Monthly Archives: September 2016

Blueberries in the lower 48

Here is a video of farmed blueberries from harvest to table. This is an interesting video because it brings to life the concept of big farming for something I simply go out a pick. I find that store bought blueberries, like most fruits and vegies shipped to Alaska just don’t have the flavor that fresh does, but while watching this video and all the plump blues on the conveyor belt had my mouth watering. There is a small part in the video that tells us a little about which states produce the most farmed blueberries. I wonder how Alaskan wild berry stands would compare to the commercial berry farms. Either way, I prefer the serenity as well as the taste that goes with hand harvesting wild berry stands rather than the “run of the mill” farmed berries.


Blueberries From Farm to Table. 2011. Blueberries. Available online: Accessed 28 Sept. 2016.

Bog Blueberries, wild and cultivated

This article by author Heidi Rader is about the low bush or bog blueberry. She covers her method of picking, which is by hand, in contrast to picking with a berry picker. The pros and cons of both were interesting to think about as I had never considered how aggressive a berry picker might be toward the fruit. This article also gives out come Blueberry cultivation tips and hints for success. Rader, H. 2016. The berry best: An Alaska blueberry primer. Available Online: Blueberries.  Accessed on 28 Sep 2016.  

From the bog to the box

From the Bog to the Box

I have two acres of land just north of Fairbanks that I am currently in the process of building a home and planning a landscape on. When I think about what I want my yard to be like I think about what I want to do in my yard. I’d like to walk through the trees, enjoy the song birds and of course have an aesthetically appealing landscape. But to me the stimulation from the landscape needs to be more than simply looking pretty, I want there to be good functionality in my yard. I want pretty flowers, but I’d like them to be simple, natural and perennial. I’d also like to be able to harvest edibles from my landscape and not just from my garden and green house. These reasons along with others are why I want to manage the wild berry stands I currently have growing as well as adding a few transplants. The berry I am most interested in transplanting and managing is the Bog Blueberry.

Unconventionally I am most interested in the idea of transplanting wild bog blueberries into low but still raised garden beds that would line my driveway and possibly other pathways around the property. Although we do not currently have the house finished, I think that next summer would be the best time to begin transplanting blueberries into the driveway in order to possibly have berry production by the time we are finished with the house and I will have more time to focus on other areas of the landscape. That way, I will have a few years of experience with these before deciding what to do with the rest of the space.

I think that raised garden beds or boxes would be good for experimenting with berries because I will have complete control over the soil composition and watering/irrigating processes and this will give me more detailed information on what is and isn’t working. At the same time though, I think I will also transplant some bog blueberries into the cleared powerline on the opposite side of my property just to be able to compare notes on the original source, and both transplanted sources, completely controlled vs. simply transplanted and observed. Some key things for me to keep in mind about transplanting and box gardening are soil preferences (nutrients, water absorption and irrigation, pH levels), available sunlight, preferred pollinators, and nearby plant species.

Blueberry soil preferences: Blueberries tend to require an acidic soil composition with pH levels of 4.5-5.5. Some berries secrete root acids to help bring iron and other nutrients into a solution they can absorb but blueberries do not secrete these acids and thus they rely on organisms that thrive in acidic soils to help convert nutrients for them. Bog blueberries can thrive in a variety of moisture conditions from highly aerated to poorly drained soils, and often grow in mat layers with roots in shallow but wide areas. Loamy or peaty soil compositions are good for blueberries and adequate watering is a must. Do not let the roots dry out, while also not drowning them. Because I want to build raised beds or boxes for my blueberries I will have complete control over what I make my soils with and I plan to try to use natural loamy soils and peat from local bogs.

Sunlight: Blueberries do well in sunlight areas, often much better than in shade. Because most of my property is undeveloped I think the edges of the driveways will produce sufficient amounts of sunlight without too much heat.

Pollinators: I have a variety of pollinators that live in the nearby woods and am happy to say that there seem to be an abundance of bees in my neighborhood. Another reason my driveways will be a good place to start is because both neighbors on either side of me have bee boxes near us. Honey bees, bumble bees, hornets and a variety of other pollinators are attracted to the wild currants, raspberries and rose hips already growing here so I do not think I will have a lacking of good pollinators. Possibly Ill even be able to trade blueberry jams for honey…

Native plant species: Although I have a diverse collection of other berries, trees, bushes and some wild flowers, I do not think these native species will be of much concern for the blueberries because of the raised beds. I will have to keep up on weeding and pruning, but I do not have any super invasive species other than the raspberries that are spreading themselves about each year (I don’t mind that at all).

I do have a lot of work ahead of me in building the ideal beds that will contain but not limit blueberry growth as well as the effort in creating good balanced soil, and transplanting berries adequately, but I look forward to the experimenting I will be doing for the rest of the foreseeable future. LH Fairbanks


Matthews, R. F. 1992 Vaccinium uliginosum. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agrictulture, Forest Service. Available online: Accessed 28 Sept. 2016.

-This is a very technical resource with a lot of valuable information although some of which must be filtered through. Lots of scientific data, but still a useful source I find myself going back to.

Townsend, M. 2005. The Basics of Blueberry Culture. Home Orchard Society. Available online: Accessed 27 Sept. 2016.

-This article was presented as a handout for the talk “History and Cultivation of Blueberries” by Marie Townsend at the Home Orchards Society’s 2005 All about Fruit Show. It is simple to follow and full of good information. Not all information is specifically for the bog blueberry, but still has good tips and ideas to get started.

9/28/16 10:45 PM

I know you have lots of experience with blueberries, transplanting and edible landscapes, I look forward to learning more about this from you.

Berry growing in other climes

Here is a fruit blog dedicated to strawberries and caneberries (ie raspberries and blackberries):  It is administered by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Not everything is applicable to AK, but I think its an fun site to check out and see what people are dealing with in regards to berry growing in other parts of the country.

More flowering videos

I was inspired by the time-lapse strawberry video and started searching for more.  I could watch these all day long.  Here is another great one for a pear that was created by Neil Bromhall:

Highbush cranberry recipes

High bush Cranberries  This article is by author, Corrine Conlon, and in it she presents some interesting information about the high bush cranberry and some of the things she does with it, as well as some of the combinations friends of hers have concocted. She also includes a description of the plant and some of the pros and cons of picking them. Conlon, C. 2016. Gathering Alaska: Juice and jelly from highbush cranberries. Available online Accessed on: 28 Sep, 2016.

A Blueberry Farm

     I visited Washington State and biked past a blueberry farm in the Skagit Valley.  I stopped for a mini photo shoot (see attached photos). I didn’t see any signs to indicate the name of the farm, however when I did a little search on the internet, my guess is that is was a field belonging to Bow Hill Blueberries(1), established in 1947. They have 4500 plants and seem to do a thriving business including value-added products, U-pick and retail sales of fresh berries. According to their website they employ only 4-6 part-time, year-round employees and up to 25 kids and adults to had-harvest and pack 60,000 lbs of blueberries.

   I became curious about start up costs and efforts for blueberry farms and found a nice analysis put out by Oregon State University(2). Although interesting, we have such a different situation in Alaska and especially in the Interior. Some differences that I can think of:

 1. Material costs for infrastructure are higher in Alaska due to shipping
2. Plant material differs due to climate. The farms in Oregon, Washington and even in Southcentral AK can grow different cultivars of blueberries successfully. From my (limited) observations, Interior blueberries growers might be best off growing the native species.
3.Alaskans have a do-it-yourself mentality and I wonder how in demand the purchase of blueberries would be considering there are so many available to pick on one’s own for free in the wilds of AK.
4. The native bog blueberry fruits are quite small and if grown commercially the harvesting techniques and speed of harvest might be slower than larger-fruited cultivars  5. Finding laborers to pick the crop may be challenging. Value-added products might be necessary for profiting from a blueberry farm in the Interior.
Again, I have more questions than I do answers. I believe that we have a potential opportunity to capitalize on our local bog blueberry, their distinct flavor and high antioxidant levels compared to other blueberries (3). However, there is a lot to be figured out for helpful guidelines of how to profit from growing blueberries in a cultivated setting in the Interior.
1. Bow Hill Blueberries. Website
 2. Julian, James W. et al. 2011. Blueberry Economics: The costs of establishing and producing blueberries in the Willamette Valley. North Willamette Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University.
3. Dinstel, Roxie Rodgers et al. 2013. The antioxidant level of Alaska’s wild berries: high, higher and highest. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 72: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21188.

Time Lapse Strawberry Fruit

Video  This link takes you to a time lapse of a strawberry plant growing. It shows a flower growing and maturing and just one strawberry fruit forming. Where the plant was, apparently it did not have enough energy to produce much more than what is in the video, but the strawberry looks delicious! I think this video was made a little late in the process only because we can see old places of fruit that matured earlier. Other than that, pretty cool 1:50 minute video. AK Wasilla

Lingonberry differences

Differences in Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
     I recently went out and picked some lingonberries. There were two distinct patches from which I harvested two different kinds of berries. To the untrained eye, both areas had the same amount of shade and were roughly 10 meters apart. The leaves for both plants look the same and there was no noticeable difference between the plants.
The darker berries were larger than the brighter berries, and when cut open, the flesh was also a darker red. It was harder to distinguish where the seeds were located. There was also no taste difference between the berries.
My working theory is that one patch of berries does get more sun than another, this activates more of the red pigments known as anthocyanins. They may have tasted the same because it had been several days after the first frost when these berries are supposedly ripe. Another theory I developed was that the darker berries were overripe compared to the bright red ones. This idea, however, would not explain the difference in size.  CM Fairbanks

Hepatitis A and berries

Hepatitis A.  The Sydney Morning Herald National News Article.  The article above talks about a Hepatitis A outbreak in Australia February 2015 caused by frozen raspberries. I thought it was funny because as I was reading it, I was drinking a frozen fruit smoothie. All of the berries picked in Chili were shipped to China for washing and then distributed around in different countries. This article caught my eye not only because it was out of the country and different but the fact that I had no idea I could catch a disease from a berry. “Given the very broad spread of this product, its popularity and its very long shelf life, it’s not unexpected that we will get other cases,” (AAP, p.10), says Mark O’Connor, a compensation lawyer. At the time the article was written, about 18 people had been diagnosed. AK Wasilla

How long do berries last?

After every blueberry picking season comes the cleaning, then the eating of the berries! My berries almost always get put into the freezer as soon as they are picked and cleaned. My family and I continuously use and eat the berries until they are gone but something I have started to wonder is do frozen berries go bad? I would think no because my family and I always kept the berries in the freezer for however long we needed. When doing some research online I saw some people say they stay good for 6 months, 8 months, 1 year… So what is true?!

I found an interesting website that talked about the shelf life of berries and how long they are “good” frozen.

” For a long term option, blueberries can be frozen. Spread the berries on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours then transfer them into a freezer safe bag or airtight container. To defrost, place them into a bowl for about an hour and then use them for baking since they will be soft. Although freezing is an indefinite form of storage, frozen fruit tends to form ice crystals rapidly due to the high water content of fruit. Fruit frozen too long will eventually have more ice crystals than fruit as the blueberries dry out and shrink. ”

The website stated that frozen berries are good for up to 6-8 months. They got their research from credible sources and even though this is good information to know, I’m not sure if I would throw my berries out after 6 months!

Eat By Date. 2012. How Long Do Blueberries Last? Available online: Berry dates. Accessed on 28 September, 2016.

A little spice is nice

       I have a major sweet tooth and love jams and jellies of all kinds. I also love spicy things, put the two together and what do you get? The most delicious hot pepper jellies that’s what. I am blessed to have two good friends who are excellent jam and jelly makers; they both enjoy finding new and interesting recipes and trying them out just for fun. Once and a while, if a jelly does not seal properly, they generously offer it to me and because I couldn’t imagine such wonderful stuff going to waste I eagerly accept their gifts. I will literally eat it on anything my favorites include: crackers, toast, cheese, biscuits, tortillas, chips, right out of the jar; well you get the idea. Sometimes the jam is sooo spicy it is best served on a cracker with a little cream cheese topping the jelly to help cut the burn. This year because of all the beautiful berries around my friends and I made sure to pick as many as we could and a good portion of these were turned into lovely jams. Not all were spicy some were the usual sweet concoctions, but my favorites are the spicy creations which taste so good that even though your mouth is on fire you simply cannot stop eating till the tiny jar is ooops! gone. One of the following recipes uses berries and the other does not call for them, but berries could be added if desired. Here are a few of my favorite recipes if any of you wish to try them; don’t just take my word for it, make and devour these jams yourselves you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!



Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly 1c. chopped jalapenos 3c. red/green peppers 1c. apple cider vinegar 1 box pectin ½ t. butter 5 c. sugar 1c. cranberries Bring to a boil. When boiling, add sugar and butter. Bring back to a boil for 1.5 min. Process for 10 minutes. For hotter jelly add more jalapenos and fewer bell peppers.


Badass Mango Jalapeño Jam

Prep time    40 mins    Cook time      45 mins     Total time    1 hour 25 mins

This is not a breakfast jam, unless you are really badass. Use it as a glaze on fish, chicken or pork. Spread it on grilled bread and top it with prosciutto, shaved Parmesan and arugula as appetizer. Or half, seed and stuff jalapenos, wrap them in bacon, grill them and slather with Mango Jalapeño Jam. You get the idea…

Author: Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Serves: 8 half pints


  • 4-6 whole ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups of crushed mango)
  • 6 whole jalapeños, seeded and stemmed (wear latex gloves!)
  • 1-½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6-½ cups sugar
  • 1-½ package powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon butter (optional, it helps reduce foaming)


  1. Crush the mango with a potato masher–I just set the peeled and sliced fruit in a baking pan lined with parchment and mash away. Food process the jalapeños until fine. Add the cider vinegar and process again until smooth. In a large pot combine all ingredients except the pectin and simmer for 30 minutes while sipping a bourbon. Stir in the pectin and bring it to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat immediately. Skim foam and let cool. Carefully ladle into sterilized ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Yields about 8 half pints.

Propagating my own Raspberries

    There are many ways to propagate berries. Some are easier than others but all take some amount of work and continued maintenance, if you want your berries to continue to produce at the level they should. My favorite methods include cuttings, runners, and transplanting. I have the most experience with transplanting because my patch of raspberries was entirely grown in this way. A farm nearby had a very good patch of raspberries and the man who managed our garden many years ago decided he wanted to start a patch for our farm. I learned much from him and he told me how he transplanted the berries and taught me how to care for them.
     His first step was traveling to the nearby farm and selecting the best canes, some of which stood fairly apart from the main plant; he pruned them back a bit so they weren’t too much trouble to handle. Experience taught him the best canes to pick for this were second year canes which had already produced and to dig them when the ground became dig-able in the spring before the canes began to bud. Step one he used a pointed shovel and cut the ground around the cane in a circle so that when the cane was pulled up a nice piece of rootball came with it. He then had to transport his nearly 400 plantings for an hour in the back of a big van to our farm. By making sure that all the roots were still covered by plenty of dirt he ensured that they would not dry out too badly on the trip. Some methods for protecting roots for transplanting like this are: put the rootball of the plantings in a damp burlap sack and tie the top so the roots are completely covered. The planting could be put in a bucket of very damp soil till planting (Empress of Dirt) a bucket of damp sand also works for this; if your dirt is not ready yet the transplants could be planted in a container for a growing season and put in the ground later when they become dormant again (northscaping).
     The area that was set aside for the raspberries was large; nearly half acre of land that had been tilled and fertilized with old manure. This rich bed had been prepared in advance of his going to collect the transplants. It is best to find a spot for planting and prepare it before digging up the plantings so their roots spend the least amount of time above ground (Empress of Dirt). Holes were then dug about two feet apart. Depending on how much you plan to prune your bushes make sure they are far enough apart so that they don’t immediately crowd each other with new growth. Also create your rows at least 6 feet apart from the edges of the inside bushes. The bushes with quickly grow a lot of vegetation and these walkways will quickly become impassible if the bushes are not pruned often; this I know just by the last 5 years of having to prune said bushes. After the bushes were planted my mentor then put in fence posts every 12 feet or so in a line down the center of each row. He then nailed a cross piece about four feet high on each posts and ran lines of bailing twine along each side of the bushes to hold them upright and later to keep the thick new growth from hanging too far into the walkway. This worked for a few years but did need to be changed periodically as it wore out. Lines of wire or ropes can also work for this (homeguides). Another method of securing canes is trellising; I have not personally tried it but find it interesting and perhaps in the future will use it just to see how it does for me ( this method is pretty easy to follow.
     The raspberries have been growing now for about eight years and are pretty healthy still. I cut them back a lot especially the row length because 270 feet is just too long for a row, 150 seems to work fine. I prune them every fall and also a few times during the growing season if the new growth is getting out of hand. I put down old manure every two years and water them with soaker hose irrigation. One issue I have run into, because of the closeness of the rows is that sunlight does not get down into the bushes the way it should. To fix this I have cut down one entire row and may have to cut more. I think that by staggering the rows with larger walkways more light should reach the inside bushes. In the future I plan to rely more on mulching than mowing and tilling to help keep weeds down. Our local sawmill has an abundance of wood chips so I will probably use that. As of now I have 7 rows of a red variety known as Canby and one row of yellow called Amber. Both have slightly different taste and the reds tend to produce earlier and faster than the yellow but many people like the yellow’s mildly, sweet flavor. I like them both and do everything in my power to make them produce well every summer. AB Delta Junction
By Amelia Alloys: How to secure raspberry canes to wires. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
By James Kohut:    10 tips for minimizing transplant shock, Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
By Melissa J. Will:   How to transplant raspberries. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
By Melissa K. Norris:  How to tie and trellis raspberries. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016

Is it a blueberry or huckleberry?

 I recently visited Washington state and had the opportunity to go to Mt. Baker and pick huckleberries! ….or were they blueberries? If I were to be placed in this field of wild berries out of context, I would have without hesitation called them blueberries. I might add that our local tour guide and friend referred to them as “huckleberries”. She was born and raised in Montana, which leads to even more interesting facts about huckleberries. I have also lived in Montana and while living there I learned that huckleberries are considered to be very, very special. Any tourist shop will have huckleberry jams, jellies and other treats. Montanans are so proud of this berry that the state has made it a misdemeanor to label a product huckleberry if it contains any other fruit ( All of this huckleberry/blueberry confusion led to more questioning and searching the internet for the difference between these two common names. I think that we gathered and gorged on Vaccinium delisiosum (Cascade Blueberry or Western Huckleberry), but I am still not positive. Whatever they were they were delisioso!
Here are a few things that I have gleaned from a little searching:
      The common name ‘huckleberry’ includes two different genera (with the exception of next bullet), Vaccinium and Gaylussacia, both in the Ericaceace family
     According to the USDA Plants Database, there are 14 plants with the common name of ‘huckleberry’ to include not only Gaylussacia (8 species) and Vaccinium (4 species) but also Solanum (spp: melanocerasum and scabrum)
     Fruits of Gaylussacia have 10 chambers resulting in 10 large seeds, whereas Vaccinium have 5 chambers and many numerous and smaller seeds
     According to the USDA Plants Database, there are 8 species of Gaylussacia, all east of the Rocky Mountains.
     Blueberries have been domesticated, while huckleberries have not. Check out the following blogs for more adventures in differentiating these berries:  KD Fairbanks
Barney, Danny. L. 1999. Growing Western Huckleberries. Available online: Huckleberries
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2016. Plants Database. Available online: Plants Database 

Spruce Bark Beetles and Berries

Being from the Kenai Peninsula and having first hand experience with spruce bark beetle die off in my home town of Moose Pass, it was interesting to read the effects the spruce bark beetle die off had on berry populations in the area. This article goes into depth about the effect tree coverage had on the berry stands in the area after the trees began to grow back after the spruce bark beetle die off. Each berry tested had slightly different results, but for the most part they averaged being the most productive at 50% coverage, then loosing productivity after that. BE Moose Pass, AK

Abstract: “Land managers on the Kenai Peninsula have responded to recent extensive infestations of forests by spruce beetles (Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby)) and associated increased fire risk with a variety of management approaches. To provide additional ecological information upon which to base these management prescriptions, we evaluated the response of the cover of berry species to variations in landscape factors and environmental conditions, including crown closure. Data were sufficient to describe the response of cover of bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis), black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), false toadflax (Geocaulon lividum), strawberryleaf raspberry (Rubus pedatus), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and a combination of 24 other species through multinomial logistic regression. Crown closure and forest overstory type significantly influenced the cover of all berry species. Increasing crown closure had a negative effect on all berry species except strawberryleaf raspberry. Level of infestation by spruce beetles was significantly related to the cover of all species except lingonberry. Our findings indicate that spruce forests may be managed to enhance berry cover and that choice of management technique (e.g., timber harvest, prescribed fire) will likely result in different outcomes.”

During, L.H., M.I. Goldstein, S.M. Howell and C.S. Nations. 2008. Response of the cover of berry-producing species to ecological factors on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, USA Canadian Journal of Forest Research.Vol. 38, No. 5 : pp. 1244-1259

Plant antifreeze

    Being in Biology right now we are learning about proteins so I looked into the proteins that keep plants from freezing in harsh Alaskan winters. I found an article  titled “Antifreeze proteins enable plants to survive in freezing conditions” by RAVI GUPTA and RENU DESWAL. I was intrigued by the fact that this article came out of India, where I imagine they do not get cold weather like maybe a northern European country, where I would expect an article like this to come from. The article goes into depth of how the proteins impede the hydrogen bonds of the water molecules so that they cannot bond and form ice crystals.
“Overwintering plants secrete antifreeze proteins  to provide freezing tolerance. These proteins bind to and inhibit the growth of ice crystals that are formed in the apoplast [conduit for water transport in plants where water moves through the cell walls without going through the inner cell membrane] during subzero temperatures. Antifreeze activity has been detected in more than 60 plants and antifreeze proteins have been detected in 15 of these, including gymnosperms, dicots and monocots.
     The main function of antifreeze proteins  is inhibition of ice crystal growth rather than the lowering of freezing temperatures. Antifreeze activity with higher Thermal hysteresis also exists in plants. Calcium and hormones like ethylene and jasmonic acid have been shown to regulate plant antifreeze activity.  Plant antifreeze proteins may have evolved  nearly 36 million years ago”.
Gupta, R. and R. Deswal. 2014. Antifreeze proteins enable plants to survive in freezing conditions.J Biosci. 39(5):931-44.

Northern Bushcraft in Canada

Check out this site that has a summary of all the wild berries found in the northern provinces of Canada plus lots more. Northern Bushcraft

Blueberries and Lingonberries in Pie

Blueberry Cranberry (lingonberry) Pie, muffins, anything Mixing about half and half of blueberries and cranberry (lingonberry) pie adds a surprisingly tasty zing. It’s also a nice way to use lingonberries in a pie. If you make an all lingonberry pie, it can be a little overwhelming, but half and half is just about right for my taste. As I mentioned earlier in my post on blueberry and raspberries for breakfast, I prefer not to add sugar to my berries which is part of the reason that I have a hard time using lingonberries. Now that I know lingonberries top the charts in antioxidants, I want to try to incorporate them even more into mine and my family’s diet. Of course, extrapolate from pie, and half blueberries and half lingonberries will do in just about any baked good or jam you are making.

Holloway, P.S., R. Dinstel and R. Leiner. 2006. Antioxidants in Alaska Wild berries. Georgeson Botanical Notes No. 35. Available Online: Berries and Antioxidants

Ode to pollinators

If you’re a gardener, berry lover, or if you eat food, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little more time appreciating our pollinators. One of my favorite authors, Rowan Jacobsen, wrote an enlightening book on the topic of pollination–Fruitless Fall (see below), in particular, on colony collapse disorder in honeybees. It’s frightening to think about the fragility of our current system of pollination. Luckily, wild berries in Alaska do not depend on managed hives for pollination. On my reading list since I read Fruitless Fall is  Forgotten pollinators. We should probably all spend a little more time appreciating these flying wonders. I enjoyed watching the beautiful video of buzz pollination(see below)  And while we’re on the topic, check out the Xerces society. They have a plethora of great resources on protecting and appreciating our sometimes forgotten and under-appreciated invertebrates. HR Fairbanks
Buchman, S. L. 1997. Forgotten pollinators. Island Press.
Karl Foord. 2014. Buzz Pollination.
Jacobsen, R. 2010. Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis. Bloomsbury, USA.
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Home Page). 2016. Available at: 14 Sept, 2016.

The Search for Lingonberries

After a solid afternoon of studying, my younger sister and I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood. Because we live next to a powerline cut, I thought that was a good place to go look at various plants and vegetation. We came across multiple stands of lingonberries. I didn’t know that we had so many close to our house. My sister enjoyed eating them after I explained what they were. She is a berry eating machine! I personally don’t care for raw lingonberries, but she was all over them. There are plenty more to go out and pick. We had fun counting all the buds that will hopefully turn into berries for next year. It made for a fun afternoon. CM Fairbanks