Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the arctic is melting

Politicking is not my thing, but one cannot ignore the weird and warm winter we're having this year. So much rain, freezing rain and melting will definitely affect the northern wild life. Furthermore the night sky has been obliterated by clouds.

falling stars

The night of the meteor storm was unusually cold and clear night for us (this winter). My friends and family in Ontario were under cloudy skies. So with a sense of duty, obligation we went out "representin'" to view the meteors! It was a chilly -27C but well worth the effort. We bundled up, trundled out the tripod and faced the wind to watch the universe unfold.

meteor storm with added bonus; aurora borealis extraordinaire

Not much to photograph if it's mud and cloudy skies so here's to hoping for the return to cold!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

time passages

I made a difficult decision to remove the blog list which was to the right of ma blog. Reason, I can't keep up with the transient nature of northerners. Of the originals in my list, I think only Matt in Cape Dorset and I are still in Nunavut. Many others migrate to "greener" pastures of the Yukon, NWT or locales south. Sorry folks. Miss you all and Jen of the north I miss you the most.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

long wait to winter

Winter took a long time in arriving this year. December and we were still experiencing rain! Imagine, rain in the far north in December! No new posts since September simply because I have nothing nice to say about too much rain. It is easy math; rain = mud = nothing much to photograph.

But now with a couple of cold days and persistent snowfall there has been an upgrade in the local panoramas.

I always get a kick out of decorative trees here for the Christmas season as it usually takes me a minute to realize this is novelty, not nature. But the trees complete the "festive" scene and make me feel all fuzzy and warm.

With winter finally here, the landscape looks nice and clean and the Christmas lights are brightening our long nights.

The temperatures remain unseasonably mild, with today being the first day of a temperature colder than -10C. It has been disappointing to our southern visitors as they feel cheated out of their arctic experience.

Today I saw two people out in a boat in the bay, the windchill at the time was -31C, yes a boat not a snowmobile. Hopefully the bay freezes in time for the New Years snowmobile parade!

Here's a tip of the egg nog, and a toast for a bitterly cold winter ahead!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Autumn greets the tundra

It was a rare unseasonably warm September day, finally the rain had stopped, it seemed to cloud over every evening just as we finished work for the day. Life was simpler when skipping class on a fine spring or autumn day resulted in a scolding from the school or ....not! No chance on cutting classes now though. The fine weather will end, bringing on the early nights and lazy sunrises, and the plants will be blanketed for another long wait under the snow.

Alan loves blueberries, all berries in fact. I don't. Picking berries makes great use of the fine weather. Today I bake a pie..or tarts...something with blueberries for him. The black berries (crowberries) are sweeter after the first snow, oddly we haven't had one yet. When we do, I will get back out there in the colder weather to harvest the frost sweetened black berries for the winter.


Thanks to the rainy month of August, the berries are bountiful, big and juicy. It amazed me that so many plants can share the thin soil and at the end of the short season, everyone has had a successful summer.

Blueberry among lichen.

Mountain Avens? I think, unfurled with seed.

Blueberries, red bear berry, and crowberry crowd the thin soil covering the rocks.

Mt. Avens

Dwarf Fireweed seedpod

This fine weather does nothing to improve the state of our apartment, an opportunist like me would rather be outside playing in the sunshine than inside fighting with the vacuum. Taking pictures is a good way to stay outside for long hours. As the sun moves across the sky, with the ever changing the light, there is always something beautiful to capture.

After all, there will be plenty of time to sort and organize in the coming months!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boston and back again

As it happened, just as I was heading out on a rare work related trip; my computer broke. Seems Iqaluit repair folk were all out on vacay. Thinking that I could leave it for the week and upon my return pick it up and travel home with newly repaired laptop, I left it with a recommended shop in Ottawa. Sure enough on my return it wasn't of course. So sadly I trudge on home without it.
Eventually it arrived safely in the post!
Now it's catch-up time on the blog.

We lucked out with a patio table for this wonderful Blues Band playing on the Blues Barge at the "Liberty Wharf" Boston.

Boston- can't explain this boarded up house which was next to (not shown) a private yacht where we creeped the chef cooking dinner.

Downtown Boston-Boston Fire Department

Buskerfest Ottawa

too hot even for the wildlife.

Have been home for a couple of weeks now. When I departed Ottawa it was an ideal 23C the heat/humidity spell had broken. When I landed in Iqaluit the temperature read 9 or 10C. I breathed in the cool, fresh air. The breeze washed over me and I was relieved, and refreshed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flowers and more

Mushroom pretending to be a flower.

After a full day of rain, not the nice northern misty rain, nooo a downpour of blowing rain; we decided to take pictures of the tundra.
Mosquitoes didn't take long to find us but we persevered for a couple of nice shots. Yes, I even ate a mosquito. Don't be fooled, while the plant life may be small, the mosquitoes are not.

Arctic Willow
Inuktitut name: Suputiit

Arctic Thrift
Inuktitut name: "Carnation"

Yellow Oxytrope
Inuktitut name: Airaq

Dwarf Fireweed
Inuktitut name: Paunnat
There are many plants of this pale colouring neighbouring the deep pink variety. I found them irresistible.

Monday, July 5, 2010

the tempest in the river

Fishing season has arrived, as they say a bad day on the water is better than a good day at the office! With the exception of pouring rain I spend lots of time coaxing out of the river what is hers.(The rain makes the rocks slippery).
I fully understand any ancient people who would worship gods of sun, sky, water, and earth. The river doesn't give up her bounty easily. Patience, skill and time are usually required....and a lure that is tempting to char.
too big for the cutting board...

Char, I've discovered or maybe all fish are very optimistic; small ones taking big lures, eating even though it's stomach is near bursting with shrimp. They are eating machines; teeth that are frighteningly sharp and numerous.

The river has a sense of humour, I discovered that today. Sending schools of minnows by, followed occasionally by a larger fish and they swim right past my line.

On the rocky river shore; the sun is shining the breeze keeping me cool (and therefore sun-burnt) the tide is high and it's a perfect day in the perfect place. It's my happy place, fish or no fish.

Rarely I post a pic of myself but I couldn't resist; this is the biggest fish I've ever caught and weighed in at 5 pounds. Yup it was tasty, yup it fed a lot of people and yup we thank the river.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

big and little, the duplicity of the tundra

teeny tiny Moss Campion

Big expansive sky, hilly tundra and vast water. Awe inspiring the tundra, but it's secret is in the smallest flowers. Maybe David Attenborough will do "the secret life of flowers". They are blatantly, overtly sexual. They hurry to blossom, each using inspired unique tricks to attract the pollinators. Arctic Poppy

Often only with the camera can you get a glimpse of their ingenuity. Too early yet for the prickly saxifrage with it's landing strip markings. Texture and sheen often aren't visible to our unaided eye. Mouse Eared Chickweed

On reviewing the pictures I usually notice a feature the plant must use to attract bugs; texture, size, colour and even the shape of the stamen.Arctic Milk Vetch

Vetch distinguishable by it's leaves and ground hugging habits, is less invasive here than in more southern climates. Therefore it's a tundra treasure, barely rising above the ground for it's brief appearance.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

white and dainty

White Heather (for her close up)

Today I decided to focus on the secret life of the wee arctic flower. While snapping away I noticed the little wee fly seek a hiding spot. Doing God's work helping to pollinate the eager blossoms, the little fly was small enough to hide among the pistols.

A loonie provides some perspective.

Mountain Avens up close and personal.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a stranger in our midst

While enjoying the fine weather, I heard the unmistakable call of a southern songbird. The elusive fellow sat on a rock long enough for a blurry portrait. Sparrow!

What are you doing here? Though I haven't lived in the north long, this is the first time I've heard it's distinctive call.

Kamik looking devilishly wolfish. We're on edgy terms since she has been behaving badly. I cannot fault her behaviour too much, since she's had to deal with the neighbour who decided to stone her while I was at work one afternoon. She definitely isn't timid. Alan sorted things out.

Wet feet are worth the time out on the squishy tundra, Kamik had a good run, finding pools of water and scraps of bone while Alan and I, ever in awe, took in the vistas.

I will never tire of the big land, and sky.

Always glad to find a new treasure, we came across this tiny plant on our hike. It's blossoms no bigger than my pinky fingernail but grows in a thick cluster.
If anyone can identify this plant, please let me know, it is a low growing early bloomer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

good bye night sky

snowmobiles making their way home across the bay.

For those of you below the arctic; we now say farewell to the night sky. Today the forecast states the sun sets at 10:11pm and will rise at 02:52am. In reality; it doesn't get dark, dusky yes but starry and moon-y darkness-no.

moon low on the horizon

Most evenings we are rewarded with a view of the moon sliding across our window. We hope to never take it for granted. For many years I would look up in the early morning as my only opportunity to see the night sky on my way to work.

For many years living in Toronto, I was unable to see the stars and moon, it was depressing for me. Now I have the honour of seeing big sky, big moons and. the milky way as the seasons permit. Every time I step outside there is something to surprise me in the sky; aurora borealis, mares tail clouds, mackerel sky, sunsets that linger for hours and, the unbelievable visibility at nearly 50 kilometres.

Friday, April 30, 2010

busy times

Things have been rather hectic lately. Alan had surgery and was away returning in time for me to go to Ontario. I took advantage of the business trip to mix in some pleasure; taking in the great weather and catching up with fam and friends.

Having a mild winter brought a mild spring for the motherland and the pictures were taken during my brief visit. Some days were "cold" around 2C other days were "nice" around 16C. Typical Ontario spring weather. We got it all; rain, snow and sun....and a wind reminiscent of Iqaluit!

Trumpeter Swans during mating rituals. My sister got a video of them swimming to one end of their pond then flying back over the water, ensuring their wings hit the water. It makes for an incredible sight and noise!

Red Trillium

Taking the goslings for a swim, they seem to bob on the water like ping pong balls.

Tree Swallow feeding the nest.

Springwater Park takes only injured or orphaned animals. This black bear talked to us...making little bear grunts.

Self Portrait Shadow

Spring trees remind me of paintbrushes, reaching for the sky.