What happened to summer?

Having September open up like the summer we had been waiting for was odd, in itself.  Temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s was the best we’d had for the summer of 2010 and we were thrilled to be fishing for silver salmon in our shirt sleeves.   A bumper crop of salmonberries was the bonus for them being almost  a month late.  And we were fooled into thinking the blueberries would be just as late, but they were already ripe before the salmonberries were done.  And so were the mossberries and so were the cranberries.  And then the weather started turning, like hitting fast-forward while watching a movie.

My mamma picking berries surrounded by the changing colors of the tundra.

Now, mind you, I am not complaining about the weather!  That is against the values of the Unangax^.  I am just disconcerted with the unpredictability of our weather over the last several years.  I guess I have become complacent over the last 30 years, or so, in knowing what to expect and when to expect it.  I am all for a good storm.  I never sleep better than when the wind is blowing at least 50 miles per hour.  I just was taken unawares by the termination dust in September and the north wind sneaking into my berry patches.

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An evening walk in Unalaska.

Sometimes  a suggestion turns into a most enjoyable event.  Mom popped in after dinner and asked if I wanted to go for a walk.  I had just finished the first step in making sea salt caramels and was feeling not so enthusiastic.   But I caved, changed my shoes, and grabbed my camera.  And off we went – Dad, Mom, Diane, and me.  It was fabulously gorgeous. 

Sam and Diane Svarny beginning a walk on the front beach, Unalaska.

Under Jim Dickson’s oversight, the City of Unalaska Road Crew has done an awesome job in reclaiming the vegetation on the beach road.  They have been true to the environment and used indigenous plant species. 

Walking around the neighborhood gives you a chance to snoop at everything your neighbors are doing – but in such a nice, unobtrusive way!  We see the progress being made on Zoya’s home renovation. 

And it looks like Coe and Phyllis have completed painting their little bit of suburban America!!  Lots of work involved here. 

I sure wish they would reopen Unalaska Building Supply!!

Looking up the valley at Unalaska Lake, we talked about the silt buildup causing the lake to give way to grasses, and yes, eventually land.  Not a good problem to have, as it impacts the species depending on the water environment for their cycle of life. 

I can't believe I snapped 120 pictures on our walk!

The flowers have been keeping the bees busy.  I just hope they had enough time to buzz around in the cranberry bushes this spring, doing their thing. 

I'm not even going to talk about how fast the fireweed is blooming.

The pink salmon in the creek are quite numerous.  Now that I am older and wiser and a fish snob, I get my humpies before they have hit fresh water and are still nice and bright.  I remember as a kid, running through the creek, throwing fish out onto the bank for my grandmother.  Obviously, no fin and feather back then!! 

Iliuliuk River, or Town Creek, during spawning season.
Spawn til you die....always such a gross saying, but true.

Approaching home, we probably walked about a mile and a half, which is a long way to meander, let me tell you!  Especially for Dad. 

Mom's and Dad's house in yellow; ours is the blue one right behind.

Dry fish has been a staple of indigenous people in Alaska since time immemorial.  We have a small batch of pinks drying. 

The 2 slabs of fish are actually silver salmon that mom is making into lox.

It was a great walk, and I’m glad I am so easily persuaded.