Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"I don't eat meat..."

You must be from Bush Alaska if you're reading a book at 1:00 a.m. by the light of the bright burning sun above your bedroom window, and get a phone call saying, "Go to the beach, we got you an Ugruk ." And then you hear your husband go into "hunter mode" and run around downstairs, only to have him run upstairs to your bright bedroom and say, "GET DRESSED!!" Then yell fifteen minutes later, "BYE SUYUK!" to the little four year old who came over to help get the Ugruk onto a trailer and into our backyard. And then worry about nuviivaks getting onto your meat so you stay up all night, in said bright, bright sun worrying. And then go to work at 8:00 a.m. the next day.

aana lena

Yes, you must be from Bush Alaska.

Either that, or you're me.

I love it when we get phone calls like that! They are the best. Nevermind that you're going to end up staying up all night, shoot, its bright anyway, may as well right?! Nevermind that you have to go to work in the morning!


Except that I did go to sleep, early enough, say around 2:00 a.m. so I could get up and get to work for a bit before all the sleeping bears who were to help me woke up! My cousin Josie is here from Red Dog to do some recruiting for positions up there, and she'd never cut an Ugruk before. We decided that it was because she was spoiled and my Aana never let her do anything growing up. Or maybe I decided that, I can't remember! But, we did grow up together until her mom made them all move to Nome to be a Nanook instead of a Husky and tore us arguing sister-cousins apart! That's OK though, she stole my Rainbow Bright one time, and I got her back by cutting more Ugruk than her!


My baby sister Elsa hadn't cut any either, I don't know why exactly, probably because she was "sickly kid" and was in and out of the hospital, besides, we lived in the Rich House by the time she was born, maybe we just didn't work on them anymore, who knows. Nevertheless, she came over, woke Maddie up to babysit and rushed outside with Gloves on. :) haha...gloves.

elsa, josie maija

Cathy , Victor, Aana Lena and Kookie came over to help too. Aana Lena, who can probably cut an Ugruk in her sleep, backwards with her left hand faster than I can with help, watched quietly. Until she couldn't hold it in anymore and said, "Your momma shoulda taught you better, no wonder you don't know how!" (haha) But, she was VERY gentle on Josie and Elsa, smiling and letting them know that they were doing a great job. I wish I had her as a teacher. My Aana always scolded me and ripped my stitches when I sewed until I got it RIGHT. And after I cut holes in some of the hides, she wouldn't let me Kavraq either! (Kavraq = removing the blubber from the skin)

josie and lena

Aana Lena, so full of wisdom and beauty, said to Josie, "Your Aana Mary is watching down from Heaven, so proud of you, Praise the Lord." It was so beautiful, I almost cried. Especially when Lena told us that she never saw a cleaner cut Ugruk before! (Yeah, cause I like white oil!)


Then I remembered that I was full of blubbler, blood, oil and meat chunks and that I had to be back at work at 1:00. And that I hadn't eaten lunch. And that I needed to clean the Ingaloaqs still. And that my husband hadn't brought me a Dr. Pepper yet. (Ingaloaqs = intestines)

elsa hanging
(this is what I look like when someone almost drops a strip. :) hehe)

We got the bulk of it done today, stripped the meat, and hung it in our Inisaq and closed off with a PIC and some stinkweed flooring until tomorrow when they need to be turned. (Inisaq = meat hanging rack) Last year we did the same thing, only a few weeks earlier. I'm not complaining though, today was a grand day indeed to cut. Breezy, and sunny, perfect Arctic day.


For lunch, I made a pot of boiled Kidney, Meat, Blubber and White Muktuk for all of us to enjoy. The kids were inside arguing about who gets to eat the last piece of Kidney as we were rushing out the door with our paper plates full of lunch. They were also very disappointed that I didn't clean a section of Ingaloaqs out to boil so they could eat.


Funny story, a couple of years ago, when they first started coming up to Kotzebue, they told us that they "Don't eat meat. Only McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Dairy Queen meat." Yep, they don't eat "meat" only Heart, Tongue, Kidney, Intestine, Liver, Moose, Caribou, Musk Ox and Sheep. No "meat" for us!


Sabrina said...

So how many lbs of meat do you end up with? Did everyone take some home?

Finnskimo said...

I don't know how many lbs of meat we end up with actually. I know last year, the same sized Ugruk made about six three gallon buckets full of seal oil and meat strips. Three for me, and three for Cathy (because we did all the work). I kept one, and gave the other two away to elders.

This year, we'll probably have three five gallon buckets after the meat is dried, striped and put into the oil.

Everyone will get some then. :)

mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat: