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Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's my party and...

you know how it goes.

adii cry

I admire those people who take photographs of young children. Of probably 200 photos, three or four turned out.


Cause this girl does NOT like dresses.


And when I say does not...I mean does-not-with-a-hatred-toward-all-things-girly hates dresses.


So, I bet you can imagine what happened when we put her in THREE for her 2 year old photos...




But we bribed her with heart shaped marshmallows from Valentine's Day and she was fine.


Oh, and a dog. We bribed her with the dog too. Puppy girl.


Good thing she is so awesomely cute, cause all that

see me

Happy almost-2nd-birthday Rea!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cold snap

Alapaa, it's been super cold up here. But, in the cold there are still a few things you can do.

One of them is enjoy the Northern Lights.

House 3

And we have an abundance of those at camp, especially since there is no other light to compete with, so they come out and it's eerie.


They dance and dance and dance. All around your house. All around your body.

The kids whistle and run inside, just like I used to. Because every good little Eskimo knows that if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they'll come down and cut off your head to play football with!


So you do what everyone else does. Whistle and RUN.

As an adult. I still whistle and run. It's fun stuff being an Eskimo.

House again

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Draw Something?

It's Pictionary you can play with other people! I love it.

LOVE IT. My kids love it. My husband loves it, although he is in the habit of drawing six red circles for "peaches." Seriously.


The 8 year old though, is a much better "drawer" than the husband. (That's what we call ourselves, draw-ers!) She does pretty good considering we are all playing on either an iPhone or an iTouch.


Although I heard there was an app for the iPad. I use my iPad to read at night so my precious hubby can sleep the extra 45 min and not have a light in his face. I don't know if I could manage using the iPad for something other than reading or watching movies. (Shame, I know.)


Anyway, if you haven't downlaoded it yet. DO IT. Cause it is super SUPER FUN. (And then add me. My username is... wait for it. Take a guess... "finnskimo" Didn't see that coming did you!?)

(notice how proud we are because she made a bear, that was getting shot!)

And then you can get Poop drawings from me. :)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hearts & Tongues

One of the most favorite parts on a caribou, besides the Patiq (bone marrow) that ALL little Eskimo kids fight over is the Heart and Tongue. My favorite, my sisters favorites, and all my childrens favorite! Especially Max. Max goes all crazy for heart and tongue soup. So we always wait until he and his sister get up for vacations to have it.

rolls and soup

Know what's better than Heart and Tongue Soup? Heart and Tongue Soup at camp. With hot rolls.

Here's a rudimentary way of making soup at camp...the best way.

Warm up your propane tank and light the pilot lights in your stove. You need to get one of the kids to find a fresh patch of snow with no tracks and fill up your pot. This pot doesn't have enough, but we like to melt a little first, then add more until it's the amount we need. Boil it for about 5 minutes.


In the meantime, you need a pretty good heart and tongue. My husband just went hunting a few weeks ago for some ground meat for us because we ran out (oops). So I had a heart and tongue all frozen and vac sealed in one of the freezers outside. We just let it thaw in the afternoon sun on the counter at camp.


Cut said heart and tongue up into little bite sized pieces. I usually cut mine into smaller sizes so we can have LOTS of meat in each bite. And you have to use an Ulu. You can't use a knife. Knives are for men. Ulus are for women. :) (That's your lesson for the day) And it's even cooler if you use an ulu your dad made out of a stanley hand saw.


Add those bite sized pieces to the pot. Then you add some spices. At camp, we don't have a "spice cupboard." We have salt, onion flakes, garlic powder, and maybe celery salt. I have bay leaves and pepper too I think. That's what I added. Whatever was on hand.


Then you cut up whatever else you want in your soup. We always put in tri-colored spiral noodles, carrots, and potatoes. Lots of other people put in stewed tomatoes (we would have but forgot to get a few cans in town) and rice. (I hate rice, so I never put rice in my soups!) Since noodles, potatoes and carrots take about the same time to cook, we just add them all in at once.


I'd say that this was the perfect time to put those rolls that are rising in the sun in the preheated oven. If you're like me and make rolls every time you make soup. I can't have soup without hot rolls. Hot, homemade, fluffy, yeasty, buttery rolls. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you how I make them. (without measuring and without a recipe) Today though, put them in the oven when you add your noodles.


Then if you're lucky and the stars are aligned, your rolls will be ready when your noodles are al dente, the potatoes aren't mushy and the carrots still have a little crunch.


After that, because it's really REALLY hard to wait for your soup to cool off, especially after the rolls come out of the oven and smell up your entire cabin of fresh baked goodness. So, just let one of the kids get more snow, add the snow to each of their bowls and let them go to town on the best heart and tongue soup they've ever had. (Until the next pot is made, that is!)


And there you have it. Heart and Tongue Soup, just the way we like it. With hot rolls, made with fresh boiled snow at your camp with no running water or electricity, eaten in the evening sun, on the table you yourself grew up at.


Watching them eat an entire pan of hot rolls before any of them can even cool off is thanks enough for me.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sneaky McPeeky

Hey. My friend, husband , me and several children spent the last four days out at our camp at Sisualik. We had a BLAST. It was awesome. It always is. Cause it's camp!

Highlight of the trip was when the two littlest kids (8 year olds) on the back of the hauling sled went sliding away after the hitch on the snowmachine broke while I drove on down the trail. I looked back and there they were going.... going... going! It was hilarious. And talk about Eskimo Ingenuity, I totally had another shackle IN MY BAG. I never have shackles, but I just so happened to have one! So, needless to say, we did make it to camp in one piece.


We took lots of photos. Especially of all the northern lights. Here's one. I'll post more tomorrow. They're good. Postcard shots. My husband took them. He's real proud. I am too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stay Frosty

Ahh, hi again.

Springtime has officially hit Kotzebue. It's light when we go to work, it's light when we get off work. It's even bright still if you're on 153 and you walk off the plane at 7:00 p.m!

But it's still cold. Luckily we have lots of FUR to keep us warm. Lots of fur. From helpless defenseless animals. Poor animals. Whoa, sorry, that was me trying to fee sorry that an Arctic Fox is keeping me from getting frostbite on my face. It's not working.

According to Eskimo oral history, animals give themselves to hunters and trappers so that their meat and fur and sometimes bones can be used to feed, clothe and give tools to the Inupait people. And we thank them by using everything on them. We thank them after the hunt.

And by "everything" I mean that on a caribou, we eat: all the meat, the head, brain, eyes, tongue (best part), neck, stomach (bible), liver, kidneys, intestines (actually I've never had intestines from caribou before), heart (second best part), and even the little bot fly larvae that nest in the fur, old Eskimos eat those too. We use: the fur for parkas, mukluks, qaitchiaqs, bedding and sled cushions (did you know caribou fur is hollow and will float? Old time life jackets!), the tendons for sinew to sew with, the fat around the rump and stomach for akutuq, the antlers for fishing rods, knife handles, and coat racks (my personal favorite is a towel rack my dad made at camp) and even the hooves are used for something!

Did you know that wolverine fur never frosts over? It has some sort of oil in the fur that allows it never to develop that layer of frost always seen around the faces of people outside in the winter up here. A strip of wolverine fur around your hood will keep that frost from getting to your face. If you have umiks though (a beard) then you'll frost over, apparently humans didn't develop that oil needed!

Wolf hackles are used for sunshine ruffs, as well as all my husband and children's ruffs because when you put your hood up, the guard hairs of the wolf never allow the wind to touch your face. Since it's windy 110% of the time here, having guard hairs to deflect wind is important.

Next time you think that we savage Eskimos "don't need to use those poor animals because there are plenty of man-made materials that will keep you just as warm," then I invite you to come over to where I live with your man-made materials and spend the winter up here. My children walk to school when it is -70 below zero. We head to our camp with no running water, electricity and only a wood stove to heat it when it's -30 below and blowing snow. With our fur parkys and sealskin hats and wolf mittens and caribou mukluks!

I just recently made a fur hat for a vegetarian. And even the sole vegan in town uses 100 goose down in her jacket, because what else would you use!? Why? Because they've been up here for the winter. They know that any man made material will not keep them warm.

And they're right. It won't. :)

lukins 2012

L-R: Max, wearing a fur parka, a black cloth cover with a wolverine ruff, beaver and leather hat, beaver and mouton mittens, jeans and sorels. Kaisa, wearing a fur parka with a wolf ruff (with a strip of wolverine on the inside), Otter and Leather hat, sealskin and beaver mittens, jeans and sorels. Maddie, wearing a fur parka, a maroon canvas cover with a wolverine ruff, wolverine trim on the bottom, beaver trim on the wrists, mouton and leather mittens, beaver and leather hat, and sorels (we must love sorels!), Koy, not smiling, but wearing a mens traditional hunting parka with fur inside and white canvas outter with a wolf ruff, sheared beaver and leather hat, wolf hunting mittens, jeans and bunny boots. Maija (me) wearing a Handmade winter jacket from wintergreen in Minnesota, an arctic fox hat, sealskin and beaver mittens, and lobbins, boiled wool boots from Norway. And Dean wearing a similar jacket, sealskin and otter hat and none of his other hunting gear because he didn't want to take the picture! haha. But he does have TWO pullover hunting parkys, wolf mittens, and sealskin hardbottom mukluks. We all have mukluks, I don't know why we didn't wear them for the picture. Oh yeah, it was -42 below zero when we took this and my camera took three photos and froze. That's why. :)

Stay frosty.