An Early Independence Day

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Early you ask? Yes, an early Independence Day. You see I have some exciting news to share with you! The Alaska String Band has been invited to play at the US Consulate in Vladivostok Russia for their 4th of July celebration. As I'm sure you can all imagine, we were very surprised and excited to find out this amazing news. And even though it's only a few days till we leave I am still reeling at the thought of visiting Russia! What an exciting adventure.

Since we'll all be quite busy performing over the coming holiday I thought it might be fun to throw a little picnic to celebrate the 4th while we were still on US soil. It was going to be a small picnic, just Quinn and myself, but then I decided to invite everyone (because everyone seemed to be free - yippee!).

Quinn and I had left at the beginning of June to attend my sister Bethany's wedding - and I was so nervous we would miss the lupin blooming while we were away! Indeed, it was all spent in Seattle, but once we got back to Juneau I was delighted to find that it was in full bloom! The flowers always remind me of old-time baby prams (it is my deepest wish to own one someday, and to take Sunday strolls with my baby, pushing them happily along!).
I felt like Heidi, up on the peaks of the alps, with the snowy mountains around me. Of course I was really only at sea-level, but with the right camera cropping you can almost believe it!

 Oh Greta, how big the world must seem to such a tiny little corgi...

Speaking of Greta, I tried to get a nice photo with her but she was feeling quite sociable that day and instead I got four! Silly thing. I swear, some days she runs as soon as she sees the camera and other days she's all smiles...which photo do you like the best?

I do hope you don't mind the spam of corgi photos, its just that sometimes I simply can't get over how darling she is. Haha!

Before coming down to pick flowers for the picnic (for what is a picnic without flowers?), Quinn and I had been busy in the kitchen preparing the first couple of picnic treats. I had decided to make Strawberry Shortcake - a recipe I had never tried before (nor had I ever eaten it, if memory serves), and I was pleased to find that it was no harder to make than a standard biscuit recipe!

Upon hearing that morning that I would try this recipe, Abigail exclaimed "Oh! Mom makes great Strawberry Shortcake!" Oh dear...I would have to live up to Melissa's wonderful baking skills! 

Lupin freshly cut, and with a very wet corgi in tow, we started back up to the Barn. Not long now until the picnic would begin!
The way back up to the road is steep to say the least! It only gets more dangerous with clunky rain boots, a basket of flowers, and a darting corgi underfoot!
Very quickly, and with the flying of apron strings, we finished up the food (thankfully there would be enough for everyone - I had been worried!) and I laid out the picnic blankets in a nice shady spot in the backyard. 

In case you hadn't noticed in the above photos, I was quite sunburned! And not just me, but every single person in the family except for mom (who very smartly didn't spend the whole summer solstice in the sunshine). When I expressed worry about this to Quinn (I believe my exact words were, "I'm going to look like a bright red strawberry in the pictures!") he kindly replied, "You must remember that everyone else is just as red as you, we'll look normal when we're all together!" Dear Reader, you will have to be the judge of that! Haha!

Another one of my dreams (besides owning an old fashioned pram) is to ride in a hot air balloon! This one here I found at a Goodwill store while we were in Seattle, and it now hangs above our stairs in the barn. It flew over for the picnic though, with a cheery greeting sailing along behind it!
Red, white and blue blankets for an Independence Day picnic! What could be more perfect? 
The menu for the 4th of July picnic included:

White Rosehip Tea
Tea Biscuits & Pim's Orange Cookies
Sub-Style Sandwiches
A Meat & Cheese board with Crackers
A Selection of Pickles & Olives

Though our sunburns were still smarting, it felt amazing to be out in the nice weather. Mom commented that it didn't smell anything at all like Juneau, and we all agreed. It smelled like sunshine and warmth, fresh-cut grass and something else none of us could define. Juneau is so seldom like this, we hardly know what to do with ourselves (which explains the sunburn I think)!

This tea tray I also found at a second-hand store while in Seattle. It's decorated with strawberries and has a removable sugar dish and milk pitcher! I just thought it was the cutest thing, and it's gilded with gold on the edges, just like my white and gold tea set! It was so much fun to use it for the picnic.

The little sandwiches I wrapped in brown paper and tied with ribbon and twine. I thought it made them look extra fancy!

When everyone was done snacking, Quinn and I fetched the individual servings of Strawberry Shortcake, piling them high with fresh-made whipped cream and strawberries - of course! Everyone was properly awed by them as we brought them out on trays - it was so wonderful to hear them "Oooo!" and "Awww!" over our creations!

And the best part? They tasted amazing! In fact we only got one picture, for they were eaten up so quickly!

I think everyone enjoyed the picnic, and I am so happy everyone came! It will certainly be an adventure to visit Russia, and I know I will treasure this memory of a picnic in the sun for years to come. I hope you're 4th of July is a splendid one, Dear Reader! Do tell me what you plan to do in the comment section below! I would love to hear! Until next time, Friend.


  1. Dear Emily, I wanted to thank you for your beautiful blog. Your picnic is so inspiring and the "Heidi picture"' is absolutely lovely!! My family hopes to attend a big picnic with several families and probably lots of sports and visiting involved. I hope you have a safe, happy trip to Russia and I look forward to hearing all about it!
    ♥ Maggie

  2. Hello, I went by to say hello, since I've been disconnected from everything for a long time. As always I love your work. That I still think that they are not chapucillas, but great works. A kiss.


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