Friday, August 29, 2008

it's over

Fishing that is...for now. *sigh* I dragged home my fishing gear to stow for the upcoming winter. Alan asked, "is that it for the season?" Yes, the fish have gone to the lakes upriver early.
A sad finale to the season as the authorities shovelled over 200 dead fish off the shores into a pickup destined to the dump. They had been jigged out, badly damaged, discarded and left to rot! ( jigging or snagging uses a very large hook which can grab the fish alongside and snags the body leaving bad tears and cuts on the fish) nunatsiaq news on char
Now our thoughts turn to ice fishing, snowmobiling, but even that is a long way off. It may be cold and maybe an early winter, but usually it's late December before there is enough snow to cover the rocks.
This weekend everyone gets ready to return to school, and the signs are all around that the warm season is over. There was a definite chill in the air today, the wind howling down at 60km/h bringing ice floes into shore again. The wind chill isn't posted unless the standing temperature is below -40C but I'm tellin ya there's a wind chill today!

Monday, August 25, 2008

blue blue blue ...berries of course!

It must be nearing end of summer, for the signs are everywhere. The foilage, although it is on the ground is turning bright reds and oranges. The blueberry is ripe and ready for picking. Best of all they are completely free. Hunting, fishing, sealing all require permits and equipment; boats, lures, weapons. Not free.

Blueberry requires no permits, and has no limits. If you've got time, they grow wild everywhere.
Picking fruit, in the sunshine, sprawled on the tundra is a far better use of a beautiful day then slogging away at the laundry.
I discovered, rather quickly that it is best to locate berry patch, find the bottom most part on the hill and then work your way up. It's much easier to find them if you look up at the plant. They try but can't hide their bluey blueness!

Post script to the ulu- I have not yet cut myself. It naturally moves in an outward motion.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

dog days and heydays

Having grown up in a small town which grew to a decent sized city, I guess I had forgotten what living in a small town entails. Grocery shopping or dining out means you see the governmental brass, the friends from work and acquaintances. Things are done differently in a small town.
Yesterday while walking downtown to meet up friends for coffee, a wedding party passed by. Now having seen countless children and or dogs riding along in the space of the pick up truck box, the surprise of such a sight no longer shocks me. However on this fine sunny day the wedding party passed by with the bride and groom riding along in the box, horns-a-tootin followed by the wedding train (of one). Now I had never expected to see a well dressed couple in fine white wedding clothes pass by on the dusty road waving from the back of a pick up! Is it just me?

Fishing news: the season draws to a close for us. The fish are no longer feeding as they prepare to leap up the falls for the coming winter in the lakes. How frustrating, yet fascinating to see them jumping and leaping by the hundreds at the mouth of the river. Catching one with a lure is next to impossible...the irony is they're so plentiful and none of 'em biting!

Dog news: Caesar and Fidel are still at it. Each trying to prove his right to dominate the other. Old dog Caesar engages in the scrap and then suffers his arthritis for the balance of the night. Politely declining doesn't occur to him. Fidel, a young healthy dog is sure to displace the ole boy sooner or later and with each attempt manages to gain a little on Caesar. I guess dogs don't subscribe to the wisdom in ageing with grace.
Puppy Aputi (translates to snow) has been recovered having been stolen a couple of weeks ago. She's a hoot as she howls when she sees her friends and enthusiastically greets each one.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

lady's tools

Taaadaaa! Finally the owner of an ulu. The handle on this one has grooves to accommodate a woman's fingers and the pink caribou bone handle makes it the perfect knife.
(The pink tint comes from the blood supply to the antler.)
This one came with the caribou bone stand. Rummaging through the knife drawer would be very dangerous!

In other news.......we came across some German tourists who needed a lift. Alan offered them a ride to their lodging and we sat chatting for some time. Hans and Elvira have already toured Canada's east coast and this trip decided to do Eastern Canada, touring Quebec, Ontario and Nunavut. As always I am astounded at the energetic German tourist. Hans and Elvira were well educated about Canadian politics, social issues and geography. They kindly answered our questions about the social issues that they face at home, in politics and in health care too. They asked if Iqaluit provided a good living, if life here was good for us. We each had our own answers and it was a pleasure to exchange our viewpoints. They were continuing their tour by ship to Resolute before returning home. Happy travels Hans and Elvira!

Monday, August 11, 2008

mo fishin'

Yesterday like most days Mike and I went fishing on our lunch. You've heard it many times, the one that got away! Well darn it, the big mamma broke my 12lb test line and ran away with my lure! Not before giving a big splash and roll and then !ping! goes my line.

It was a great day for Mike as he reeled in a beautiful fish; big, belly full of shrimp, spawning colours starting to show.
I did hook a keeper and it was too big for the pan. Shucks. No matter it was enjoyed by Alan and I for dinner the fish head to the puppy downstairs, nothing wasted.

Today Mike said he saw a big char cruise by with a lure still in place...we wonder...

Finally today I caught a spunky one, pulling the line, leaping out of the river. She's a beaut pictured here and in the freezer for sushi later!

p.s Caesar contained himself but was quivering with the smell of the fresh char. He got a tasty treat after I finished cleaning the gut.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

sunny days

Apparently last summer was rain, rain and more rain. This summer, my first here has been glorious; with long sunny days, cool temperature, enough breeze to keep you cool. It is difficult to explain, when the sun shines it is warm if cloud should cover the sun it is cold. The air is always cool. So when the sun is shining it is hot, the breeze refreshing! The temperature today was recorded at 11C but we really didn't need our jackets.

Iris, Angela and I walked for about four hours today looking for the late bloomers. We missed the blooming of the cuckoo flower and the water buttercup. Maybe next year!

We did see an arctic hare! She sat in the sun no more than 10 feet away (2m) dressed in gray with white trim around her ears! My camera battery was dead!

She bounded off into the distance much to our delight. Caesar only noticed her when she was safely beyond capture, he gave a brief "token" chase.

We did get a tan and a great day out of the four walls. The dogs enjoyed every minute. Caesar got Kai to play and they chased each other over the tundra!
Now those of you who know Caesar will be as surprised as I was to find him wading in the tidal pools and river runoffs! He dug his nose through the water and threw his head back to wet his back. (now it must have been hot for that!)

Below is a tiny mushroom.

The rack of drying char is called pitsik (pit see) and this is a traditional way or preparing char.

Monday, August 4, 2008

by the sea

Finally the voyage around the bay and out to Qaummaarviit Provincial Park. The Thule people kept sod houses. Pictured here is a sod dug out which is leftover from these people, carbon dated to 1000 years ago. The homes were structured similar to the iglu using bowhead whale rib bones to define the structure.
Also our guide was very knowledgeable about the way of life and was able to show us different food storage areas and grave sites. I won't say too much as it was well worth the price paid and maybe you'll take the trip!
Pictured above is Virgil, he is armed in the event a bear should appear. Virgil worked on the boat with his uncle.

The sealift vessel, which brings us our groceries, furniture, vehicles and anything else you can think of from mainland cities. This ship arrived from Montreal.

Below stranded on an island at high tide these three floes will probably stick around until high tide and westerly winds can dislodge them. In other words they are stuck here as we rarely get a west wind.

We did manage to see some wildlife out at the mouth of the bay, different seals resting or bobbing along. It's a double edge sword to spot a Beluga. Once spotted it doesn't stand much of a chance of escaping the hunters.

I couldn't resist these late Mountain Avens. This is their mid summer stage and as the summer progresses they unravel. The Inuit use this plant to tell the season by their state of unfurling.
Besides they look like a row of wizards hats!