Monday, October 30, 2017

Mornings are golden

True, some more than others. This one was very golden, so I thought I'd share (sure is prettier than canned wieners).

Every day at sunrise, the dog and I walk over into our bay to visit with the beavers who are still adding more branches to their raft of winter food, and more logs to their huge castle. They're used to us and just go about their business.
Later on, it's like walking on sunshine with the sun angling lower and lower in the sky every day. Bliss.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Don't try this at home

I hope you’re not staring at your screen and thinking: “What the heck … canned dicks?!”

Well no, although interestingly, when I lifted the jar out of the pressure canner they were all erect and swollen, pressed up against the glass – and when my laughing fit subsided enough for me to break the jar’s vacuum seal by popping the lid open, they instantly deflated and became the flaccid little wieners you see here. Because that’s what they are: wieners.   

Just before I returned home in mid-October I did a bit of last-minute shopping for the winter and had this sudden craving for pea soup with wieners, so I bought two packages. Fast forward to a couple of days ago, when the moose meat I’d brought in on that trip from our freezer in the closest village had thawed out to the point where it needed to be canned.

We didn’t shoot a moose this year – because of my absence, there is still enough meat left from last year to tide us over to next hunting season. Since we shot the moose last year just a few days before C. dropped me off in Skagway to make my way down to Smithers and become a bear mom we didn’t have the time to do any canning. All the meat went into the freezer in the village and this week I finally wanted to do some canning.

As luck would have it, the last batch of meat was just enough for a couple of jars. Trying to make the last round of canning more efficient, I thought I’d give canning wieners a try. I figured it might be a good way to keep some on hand over the summer since our root cellar doesn’t stay at fridge temperature. Given the outcome of this little experiment, however, I don’t see home canned wieners in our future.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bring on the darkness

And so the year is winding down. An intense year with a multitude of new experiences that have left me emotionally and physically exhausted. Returning last week from an unplanned trip to Europe due to a family emergency, I stared down at the white emptiness of the Greenland icecap, Bylot and Baffin Island, and the stark beauty of the Barrens undulating below the plane. There is a strange kind of solace in that kind of untouched landscape; a promise that whatever happens, the land will always be there.

As I finally arrived home with over a thousand pounds of groceries and supplies, and the Beaver vanished back across the lake, silence seeped into me. Wilderness is mostly a very quiet place. It feels like it’s uncurling and unbending me, slowly coaxing back to life all the senses I can’t help but shutter when I am out in civilization.

C. is gone for the next few months, getting out to travel after playing hermit here while I looked after orphaned black bears. It’s just me and the dog in our solitary wild heaven. I begin to shape the days with the old familiar pattern: hauling water from the lake, chopping wood, going for long walks, looking for animal tracks, reading, writing. I’m still tired of the outside world. Bring on the darkness, let winter come.