In which I made some blackberry jam

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.

This is the only picture I could find from my snake tracking days. Sometime circa 2002?

This is the only picture I could find from my snake tracking days. Sometime circa 2002? I lugged about 30lbs of equipment all over the woods looking for my scaly friends. 

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.

I presented some of my data in 2003 at the National Youth Science Camp in Barstow, WV where I was Tennessee's delegate. NERD ALERT TO THE MAX!

While digging through scrapbooks for the picture above I came across this gem: Here I am presenting some of my data in 2003 at the National Youth Science Camp in Barstow, WV where I was the state of Tennessee’s delegate. NERD ALERT TO THE MAX!

After nearly 6 years in the field following those slinky creatures around, I presented the rest of the data for my Graduation with Distinction thesis from Duke in 2007. There isn't really a nerd alert level high enough for this.

After nearly 6 years in the field following those slinky creatures around, I presented the rest of the data for my Graduation with Distinction thesis from Duke in 2007. There isn’t really a nerd alert level high enough for this.

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.

Mmmmmm!

Mmmmmm!

Jars at the ready

Jars sterilized and at the ready

First batch measured out

First batch measured out

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!).

Snack time!

Snack time!

IMG_1926

Yum!

Did you know how much sugar there is in jam? A shit ton. It's basically just fruit syrup, congealed. No wonder I love it so much!

Did you know how much sugar there is in jam? A shit ton. It’s basically just fruit syrup, congealed. No wonder I love it so much!

Delicious success!

Delicious success!

Now I have enough blackberry jam to last me a long time! Thanks Kat for the great lesson!

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3 thoughts on “In which I made some blackberry jam

  1. Glad your friends found their cars and you learned to make blackberry jam!! LOOKS wonderful, now for your homemade biscuits as I know you can do that too without grandmother!! You could do peach and any other fruit too!!

  2. aw, it’s a clam shell iBook from back when Apple was first taking off again! nostalgia! You’ve always been a mac girl. 🙂 and always a nerd. 😀
    -j

  3. Haha – I remember getting there and having to do the presentation on the Mac and being totally freaked out! But then it went okay! And then I wasn’t scared of weird computers anymore. Too bad it too me so long to get back to Mac, but now I’m here to stay 😀

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