Winter arrived. It dusted our world in sparkling diamonds of frost this morning, which made me feel sorry for the berries (as anyone who knows me, knows that I amaddicted to picking berries!). A couple days ago we saw flocks of hundreds of ptarmigan all wearing their white coats, little harbingers of the coming cold. I could not help being angry at them. Traitor birds.
Me and my husband began the winter vehicle planning. Or should I say he talked in length and I nodded and listened and asked a question here and there. It's a weird thing that is almost unique to our lifestyle. We discuss wether or not we will purchase a new snowmachine, or a used snowmachine, or just buy parts for the ones we have. We discuss the winter gas bill, decided how much to spend on new clothing, what items were worn through or had too many holes to repair. We talked about the emergency winter kits, what needed to be replaced in them and what new items were on the market that we should try. But mostly we talk about our snowmachines, as it is the biggest winter cost.
To supplement our winter income my husband traps all winter long. He travels a minimum of 12 hours a day to tend to his trap line, at least once a week, most times twice a week, all by snowmachine. 90% of the time he is alone. He would not do it if hedid not enjoy it, not the taking of life, but rather the challenge of pitting brain against brain. Most people assume that animals are robotic beings only existing in a weird loop of instinct and survival. But if you have interacted with them you realize that they are incredible thinking beings, tricky and learning beings. Add to the mix that they have hundreds of thousands of miles to roam.....
But I digress from my original thought. Vehicles. When I lived in California I recycled. I had a bike that I used. I carpooled. I bought organic and local produce and products, if I could make the product myself I did. I grew my own herbs. It felt as if I was doing something to take care of nature, which I loved so much. It also allowed me a tiny way to rebel against the concrete and metal that I deemed confining to my Inupiaq soul. But here in the village, what options do I have? Are there "green" snowmachines and 4x4 vehicles? (as a side note a few minutes ago I asked my husband if he knew of a "green" snowmachine. He replied "the arctic cat makes em....like a bright neon green." ....I rest my case.)
I know that at several points in time "outside" people have tried recycling. But what they found that it was VERY expensive to ship out the materials to a place to recycle it. Instead of gaining money they were paying money, which leaves little incentive. I think also that as villagers we do "re-use" everything, as we never know when we will need it, to the point where we are bordering on being diagnosed as hoarders. But I wonder what other ways we can reduce our ick on this world. Living in the boonies means we are often restricted by what product we can use, as it often comes down to whatever the ONE store decides to stock, if anything at all.
Should we even be trying to find ways to do the three "R"'s? Has anyone done a study to see what a subsistence native "carbon footprint" is?
I do find some comfort in the fact that we eat mainly "organic" foods, ultra organic. Is there a word for more than organic?
Shameless self plugging follows.....
I do randomly design shirts... here is one of the latest designs. I saw "Eskimo" spelled like this on a very old book in the Tuzzy library in Barrow (if you ever get the c
hance to visit please do!), I WANTED that on a shirt! you will find this and others in my "Nuna Inua" T-shirts link on the right side of this blog.
I also have decided to sell some of my jams and jellies and preserves, just a taste! View this and other neat things at my new store www.SalmonberryOrigins.etsy.com
Crowberry jelly aka Blackberry Jelly