Monthly musings: September, the harvest month

September is the ninth month of the year and is called the Harvest Month. This month is the third of four months with thirty days.

The first day observed in September is Labor Day which is always on the first Monday. Labor Day recognizes the strength, prosperity, laws and wellbeing of the country, as well as its workers.

Grandparents’ Day is observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day. This holiday honors grandparents and gives them the blessing of showing love to their children’s children and help make them aware of the strength, information and guidance that older people have to offer.

The third observance is on the 17th, which is Constitution Day, celebrating ratification of the governing document of the United States.

On the 22nd of September is the autumnal equinox, celebrating summer going into fall. Autumnal equinox makes days a little shorter and the nights a little longer. Temperatures start dropping and the leaves start falling.

The fourth Friday of September is observed as Native American Day. This holiday was originally called Columbus Day, but changed to indigenous People’s Day and falls on October 8, 2018 in Alaska — the date depends on the state.

Here’s some September trivia: September 7–8 in Skagway, there is the Klondike Road Relay that runs from Skagway to Whitehorse, Yukon. This event started in 1998, making 2018 the 20th annual event. This relay race is 100 miles long, starting in Skagway Friday evenings along the Klondike Highway to Whitehorse, Yukon. There are 10 temps and members come from all over the world to compete.

September 1, 1906 marks the first traverse of the Northwest Passage by Roald Amundsen. He reached Nome.

September 8, 1906: Juneau became the home of the governor’s office, which had previously been in Sitka.

September 10, 1969: Alaska netted nearly 1$10 billion from the 23rd Oil and Gas Lease Sales. Forty-nine years later, this figure has risen substantially.

September 24, 1794: The first Russian Orthodox missionaries arrived in Kodiak.

September 24, 1918: Katmai National Monument was created.

The month of September definitely shows season changes from summer to fall. The temperature is cooler and the leaves change color and drop. The most noticeable is the amount of daylight — in July at Solstice, we had 19 hours, while we now have14 hours and 35 minutes of daylight with future decreases. The gardens are ready to tend and the veggies to be preserved. The reds are just about gone, only to be replaced with the silvers, which taste just as good and are a real fighting fish. The fireweed is almost bloomed out and some honey and jelly made, while berry pickers are picking blueberries, raspberries, high and lowbush cranberries, moss berries, salmon berries and any more depending where in the state a person might live. Hello jams, jellies, syrups, leathers, freeze-dried and fresh fruits, what tasty treats for the long winter months and healthy to yum. Let’s not forget that it is hunting season, also — put that meat up, make that jerky, do the canning and fill the freezer. Through all these activities, it’s no wonder that September is called the Harvest Month. Thank God we have our fall rains to make sure everything is hydrated before entering rest.

It’s time to clean out the connexes, sheds and garages, have sales and put away the summer stuff and bring out the winter toys.

This is the time of migrations of birds, whales and caribou to warmer climates. They’ll be missed but welcomed back next spring.

In Alaska, we have the most radical changes and tides in the world — the only choice we have is to enjoy each day to the fullest.

Alaska is spectacular any time of year, but the changing colors is one of my personal favorites. Enjoy but don’t take it for granted.

More in Life

Bacon is prepared on a fire pit, June 19, 2020, in the Copper River Valley, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Eating from fire

My attitude toward camp cooking is that you can eat pretty much anything you would eat at home.

Irene Lampe dances a robe for its First Dance ceremony at the Sealaska Heritage Institute on Monday, June 22, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Annie Bartholomew)
Weavers celebrate new robe with first dance

The event is part of a resurgent trend for traditional weaving.

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Summer traditions

Over the years, a paella feed has marked momentous occasions, like moving or birthday parties.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Looking in the rearview mirror

I stepped through a time warp last week.

Concert on Your Lawn revives spirit of KBBI festival

The concert came about after the pandemic forced KBBI to cancel a planned Solstice weekend concert.

Minister’s Message: Finding hope in dark times

A life lived without hope is like a life lived without love.

Morel pasta is enjoyed outside on May 19, 2019, near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Morels all the ways

When the Swan Lake Fire started, we knew we had an opportunity to get even more morels.

This portrait—one of few that Richard Shackelford reportedly allowed to be published—graced the 1909 commencement booklet for the California Polytechnic School, of which he was the president of the Board of Trustees. (Photo courtesy Clark Fair)
A tale of Two Shacklefords, in a way — part three

Untangling the origins of Shackleford Creek’s name.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: It’s all in the game

It’s amazing what a deck of cards or a set of dice can teach a young person.

Kachemak Cuisine: Find comfort in hard times by cooking good food

The first tastes of spring for me are rhubarb, fresh-caught fish from Kachemak Bay and chives.

Fiddlehead ferns shooting up from the ground, on May 24 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Foraging for fiddleheads

Springtime in Alaska is the beginning of foraging season for me.