. That calf was probably his supper. The bears have just about wiped out the moose in this area. We've been seeing a moose cow and calf around our cabin lately, but that calf is probably gone by now, too.

Our boys don't always play it safe. :) This is a wall tent frame
we built for overnight guests since our cabin is so small.
The boys run boards across and like to climb around

A couple of days ago I had to glue my son back together. He was running with a stick, fell and poked it into his leg. If we lived in town I'd probably have taken him to an emergency clinic for a few stitches. But, since I can't do that out here, I decided to try Super Glue. When I worked as a nurse in a clinic, we used to use something similar. Zeke was a great patient. He never kicks or screams when I try to mend him. I wish my husband had been home to give me an extra hand, though. If he'd been here I think I'd have been able to do a much neater job. I won't get into the gory details, but I think it will heal all right. So far it doesn't look like there's any infection brewing under the super glue. By the time the glue dried he said the pain was gone.
From the Schoolroom:
I know this isn't politically correct, and it might offend some folks, but to tell the truth I was really hoping to give the boys a good anatomy lesson on a real bear this week. Oh well. They got a mini lesson with Zeke's leg. They paid extremely close attention and learned about the layers of fat and muscle under the skin. Thankfully, Zeke did not provide us with an opportunity to study the skeletal system. :)
We have a garden, and this year the boys are trying to grow a little one of their own. They are too curious for their own good. Just as something starts to grow, they get all excited and dig it out to see if the roots are growing, too. Then, of course, it stops growing. So far they've had comfrey (still going strong -- that stuff is impossible to kill), rhubarb (still only about 2" tall because of their daily inspections), and a second or third crop of chickweed, lambs quarter and dandelion that they actually planted in there. :)
Family Read Aloud:
We usually have two books going, in addition to the Bible, but during the summer I only manage one in the evenings. Earlier in the week we finished a wonderful old biography from the Childhood of Great Americans series, "Jim Bowie - Boy With A Hunting Knife" by Gertrude Hecker Winders. Books like that provide so much more than history lessons!
After we finished Jim Bowie, I attempted to read a few stories from the Schocken Books edition of Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. The boys LOVED it, but I had a hard time with the dialect. I thoroughly enjoy reading the stories silently, but fluency suffered terribly when I read them aloud. I used to have a link to a site that had delightful audio downloads of most of the Uncle Remus stories, but I can't find it now. If I run across it I will post it later. For now I think I'll put the book away until the boys are a little older and able to read it to themselves.
Friday we began another biography from the Childhood of Great Americans series, "Buffalo Bill - Boy of the Plains" by Augusta Stevenson. My husband is from Kansas, so this one is easily holding everyone's attention.
Camouflage Soap
In the Craft Corner:
I made a batch of camo soap this week. Here is the post with more pictures.

knit hexagons
When I found Canadagirl's wonderful blog a few weeks ago and read about the hexagons she is knitting for an afghan, I thought that sounded like a great idea as a keepsake for my boys. They love anything camouflage. I have lots of yarn in green, brown, beige and black. Zeke drew the longest straw and gets the first blanket. So far I am up to 11 hexagons. I think I'll need somewhere around 95 (my hexagons are fairly large), so this will be an ongoing project. I hope to finish one blanket before fall when I'll need to start socks, hats and mittens.
In the Woods:
Blue BellsThis time of year I spend lots of time in the woods, and the boys go with me to pick wild plants for various uses. They are only six, but they already know all the plants around here that are good for salads, the ones that are edible but not choice, which plants are medicinal and how they are used, and which ones are poisonous. I love being able to send them out with a basket before supper to pick a salad. The picture at the left is of Bluebells. The flowers are a pretty addition to wild salads. The greens are edible, although not choice because they're kind of fuzzy. Maybe this should have gone "In the Schoolroom"?
I wrote two posts earlier in the week about two plants that we use often: Alaska Ginseng (Devil's Club) and Spruce Tips.

In the Kitchen:
I've been busy in the kitchen this week. Our "Old Timer" neighbor, Bud was kind enough to give me some of his sourdough. I've kept a jar going for most of the last 20 years or so, but I've been without it for a while now. I made the most delicious sourdough pancakes a few Sourdough Jardays ago. All of us love sourdough, and I can't wait to make a few loaves of bread with it.
I also picked some Rhubarb from the garden this week and made a buttery rhubarb pie. Canadagirl told me how she makes rhubarb juice. Now I think we're going to have to get a LOT more plants going for next year! That is a wonderful drink! I let it simmer a bit too long, so I took the pulp and made rhubarb sauce. It's a little like applesauce.
Spruce Tip Jelly

At the beginning of the week the boys and I picked spruce tips and made a batch of Spruce Tip Jelly. If you'd like my recipe, click here.
If you would like to join Weekly Wrap Up, just write yours and then visit Canadagirl.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Soap

Camouflage Soap
Homemade "Camouflage" Soap

I still have a few more orders to fill for homemade soap. Today I made Camouflage Soap. It never turns out the same way twice, so this one is always fun. You can see more of my soaps by clicking here. Once I finish the orders, I'll start playing with some I've been wanting to try. I have lots of spruce pitch infusing in oils, so that will be my next one. I just love the scent of spruce. It is such a relaxing fragrance. I still have some oils infused with Balm of Gilead buds, and I want to make another batch of that one. There are several more on my list.

soap 1
Cooking soap in a double boiler
on the woodburning cookdstove

Most soap today is made using the cold process method because it's faster, but I make soap using the hot process method. I cook it in a double boiler on top of my antique wood burning cookstove. The thing I like most about hot process soap is that it has more of a rustic look. I also like that the soap can be used right away, rather than having to wait weeks to be able to try it out. I still let my soaps cure for a few weeks to evaporate some of the water so the bars are hard and long-lasting, but they are safe to use the day I make them.

Soap "Volcano"
I turned my back for a second, and
it boiled over.
Today I had a minor disaster ---- a Soap Volcano! I've read that soap made with all vegetable oils don't volcano, and in all the years I've been making soap, it has never happened to me --- until today.

I was cooking the soap and had it in the double boiler. All was looking good, so I put on the lid and went outside to turn off the generator. It's a small one we put right outside the door, and I was gone less than 1 minute. What a surprise when I returned! The cabin was filled with smoke, had an awful smell, and there was soap bubbling all over my stove! I don't know why, but I just started laughing. I have no idea why I thought this was so funny. I think I sort of saw it as if I were watching a cartoon or something. Oh well. I

Block of soap in the mold ready to cut into bars.
Today I did not make a full batch.
learned my lesson.
The boys could smell the burning soap clear outside! Jedidiah looked in, shook his head, exclaimed, "BIG MESS!", and then left.

But, all was not lost. The soap turned out great. I just ended up with a smaller batch.

If you'd like to buy some of my soaps or birch bark baskets, see this post for more pictures, prices and details on how to purchase.

Spruce Tip Jelly

Spruce Tip Jelly
Spruce Tip Jelly
A couple of days ago, the boys and I went out and picked a basketful of Spruce Tips --- the new growth on spruce trees. It's been several years since I've made Spruce Tip Jelly and I was beginning to crave this delicious treat, maybe because spruce needles, especially the new tips are super high in vitamin C and I've been out for several months. After making the jelly, I had plenty left over to brew a cup of Spruce Tip Tea, and then I spread out the rest to dry for tea or more jelly next winter.

Spruce is in the Pine family, so I'd think that the uses of the trees would be similar. The picture below shows the new growth that still has that brown coating on the tip. If they are still there when you pick the tips, then brush them off. Most of the ones we picked had already filled out a little and pushed off that brown tips.

Spruce tips are slightly tart. Not near as sour as a lemon, but once you take a sip of the tea you will not be surprised that they are so high in Vitamin C. Spruce Tip Jelly and tea are delicious!

This year I used a recipe from the Alaska Extension Service that calls for white granulated sugar. In years past, I extracted the juice, and then used a combination of honey and brown sugar instead of white sugar. My husband didn't care for my first few batches of Spruce Tip Jelly, but he enjoyed it this year. A few years ago I gave a jar to a friend in town who owns a wonderful Bed & Breakfast. She and her husband loved it, and let each of their guests sample just a taste each morning as a special treat.
Spruce Tips
Here's the recipe:

How to Extract Juice from Spruce Tips:

Yield: about 3 cups (enough for one batch of Spruce Tip Jelly)
  1. Gather at least 9 cups of spruce tips. Spruce tips are the new, soft, bright green growth on the tips of spruce branches.
  2. Place the cleaned spruce tips in a large saucepan. Fill pan with water to within two inches below the top. You should be able to see the water, but it should not cover the spruce tips. (The amount of water isn't critical.)
  3. Here's where I did not follow the extension service. I simply heat the water and allow the spruce tips to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. The extension service book says, "Bring to a boil in a covered saucepan and boil for 1 hour; reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours." I think that's overkill.
  4. Drain through a colander, and then strain the juice through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Spruce Tip Jelly

Yield: about 5 cups

3 cups spruce tip juice

4 cups granulated sugar

1 package powdered pectin (1 3/4 ounces)
  1. Sterilize canning jars and prepare lids.
  2. Measure sugar and set aside.
  3. Measure spruce tip juice into a large saucepan.
  4. Add pectin and stir until dissolved.
  5. Place on high heat; stir constantly and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  6. At once stir in sugar.
  7. Bring to a full rolling boil; boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat and quickly skim off form. (Note: adding 1/2 tsp. butter to the juice helps reduce foaming.)
  9. Immediately pour jelly into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  10. Wipe jar rims and ad prepared two-piece lids.
  11. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

Spruce Tip Tea

This can be made two ways. I prefer to place a handful of spruce tips in a jar with a lid, fill with enough boiling water for a mug of tea, place the lid on the jar and let steep until cool enough to sip. Some people prefer to toss the spruce tips into a pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. I think that kills too many nutrients. Either way, strain and serve hot with honey or maple sugar to sweeten, if you like. Spruce Tip Tea is also nice with the addition of a few whole cloves, a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or grated orange peel.

Spruce tips can be gathered and used throughout the year, but they are best during the spring.
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