We are coming out of the darkest months of the year and for that I am extremely thankful! The dark months were hard. I don't think I realized just how hard the darkness was until it was nearly over. Getting out and enjoying the Arctic was more difficult without daylight. On some of our shortest days the sunrise and sunset would both occur within our lunch hour.
A few weeks back on a Friday night I tripped on a slipper and took a tumble down the stairs. My foot immediately swelled up and I was unable to weight bear. Luckily a community health nurse was scheduled to be in town that following Monday and I was able to get into see her. She suspected a fracture and wanted an X-ray done. I was very discouraged. A fractured foot would have meant a stop to a lot of my outdoor adventures. I was medivacced out that afternoon and had an X-ray the following day. I was super relieved to find that there was no fracture and that is was merely tissue damage. The doctor said I could use my foot as I wanted as long as it didn't hurt too bad. Over the coming week I found that I was able to walk more and more with less and less pain. I am SO thankful that I have full use of my foot. As of now it just feels like a big bruise and I am so thankful for that!
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights have been out more and more these days and I LOVE it! Pictures do not do justice to the beauty that they are. I feel so fortunate to be here and to have the experience of living a life that involves a scenery like this. The pictures above and below were taken right outside my front door. The light from the school porch threw off the picture quality. Unfortunately, we were unable to go any further away from artificial light sources because the skidoo was broken. We fixed it this week and plan to venture out to photograph the Northern Lights again.
My students love art and hands-on activities. The weather has been warmer and the days have been getting longer, which means I can take my class out to explore more often. In the past few weeks we have been playing around with the rule of thirds and perspective in picture taking. I am in no way an expert in photography and have loved learning alongside them.
With the skidoo being broken we have had to get creative in checking the fishnet. Sleds are now a key tool in transporting the many fish back to town. This past week the rope holding the net in the water broke, which meant we had to pull the whole net out and will have to set it again in the coming week. We are all excited for this task because we just bought a new jigger and it is bigger (6 ft long) and more efficient than the last one we used.
Martin has been in contact with a school that is located right on the Arctic Ocean. He has arranged for a trade of dry fish for dry whale. I am so excited to experience whale meat!
Going for Wood
Jenn and I are very determined to pay down as much debt as we can while we are up here. We are both nearing the 40K mark in the amount we have been able to pay on our loans so far!! In order to make this happen we have had to cut corners in a lot of ways. One way that we are trying to save money is by going out to collect our own wood. Each load of wood we collect saves us about $200. It is HARD work though. We drive down the winter road looking for dry wood. If it is not the right type of wood it will clog your chimney and possibly lead to a chimney fire. Once we find a good spot, we park the truck and venture into the forest with a chainsaw. The snow is hip deep and hard to navigate. Martin takes the lead and breaks trail with Jenn and I following behind. Martin cuts down trees. Jenn and I use axes to cut off the branches and then haul the logs out to the road.
Gathering wood always means looking for bunnies and ptarmigan. I don't have my hunting license yet (its on my to-do list) so I am the spotter. Last time we went out Martin was able to get 3 ptarmigan. We let them age in the fridge for a week and then cooked them on the rotisserie.
Last week we ventured down to the big city of Edmonton for the Greater Edmonton Teachers Conference. It was a needed break for everyone. Teaching in Colville Lake can feel isolating and lonely. It is easy to forget that I am part of a profession that is made up of many many people. Sitting in sessions with teachers from around Edmonton and Sahtu was refreshing.
We are in the Double Digits
The count down is on. There is officially 99 days until the last day of school. Time is flying. The days are getting longer now. The sun is up early and doesn't set until around 8pm. By the time we leave it will be up for nearly 24 hours a day. More daylight will mean more adventures, but it will also mean way less rest. From what I am told, no one in town sleeps when the sun is up. The kids will be zooming around on their 4 wheelers all night and the ravens will be scratching at our roof all night long. The next 99 days will be interesting, exciting, and challenging.