Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Parka making

The girls of Igloolik have decided to make parkas. Laura, Larissa and Maren decided to make some parkas before the onset of the cold weather. It is Larissa's first year and she decided to make a winter parka for herself. Maren is making a parka for Jay, her boyfriend, as a birthday gift from last year. Laura is making a parka that she will be able to wear back in the South when we return.

Laura and Meeka are helping Larissa size the fur around the hood of her parka. She bought the fur from Northern store and it cost about $25 a foot (it wasn't cheap).

Laura adjusting the sleeve on her parka. She wasn't happy with the location of the trim on her sleeve and actually took it all off and moved it further up her arm.

Meeka helping Laura with the sewing machine. Some stitches around the arms and the zippers were very tough but the girls managed to do a very good job.

Meeka cutting the fur from Larissa's hood.

Maren, Meeka and Larissa busy in Laura's sewing room (also known as our kitchen). It was very enjoyable having the girls over all the time to sew. I am not being sarcastic at all (maybe a little...)

The finished parka!

The back of the finished parka. Notice the pointed hood. Traditionally, every community in Nunavut would have their own style of parka. Igloolik was well known for their pointed hoods but they were traditionally only put on the hoods of the males.

Meeka and Laura enjoying a smile after the job was finally done. Laura got a lot of help from Meeka and Karen during the making of her parka. She is very grateful for all the time Meeka spent with her on the making of her parka. To practice her skills, Laura is now making me a parka for the spring time.

Fishing for some lakers

Well, it has been a while since my last post and that is probably because it has been a while since I have had any luck catching fish. This past weekend, I went fishing Saturday and Sunday and didn't catch a single fish. We went to a lake where people were taking out 10-20lb Arctic Char out of nets but nothing was biting when we were jigging.

My luck changed today. We had the day off for Rememberance Day so Marty and I decided to go fishing out on the land. We had to cross the sea ice which finally froze a couple of weeks ago. The ride is about 50 kms away over the ice and then over land the land to a small lake. We were very lucky to find an Inuit family who showed us the way to the lake. Luckily, we had a GPS that tracked our journey because the weather got bad and we had some "interesting" turns on the way.

And remember, we only have about 5 hours of sunlight now so that is only a couple of hours of fishing after you finally get to the spot!

Here is Marty with a couple of Lake Trout. These pictures were taken moments after we got back. Does everybody notice the light? It was only 4:00pm and we had been driving in the dark for about an hour.

Here is the laker I was lucky enough to catch. It's the only fish I saw but it was big enough for me.

Here are the 3 fish that Marty and I caught The Inuit family we were with each caught a fish as well. The Inuit family also emptied their net from another lake today and had about 30 fish in their qomatiq. They had a lot of fish.

Marty and I cleaning the fish. It was nice to clean something that was bigger than 1lb.

Marty cooking up the fish. Marty, Ellen, Laura and I had a fish fry for dinner tonight. It was good!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Thanksgiving Fish n' Smoke

Laura and I went ice fishing on the weekend again. We have been taking advantage of the "mild" weather to go outdoors before it gets too cold outside. We got some snow on the weekend so the ice is finally getting covered in snow.

Steve fishing with Marty's snowmachine in sight. We had the lake to ourselves for most of the time on Monday.

We went to the lake with a good group. Steve, Marty and Ellen, Jay, Bob, Dean and Leah and Laura and myself all made the trip out. I finally thought there was enough snow to take the four wheeler out to the lake. You can see Jay's 3 fish beside the right side of the snowmachine.

Laura taking a picture with the fish I caught. I missed two fish that day and only caught one. Look at the snow "fly" by Laura in the picture. We decided to leave shortly after this picture because the weather was starting to turn worse.

When we got home, a couple of us decided to smoke some of the fish. Here are the fillets soaking in the brine.

Jay and Steve placing the racks on the smoker. Marty shipped up a Little Chief smoker and it is doing a great job.

Jay placing some fillets on the racks. We fit about 6 of the fish on the racks.

I checked on the smoking midway through to make sure everything was going well. We used some cherry, hickory and sugar maple chips. The fish tastes good except for Jay's fish. He removed the skin before smoking and his fish ended up absorbing an insane amount of salt during the soak in the brine.

The Little Chief smoker is inside. Last year, I built an insulated box so we could continue to smoke during the winter. Without the box, the smoker gets too cold and won't smoke the fish properly. I parked the ATV outside and used the inside of the shed to avoid the wind during the smoking.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finally some fish under that ice!

We went ice fishing again this weekend. The weather was below zero all week but it was still a beautiful day out on the frozen lake. We all had better luck this week and most of us were able to catch some fish.

Last weekend the ice was only about 3-4 inches. Over the week, the ice thickened to 7 inches. We were able to drive our machines on the ice this time. There was also very little snow on the ice so we did a few donuts on the ice on the way to the spot.

Steve fishing in his hole. We were fishing in about 6-7 feet of water. You could see the fish biting your line and there were tons of little fish keeping you busy while the bigger ones were being fussy.

My insulating bed from the ice was a cardboard box and Laura's yoga mat.

Me with my two fish. We spent a lot of time changing holes because the ice is still thin enough to make new holes very easily.

A picture of me trying to find the fish at the bottom. Every once in a while, a fish would swim by your hole. We just kept jigging the whole time.

Larissa making a hole in the ice with the chipper. It still only took about 3 minutes to get through the ice. I am not looking forward to chipping through 3 feet of ice again in a couple of months.

Kim catching her first Arctic fish.

Steve caught the first fish of the day.

A picture of the first fish I have been able to catch in Nunavut. It took a while but it finally happened. I did a little filet action on these puppies and then beer battered and fried them. They were delicious!!! The meat inside was very red.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ice fishing season is officially here. The sea is still open and won't be frozen for a while but some of the inland lakes have enough ice for foot traffic. There was a good group of people that went but Laura stayed home because she gets nervous about thin ice.

This Inuit family was already on the ice when we got here so we knew it was safe but we still chipped a hole in the ice every foot just to make sure. They dragged the qamutiq onto the ice by hand because it is not thick enough for machines yet.

Kim, Larissa and Patricia all bundled up. It was a nice day but the wind picked up and it became very cold.

Kim with Toby and Kajuq. Kim and Dan were on the snowmachine and the dogs ran all the way there. The trek to the lake was just over 7 miles.

Since the sea isn't frozen and there isn't enough snow on the tundra yet, we had to take the road to get to the lake. Some of us took quads while others took their sleds.

Dan warming up his sled before taking off.

Marty and Danny at the edge of the lake. Danny was a little reluctant to go on the ice at first but eventually went on. I don't blame him since the ice was cracking and moving when you walked on it. I jumped up and down on it and never went through. There is about 3 inches of ice right now.

We all had our spots on the ice. We tried to spread out since the ice was a little thin to have a lot of people in one spot. The water is so clear here that you stick your head in the hole and watch your lure at the bottom. We all saw tons of fish swimming near our lures but none were bitting.

Steve fishing in his hole and Marty changing the lure on his line in the background. We all took advantage of the thin ice by making multiple holes. Today it only took 5 seconds to chip through. Last may, it took 2 and a half hours to chip through 5 feet of ice.

Maren came out with her dog team. She spent most of the afternoon on shore untangling the lines for her team. All the lines begin individually in a fan pattern but become so tangled that the knot in the line can be as big as 15 feet long.

The snow is here!

It's been a snowy week and it is finally here to stay. We woke up Thursday morning to the sound of snowmachines going down the road. Here are a couple of pics of the white blanket that will be here until June.

First snowmachine ride of the year: Friday, September 26th.

I had a little bit of shoveling to do before we could get in the sauna the next day. We took a sauna the night before during the storm and FROZE when we went outside because the wind was so cold! The windows in a lot of peoples house whistled all night.

A view down the street. Marty's machine is out and running.

I got a little stuck when I tried to go over the snowbank on the quad. I had to dig myself out because I couldn't get any traction on the soft, wet snow. But don't worry, it is now frozen rock solid.

I love my toys!

Finally got around to shoveling the snow in front of the sauna.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Sauna, a Shed and a Ring

It has been a pretty busy construction season in Igloolik as Laura and I start getting ready for winter. My buddy Marty and I actually went through with our plan and built our Sauna.

Danny, Marty and myself putting the roof on the sauna. Construction was quick and the shell of the building was done within a day. Marty and I did a lot of the salvaging in June so we had most of the wood already. Danny helped everyday and he has a lifetime membership to the sauna.

This was as close to the construction as Laura got. She stepped in for a quick picture when our backs were turned. Once we got all of the walls and the ceiling built, we insulated the entire building with insulation we found at the dump. The walls, roof and floor are completely insulated.

The Sauna is built on skis so it can be towed around in the winter without a problem. We are pretty sure that it might take 2 machines to pull it since it weighs about 800 pounds. Everything was salvaged except for the stove, stove pipe, nails and hinges. The door you see was built and is fully insulated. It weighs about 50 pounds on its own and is hung with 4 hinges. Also, you can see that we have been getting a little bit of snow lately. It snowed everyday last week and our first snow was on September 4th. Pretty soon we will be able to jump in the snow after a sauna.

The pipe is firmly attached to the side. We might need to add another 2 feet to the stack to promote a more positive draft in the chimney but everything has been working great so far. The tin around the stove pipe is old heating duct that we bent and fitted into place.

Dan, Marty and myself enjoying the first sauna. We are pretty certain it is the only sauna to ever be in our community. It would be nice to have some cedar but it doesn't make sense to spend all of that money on shipping. The plywood seems to be doing a great job. We were not really sure if it was going to be hot enough but we soon found ourselves outside cooling down.

Marty cracking open the champagne. We kept the cork as a souvenir.

The Northern wood pile. We have been gathering lots of wood and putting it into boxes. The pallets make excellent firewood and very easy to cut with the saw. We even found a couple of hardwood pallets but we will save that wood for the extreme cold weather.

A view from the door. We have two wooden benches and can sit 8 people comfortably. All of this wood was salvaged from the dump and then planed at the school shop. The bottom bench is removable in case you want to put a table or use the building as an ice fishing shack. The thermometer on the wall didn't last too long. Mid-way through the first fire, it exploded and broke. We now have patches of red liquid on the wall and floor. I decided to order a real sauna thermometer from Finntastic in Thunder Bay and it should arrive shortly.

We made the rock cage from old wire that we found. This stove is top loading so it gets a little tricky with the rock placement but this setup seems to work. The metal behind the stove is metal roofing that we screwed in place. It does a pretty good job of protecting the wall. This little pot belly stove gets extremely hot. We get most of the steam from pouring the water on the chimney pipe going outside. Around the chimney pipe going through the wall, there is 4 layers of metal on each side and a very big airspace as well. We did the final seal with rope from an airtight stove.

Another view of the benches. The boards on the top bench were actually the pieces from the qamotiq (sled) that we took apart to use the skis. You also get a good view of the christmas lights that we use for lighting. We had a trouble light hanging from the ceiling but the girls complained it was too bright and that they would have to shave their legs every time they used the sauna.

This is the shed I built this year when I arrived. It's about 6 feet tall and big enough to fit the sled. We are planning on keeping both sheds. The other shed, which is down the street, will be used for storage of the machine that is not in use. This shed, right beside our door, will be nice to warm up the sled in the winter.

And finally, here is a picture of Laura's ring. The picture does not do it justice.