Friday, April 30, 2010
Northern had some reasonably priced frozen pork loins, tried them recently: Garlic ginger broccoli and pork. Ok I added some extra stuff and served it on noodles. Nice and tender pork it was.
Someone asked the question the other day; “wonder how many sunny days there have been since my arrival in Nain”.
On checking my diary it looks like the brief answer would be “not bloody many”.
The break down from February 1 to today [which by the way is like the previous 4 days bar one is bloody awful] goes something like this:
33 days of partly sunny but mainly cloudy days.
17 days of nice clear sunny days.
39 days of bloody crapped out snow/rain/fog and just plain awful weather.
The mathematicians can work out the averages.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Two pans of chicken and only one brick? Go get two sections of nickel core samples.
Could not tell if it was bricked chicken or nickel core chicken.
I used 10 chicken thighs instead of 1 whole chicken.
Not sure if it is just me or is this so called spring going on forever? Added to the angst is the almost total lack of sunshine of late. Never underestimate the effect sunshine plays in one physiological well being.
Just saying: Walking the roads also offers a different challenge of that prior. There are cuts of one to two car widths with mushy to icy snow of various heights to the side. Pot holes filled with water in sizes small to very large make for a zig zag walk. Looking out the window last evening I noticed that it mat help to navigate these pot holes if one is slightly inebriated, maybe I will try it out one of these days.
I must say that the vehicular traffic and the pedestrian traffic are handling their shared rolls quite well with lots of slow vehicles and on the whole pedestrians getting out of the way. I guess the craziness starts once the roads are plowed and widened, they must look more like an F1 track or sumin. .
It looks like there is little relief in this gloomy wet weather until Sunday, and then it is only for one day, make the best of it then.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Any way several people mentioned that Nain is lucky to have a ‘walk in freezer’ for their program.
“Eh” Fran and I said looking somewhat puzzled. While we racked our brains trying to think of the local and who ran the alleged walk in freezer, we promised to check it out on return to Nain.
After some checking this is what I have discovered of the alleged walk in community freezer:
Back when Northern Stores were in the process of demolition of their old store and constructing the new store Northern rented the old community fire hall from the community council to operate as a temporary store.
Northern attached [with council approval] a walk in freezer at the rear of the old fire hall. The freezer being outside the roof area Northern had to continually remove snow build up during winter months from the top of the freezer to avoid any damage.
Move forward to the time Northern had moved into their new premises and had left the old fire hall and under their rental agreement were in the process of restoring the old building to its original state. One of the tasks in restoring it to its old sate was to remove the walk in freezer.
During this same time frame a representative from a local not for profit super seKret organization approached the Northern manager and asked if the super sekret organization could acquire the walk in freezer for use as a community freezer. Why this super seKret organizations runs [unsuccessfully one may add] a community freezer is a question for another day and other folks.
Having plans to use the walk in freezer for much needed storage themselves Northern mulled over this request but in the end agreed to hand over the walk in freezer for use as a community freezer to the not for profit super seKret organization.
This must have been some time prior to this winter. I say this because if you look at the picture below the whole roof of the walk in freezer has collapsed rendering it useless. I have it on good authority that the collapse was caused by snow build up this winter; it is like someone neglected to pay due diligence and remove the snow.
So now we have a situation where a not for profit super seKret organization is in possession of a walk in freezer with a collapsed roof on property it does not own, add to that the fact it has not sought permission from the owner of the property to have the walk in freezer there and you have what some may call a rather large f--k up.
I am sure all good intentions were intended, but you have to have the ability to follow through with your good intentions, not just brag about what you intend to do then forget about the good intentions.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Looking back in the diary there has not been much sunshine of late, odd days and bits of days of the big yellow orb but mostly fog, snow, drizzle, rain with the best being high overcast.
Take yesterday, we awoke to light snow, it cleared of to partly cloudy and not a bad day.
This morning it is flat in snow and rain. The forecast is for the same all week.
Seeing the weather is mauzy I will attempt to assemble a few words on last weeks Harris Center Regional Workshop and Memorial Presents public forum.
Please be advised the opinions are my own and a little skewed in the negative towards MUN and the whole process.
I attended the public forum on the Tuesday evening, I exited early and the reasons will become obvious later.
There was a good crowd in the community hall, just over 50 souls made up mainly of MUN types Nunatsiavut Government elected and staff peoples [an anomaly at pubic forums I assure you] and Parks Canada staff.
There was a sprinkling of local carvers a couple of elders helping with the kitchen and no more than 5 or 6 from the general population i.e. the public.
Conspicuously absent were any elected or staff people from the Nain Inuit Community Government [NICG], business peoples, volunteer groups, school, health service yadda yadda yadda.
I made enquiries of the NICG and was informed that they, NICG, were not advised or invited until the Monday evening; no one from NICG took up the invitation.
So the theme of the public forum was Tourism. There was an opening spiel by several peoples then the head of the tourism campus at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College gave his presentation.
I do not mean to be overly critical but I just have to say that anyone with the ability to read and access to a computer and the internet could have gathered the information that was presented.
Most of it was common sense and any budding tourism operator would have gained little knowledge, if any were in attendance that is.
After this came two people who were supposed to represent the local aspect, at this time I departed.
In conversations later I garnered that this section of the forum was no more informative than the earlier part. There was a question and answer section with questions that received no or confusing answers.
On the Wednesday there were the ‘break out’ sessions. These followed a similar line to the public forum, MUN people talking to MUN people.
Again no one from the community partook; there were NG and PC staff in attendance at most sessions.
At the Sustainable Communities session there were 2 from NG and a person from away who is here temporarily.
One would have thought that for this sort of workshop to be beneficial there would have had to have been people from NICG present. Apparently not as the MUN peoples seemed to have had all the answers.
Two community members did drop by for a bit, one was asked to give an overview [by an NG staffer] of the project they are working on at moment. The other community member asked why there were no NG peoples present. The two NG peoples were pointed out. The question is understandable as the NG staffers blended in with the MUN peoples and it could be confusing to someone not in the loop.
Similar attendance was evident at the other ‘break out’ sessions on tourism, labor markets and business development.
So one could be forgiven in asking “what was the purpose for these workshops” and who was “supposed to benefit from them” as it is evident from the way it was organized that the community surely did not.
Surly the 50 grand or whatever the cost was could have been utilized much better within the MUN budget.
From a community perspective the same results could have been realized if MU had held the sessions at a bar in
Another question arises; why now? Apart from a few individuals there has been no sustained interest from MUN in what is going on in research and other areas on the north coast for decades.
In the past thirty years or so there has been much research going on but from universities and entities from outside the province and even from outside the country.
So again why now? Is it the money? Did some one suddenly have an epiphany on the way to the faculty meeting and realize that universities from away are taking all the glory and accessing all the $’s for research in the area?
Legitimate questions from a community perspective I think.
I received an e mail from the AngajukKak of NICG as follows:
I was just taking a read of your blog and felt the need to do some explaining.
First, like you stated, the NICG was only informed of this session on Monday afternoon, the excuse being we did not need travel arrangements, therefore was not contacted in advance. And when the call was made to the NICG about these sessions, there was no real information or detail as to what they would be about and, in hind sight, how beneficial it would have been to have a representative from the NICG attend the workshops.
It is also my understanding that the AngaukKak did attend a short afternoon session on business and labor markets.
I perhaps did not convey the message very well, I was not laying blame at NICG for no attendance rather at the organizers of the conference.
It is a well known fact to people on the north coast that governments and other outside entities continue [despite years of protestations] to come into the towns on short to no notice and expect people to drop everything and attend to meetings and and needs of these outside agencies and entities.
Very little thought is given to the fact that other events may be already organized for that time frame and to the fact that in isolated communities there is a small pool of volunteer or employed people to attend to these matters.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Anzac day is drawing to a close down under as I spare a thought for my dad. As the saying goes “old solders never die- they just fade a way”.
Also thinking of my mom who will not be going down to the RSL for the second year, mom is in hospital with a very badly torn shoulder, get well soon eh?
Managed to get my first [though blurry] picture of a snow bunting in flight while in Hopedale.
The bird was all alone and sitting in the middle of a rock pile [no Hopedale jokes please] I had the camera out for shooting another subject, as I approached the bird took flight I just raised the camera and clicked and got lucky.
Friday, April 23, 2010
The Start of the Barry Flowers memorial ski doo race held Monday evening at right.
Then some scenes of the gauntlet we ran after the race presentations and one of Fran and Ian.
Finely scenes of the unofficial race, folks getting even or getting whatever, the testosterone was running high I guess.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I will be putting up a pictorial of our recent trip to Hopedale in the next few days, just click on the photos to enlarge them [If you did not already know that].
At right a series as we left Nain. You can make out Iggiak Anorthosite quarry, then three shots of the mv Umiak track left in the ice on it's recent run into Edwards Cove.
Below is inside the Moravian church. Fran's sister is one of the lay ministers getting ready for the English service. We attended the just finished Inuttitut service.
At right is series of photographs of photographs of 'them days' hung in the entrance porch of the church. Bottom right shows a lectern that is still used, small one at right of larger one above.
I am also pondering some words on the recent visit to Nain by a group from MUN/Harris Center; I am having trouble trying to put some balance into the words, I see nothing positive from the community perspective to date for this very expensive exercise in academic bungling.
We are still in the throws of Les miserables weather, fog, light snow.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Our trip to Hopedale was very eventful and full of surprises. We got to see many of Fran’s relatives, took some good walks.
Our main reason for being there was to give a presentation [Saturday afternoon] on my experiences in growing food, what types grow best, the difficulty in securing the growing medium [soil] and such like.
Fran gave a short talk on community freezers and there importance to the communities.
Collage of the participants in the workshop.
Collage of the participants in the workshop.
Hopedale has been involved in a project put on by the Food Security Network of NL. Two people were hired to put together an asset analysis and some priority setting. A wide section of the community was consulted and a committee formed to set goals and priorities.
From all the consultations community freezers and community gardens were two of the higher priorities given.
I’m not experienced in giving these sorts of talks so not sure if it was very educational, there were quite a few questions and a debate has started, so it could not have been all bad.
Of the 27 participants three already have gardens of some sort and when asked how many would be interested in getting into gardening well over half indicated in the positive.
I emphasized the difficulty in getting things on the go but to not be deterred with one years lousy crop, give it a go the following years, the rewards will be worth it the long term.
Also emphasized was starting small individual gardens would be best to gain experience, and then get into larger community type gardens so more can benefit.
Pictured is the FULL freezer and a gentleman walking across Hopedale harbor with a wheelbarrow full of food for his dogs.
The Hopedale community freezer program is well under way and run quite well when compared to say the Nain community freezer.
This year people over 60 in Hopedale received a caribou and the freezer is full of deer meat and partridge. There are ongoing talks on expending the list of qualified persons to receive the meat but the important thing is that it is operating, again compared to the Nain, a program which is a highly kept secrete and the freezer is half the size of Hopedale’s and devoid of any meat of any kind.
Kinda lucky we had that sunshine window yesterday, fog rolled in fast around 5.50 pm and sounds like the whole coast is socked in this morning.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Yesterday morning in Hopedale were were at the airstrip and the plane flew right over us on to north due to fog there.
I have captioned the photo at right, mine mine mine. Fran looks like she has tight control over those trophies sure.
More on that later.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Then it is all spoilt by listening to or watching the news.
The non human induced bad news is highlighted by the volcano eruption in Iceland that will slow the Trans Atlantic air traffic over our sky’s for a bit.
Then there are the earthquakes that are constantly causing devastation, especially in the Pacific arc from South America to Indonesia. Most are not causing loss of life and building damage, they are more in the 5 range rather that the + 7, but there are lots of them. There is also lots of activity in the Pacific plate off Australia.
So with all that going on we are off to some safer rocky ground just south of here for the weekend.
Two dogs and a crazy New Yorker will be left behind so any ne'er-do-well should reconsider any nefarious thoughts.
I new I should not have listened to the radio this morning, my head is still reeling after listening the Cindy Wall [CW] interview the minister for transport Tom Hedderson [TH].
One topic in the marine transport file was the ‘pilot project’ this spring of running the mv S R Bond from Corner Brook to Blanc Sablon. This was a supplement to the usual Blanc Sablon to St. Barb run.
CW asked TH why on the Corner Brook Blanc Sablon run the fares were half the price charged on the Bond when doing the Cartwright to Goose Bay run as both runs take 12 hours.
TH did the usual verbal diarrhea in trying to justify the difference, his thesis mainly relied on ministerial prerogative and that it was only a pilot project and considering it’s success they are going to do it again next year.
All fine and dandy but if one of the reasons you are doing the pilot project is to access traffic flows then having an artificially low tariff would not give you much of a true gauge one would think.
Then CW asked about the future of the north coast ferry service. More of the verbal stuff flowed freely from TH. The highlight being that TH has been in conversations with some Woodward Group people in Lewisport and the WG people are hearing that trailers may go the Straits route this year more than getting on the boat at Lewisport.
If true this could bring higher freight rates for the North Coast as proven the last time trailers were forced to go into Cartwright. Only this time they could go on all the way into Goose Bay.
All sorts of scenarios come into play on trying to keep rates reasonable, one being subsidizing private trucking companies.
My feeling is from listening to the end users [north coast people] they would prefer the boats leave from an Island port.
Oh me head, needs a
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Mean time this side of the border the NL government is in it’s 7th year of pilot projects and studies of the previous years traffic figures and waiting to see what flows on the yet to be finished Trans Labrador Highway before gong to the Feds for their share of going it alone and being strong and free.
In other words hell will freeze over before yous on the north coast will get new vessels.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
We took in the SIKU [Sea Ice Knowledge and Use] workshop last evening at the NG boardroom.
This Paul Pigott sure has his shit together with his linguistic studies of Inuttut.
There are a myriad of dialects, some very close to each other and some like those in the western arctic and Greenland not close at all to the others [in the ability to understand each other].
Any way the description of Paul’s methodology and the process he has undertaken in gathering ice terms for his research is very interesting and quite fascinating.
Along the way he has gathered other almost lost or little used words relating to birds and plants. Perhaps another research project is in the waiting.
It is clear that Inuttut is alive but on life support. Latest statistics put the Labrador Inuttut speakers at just 550, this is contested by NG but without supporting data you go with what you have.
NG could hardly have much credibility in this area; out of the 7 people in attendance last evening only two were from NG. One was an interpreter and the other was the NG Nain community liaison worker.
Just my opinion but one would think that someone from the NG cultural department [Torngasok] would have been in attendance. Why one could be excused for thinking someone from the tourism and youth departments could have made the effort to attend. There is always all this rhetoric being spewed about retaining Inuit culture, perhaps they are all exhausted doing proposals for trips to parts unknown and procuring funding for same.
Then perhaps language retention is no longer a priority of NG’s cultural agenda, one could be excused for thinking along those lines.
Word is that a court injunction has been issued on the striking workers of local 9508 of the USW preventing them from peaceful protest of the mv Umiak entering into Edwards Cove.
So the bourgeoisie of all levels of government who are in bed with big corporate have another one over the proletariat battling to make ends meet.
Now I am no fan of the Voisey’s Bay mine and mill but there is the smell of rotting flesh about this.
In a free and democratic country people who are engaged in a lawful strike are prevented from protesting the use of scab labor.
At least if the proletariat of Nunatsiavut are of a mind they can voice their discontent at the NG bourgeoisie on may 4th. Vote early and vote
Monday, April 12, 2010
Not surprisingly the sun shines on this fine Monday morn. Temps in the high minus with long range predictions of cooler temps for the rest of the week.
Walking around on the weekend sure presented lots of challenges. Soft snow, pools or water covered with soft snow, rough terrain caused by motorized vehicles. Even on the ice the going was iffy and it took any recreational joy out of it sure. One had to be fully aware for any little slip, plunge downward, side ways, backwards yadda yadda.
Ideally a pair of combined snow shoe/floater shoe/ice shoe would have come in handy.
Harking back to the resolutions on alcohol and the Nunatsiavut territory. I will eliminate most of the whereis and whereas stuff, but the gist of the first resolution presented at the last Assembly is to take the responsibility for forming ‘alcohol committees’ away from the community governments and put it in the hands of the central government.
There does not seem to be a problem with this resolution, except it highlights the difficulty of forming such committees in Nunatsiavut. People are reluctant to take this sort of issue on for many reasons.
I do not foresee the NG having any more luck forming these committees than the community governments had. Unless of course they circumvent the democratic process, something that NG is becoming adroit at.
The second resolution is more troubling if carried through. The final whereas and the therefores reads:
2. The prescribed amount of liquor which a person on any one occasion may bring into the province from a part of
a. 40 ounces of 1.14 litres of spirits;
b. 40 ounces or 1.14 litres of wine; and
c. 2 dozen bottles or cans or 9 litres of beer.
The Nunatsiavut Assembly endorse the recommendations of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hearings Report (2006) to direct the Minister of Health and Social Development to lobby and work with all public and private entities and authorities (including the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Commission and airlines) to establish a limit on the amount of alcohol shipped per day from a liquor store within the province to an individual within Nunatsiavut. Recommended amounts for consideration are the same as the amounts identified (above) in the provincial Liquor Limitation Order;
The First Minister request the airlines to eliminate the free pick-up service from the liquor store for deliveries to Nunatsiavut.
I foresee large issues here in many areas, especially for the First Minister and the ordinary member for Nain and there 'special needs'. Then again they have certain ins with certain peoples and they do avail of a lot of travel so they could legally bring frequent small shipments in whereas the rest of us mortals would be stuck with tripling of freight costs to get the same number of bottles in. But that is just one minor problem with the whole picture, way too many to go into at the moment.
Suffice to say that on the surface this looks like an attempt by government types to make it look like they are dealing with the social issues brought up in the alcohol and drug abuse hearings back in 2006 but in actuality not doing anything.
Sounds familiar does it not?
Update: People have headed out on the sea ice to see what is what vi a vis the mv Umiak making it's way into Edwards Cove.
The traveling should be OK, there is a nice frost on top of all that snow fall and the -11 wind chill at the moment will help.
Rumor has it that the NG executive and their advisers were leading the way.
Baw haw haw, always with the funnies It is I am.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Quite the day yesterday, the storm started with a whimper but went out with quite the bang.
Trying to watch the PGA Masters kept me busy with many trips out to brush snow off the satellite dish.
Not sure how the NHL works with these play off points, but the Habs were a winner when loosing, into the playoffs by the skin of their necks.
Then to add to the agro we had four “power glitches” between 6.17 and 7.42. Very quick outages, like the blink of an eye. Played havoc with the satellite receiver and the wireless connection for the internet.
I have a back up for the computer, wondering if I need back ups for every dame device now. Any way things stabilized after the fourth one, still the intensity of the storm had us all on edge, if the temperatures were lower it could have made things really difficult.
The series of photos [sequence taken bottom to top] taken from about mid morning to late in the evening show the several conditions our roads were in yesterday.
First the excavator loosened up all the ice and then the loader spent hours and several runs removing the broken ice and snow to the side of the road. What with snow falling constantly it looked futile but there is a method to what seems the madness of it all.
Seems like most of the Nain based teams made it out to Hopedale for the annual RCMP volleyball tournament. Usually there would be a caravan of ski doos taking them, this year due to bad ice conditions most went by plane, smart move.
The rest of us are hunkered down waiting for the big snow fall, up to 30 or 40 cm is predicted.
There is a contingent of union people in town waiting on the MV Umiak arrival into Voisey’s Bay.
The Umiak is going into Edwards Cove to load concentrate produced by non union members during a strike, I think ‘scabs’ is the term used by union members in describing workers partaking in this type of union busting.
The plan is for local and outside union members to go out and put themselves in front of the vessel in hopes that it will stop its forward motion.
I am not sure that this is a good idea or not the ice being the way it is.There is a somewhat bizarre interview with one of the union organizers here. Click on story of April 8.
Still many local union members have not been in a “solidarity’ mode during this long strike having taken other jobs. Maybe they feel obligated to become more involved with their so called brothers and sisters.[I am not being judgmental,just pointing out the facts].
There may be mitigating factors forcing them to abandon their co workers fight, but if and when the strike is over and if there are any concessions and advances earned then will they have their hands out?
I did not catch the full interview that CKOK did with the president of NG on this issue, just the tail end. The president seems to hold the union accountable if any harm comes to anybody if people do decide to go out on the ice.
Actually I think that NG should hold the bag for some of the blame as they had the power to stop the Umiak from doing this trip. It is outside the agreed upon winter shipping season.
On Monday evening, 7 to 9 in the NG board room, there will be a sea ice knowledge and use information session put on by linguistics studies person Paul Pigott.
For anybody wondering how many Inuttitut terms there are to describe sea ice and snow and general weather then this is a great opportunity to learn something.
UPDATE: 6:30 in the PM, regular trips out to the dish to brush snow off, the Masters is on, bloody storm. Added to that there was a power spike just now, not looking good for the night, hope the hydro guys have their gear on ready to go out.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Upurtydate on below:
We have some clearing, just back from taking certain gentleman to the airstrip, he is going to try get out today if the plane gets in.
And some shots out the kitchen window of the winter wonderland [not so wonderland if walking or driving though.
The raven was hunkered down from the snow falling, those trees and bushes were devoid of any snow until this morning.
Busy scene at the airport yesterday afternoon, passenger, freight and schedy-vac all there at same time.
Mucky mushy old trip down too, but all that dirty mushy snow and muddy ground is like a bad dream as this morning there is a fresh coverage of the white stuff. Like a winter wonderland again it is.
The fact that it is snowing and the forecast is looking ominous is no surprise to us in the know. A certain gentleman staying here has plans to travel out tomorrow. He is batting 0 for 5 at the moment with weather and travel plans.
One thing that stands out [to anyone who takes notice of these things] is the low accumulation of refuse over the winter.
Spring always reveals the aftermath of the lazy and careless peoples attitude to disposing of their litter and garbage.
The low amount of litter is attributable to two things in my mind.
One is the addition of heavier duty garbage boxes around the town and the second and most important is the ban on plastic shopping bags.
The willows down by the airstrip are almost devoid of plastic shopping bags. There is some plastic packaging sheeting and and some cardboard, but compared to the previous decade it is negligable.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Time for the annual Easter games usually held on the ice and in the community hall.
So yesterday afternoon we took a stroll down to the dock, no games only wet slushy ice and ski doos fishtailing along.Walked up past the hall, nothing on the go there either.
Further up we found em outside the high school.
The games go on to the end of the week, looks like the harbor will be off limits today too as it is supposed to get up to plus eight again.
Friday, April 02, 2010
We had a meatless Good Friday, no religious connotations, just the fact I felt like it.
Made up a batch of hot cross buns for breakfast and for supper had fried char [that’s the head in pot]. Along with that had fried rice with spinach, won-ton strips and cashews. Then there were these smallest kind of bay scallops cooked in garlic, ginger and white wine. Also cracked a few snow crabs legs for garnish.
Now that we are all cleansed and pure it’s back to the old red meat again.