My Thoughts for Thursday

Well, it’s starting to cool down in Hay River. It has been raining for the past, I don’t know how many days, and I don’t think it has gone above 4 degrees for a while now. Fall is usually my most favourite time of year, but I don’t think I will get to see much of it here. I am happy to say that we are moving into a house we are renting beginning next week, which will be exciting! I look at the kitchen and dining room in there and I can’t wait to start cooking and entertaining. I am already getting my Thanksgiving list ready, so stay tuned for those upcoming recipes! I know turkey can be intimidating for first-timers, but it’s worth it!

Another clue that the seasons are changing up here, is that our Thursday tradition of buying fruit from the B.C fruit truck ended last week. Every Thursday, the fruit truck comes bearing all of the sweet fruit from Oliver, B.C, and every Thursday, we would go to fill up our fruit bowl- and trust me, we FILLED it. Apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, grapes… Gone until next June. I probably won’t buy as much fruit at the grocery store. I have discovered some local “fruit” that is in season here: rosehips!

I remember Jeremy’s Uncle Cliff mentioning that he used to make rose hip tea, and I began to think of that while walking through the bush last weekend. There were wild rose hips everywhere! After doing some online searching, I have learned that you are suposed to wait until after the first frost to pick them, as it makes them sweeter. You can make tea, syrup, jams and all sorts of other recipes from rose hips, so hopefully I can gather some this weekend and try some new recipes!

As I am sitting here typing, I am watching the 3000th episode of The View. I am finding TV to be somewhat of a treat as I wake up quite early in hopes of getting a call to substitute at one of the schools here, and I can watch all the shows I want while I wait! This is exciting to me as Jeremy and I have not had television since we have been married in 2008 (by choice). Well, we do have a nice flatscreen television which we got as a wedding gift, but we have decided not to buy cable. We find that so much valuable time is wasted watching TV- conversations that aren’t had because of TV watching, or not enjoying the outdoors because of TV watching… Admittedly, There are shows that we like to watch together, such as Mad Men and 30 Rock… But it’s the time spent searching for time-filling shows, flicking the channel changer for hours looking for anything to fill some of that time. And then the commercials… the volume goes up, and they come on every ten minutes!

We have decided to download any shows we want to watch and then use an HDMI cable to run our computer screen to the television screen. That way, you watch what you want to watch and only when you want to watch something. There is no time spent searching for any show to take up some time and there are no commercials. We watch all of our movies this way too. The only annoyance is waiting for a series or a movie to download.

Well, I have learned that the US-based company Netflix, has decided to branch into Canada. For only 7.99/month, you can stream television shows or movies to your computer instantly. No waiting to download! It’s perfect, or at least it sounds perfect. They have a free trial right now where you can sign up for the first month, which I have done. We will see how that goes. If you are interested, visit http://www.netflix.ca to sign yourself up. There is a lot of children’s programing also, if you are interested in that! I think it’s great if you don’t want your child(ren) watching commercials which might promote something you don’t want your children to watch.

Well, other then all of that, I am excited for the weekend! Jeremy and I will be going to a Dinner Theatre at Chief Sunrise Education Centre where I sometimes sub at, to eat and listen to Canadian recording artist Rik Leaf and the Tribe of One. It is an Aboriginal and Canadian themed dance, music and art show on the Hay River Dene Reserve. On Sunday, I hope to get back into the forest to harvest some rose hips and try some recipes! Should be a good weekend! Let’s hope the weather gives us some sunshine! šŸ™‚

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Izzy

Big Dog.

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Once upon a Cougar…

September 18th, 2010

Jeremy and I decided to drive around Pine Point for another weekend. We wound up driving around back Trails for 8 hours yesterday! There are so many things to see… We explored more of the mine trails and found some interesting rocks. We drove along winding, rocky paths through the forests and actually made our way to the Great Slave Lake through some trails. We commented on how weird it was that we had not seen many animals! We did see several grouse, and at one point, a beaver. When a road was flooded over, we drove through it anyways (wasn’t too deep) but we had to stop mid way to let a beave swim across it. (We told our best ‘why did the beaver swim across the road?’ jokes).

If you have been reading any of my previous blogs, you’ll notice that we have recently come up with a great recipe for mushroom soup using local shaggy mane mushrooms. Well we came across plenty of mushrooms at one point, and decided to stop here for some tea that I had packed. Jeremy went off with our dog Izzy for mushrooms and I ventured off down the road a bit just to look around while I sipped my tea. It was an open area so getting lost was not an issue, and we could still hear eachother, but looking back now I realize that you need to be ‘bush smart’ at all times. Just because you don’t see any animals doesn’t mean they aren’t there…

Jeremy and I met up in about 15 minutes; he had a half of a garbage-bag full of shaggy manes and was pretty excited about it. I had finished my tea and we climbed back in the truck to continue down the road.

Not too far away, we saw something sitting on the path. We were about 100 yards away so we grabbed our binoculars. “It’s a linx!!!” Jeremy said, trying to focus his lens. I grabbed the other pair of bino’s, (the better pair) and told Jeremy “I think it’s a cougar…” We shut the truck off- the diesel engine gets quite loud- and rolled down our windows. We watched the giant, golden cat look at us and sit down. His body was huge and was comparable to the small trees he sat beside. He was not afraid of us in the least bit as he sat and watched us, watching him (from inside the safety of the truck). It was definate- he was a full-grown, mature cougar. We were grabbing for our camera to get a shot of him but we were still pretty far away. Jeremy had the idea to try to take the picture through the lens of our binocular, which he managed to do as the cat get bored of us and turned around to head into the bush- right by where we were gathering mushrooms and sipping tea while letting Izzy roam around. The picture I have posted is of the cougar walking away, we are about 100 yards away from him.

That just goes to show you that when out in the bush, you have to constantly be ‘bush smart’. Never venture off alone, even if it is just barely out of sight of one another. Always bring protection of some sort and never go anywhere without a map or GPS. We bring our GPS with us everywhere we go- we were so far in the woods that we would have been lost without it. It’s also a smart idea to bring food, water, blankets, matches and a pot. In case you are stuck overnight, you will need the blankets in case you run out of gas while idling your vehicle.

Well, I’m off now to go exploring in the bush again with Jeremy and Izzy. I’ll be ‘bush smart’ today, that’s for sure.

Happy trails!

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Harvest Sunset

I took these pictures while we were living in Alberta. The sunset was bouncing off of the chinook and really lit up the sky.

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Exploration

Well I had a pretty good weekend! Jeremy and I spent our Sunday exploring some areas around Hay River. We drove East towards the old town of Pine Point and explored a road heading North along the way. It turned out that this road led to an old mine, which was full of mountains of processed rock. We somehow managed to get the truck up one of the old roads made from rock and we got to the flat top where we could see piles of rock as far as the eye could see.

We followed the road down into the bush and discovered that we could drive on an old road that headed North through the forest. We drove for hours just to see everything and when the road got too wet to continue (although we wanted to… Wasn’t a good idea to risk gettingĀ stuck without cell reception or another truck to pull us out) we hiked for about another hour. Jeremy brought his gun for protection- we have spotted numerous animals around the Hay River area recently- bear, wolf and linx. The forest was very quiet , except for birds. We spotted a huge white owl that we only saw when it flew above our heads, and a small brown owl which we tried to take some pictures of, although he was silhouetted by the sun behind him. We saw lots of moose tracks, which were close to the size of my hand. Other than that, it was a beautiful, warm day.

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Shaggy Mane Mushroom Soup for the Soul

Well, here is my first recipe using local flavours! It makes 2-3 bowls.

Why did I decide on making this soup? Jeremy (my husband) and I were driving from Yellowknife back to Hay River and noticed that thereĀ  were musrooms all over the sides of the road. He knows of one type of mushroom which is edible, and they are nicknamed the “Shaggy Mane”. Their real name is ‘Coprinus Comatus’, but they got the nickname “shaggy mane” because of the way the cap looks; it has pieces of it coming off like scales or a lion’s mane.

CAUTION:*The following recipe uses the ‘shaggy mane’ mushrooms, but only use these mushrooms if you know and are certain that they are in fact, shaggy manes. Do not ingest any mushrooms that you are unsure of. If you are not sure, your best bet is to use button mushrooms bought at your local grocery store; this recipe is also good with regular, store-bought mushrooms. Also, DO NOT consume alcohol before or after ingesting a shaggy mane mushroom as it may react badly in your stomach. Try this method of soup-making at your own risk.

The mushroom itself is self-digesting, so as soon as it is picked, it must be either eaten orĀ fried that day. If you are using grocery-store mushrooms, I suggest doing the same.

Ingredients:
About 1 tbsp. butter (can use more or less)
2 shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
About 6 cups of your mushrooms; roughly chopped
1.5 cups of milk (1% or 2%)
1.5 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. sour cream (light or regular)

Start by melting the butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Add in the garlic and shallots; cook these for a few minutes to sweeten their flavours.

Add your chopped mushrooms to the pan (see right). If the mushrooms are holding a lot of water in them, you may notice this in the pan. Just let them cook a little while so the water can evaporate. *If you would like, you can stop here and freeze what you have in the pan once it has cooled off . This will give you a soup base that you can pull out of the freezer anytime (see picture to the left) and it will also preserve your mushrooms which would have gone bad within a day or so.

In a seperate pan (a deeper one), add your milk and chicken stock and heat to medium-high. *keep an eye on it as milk will boil over.

When your milk/chicken stock mixture is steaming, add your mushrooms and garlic and shallots to it (set aside about 3 tablespoons of the mushroom/shallot mixture for later) and stir. Simmer, stirring often for about 4-5 minutes.

Take the 3 tablespoons of mushrooms which you set aside and put into a pan with a bit of butter and fry until golden; these will be your garnish.

After the 4-5 minutes of simmering is completed, put that mixture into a blender or bullet and blend until smooth. Once blended, pour back into pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk your sour cream into your soup slowly and watch it thicken. Pour into bowls and garnish with your golden mushrooms that were left in the pan.

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Delicate Morning

Delicate Morning

In August, Jeremy and I canoed to an island on the Great Slave Lake. It was nothing but sand, driftwood and birds, but I thought it was beautiful.

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Why blog?

Well, I have decided to start a blog. After moving to the Northwest Territories, I thought it might be interesting to document my experiences living north of 60. If you are interested in following me, there is a lot I would like to accomplish while living up here:

  • I would like to get back to my art. I have been away from it for too long.
  • I will be finishing my children’s book- after a long enough writer’s block, I will state here right now that I will finish this book and get it published!
  • I plan on continuing my cooking and entertaining for the seasons. I will also try to use local foods and tastes, so keep tuned for these posts!
  • Watch for my photography in and around Hay River. I’m not a professional by any means, but I can take a picture or two!
  • I plan on getting involved in the community of Hay River and finding out what makes this community so unique
  • As a teacher, I plan to gather activities and great ideas and post them to the blog for other teachers out there (so any ideas, send them to me and I’ll post them with your credit!)

I will generally be posting adventures and day-to-day life in the North when I’m not blogging about the above categories. I think it’s a great way to let everyone know what we’re up to in posts, pictures and soon-to-come videos.

Let the blogging begin!

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