Recipe: pickled blackberries
Happy Autumn, friends! It is, in my opinion, the very best time of year. Autumn is when you can peruse the late summer harvest of greens, tomatoes, melons, and beans at the Crested Butte Farmers Market and see a fresh dusting of snow on the 13,000 foot peaks in the distance. We are getting a taste of some weather too with overnight frosts, cold rains, thick clouds clinging to mountains, and a chance of snow overnight. But weather is a GOOD thing, not just for the ski season (ahem!) but also for the opportunities when our dynamic atmosphere and light interact.
sunset and a clearing storm
It could be that I am biased toward fall because my birthday frequently coincides with the autumnal equinox. But even if my birthday was in July (ugh – I don’t even want to think of it), I would still be utterly devoted to this season. Leaves change, weather cools, the light turns soft and golden. Elk fill the air with their high-pitched bugles and the mountains don their lacy white shawls. It is when the ranchers let their cattle out to graze and trample the dying remnants of summer’s glorious wildflower bloom. Predators chase down prey before the pickings get slim and the bear scat on trails is full of berries.
sun lights up the changing aspen after a rainstorm
and there’s that colorado blue sky
We went for a trail run Sunday afternoon between storms to stretch our legs and scope out the colors. I’m here for the fall shoot and it seems that every year someone declares the leaves are early when in fact, they are almost always “on time”. This year, they seem a tad late as the majority of aspen stands are still green. But where you do see patches of gold and orange punctuated by the rare and glorious reds, they are spectacular. It’s visually obvious that the colors are increasing from one day to the next. Mother Nature is on a schedule.
mount crested butte watches over us (iphone)
i rounded a bend in the trail and saw this glowing stand of orange and yellow (iphone)
green and gold on the hill slopes while a storm moves in up the valley (iphone)
Wait, I lied. We didn’t trail run between storms, we started between storms. The second storm caught up and followed us like that cloud over Charlie Brown’s head. An updraft slapped chilly winds across our legs, bright pink with cold. The clouds unleashed a torrent of frigid rain. It was 43°F, we blasted through muddy puddles as we were already soaked to the bone, and lightning crashed overhead repeatedly. The storm eventually outpaced us. I was cold, wet, and tired… but happy.
Why happy? Because I’m here. I’ve always been the kind of kid who loves to wake up each morning, excited for the day and ready to get started. After chemo repeatedly knocked me on my ass, weakening me further with each infusion, I came to the conclusion that normal is AWESOME. I still love rising each day at age 42, but now with a hint of urgency and a lot more gusto. Every morning is a gift. Each sunrise is never taken for granted. Being able to work, to run in freezing thunderstorms, to live – it all means so much to me. The answer is to live and appreciate life. The answer is to not give a shit what others think. The answer is to be true to yourself. The answer is to not be a douchecanoe. The answer is 42.
And blackberries. The time is now for blackberries, so let’s get on that.
fresh blackberries, water, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, ginger, shallot, fresh bay leaf, sprig of thyme, peppercorns, whole allspice, and juniper berries
**Jump for more butter**