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Thursday, July 30, 2009

sporadic internet access

Just a quick note to let you all know that apparently internet access in the village is sporadic.  Our home internet has been null since friday.  

meh.  I hope it comes back soon!

Till then I am making notes and taking pictures :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Counting caribou

I'm up late tonight.  Listening to the puppies snore, and the absence of the wind outside.

Today I made a few t-shirt designs.  The salmonberry!  of which this web address is named.   It is a new obsession of mine and I will probably Include it everything I make in the next week or so. Ben and I got into a huge discussion today on wether or not the salmonberry on "manly"...that is, can a man wear a salmonberry on his t-shirt and still be a man?  I think so...but I don't think I could get him to wear a salmonberry shirt even if I paid him three caribou.  Here is the site where you can buy my designs:

I miss the caribou.  I lie awake at night and think of them.  Imagining them plodding along up north.  Living in a world of constant eating and bug avoidance.  I think of all the wonderful things we will do with their meat.  Dry it.  Boil it. Make Eskimo ice cream.   I plan to take special care of the thinner fall skins thus harvest.  Hopefully I can get enough good ones to make a caribou skin parka for Ben.  One that is lighter and warmer than anything you can buy at the big brand camping gear shop.  I also plan to tan the leg skins so that I can create beautiful things out of them.  

I lay awake dreaming of what beauty will come from the animals I love so much.  Dreaming of caribou. It's a time of bonding with family.  Laughing with friends. Perfecting recipes. Hearts will be singing.  Hands will be busy.  And this year....this year we are going to dry enough to send to relatives that are farther away than most.  

Inupiat Wealth.

It's not green and ...smelly.  There is no quantitive value placed on  Being alive and full and healthy.  Odd that a larder full of meat makes one feel so WEALTHY.  

Even now I can se them in my minds eye.  Growing fatter as the nights grow longer.  How odd is it that we as people can love our prey so much?  Can respect the animal that we hunt and eat?  But then I feel comforted when I think of my time in California...and how separate I was from the meat I ate.  It's a different life.  Not better. Not worse.  Not even Harder.  Just different.  And it took me years to actually realize that.

We are the eater of souls.  Brilliant beautiful souls.  And it doesn't make you horrible to realize that.  To accept it and even, well, believe in it.  I don't mean roll in it and rub it on your face and everyone's else's face.  But more like acknowledge it.  Make a place for it in your mind.  In your world view.

The arctic is a funny place that way.  It makes you make more room in your mind.  

I wonder if I counted...caribou...I would be able to sleep?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sometimes I hate computers....


Today I spent the whole day trying to get my website up.  I made a few new pieces of jewelry so I was excited to get them uploaded.  Well it took all day.  All day.  The only break was when Aapaa and Payuk came and visited.  I'm sure I was rather mean looking when they walked in.  But we ate some Unallik and it put me in a better mood.  I like being in a better mood.

I finished this piece today...

I'm rather proud of it.  And I can't wait till I get my hands on some more caribou antlers.  So far what I and my other half have found has had green on it.   So I'm keeping my fingers crossed to finally find some v=clean and aged antler.

My website is now up and running!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Peace be with those that eat the sour foreign fruit that they left us and,

Smooth away the crumbs of self hate upon our lips,

Spurn the dragon and his burning aged comfort,

For happiness is always regretted payment so,

Raise our weeping souls on wings of Golden eagle,

and tongue of ice bound depths sojourn,

for you are forever salmonberry blooded,

for you are diamond myth brought to life,

for you are sod book of ancient wealth,

for you are guardian of future precious self,

Salmonberry warriors,

Salmonberry royalty,

Create enough to cause silent ripple,

to cause lasting effect,

to echo.

to Echo.

to ECHO.

to ECHO in the lichen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lost Dog.....

This morning we decided to take the whole day and go for a ride to fish for arctic Char. We pack the bags (and dug out some caribou ribs from the freezer for an extra special treat) unleashed the puppies and left while it was still breezy and warm out....

We made our way to "Char Hole"....a magical place along the Anaktuvuk River.  Magical because the Char are sly and yummy, and as we all know there are few things in the world that are both sly and yummy at the same time.  On the way there we spotted what looked to be a black Volkswagen van.  A dark and monstrous being swayed its way through heavy willow across the river from the bank we were traveling on.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a huge bull moose in it's prime.  I squealed a tiny bit as I realized that if our dogs saw the beast they would for sure chase after it, and that would definitely end badly.  So we cluck at the pups to keep their attention and drove carefully by the monstrous moose.  At the last moment I whipped out my camcorder and got a few seconds of the animal standing in the willows...I swear he was squinting his moosie eyes at us.....

We made it to char hole....where Ben caught one tiny grayling, and I fought with a huge Char, and then lost it to the deep green depths of the river.  Apparently I squeal alot when fighting huge Char, enough so that a few minutes later Ben told me that I need to be "Calm".  I gave him a moosie squint.

Tired and hungry we made a small cooking fire in the willows and hung the caribou ribs to cook.  I must tell you that this meal has to be the one meal that everyone should taste at least once in their lives.  The burning willow add a smoky flavor to the lean and clean taste of the caribou.  I
t was so good in fact that we at first did not notice that the wind was dying down...and Satan's hordes of mosquitoes had found us.  

I now know what a million mosquitoes sound like. 

I must have had a 1/2 inch thick layer of deet on my body, plus a mosquito net jacket.  I swear they would slam into one spot on my body till they wore the deet off...just so they could bite me.  We took breaks long enough to wipe the bugs off the pups, and shoo them of our jackets.  We headed home as fast as possible.

At one point Nuna, our dog, was side tracked by a running ground squirrel.  Which happens often enough.  We are going at a pretty slow pace anyways so we don't stop, we just keep a eye on her. We crossed a small river and waited on the other side.  Calling her name.  Whistling.  And in the distance we saw her tiny figure bounding out into the deep tundra. She was moving fast.  She did not look in our direction at all, so Ben took his rifle and fired a shot into the air trying to get her attention.  She turned and glanced at us for a second...then headed over a hill about a mile away and disappeared.  

Stupid Pup was frantically following another trail headed East.  So we trudged after her, whistling and calling her name.  But by the time we got there she was long gone.  We drove in big circles for about 45 minutes.  

Gah my poor pup.  

So tonight I have left her some food and water outside in the kunichuck (like an enclosed porch, or "vestibule") and I hope and pray she makes it home safe.  The younger pups fell asleep as soon as they got home.  

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Long night....

Today I looked all over the internet for Salmonberry dessert recipes.  I found...two.

So I think I'm going to pick as many berries this fall as I can, then experiment with recipes.  I'm mainly interested in  pies and cakes....but I was thinking to try a dumpling, maybe with some blackberries thrown in.  Salmonberries are an odd sweet...with notes of orange and lemon.  It should be fun.

Every weekend my other half leaves to look for game.  And at least once a month something happens so he doesn't return on time.  And I sit and worry and clean or watch sappy movies of which I never remember the title or the plot.  And I think about hanging his shoes.  

In the old day the women would take a pair of their hunters old boots and hang them up on the rafters or drying racks.  If the boots quit moving then the hunter was in trouble and would probably not make it home.  

So I stayed up most of the night, waking up every few hours to pace and check the weather.  He was fine...tired...but fine.

I wrote this a long time ago....


My Hunter

Come home to me

Avoid her blinding white gaze

take no comfort

in her cold arms

My Hunter

Come home to me

Love her

As I love her

Cherish her

Like I cherish her

But never forget she is a unforgiving mistress

My Hunter

Come home to me

I have rituals

And rites

Till you come back to me

So you can remember

The warmth and the rest

My Hunter

Come home to me

Ignore her whispered promises

For she can tell lies

Be wiser than her

And come home to me.

Things I found awesome today:
The wind blowing away the bugs...
The word "salutations"...
The sun dipped behind the mountains and there was a sunset...
and this photo:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ninja baby birds

I take the dogs for a daily run everyday.  Not very far....just enough to stretch their legs and shake the dust from their coats.  If it's hot out I will take them to a pond and let them swim after sticks. 

Here you can see Nuna and Bullet.  It took a week or so for Bullet to get up the courage to jump in after Nuna, and now he enjoys it as much as she does.

Later we drove down the river a little.  I was looking for the flash of dark in the clear waters that would tell me that there was fish...the pups were busy looking for squirrels.  At one point I noticed some pretty angry birds hovering over the pups.  The pups bounced after them, clumsily trying to their best to play with the tiny delicate birds.  I saw something speed across the sand...and then it disappeared.  Ah.  Ninja baby birds.

The pups actually almost stepped on this guy....but I shooed them away before they could do any harm.  I'm sure I will be getting a thank you note from the parents soon....

I drove farther than I go normally.  Far enough away to make me think of rogue brown bears and porcupines. I started to think of my fear.  I pictured it to be like that tiny baby bird.  Hiding, only seeing it when it moved or reacted.  An odd combination of fragile and sneaky...and kinda cute.  

I have been working on a few writings.  One has to do with things that are painful to think about. And every time I sit to write about it, I'm faced with a fear....a tiny fragile fear...that only moves whens it's poked.  The piece is about being ridiculed.  About being put down for my Inupiaq veiws.  It's about how I learned to be afraid and doubt myself.  How I learned to question my opinions because of my race.  But every time I sit to write...this little fear races across the computer screen.  And I protect it like I did that tiny bird. And at this point I don't know why.  

I know the piece will be written eventually.   And it won't be as groundbreaking as it should be, but it will be done. 

Things I found to be awesome today:

The word "riven"....
Mosquito Dope...
Sneaky squirrels that sit in holes and yell at frustrated puppies...



 So I have wanted to do a blog ...forever....

I don't do anything particularly awesome....I dabble a bit in pretty much anything that might be considered "artistic" this is not really a "wow I'm cool" type of blog....

I think as a consequence to being "artistic"....I'm thinking about things all the time.  Constantly.  I move words and images in my mind all day...finding new combinations...finding new meanings. It drives me crazy at night.  I toss and turn and THINK.....and imagine....and get excited about every little thing I experienced that day.  So in a way this blog will be therapeutic for me.  When B3 (my other half, aka Benjamin III) has to get up early in the morning he complains about being able to hear my thinking.  And so alot of times I try and block them out with tv...which drives him even more crazy.  So here I am.  Blogging ...mentally naked.

My Name is Rainey real name is Nasugraq... and I currently live in Anaktuvuk Pass Alaska.  A place that God himself probably resides in. at least he/she has spent some time here I'm sure.  I just moved here not too long ago.  I'm Inupiaq Eskimo, and I love salmonberries and long walks on the tundra.  

And this is my life. 

Hopefully I will be blogging every night.  Mental barfing.  It probably won't make much sense, but at least it will be out of my head :)