My first job ever was to track snakes for this research company in East Tennessee – the Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization. Yes – track snakes. My high school biology teacher offered me the job and I continued on with them every summer through college I was back in TN.
Seriously, it was the Best. Job. Ever. I basically went out with an antenna and tried to locate the position of snakes that we had transmitters surgically placed into and then record their body and the ambient air temperature for 12 hour periods of time. Sometimes it would take me a few minutes to find a snake, sometimes it would takes days. Usually I would lug along two or three Nalgene bottles of water and as I drank them through the day I’d fill them with blackberries so my mom could make cobbler or my grandmother could make jam. Now, thousands of miles away and with a less National Geographic-y job I’m forced to make my own jam.
A few weeks ago I suckered Jeff into coming out to pick berries with me at Magnuson Park which is right by where I work. They were at near peak plumpness and the timing couldn’t’ve been more perfect. Kat, one of my co-residents, promised to teach me the secret jam making ways if I showed up with enough berries, jars, sugar and pectin at her house on a Saturday morning.
Between the time Kat promised to teach me and our Saturday jam date, their house got broken into and their cars stolen. It was horrible and I felt terrible for them and tried to cancel our plans, but she insisted that I come to give them something else to think about that morning. I’m glad I did because I got to watch these too adorable kids while they ran some errands (update: they found the thieves! and the cars!).
Now I have enough blackberry jam to last me a long time! Thanks Kat for the great lesson!