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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sniffles and blooms.....

 It's been awhile since I did a post so I thought I would do a quick one!  A tad more than a couple of weeks ago I caught a cold, just your average snotty, sneezy cold.  After a few days though it started turning into something else.  My ears plugged up and I found myself sleeping for most of the day with a mild fever.   My sinuses were bags of slimy pain.  When I was a cigarette smoker I used to get sinus infections at least a couple times a year, but since I had quit I haven't had a single one.  Till now!  It was a doozy.   Getting sick in the village is different than getting sick in the city.  For one thing the store usually doesn't stock much of anything more than aspirin, so you are left with whatever you remembered to buy in your last trip to the city, or whatever you can scrounge up from relatives.  Even our clinic can't give you more than tylenol most of the time.  So you become really good at knowing home remedies that work and you drink tons of water and sleep.  Eventually my husband trucked me over to the clinic so that they could send for antibiotics though as it became obvious it was an infection.

Fall harvest is here, and I dream of drying meat on the racks and filling our freezers and our trading partners freezers with multicolored berries.  Last week the mountain tops were covered in snow, which made everyone panic, but eventually the snow melted.  The weather has been odd and random. So what time I have is spent readying our stuff for fall and winter, cleaning out the freezers, picking as many berries as is possible till my back goes numb, and fishing for fat grayling and char when we get the chance.  So you will not see me very often till at least mid September, weather dependent.  We have to store enough food to get us through winter, or it can get incredibly expensive. 

Some photos! 

moose hide and coral bead bracelet. I always have a few art projects in the works, they make really good stress relief projects!
Family picking blueberries

these are what we call 'blackberries', but they are also known as crowberries or moss berries.  They are amazing frozen with a bit of milk and sugar and they also make the best jelly.  Good for stomach aches too.

view from one of our berry picking spots.  While I pick berries my husband keeps watch with the rifle in case any bears come too close.  He also walks around looking for artifacts and caribou shed antlers.

we have been seeing mushrooms the size of our heads peppering the tundra.  Inupiaqs do not eat mushrooms as it is easy to eat a deadly type.  In our language the word for mushroom means something like 'it will make your hand fall off.'  Good way to keep kids from playing with them!

I noticed these plants growing around the dog houses.  At first I pulled them out as usual, but I realized that they are seed from the straw we use for the dog bedding.  I was going to try and figure out they were and see if I can plant them next year on purpose.  Barley maybe?

My oats have gone to seed, they are short but they look all right. 

A tomato bloom on my spoon tomato plant.  The tomatoes have all got blooms.  I'm excited to see if they produce anything.

mini lettuce plants. 

I think I will get tiny cabbage this year, they are beautiful plants, though I haven't found what being is nibbling the edges and nibbling on the potato plants. 


  1. Beautiful photos. I remember the name 'makes your hand fall off" but I thought it applied specifically to that treacherous looking fleshy red mushroom. I love tundra mushrooms--to look at. I particularly love the Dean Men's Fingers. Miss them.
    Hope you get well soon!

    1. They are pretty scary looking! some have been the size of our heads.

  2. Be very careful with that dog bed grass. It looks like the type that gets into dog ears and can kill them (seedhead gets in but can only wiggle deeper into the ear). It may be on the invasives list, too.

  3. That's interesting about the crowberries. I didn't know you can make great jelly out of them! Everyone I know calls them "filler berries"--as in "I don't have enough blueberries, so I'll throw in a few crow berries to fill it out." Next time I'm out picking, I'll grab a bunch, though, and try making some jelly or jam.
    You should probably start putting some sort of cover over your tomatoes at night. Even here in Fairbanks I'm worried about mine. If you do clear plastic, like a large garbage bag, it will make a little greenhouse for them. As for the cabbages, though, my mom said that she used to keep harvesting hers even after snow fell. They can be left out for a long time. If you mulch around them, like putting straw around them, it might help a bit.
    Good luck with the berry picking!

    1. I have been covering my tomatoes and then the weather got hot again in a very random way! I'm worried about putting straw around the plants since the straw seems to be growing and I want to grow that on purpose and not on accident!

      The crowberry jelly is one of my most loved jellies. It tastes like a cross between grape and blackberry, just make sure you strain the seeds out cause these guys make alot of seed!