Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yesterday’s weather was flat in light snow mixed with rain then light snow with not much accumulation.

No planes with both airlines canceling mid afternoon, though there was a lone flight in late afternoon, could have been a hospital flight or charter.

Looks like the snow we have will take a beating next week, temps well above [relatively speaking] freezing predicted.

Harking back to the raven scarcity; I checked with the conservation officer in Hopedale, he says the numbers are low in that community as well. Matter of fact he has not seen such low numbers in his life time.

Still no theories as to why; just another puzzle in the ever growing puzzle of anomalies in the wild kingdom.

Not so puzzling is this story about mercury in arctic waters. Seeing as there is no heavy industry or coal burning power plants in the north one wonder exactly where the origin for the mercury originated.

Meantime with the election looming Monday we can take a look just north of here to see what power of the people looks like.

Nunavik voted to reject a Quebec government and status quo Inuit leader’s proposal of forming a government.

I do not claim to fully understand what it was all about, but have followed it sufficiently to come to the conclusion that Inuit were not happy at the prospect of having their culture and language playing second fiddle under the proposed plan.

The fact Inuit in Nunavik do not want to follow the same path as Nunatsiavut seems obvious.

I also make no claim to being overly religious, but I do have an interest in Inuit history and culture, as well as culture and history in other parts of the world.

In that light I offer up this recent interview on CKOK with members of the Moravian church in NL and North America.

While some may argue that Christianity is not part of Inuit culture it is clear to me that the majority of Inuit in Labrador have embraced the Moravian church over the centuries.

I can garner to sense whatsoever from people who are interested in allowing the destruction of the old buildings in Nain and am gratified at the attempts to save and restore them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weather has been more spring like last few days, sunny and getting up near or just above 0 during the day.

We may get some snow next couple days then back to sun.

The snow buntings are still around in numbers, lots of food or good weather could be the reason, or not, who knows with these things.

While snow birds are plentiful ravens have been scarce this winter. Even resident pairs have moved out of their regular territory.

It could all be cyclical.

Had a nosh of char, scallops and mildly spiced last evening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yep, spring has sprung and it feels like January.

Walking back from the shops yesterday brought tears to the eyes. Fran was in her winter parka with hood and scarf wrapped up and still the tears flowed.

Winds up to 88 clicks last night and still in the low 70’s this morning, -31 wind chill.

Nice and clear anyway, and Montréal takes it to game seven so Fran and most of Nain are happy.

Looks like the voter turn out may go up on May two judging by the advanced polls, of who we were 2.
Is it the much needed winds of change that Canada needs? History tells me to be cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More signs of spring:

Choppers become more frequent with work in the mineral exploration area and work on remote communications towers.

Skins and caribou ribs [Nikku] drying.

Satellite dishes pointed to NHL playoffs.

Still nice weather, bit of a snow fall late yesterday but then it would have been blown off last evening. Winds went from 9 k to 85 k in very short order before midnight.

Wind chills of -25 this morning.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Amazing weather the first two days of Easter.

The last couple of snow falls has left the landscape covered in a pristine white poster like sheen.

Around town it is relatively quite, on Friday we had a relaxing quite day as most others did.

Yesterday we had a quick visit to the store for Fran to buy “one more chocolate egg for Great Grand child”, but I suspect it was for me.

Then we took a walk up into the hills with a friend who is visiting neighbors, nice and crunchy under foot, a lot different for the friend who is used to the vagaries of walking in Sin Jawns.

The temperatures have been perfect, even warm for walking when out of the wind, but soon as you are exposed up goes the zippers and collars.

I took Fran [she will be traveling on the second] down to the advance poll to vote later in the afternoon. Seeing as I was there and no one else voting I decided to cast my vote as well.

Looks to be a light covering of snow this morning, we will see what daylight brings.

Friday we also did the no meat thing. Plenty of sea food to choose from, and no the fish head was not on the menu, it was from a meal earlier in the week, Fran was keen for me to post it on the blog.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A collage of snow buntings, mostly in flight while fighting for the feed. Not sure why they squabble of the food as every second house seems to have food out for them.

Having a few spare minutes I knocked off this pencil drawing of the scene outside.................I wish.

So some ill advised people are advocating that a vote for the Conservative candidate in the riding of Labrador is a vote for more services and financial support for the aboriginal communities in Labrador.

If by the off chance the candidate wins and the Conservatives achieve a majority then we will hold our noses and hope for better than this lot got from the Conservative minority government.

You will note INAC had a role to play in that deplorable decision, the same INAC that is in charge of the NNC program to supply affordable, nutritious foods to the north.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just in case yous in Sin Jawns think your roads are bad after the winter.

Check out what the people in Southern Labrador have to go through.

Then if they want to travel to or from SL they have to put there vehical on the mv Astron [yes that Astron], bus to the airport, get on a small plane and fly over near their destination, bus to the ferry terminal and pick up their vehical.

Unless of course the Astron did not brake down or ice prevented it getting to its destination while in the meantime the traveler has landed at their destination but the vehicle may be a bit delayed.

Meantime the transport minister keeps quoting the amount of money the province has put into Labrador and due diligence is being done vis-a-vis the contractors and the ferry operators yada yada yada.

Happy Easter to all.

It was clear early but clouding over now, still heading for a nice day I would think.

I have been monitoring the non event [from consumer perspective] to date of the NNC program locally [as you may have figured out]. I sent an e mail to the Advisory board along the lines of my blog post, after two days of no response I then sent an e mail to the interim head of NNC. He responded quickly [which I appreciate], but as usual it was full of bureaucratize [which I have never gotten used to]. It did state that NNC is behind the eight ball what with the federal Election being called, but went on to say that NNC is catching up and certain issues will be dealt with, like after Easter.

From my point of view there has been ample lead up time to get things sorted out, but what can you do eh?

Up north the program continues to be panned, especially in the comments section by consumers.

I know for sure that the stores here have promotional material and labeling to ID items shipped under the program but are waiting for the green light for start up.

I am not sure where the green light signal is to come from. I am sure that it will be well over four weeks since the programs inception for the signal to go green.

Meantime the retailers are benefiting from the subsidy, hopefully the consumers are also, we just have no idea if we are and how much. I suspect [with good reason] that one store is not passing on the full NNC rebate on certain items.

I am also not happy with the way NNC is monitoring the prices. At the moment an audit will be done every three months. This audit will then be analyzed to see if the retailer is complying, how long that will take who knows.

My question is; what happens if they are not complying. Is there a fine, slap over the wrist?

How will the consumers be reimbursed for any over charges that have occurred at the check out? I don’t think most people will be keeping all, if any, of their receipts. Small amounts of overcharging, multiplied by many people over many weeks adds up to large amounts of overcharging.

This whole program is well on the way to a potential boondoggle for the retailer unless NNC gets its finger out post hast.

Retailers and NNC officials can protest all they want that the subsidy is being past on to consumers. Until there is black and white proof then it is their fault if consumers continue to be skeptical and accusatory of being ignored and ripped off.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I was mulling over the timing for posting these pictures, but it is part of life up here so here ya go.

It is of the processing of the first polar bear shot this year.
Nice looking meat and lots of fat.

The use of the chain saw is not what I would consider the local way of butchering animals.
Some people do amazing things with just a hunting [and some times kitchen] knives. I am sure the shooter of this animal has those skill sets.
Word is an interloper just came over with saw and electrical cord-and proceeded to saw away.

I have edited out faces and the pictures were taken by Gina Dicker who kindly gave me permission to use them.

I have a correction on yesterdays post: The choral tour is in Makkovik now until Saturday. They then go to Hopedale until Tuesday.

One and maybe two of the Nain choir will go to Hopedale specially to sing a hymn that is performed only at Easter. Seems there was discussion about preforming it here in Nain but the local brethren won out. Dont see that often.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

24 members of the MUN school of music and invited.

11 members of the Nain Moravian choir and 2 organists.

6 members of JHMS choir/brass band and their instructor.

4 person documentary crew.

2 person crew from OK society.

Church lit up for filming.

2 years of planning and practicing came to fruition last evening. I think the audience came away more than very pleased with the way the performance went down.

Professor Tom Gordon can be proud of the work he, and others, put in to make this event a success.

Now the whole shebang, minus the local performers, moves on to Hopedale for Easter, then Makkovik and finely Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

There were some added pieces during the evening and the whole assemblage joined in with 'we shall meet again' to finish off the night.

I think the highlight for the church was the donation of two brand new violins from JHMS. The principal of the school presented them to Chief elder David Harris. I would be remiss if I did not mention Tom Gordan's role in this too.

Both cultures benefited from this collaboration, you should have seen the look of joy and pride on the local church members, something to behold.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hundreds of reasons not to vote for Harper's conservatives.

Today will be 19 days

since the introduction of the Nutrition North Canada Program.

Below is one of the questions with possible answers from the NNC web site.

How will consumers know the subsidy is being passed on under the new program?

Answer: One of the key accountability and transparency measures is the requirement for retailers to demonstrate the subsidy is being passed on to consumers by printing the community's subsidy level on customers' receipts and through audit of transactions. Other communications activities include row and shelf signage to identify eligible items, food basket displays and pamphlets. Additionally, INAC will assess the consumer satisfaction level through annual store-distributed surveys.

Now the awful truth:

If the residents of Nain awoke from a collective 10 year coma and went shopping today there would be no way anyone would be aware of this generous subsidy that is purported to make some of the goods they buy cheaper than if there was no subsidy. And how would they, as there is nothing, nada, zilch, zip, in writing in any form to inform the alleged lucky consumers that this shipping subsidy [plus the provincial subsidy that piggy backs on the NNC program] is being passed onto them.

Nothing on any receipt, nothing in the form of signage on the walls, or on the shelves or on the goods purchased to indicate that there is a subsidy, let alone it is benefiting the consumer.

This fly’s in the face of the main objective IMO of replacing the old system with the new NNCP.

So it is not only politicians on the campaign trail who are loose with the truth, is it?

Added to that lot is the fact that since the new program started the boxed freight coming into the communities now has no indication makings stating that the goods in those boxes is shipped under the NNCP.

At least under the old program each package or box shipped under the program had a Canada Post sticker on it as an identifier as being shipped under the Food Mail Subsidy Program.
Now there is nothing on the boxes to ID them.

Due to my own ‘due diligence’ I have garnered that at first freight that came in under the NNCP had no identifying waybill or manifest. That has since changed so that there is an ID of goods shipped under the NNCP on the shipping waybill.

I also discovered that two people who work for the Department of Health at Nunatsiavut Government have been asked by Health Canada to do a “price check” of certain goods in the stores that use the NNCP. The results of these checks are then sent out to some bureaucrat in some nondescript building some place in Atlantic Canada for analysis. It is not known if and when the results of this analysis will be made public.

The thing is the public; you and I, Joe and Jane consumer do not know this. For all intents and purposes the retailer could be pocketing the subsidies and laughing all the way to the bank. All the hoopla and rhetoric that the NNCP was going to improve our health and well being by making our food expenses lower could be just that, hoopla and rhetoric.

Where is the openness and accountability people?

On the weather front: Lots of snow banks around town tells me the latest falls have been the highest this season.

While the weather did not actually clear the ceiling and visibility improved enough for a couple of planes to get in late yesterday, Grandson Matthew manage to get out to see his sister and Carter, everybody happy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some accumulation on the ground from yesterday afternoon and last night, it’s still falling this morning, putting planes on hold.

Grandson Matthew will not be happy; he was supposed to fly out this morning to visit Carter and Aimee for a week, still time though.

Could it be as some feared, we will get all our snow fall late spring? Hope not as it is really not needed now, unless you want to recreate in it.

I posted this picture of a caramelized pear pie I made on facebook; it caused quite a lot of drooling.

I had not cooked with pears before, one reason would be the pears we get here are usually green and hard, but this last week some variety of yellow skins with red overtone, this to me indicates they are ripe and most likely very tasty.

They were, at least after caramelizing and a tot of brandy added at the finish.

So I must go out and get my banjo a humming and remove some of this accumulation before it all melts, then again?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fran had this photograph given to her yesterday. It was taken in 1967 in St.John's. Memories fade and Fran is struggling to remember what the occasion was, maybe the Moravian church choir was in town recording Moravian hymns. Fran was in nursing at that time, the other woman were also in St. John's for educational reasons.

The gentleman in the white shirt is Jerry Sillett [deceased] who was the church and community chief elder.

Any way that is Fran second woman from the right.

It has been four days of cold wind chills, quite a shock to the system after the nice days prior. Now it seems we are in for another change in the opposite direction, snow and possibility of snow and rain by Tuesday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jeepers, that was a dramatic drop in temperatures. We were rolling along with typical spring like days and wham o, -20'ish means and -36 wind chill overnight.
The upside is the snow that fell yesterday will stick around a little longer.

The good fortune in having caribou around close to town has it's downside. I noticed, and apparently others have too, a number of irresponsible people are paunching, skinning and cutting up caribou out on the harbor ice.

Now I am sure most people do not have an issue with some people attending to the task out on the ice, but to just walk away and leave the guts, skin and bits you don't need out there, and so close to town, well that is pushing it a bit far.

Years ago this happened more frequently, but council asked people to refrain from doing it, leaving the mess that is, and for the most part the request was adhered to, seems another reminder may be necessary.

The vast majority of people who process there caribou around town take the remnants to the dump.

Which brings me to a comment some posts back about the skins being dumped. The commenter asked why the skins could not be used for other purposes.

The reasons they are not used commercially is complicated, and why they are not used locally is less so.

This time of year the hair is in molting stage, so if skins are needed to use in any traditional way people wait until the late summer or fall.

Skins this time of year are OK to use for underlay in tents and camping, on komatiks for warmth and extra padding, but that is about the extent of there usefulness, and most people do not bother with them.

If skins are to be used for craft and clothing then later in the year is best.

There is no commercial use for the skins these days. Over the years some pilot programs were tried.
A tanning workshop one year using the traditional Innu method. This did not catch on, one reason being that caribou hide is thinner that the traditional moose hide used for clothing and crafts.

Another time a woman from North West River did a project using the hair of caribou, turning it into a felt like product for use as lining for cloths and mitts and boots.
The resulting product was very warm but at the same time rather bulky, I believe the idea just faded away after the initial pilot project was completed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tuesday I made pasta sauce using ground caribou, arguably the best meat for a tasty pasta meal.

Normally after browning the meat I would add about ¾ can of beer to the pan to pick up all the browned bits, alas there is no beer in town [except the Atsanik]. So what to do?

I substituted 1/3 cup apple juice for the beer, and it came out rather well, a slightly sweet compliment to the spices and the taste of the meat.

Served on fusilli with mushrooms and spinach with fresh grated parmigarno.

Last evening I made a chill with the left over pasta sauce by just adding several ingredients.
I call it boomerang chili dog. Not because of that, no it's because the multi-grain crescent roll looked more like a boomerang when cut in half length wise. The melted blue and Camembert cheese was a great addition.

We had some snow yesterday afternoon [most melted] and into the night [most stuck around] and morning.

We also had a rather long power outage [2 hours 20 minutes] in the morning. As mentioned prior there is something not quite copasetic over at the power plant. It has been that way since the rebuild and one new unit installed after the near fatal fire. It can be very nerve wracking not knowing when there will be an outage, worse still is not having the confidence that the whole shebang won’t go kaput at any time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Seemingly not a care in the world these partridge [ptarmigan] (Lagopus lagopus alleni) are having a nice feed on a bright sunny day in the lower barrens.

A little later said (Lagopus lagopus alleni) are plucked and ready for cleaning and the pot.

Photos by Stephanie.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For Ex Sham: This is how they get into the country, more precisely it is the way travel is done here while snow is around.

No not the one below, the one at right. Photo by Stephanie.

Water blower- formally known as snow blower @ YDP {Goose Bay} today.

Photo by Phillip Earl.

Lots of anecdotal tales from trips up north; Four guys on ski doo’s were chased [in a serious manner] by a pack of eleven wolves.

My nephew and his father had a polar bear run at them. Needless to say they skedaddled out of range right fast.

Three strong young blokes were pushing a stuck ski doo out of slush and snow. Not getting anywhere fast. Discover the driver of said ski doo had machine in reverse and on full throttle.

More caribou around; this time south west in Voisey’s Bay area. Seems like small bunches are discovered, big rush out of town, the small bunches are either wiped out or scattered. Result is plenty of meat around town.

These pictures are of a trip our Daughter took this weekend. One of conditions on way in, west of town, and of the barrens when in there.

Photos by Stephanie.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday dinner.

Had a couple of caribou strip loins given us. After cleaning and removing the sinew I salt and peppered it liberally.

Having no fat content I added some salt port, covered it and put in 350 degree oven for about 11/2 hours.

Came out just like Fran likes it. Fran is a great believer of, "if you are going to eat raw meat then eat raw meat, if your going to eat cooked meat then cook it".
I sense some relief within Noah's family, but they and others are very proud he gave it his best shot. Received this facebook message yesterday evening. In Noah's own words.
"Ha.... The mountains were to much for me. I can walk with a load all daylong and I can walk in the mountains all day long. The weight on uphills, downhills too. I don't think could ever be prepared for the barrens, nasty stretch but I got a better approach for next time. Sorry I didn't do what I said. The Kamutik and Kullik belong in the past. Lets go fiberglass, kevlar, and mountaineering stoves!"
He sure does not have anything to be sorry for.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Had a spot me from Noah last evening, he seems to be having a hard slog of it, not moved that far in last several days, not surprised given the conditions he is facing, most likely climbing in some soft conditions. We wish him well and may the spirits be knocking on his tent door for some company.

Nice day yesterday, sunny for the most part, typical spring day of seasons past.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Great weather for all sorts of outdoor activity.

Caribou have been spotted south of Nain, some successful hunters already, guess it will be a mad scramble out that way this weekend.

No spot me update from Noah for 3 days, must be hard going with the fresh snow.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sunrise over hills, over roof, on art.

As you can tell by these shots Siutik just hates to be out in freshly fallen powder snow.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Shots taken yesterday during the snow fall.

Most are saying we had a big snow fall. I cant figure that out as I did not need to shovel very much at back and front, any way it is good to get it but for every sliver lining there that's not it. behind every silver lining there is a cloud.

Noah seems to be hunkered down for the 3rd day in same spot. Latitude:56.80036

Not surprising, snow fall should be gone for now and colder evenings hopefully will allow some reasonable travel conditions, though it wont be easy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

We have some snow and wind, Noah seems to be hunkered down as the today's spot me has him in same spot as yesterday 56.80037,-62.62241.

I have a correction to make [never take news sources as gospel]. Monday I said the Phillis Artiss was the NDP candidate for Labrador, I was bassing this on a news report from CBC Labrador Morning, turns out this was incorrect.

Officially the NDP has announced another candidate, CBC has some explaining to do, and I apologize for taking CBC at it's word.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dutch Runner

And in older livery I assume.

Here is an interview with Minister for Transport aired on CBC Lab Morning this AM. Two words are cause for alarm; due diligence. From my experience Dunnderdale before she became
the government and Minister Heddersen use those words in the loosest form, usually when things are heading for the shitter.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with the new configurations and the companies, but when the low bidder is 1.2 million under the next bidder for two of the five contracts, and Heddersen says they were aware of the discrepancy and did their due divergence then there is cause for caution.
YepMJ: we eat well all things considered. Last night it was caribou vegetable soup with rice and barley, very filling and healthy.

Naoh is moving right along [into the clouds], Google earth needs to update the Labrador sector, especially around Nain.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Breaking news, new supplier of passenger and freight service [as hinted by me] for the Labrador coast.

It may be newer and more capacity but not by much on any count.

As far as I can tell here are links to the TWO companies mentioned in the press release.

Have experience just not in this part of the world, Fran wondered aload "wonder if they will have a Newfoundland crew". I wonder if any Labradorians will get any shifts.

The smell of blood is in the air,

caribou blood that is.

Late last week someone came back to town with a komatik load of caribou, by Sunday most anyone who went hunting [lots] had some deer to skin and cut up. Lots of sharing too so that is good.

Siutik had the time on our weekend walks, sniffing the air, snagging the odd tit bit at the front or rear of houses.

On Saturday out on the harbor ice she took off a couple of times chasing a ski doo and komatik with skins going to the dump.

Yesterday she would not eat her ‘normal’ food instead waiting for something tastier. I waited her out until 5 when she gave in.

The pictures are of gray jays having at ribs hung out to dry.

We have fresh meat but a prime rib was already on the menu for last night.

Received a spot from Noah Nochasak last evening, he is at the end of Kingurutik Lake.

Looks like the adrenalin rush of the first day has dissipated and now he is into a more paced travel.
Lots of winding brooks ahead and the climb into the barrens starts soon.

Phyllis Artiss is the NDP candidate for Labrador in the upcoming election. And please no of the “parachute candidate bullshit”. Phyllis did everything but threaten people within Labrador with violence if they did not run.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Noah made some good ground yesterday, about 30 kilometers before camping for the night
The northern lights were out in force last evening, so that would have been a show for Noah and any one else out late, me, I was in bed.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sunshines on Nain.

Taken yesterday, what a great day it was.

Here is a link to CBC audio interview with the woman who recently shot a polar bear north east of Nain.

For me the poignant parts are where the lady talks about the relationship with the land and animals that were passed on to her by her parents.

Many Inuit will never fully be assimilated into the mainstream culture, until that is recognised by governments and pro active actions taken then far too many people will continue to suffer economically, mentally and socially.

In the same vain, Noah Nochasak leaves this morning for his walk to George River in Quebec.

Noah is looking forward to the adventure and is not troubled by the expected 30 days of hauling a 180 Lb komatik and the being alone in the wilderness. Besides shelter, food and clothing the komatik holds a 22 rifle and a bloody big knife for comforts sake.

Noah expects to walk about 20 Km a day, weather and snow conditions permitting.