Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fifteen

On Sunday my son turned 15.

Fifteen.

Like as in, three years until he's an adult.

Like as in, Hi, I'm Koy and I'm 15!

Like as in, my mom isn't my number one girl anymore, cause I'm fifteen.

Like as in, I know you raised me alone but I know everything because I'm fifteen.

Like as in, you can't spank me anymore cause I'm five foot nine, and I'm fifteen.

Like as in, I can have a girlfriend now cause I'm fifteen.

I'm gonna die. Or cry. Or both.

Sonny BOY

Friday, September 23, 2011

'Bou on our minds

Photobucket

The thing about growing up here, I've probably said before, is that we don't follow a "traditional" calendar. We follow a Subsistence Calendar.

scout

Right now, we have several "gathering" items and several "hunting" animals. Caribou and Moose, to stock up for winter, Cranberries, Masu, Tundra Tea to gather for freezers.

Photobucket

Once the Caribou and Moose go into rut, we won't hunt them. We will move on to Seals during Freeze up. After Seals we'll go into trapping and Caribou during winter. Then on to Shiifish and more trapping until Spring hits.

cabin

Spring brings Bearded Seal, then Herring, Salmon, Blueberries, Sourdock, Salmonberries, etc...and September comes again.

Bou on Banks

The other thing about growing up here is that kids and adults alike have "Subsistence Leave" as a part of school/work. The employers/district know that hunting and gathering is important to most of us up here. A gallon of milk is $12, and ground beef is $3 a lb. So, feeding your family of 4 or 6 or 8 can get quite expensive. If we can hunt and grind our own meat, make our own steaks and roasts, then the cost of living is lowered tremendously. Not to mention the health benefits of eating straight off the land, completely organic, and free range!

Boat view

My husband and I are both on Subsistence Leave in an attempt to get as much caribou caught, worked on and put away before work again on Monday. Three were caught last weekend (which according to the husband is not enough to eat Caribou three times a week for the year, oops), and we are looking to catch a couple more.

Bou swimming

Also, if we catch more than a few, there are ALWAYS people who want/need caribou. As long as we don't mind taking care of them (killing, gutting, skinning, quartering, hanging) then people will take meat. And nothing, not even the bones go to waste!

70horse motor

So, today I am waiting for the weather to clear, because yesterday I FROZE on the way back from our day trip up river. I want to take the plane instead, so I stay warm. We are also heading to our "regular" camp at Sisualik, so no staying in a tent tonight...hello Camp House! Hello Sauna! Hello Wood Stove!

Hello Caribou.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gooey Goodness

I think Kotzebue is WAY behind the times... Cause seriously, we JUST got these huge marshmallows, and I'm sure they've been in "America" for months, or even years.

marsh

Whatev.

At least we have them now right!?

saima

My husband has a fire pit at our house. He LOVES fall time. He puts the fire pit out, we eat S'mores every night.

It's awesome.

yum

Especially with Extra Large Marshmallows!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Continuous Shooting

Oh for the love of accidental continuous shooting.

Apparently...

1

I did not...

2

know...

3

that my...

4

camera...

5

had a...

6

feature...

7

called continuous shooting...

8

but now...

9

I know.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My "Date" Night

*FAIR WARNING* There are dead animal photos in this post. Proceed at your own risk.

Hey, do you people have "date nights" with your spouses? Cause I think that's weird. But don't be offended cause Eskimos don't "date" we just look at someone, if he's a good hunter, then he can be our husband. Or vice versa, we look at each other, and if she's a good cook, seamstress, and mother, then she can be our wife.

kotzebue

JUST KIDDING. But seriously about Date Night's, that's odd to me. Seeings as though I don't think I've ever even been asked on a "date..." it's kinda hard to imagine Date Night. There isn't anywhere to go here. "Hey, you wanna go to Lion's Club with me tonight?" haha. "No Thank You!"

So, we go on other dates.

I was there

Like to fill our freezers with meat. So we don't have to eat icky beef, ever. I've already filled our freezer with Shiifish, and Salmon, Beluga Muktuk and Berries, so the last of it is red meat. Red Meat in the form of Caribou, Moose, Musk Ox, Sheep, etc. Free Range even.

tea
Tundra Tea, boiled with water is the best stuff ever!

So, my husband and I went on a date. I packed up a cooler of food, he got the boat ready and got gas, the tent, cots, sleeping bags, catalytic propane heater (I'm spoiled), and four rifles. (Yes, we need FOUR rifles for two people!)

We headed out about 50 miles across Kobuk Lake and into Hotham Inlet. We saw a bunch of small herds of about 20-100 Caribou on the hills and just puttered around for a bit.

Tundra Bou

After finding friends on the banks of the river, we set up camp and ate some dinner. The men went up on the hill with their Binocs and checked things out. I simply snapped photos of the awesome golden sunset and view from my tent. It was beautiful. I always love watching the entire sunset in the Arctic. There is absolutely nothing like it in the world.

view from tent

We ended up sleeping about 500 yards from a pretty big herd, they just hung out and we just left them alone.

Flowers

The morning proved to be a little cold, with steam coming from our mouths when we spoke, or breathed. It was cloudy, overcast, and crisp. A perfect fall morning. Breakfast consisted of fried eggs, potatoes, ham, bacon, and onion wrapped in a tortilla. I sat outside and read about 100 pages of my book while the guys went back up the hill to check things out. Again.

Eventually we packed up camp and headed up toward Sivu. Such a beautiful drive. Mirror calm river and the golden colors of Fall surrounding us.

view from boat

We came across three caribou, two bulls and one calf-less cow, all hanging out a couple bends passed Sivu. We thought we would shoot the largest bull and if we got lucky (i.e. if Dean was fast enough) to get the other bull too. Two was the goal. Two 'Bou would be enough for us to live for the winter. Three would be awesome, because my mom and dad really want caribou. Four wouldn't be possible, because we were in our small boat with lots of gear.

Camp

And actually, the original plan was for him to shoot the big bull with one rifle, and I was going to shoot the second with another. But, it turns out that we were a little far for an unsighted rifle and he doesn't like to 1. shoot without knowing we'll catch, or 2. shoot and have the possibility of injuring it, or 3. waste bullets. So, we quickly changed plans and would go for just one. It's a little difficult too, because we were driving the boat and we had to be completely stopped, or on land to shoot. So, one bull it was.

Camp Coffee

Well... after he shot one, both the other two just stood there... weird. They walked right next to us so he just shot another one. The third one went into the willows, then right back out. Once all three were down and dead, we saw the reason they refused to go into the willows. Plenty of fresh Bear scat.

Bou

Good thing I'm married to the worlds fastest Caribou gutter, because in 20 minutes all three were gutted, (nicely I might add) the good stuff was saved (heart, tongue, etc), and we were hauling them into the back of the boat.

Gutting Bou

We arrived home a couple hours after that, and after a hot shower began skinning and quartering out all three. My mom got one entire Bou, including the heart and tongue (the best part), but she wanted to take care of it herself, cutting and putting into bags for her freezer, so we just skinned it, quartered it and delivered it to the top of her freezer!

my hunter

My "date night" ended at 9:30 last night when I fell asleep so tired that I don't even remember taking off my clothes and getting into bed.

Let me tell you, Best DATE NIGHT EVER!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reminders

Depressed. That's how I felt this morning.

Not actual Clinical Depression, because I don't usually feel horrible. But being sick, on top of some issues at work, on top of not being at camp, on top of not having any caribou, on top of kummaks going around at school, on top of my house being a mess, on top of my husband being gone for the month, on top of everything else in life just made me feel cruddy.

And then I got up this morning to take my dingy dog out to go potty and saw this...

Sunrise
straight out of the camera, with one "enhance" click on the mac. beauty.

Hmm, God's reminders are always there if you choose to see. I chose to see...and share.

Now I feel OK. Not great, but OK. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guns and Wood

My dad lives a very good life.

knives
Perfect photos to use the "old west" action on.

He gets up, carves a little, listens to the radio, maybe watches some football or hockey or baseball, depending on the season, carves, cleans some guns, maybe hangs out with his bart, Chief, and goes to bed.

woodbench

I want to live that life.

In Chickaloon.

wood stuff

Or Sisualik. But I've seen the ugliness that forced him away from there, so I'm on the fence about Sisualik. I've experienced it first hand. And lately, I'm sick to my stomach about it. I haven't been to my camp since July. I haven't picked a single berry this year. Dean hasn't even gotten us ONE caribou yet. OK done venting.

wood hangers

Huh, the universe is moving in the wrong direction.

But, it seems like everything is OK when I go to camp. Sisualik, or Chickaloon. My best memories are in those places growing up. Scared of moose and porcupine. And bees.

bed guns

I love visiting my dad's "craft" home. He built it himself, with help from friends and kids, one log at a time. He's always doing something there. Even when it's checking out weasels in the wood pile.

weasel

Like making gun racks for his THOUSAND guns. Seriously, this man has more guns than we do...and that is a LOT. But it's OK cause he can make gun racks for them and hang them up with trigger locks, even though no kids are around.

guns

I want a pot rack like this in my house.

pot rack

Too bad I live in Kotzebue.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eskimo Ninja.

Went down the coast last night. Goose Huntin'

geese

Holy windy coldness. Aside from freezing my patiq off, we did manage to score one goose, and several thousand sighted.

hundreds

I think if it weren't for the wind, we could have just sat there and picked them off one at a time until we got our fill.

thousands

But, dang wind. Ruined our plans. Plans for goose roast, goose soup, BBQ Grilled Goose...shucks.

Deano hunting

Lettum.

The crisp fall air is abundant. The tundra is crunchy and dry now. The cranberries are ripe and ready to be picked. Alapaaaaa, I should have worn ski pants.

ian and susie

Instead, I used a sweatshirt and a thin jacket. So dumb. Dean blamed me for wearing a cranberry red jacket, but seriously, I was the SAME color as the tundra! Deep cranberry red.

blind

So I did what any other Eskimo Ninja would do. I weaved my own grass blanket to cover my jacket.

silver sun

The Great Pumpkin!

Every year at the State Fair, the farmers of the Mat-Su area wait in anticipation of the Great Pumpkin. (And cabbage, and carrot, and zuchini, etc!)

girls with pumpkin

This year's behemoth weighed 1,723, beating out Alaska's current record holding 1,101 lb gourd.

PUMPKIN

Hey, Charlie Brown...I found him.