October moods, with marmalade

P1280653Each grape-like hardy kiwi has a stem that requires removal with a quick pinch and twist.

IMG_7955THIS OCTOBER IS QUIET IN THE SAN JUANS, except for the wind and rain.

Even on our little rock, it’s harvest time. Our friend Monique, who lives on the Center Island farm, brought us a flat of hardy kiwi fruit, part of 20 pounds that she picked from her vines. Saturday, we built a fire in the woodstove, stayed inside out of the rain and made kiwi/lime marmalade.


These hardy kiwis are smooth-skinned and grape-like, distinguished from the big fuzzy kiwi fruit you buy in the supermarket. Inside, they are very much like other kiwi fruit: bright green with black seeds, but perhaps a little sweeter and less astringent in character. We found that making marmalade from them was work-intensive, suited to a moist autumn afternoon, because each “berry” must have the stem twisted off by hand. But you don’t need to peel them; the skin is edible.

We ended up with 13 jars. We’re going to try it on crumpets for dessert tonight.

Late Saturday afternoon, the sky cleared and I went for a walk with my camera and found some scenes haunting in their beauty. Perfect for October.

P1280693Late afternoon sun piercing the conifer woods on Center Island backlights the showy colors of a bigleaf maple.

I had another apt October moment earlier in the week when Barbara was in Seattle and I was baching it with the cats. Late one night, I had turned off lights and was about to head for bed when I suddenly heard a soft, disembodied voice from out of the darkness, vaguely familiar, saying, “Hello, hello, is anybody there?” After momentarily wondering if The Nuthatch Ghost had finally chosen to manifest its ghoulish presence, and preparing myself to see the knotty-pine walls bleed and all that sort of thing, I realized the muffled voice was coming from a pocket of my jeans.

Prying my phone out of my pocket, there was daughter Lillian’s face, looking puzzled (and, really, a little ghoulish because she was in dim light). OK, everybody knows about accidental “butt calls” with a cellphone. But I think I may have made history with the world’s first ever Butt Skype.

I don’t know how that was even possible. I have enough trouble Skyping intentionally.

Next time anybody says “boo,” I’ll just ask “boo who?” cropped-1-anchor.jpg

P1280671.JPGCenter Island neighbors come in to land their small plane Saturday evening, as other Center Island neighbors graze the airfield.

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