Right this way, Old Man Winter.

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With Old Man Winter trying to move in for the next 6-8 months, Kian and I have been working out in the evenings to burn off some extra energy before bedtime.   And there’s the added benefit of fighting off the winter bulge because we always seem to be a bit ‘fluffier’ in the spring, especially in the midsection.  It’s sometimes challenging trying to get in a good workout with a kiddo who’s usually under your feet, wanting to be where the action is.

Challenging, but not impossible.  Kian loves to workout and do exercises.  He came up with this helpful core training technique all on his own.  Half the time I’ve got my eyes closed, praying to God that his aim doesn’t wander…..

 

Before the snowfall, Solomon, Tyler, and I took a boat ride to Akuleraq to try and catch some beavers.  They usually stir the most in the evenings and mornings.  We hunted that evening, stayed overnight in one of the old fish camp cabins, and hunted again the next morning.  We saw a few but were unsuccessful in bringing home any.  Very rarely do we return empty-handed.  I mean, not even a stick of firewood to show for the gas money I spent.  But we still had a great time enjoying the last boat ride of the year.

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I took this as a sign.   Beaver house at the end of a rainbow.  My pot of gold!

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Sadly, even with a sign from the heavens, we returned home unsuccessful.

These were some beavers I’d caught on a boat ride a few weeks before this last one.  I’ve already sent them to the Tannery in Fairbanks.  When we get them back, we’ll try our hand at making hats and mittens.

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I had some beavers in the freezer of the shop for awhile, waiting on a new fleshing knife to come in the mail.  Every day Kian had to open the freezer and check to see if they were still there, to make sure they hadn’t got out and ran off.

We usually put Kian down for a nap in the afternoons, but sometimes I have to keep him up while I do something.  Whether it’s finishing a meal I’m cooking or waiting on an airplane to get freight.  No matter what’s going on or where we’re at, when this kid gets tired, he’s GOING TO SLEEP.

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But once he’s been fully recharged, look out.

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A true Alaskan with his (Daddy’s) Xtra Tuff boots.

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Awhile back I wasn’t feeling good but I was in luck since there was a trained medical professional in the village.  Even luckier, he was in the house!

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After checking his Medical Book, he knew exactly what I needed:  A Shot.

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We’re ready for baby Isabelle to arrive.  It will be great for Kian to have someone to play with.  He wanted me to take his picture with his “friend” that he made.

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Kian helped me pick some of the pictures out to include in this post and he wanted these two so here they are.

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And with that, we are headed to check the river ice again.

Piurra.

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Polar Bear? BigFoot?…

     After I caught my 1st moose this spring, I took what was left of the rump after I got all the meat cut off and packed away, and I hauled it out to a creek a few miles away from here.  I had been thinking of setting a few traps in the area and figured this was a good way to see what was around.  Plus a good way to get rid of what was left of the moose.

     I went back after a couple of days and saw a TON of tracks!  Most were foxes, a lot of bird tracks (most likely ravens), and then there were a bunch of claw marks.  Keep in mind that just a couple days ago, the only tracks here were my snowmachine trail and a few fox track trails.  IMG_8135

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I don’t know what made the claw marks.  All I know is that I don’t remember seeing them before, and I’m usually going slow and looking around for stuff like that when I’m out.  While I was walking around trying to figure it out, I saw another few tracks that I didn’t remember seeing out before either.  I snapped a few pics and headed for home.  I’d been out for a few hours and was ready for coffee and a snack.

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I threw my glove down just to have something to compare it to when I looked at it later.  Now, I don’t have small hands.  I wear XL gloves.  I was wearing Arctic Pro Muck boots and I stuck my foot up there and it was almost as long as my boot.  Not quite, but close.  I wear 13’s and Arctic Pros are a little on the bulky side, but not too bad.   So whatever it was, I figured it was pretty good sized.

After I got home, I was looking online at pictures of different animal tracks in the snow and about the closest thing I saw was a polar bear.  The other bears have claw marks visible in their tracks.  But I would like to know for sure, so if anyone has any opinions, I’m all ears.  Polar Bear?  Hairyman (what the locals call Bigfoot)?  A five-peckered fat bird?..

Spring moose hunting, my favorite!

     Well, it has been awhile since my last post.  I haven’t written anything in some time.  I actually deleted the website since I never thought I’d do this again, but here I sit.  We’ve had some people ask why we quit it and to be honest, it doesn’t seem like very much happens in our lives up here.  Nothing spectacular anyway.  Nothing to write about.  But it gives our family and friends a few more stories and a few more pictures to see.  And it does feel good to sit, relax, and ‘download’ your day when the sun is low and all is quiet in OUR world (which usually means that Kian is asleep).

He still thinks he’s a BEAR!

     Essie moved from being the Special Education teacher to the new K-3 teacher.  She seems to enjoy it but I’m a little worried about the long hours.  She kind of got Preschool dumped in her lap, so now instead of getting off at 3:30 or 4:00, she gets home about 7:30.   And when Kian is in bed by 8 or 9, it doesn’t leave much family time.  That was one thing we cherished about our life here, all the family time.  Money doesn’t mean much if you’re stuck at work all the time.

     I’m still working as the Head of Maintenance at the school, too.  My day is usually done by 4:00 or 4:30.  I’ll walk to the babysitter’s house, pick up Kian, and sometimes get to take him to preschool to be with his mom and other kiddos his age.  He really enjoys it when he gets to go, and so do I.  These are usually the days when I get to go hunting and checking my traps in the evening.  I’ve gotten 2 moose this year, caught a few foxes, and a couple of otters.  I only have a few traps out at any given time since I don’t have much time to spend checking them.  When I do though, I’ll take along a .22 rifle and keep an eye out for ptarmigan.  Sometimes it’s hard to see a white bird standing in snow…

Out for a ride on the Yukon River

 

My first moose this year. I caught it fairly close to home, so I decided to roll it in the sled and take it home to work it up. I wanted to try it this way so I could get the hide off in 1 big piece. I thought it would be easier, but it’s probably about the same as doing it out in the tundra, wherever the moose falls. The main difference here is when you get cold, you can step in and warm up and have coffee.

I wanted to take the hide off in 1 nice big piece because I’ve been wanting to try to ‘brain-tan’ a moose hide over the summer. I’ve watched 2 YouTube videos on the subject, so naturally I should be able to accomplish this with no trouble at all….

Here lately, I’ve had the opportunity to travel within the school district working on diesel engines for different schools.  I went to Pilot Station a couple of times and LOVED it!  It really spices up the day when the school charters a plane to come pick you up and take you somewhere you’ve never been.  Even better when it’s just you and the pilot and it’s a little 207!

The day after I got back from Pilot Station the 1st time, I got my 2nd moose.  We didn’t need the meat, but some elders and a couple others said they’d be grateful for some.  I enjoy being out in the wilderness even when I don’t have much of a reason for being there.  Having a purpose for going out, that’s just icing on the cake!

I was alone when I caught this moose, so I had to set the phone in the snow to take a picture, which may be why it’s blurry at the bottom. And let me just say, working up a moose by yourself is A LOT OF WORK!
I took this right after I got finished loading the moose on the sled, and got back on the river. It took about an hour and a half to get back home, so it was good and dark by that point. Beautiful ride back, though.