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.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Staff Orientation (a little graphic)

We went on our staff orientation trip in late August. We went on a 12 mile boat ride to Mogg Bay. There were about 12 boats full of teachers and support staff. It was a really good day.

We were in a boat with Ellen, Maren, Jay and Marty (not pictured). It was really cold on the water.

This is Kim's best sexy pose in her survival suit.

We ended up with some beautiful weather and we parked the boats at a very beautiful spot.

Jay, Maren and Steve set up a net while we were at Mogg Bay. 2 other nets were also set up but nobody caught a single fish.

Alvin caught a seal on the way to Mogg Bay. On the beach, he cut it up and cleaned it. I had a chance to eat some raw seal. The texture was good and it tasted a lot like fish. I had some meat and some liver. The liver tasted sweet like apples.

The were also some wil blueberries growing on the tundra. They were not as sweet as Ontario berries and they had a slight woody taste to them.

Marty and I in the bow of the boat.

Laura, Kim and Ellen having a good time with the last of the good weather for the year.

The following pictures may be a little graphic...

The weather was so nice that we had a chance to do some seal hunting on the way home. We saw a bunch of seals all day when they surfaced for some air. To be honest, the girls didn't really like the idea until the chase began. Then, Laura was more excited than anybody and wanted to get the seal really bad. The hunt involved finding a seal that surfaced and chasing it. When you get close, the seal usually dives under and then you have to wait about 5 minutes for it to surface again. The seal that we got took about 30 minutes of chasing before somebody got a good shot.

This was the seal that we brought in. The shot blew out one of its eyeballs. I was in charge of gaffing the seal before it sank. Apparently, some seals sink pretty fast once they are shot so you have to be fast.

The water quickly filled with blood after the seal was shot. It looked cool!

The proud hunter with his first seal.

The seal had to be hung out the boat the entire way home because it wouldn't stop bleeding. I held it so it wouldn't fall out. It was an adult and weighed well over 100 pounds. The seal will be used as dog food for Maren's dog team.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sealift 2008

We are very happy to be back in Igloolik. It was a nice summer but we are appreciating getting back into a routine. A couple days after our return, the Sealift arrived in town. It is a very exciting time of year because everyone gets their food and supplies for the year.

Here is the boat parked in the bay. The ship was so loaded this year that it had to park about 1 mile further from shore than last year. We had to take this picture from a boat to get a good view.

Our crates were stamped as usual. This will be a new sign for the shed I built.

I was glad to finally unpack the ATV. We have been using it everyday and it makes going home at lunch much easier until we can use our snowmachine again.

Here are the 2 crates we had shipped. One had the "beverages" and the ATV while the other crate had all of our food. We shipped a lot of stuff this year!

Marty and I opening up his crate with his ATV. This crate gave us a little bit of trouble and needed to be broken into pieces.

The group of people making the line to pass stuff into people's houses. Everyone goes house to house and unloads the crate into your house. We started unloading at around 4:30 and finished around 9:00. It was a lot of lifting but it is still much easier than doing it yourself.

Once your crate is unloaded, your living room kind of looks like the storage room of a Food Basics. We were so tired that we didn't put anything away until the next day.

This is one of our storage pantries. We have two other pantries that are also completely packed. It is nice to have an abundance of food again. We also received our frozen food order and we have 2 freezers completely full of food!!!