Ah, alpine blackberries. So tiny, so sweet, so floral, so much harder to pick than those Himalayan monsters that run rampant everywhere in the northwest (I like those, too, though; those are the ones I grew up eating, and they will always be a quintessential flavor of summer, for me). They're ripening early this year, too; normally we don't pick them until August, but we went up to Index two weekends ago to pick the thimbleberries and found ripe blackberries (and huckleberries - also ahead of schedule!) and picked a couple pints. I made two kinds of blackberry jam: a plain one (with just a little dash of rosewater at the end, to play up the floral notes in the berries), and then blackberry-sage. I used to love blackberry-sage tea as a younger adult. I haven't had any in years, but I still think of the flavor combo fondly. So, I packed up a few jars of the blackberry jam and set them in the canner to process and then went out to the garden and picked some fresh sage, washed and chopped it, and stirred it into the remaining jam in the pot. This decision meant I had to run my hot water canner for an extra 10 minutes (on an 85-degree day, ugh!), but I think it was worth it. Now we have his-n-hers blackberry jam for late autumn - I always like to eat this in November! =)
And yes, I did get up at 6:15am on a Saturday morning to water the garden and take pictures of jam in early morning sunlight! I've been sleeping so little lately, it's kind of awful. I'm getting bags under my eyes from it - but it's so hot at night and so bright so early in the morning that I just can't get a good rest. I seem to wake up at 3am every night now, too. Sometimes I go drink a glass of water, sometimes I get up and go to the bathroom, sometimes I just pet the cat (who, for some reason, hasn't let the heat dissuade her from sneaking into bed sometime in the wee hours of morning and snuggling up into my hip ... I'm kind of glad of it, actually; knowing that we're reaching the end-of-life for her means I want every last little furry snuggle that I can get).
(Here she is enjoying the handwoven, 100% wool rug I picked up at a charity event and cleaned ... clearly, just so she could play with/on it. It's her favorite place to sleep, chase her tail, roll and loll, and of course...those fringes are fun to attack!)