Monday, May 26, 2014

Further to that....

Lily mentioned in our last post that Spring in Baker Lake isn't all fun.
Allow me to add my 2 cents on the subject.

We have regaled everyone with numerous tales of Mother Nature's fury up here, blizzards, whiteouts, etc. You would think then, that as extreme as winter is in Baker Lake, everyone is breathing sighs of relief now that spring is finally here. Not so.

To give you some perspective, I spent a year living in Uganda back in 2000. When I arrived, it was the wet season. It sucked. I prayed for the dry season to arrive. When it finally did....I prayed for the wet season to return. Now, Uganda's climate is a little harsher than Nunavut's, and at the almost opposite end of the temperature spectrum. Still, I understand why winter is so popular here. First, it's the longest season by a wide margin. Ergo, if you don't want to be angry all the time, you need to, if not openly embrace, then at least tolerate 8-9 months of often mind-numbingly, we-are-crazy-to-have-moved-to-such-an-inhospitable-place cold weather.

Also, as Lily mentioned, there are bugs in the summer. Seriously, we get maybe a month of summer, and most of it is plagued with a cloud of stinging insects. It's like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, in insect form. I've camped in Northern Ontario in the summer, and that was pretty bad - almost a four on the Baker Lake scale.

Lastly, as Lily also mentioned: MUD. There are no paved roads here, the grading is inconsistent, and April didn't bring us showers, but nothing flower-like rhymes with "deluge". Last night it felt like a giant big bad wolf was trying to blow our house down (luckily, we used brick), and this morning, the roads were like rivers.

Despite all of this, it's nice to break out the windbreaker, and pack the thermal underwear away for another few months, until winter slaps us in the face again, likely by the end of September. Crazy.


PS - our posting schedule is going to be a little less regular for the next while, but we promise to check in at least once a week. Thanks for your understanding!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring: Not all fun and games

It's definitely spring here - the temperatures are consistently above 0 (though not by much) and the snow has pretty much melted away. There is mud. So much mud. But then the mud dries up and there is dirt. So much MORE dirt. It's everywhere.

There are also flies now. They buzz around and around until they drop out of the air and you find little fly bodies around. It's....not pleasant. In fact, it's the complete opposite of pleasant. Like his mother, Pepper is not a huge fan of the flies either, and I kid you not, we watched him swat one down out of the air when it was buzzing around him, and then walk away like it was no big deal. (I keep telling Jeff we have a superdog, but I'm not sure he's buying it)

So. See? Sometimes the colder weather is good! :)


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hamlet Week: Dog Races

Last week was hamlet week in Baker, and there were plenty of scheduled games and activities for the community. One of the big events was a 3-day dog race out on the lake towards a point about 30 minutes away from town. To win, the team with the best combined time over the 3 days got first place. I believe the time difference between the 1st and 2nd teams were a mere six seconds!

I went down with a friend and her kids, and we had fun watching them take off. Teams left at two minute intervals and it was neat to see the different kinds of dogs running.

It was a beautiful evening when we got to the lake, and plenty of people were already there to see the teams set up.

The lake was actually pretty slushy since it's been warm-ish, which made it hard to run, I imagine. But the dogs seemed to be in good spirits and they were eager to get going!

Listen closely to the kids talking in the background. The little one keeps insisting they are reindeer racing, and her brother is trying to explain that they are doggies. My goodness, the cuteness while surrounded by children and was almost too much to handle!

Monday, May 12, 2014

My perfect wife

When it comes to anything food-related, Lily is the undisputed queen in town. She constantly strives for perfection in every dish.

In most respects, being married to a perfectionist can be exasperating and frustrating. When that perfection streak is applied to food, however, it is a most welcome blessing. The reason is that even food failures, by Lily's standards, are exceptional dishes by mine, and I daresay, most others as well.

For Mother's Day this year, Lily cooked a delicious Beef Wellington. Sadly, despite its excellent taste and design, it did not turn out quite as well as she had hoped. She has vowed that she will re-create the masterpiece she intended.

As much as it may pain Lily if and when future kitchen mishaps occur, I, for one, look forward to them almost as much as her masterpieces.


P.S. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jeff: On the Land

Earlier this week, I received a pleasant surprise - an invitation to go on a land trip! I realize that may sound a little strange to some of you, so let me explain.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's Not You, It's Me.

I'm beginning to think that I'm cursed when it comes to traveling. Specifically trying to get home. This past week I was in Iqaluit for work and the travel woes that came with the trip were indeed, woeful.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Square Dance Showdown

Our community loooooves to dance. There are dances held almost every week at the community hall, and it's always a social event to go. Most people know how to jig and square dancing is the main form of entertainment from young to old.

Different communities have different styles of square dancing, and groups will travel around to showcase their talent. Baker Lake hosted the Square Dance Show Down a couple of weeks ago and groups from all over the region came to dance. A friend and I went to go check it out because some students from the school were dancing and we wanted to see what a showdown looked like, and the costumes.

These girls had matching dresses and beautiful kamiks (sealskin boots)

What I didn't realize was that each group danced for 30 minutes. THIRTY. Minutes. Straight!! I was exhausted watching! I am in awe of the stamina of dancers, but you could see the sweat dripping off them by the end. It looked tiring, that's for sure! On the night we went, everything was supposed to start at 9, but an announcement came on around 9:30 that things would be delayed because they needed a drummer - and the back-up drummer was finishing his hockey game. Haha...if people like dancing here, they LOVE of course no one minded the wait!

Baker Lake Band!
The actual event started around 10 in the evening, so unfortunately we didn't get to stay for the whole thing since it was a school night and we needed our sleep, but we did see the finalists for the youth groups. I took a quick video to share; this is the youth group from Rankin Inlet:

It was a fun night and I'm so happy I got to see it!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Our Puppy

I mentioned in my previous post that I have a little more time off now, and it allows me to do more things during the day. One of those 'things' is to spend more time with our puppy, Pepper, and he is just so adorably cute at times, it's disgusting. At 7 pounds, he is going to remain that cute forever, and will probably remain as yappy as he is now.

His cuteness is a topic that crops up far more frequently than it really deserves to, especially since the dog has no idea what cute is, or that he possesses it in abundance. Here are a few of the ways in which our puppy oozes cuteness: