Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Woo Hoo!! A UFO turns into an FO after 5 months

Here Qallit and my new socks are posing for the camera... I knit the first sock during my breaks/lunches at Terra Greenhouses and the second sock has been knit in fits and starts since I finished there... I finally polished off the foot over the weekend. Now I've rekindled the late fall knitch - and I've been looking at online wool stores and hat patterns - but I think my next big project is to conquer my fear of making mistakes and taking on my fairisle sweater....

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Uncertain Weater Coming

Those of you who know me well are probably surprised that I haven't mentioned the election at all. At least not that I recall. Normally, I take my duty and responsibility to cast my vote very seriously and spend a great deal of time following current events and researching my local representitives. So far, about the only thing I've expressed my opinion on regarding the election is what I think of the hair-do's of the party leaders.... and well... they are all bad. Steven Harper's reminds me of this guy Colin I knew in undergrad ... You could throw stuff at his head and the hairspray aura would repell the object before it landed - okay not quite.... But you have to wonder if Prime Minister Harper is using a bullet proof product developed by CSIS rather than regular, drug-store variety hairspray. As for the rest of the candidates I don't even have an opinion about their hair - save that Jack Layton's mustache is .... well, not what I'd choose to have on my face unless I really wanted to channel a used car saleman. Okay. I'm being a bit sarcastic.

Something about this election is tempting me to play ostrich, because I can't think of a probable outcome that appeals to me. Perhaps its because I don't have my Grandfather to argue with (Sorry Grampa - unless something very strange happens - I'm not voting for your team this round). I had had a plan - and if I stop blogging then it might work - although I'm running out of days if I want to mail my ballot in for my home riding - as I'm learning - mail is something that only eventually arrives here, but I think letters and official looking letters may have better luck. However, my inner sense of duty is now making me feel guilty about the whole issue.

If I vote at home, the answer for me is relatively clear...as there is one outstanding candidate who has done wonderful service in our community and demonstrated her competance in organization and leadership - we need as many of these folk regardless of their party in the commons as possible - and as a bonus she is not a member of the party I like the least. I feel like I can defend my choice to vote based on the strength of the local candidate much better than I could a strategic anti-party I like least vote or vote for any of the 3 remaining options. On the other hand, I frankly think that the next term is going to be challanging for anyone who lands up in power. Its important that there are sufficently competent folk to mind the economy, the environment, national unity, first nations issues, infrastructure and our international reputation and I'm not sure that any of them have me convinced that they are competent if or capable of dropping the partisan nonsense for the sake of actually running the country. Its going to be a late night to bed on election night - because even when I wish I could be - I'm not a very good ostrich.

So - if only Mayor McCallion was running for Prime Minister.. then this would be easy. But I guess duty doesn't have to be easy, just done.


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Another Inukshuk Shot

I think I might try and pait this one... should I ever get around to getting out my paints.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hunkering Down

I was actually really close to this guy and he didn't seem inclined to move. I didn't want to spook him though so after getting a couple of pictures I continued on towards the inukshuk.
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Brilliant beneath a big brewing sky

The weather was definately fickle yesterday. I have no complaints as it offered me dramatic skys and the sun came out just when I needed. The coming of winter drains a little more colour from the tundra each day. We continue to hold around 0 C right now. The wind can be bitter though. We haven't had much sunlight or clear skies lately. I haven't seen the northern lights in a while. Hopefully we'll get some clear skies around October 10th, when the next predicted high kp event occurs.

Brilliant brightness
Beneath a brooding grey sky
Winter creeps nearer
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Sign of the Prancing Ptarmigan

This fellow was a bit less shy, struting across the Baker Lake tundra.
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Fleeing Ptarmigan

The Willow Ptarmigan are taking on their winter camoflage colours and flocking up. They weren't too keen on getting photographed.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jonah Amitnaaq School from across the bay

Here is what the school looks like from the back.
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Mysterious floating island

I was gifted with some very cool lighting this morning... here this island appears to be floating.
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Somewhere under the rainabow

I have to admit that I was wondering if this was the same helicopter that I saw wrapped in bubble wrap when I arrived in August.
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Northern Infrastructure

Here is the pipeline that carries fuel from the barge to the airport tank farm.
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The inukshuk says "Here be good fishing"

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Lichen the rocks

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The ice age begineth

Yes... its is late fall/early winter here. The temperature is hovering around zero and I don't leave home without a hat and mitts. Its not unpleasant. In fact the temperture is pretty steady only changing a few degrees between night and day, but the long days are gone and we are hurtling toward the darker days of winter. This morning I went for a nice hike out to the inukshuk - pictured above. There was a dusting of snow from last night and even now the outside temperature is -0.8 C.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Clue of the Environmental Hiccup

In celebration of one of the staff members birthday's, another staff member organized an awesome scavenger hunt. So, I can now say I've seen most of the major Baker Lake landmarks, save the inukshuk and the VOR. Both of which I do plan to visit soon.... pictures to come.

Our team got stuck on a clue telling us to look for a place that is smally once a week - they burn our garbage about weekly here - so we did go first to the dump and then to the sewage lagoon (pictured above) and then to the new power plant and then to the old... and then we finally gave up.... although we had it right the first time - the clue bag was just hard to find - lets just say it blended well with the other bags in the dump...

Still. It was lots of fun and everyone had a good time. The engineer in me made it necessary to take a picture of the lagoon - which does have a bit of a smell - but is actually fairly scenic if you don't catch a big whiff of it.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Baker's UnBudgable Barge

Here is the barge in question.
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Fire on the Rock

I love orange lichens... actually - as a general rule I just plain have a soft spot for lichens. They are a cool heterotroph-autotroph team even if it is still undecided whether the fungi enslaves the bacteria or if the bacteria actually gains anything from the partnership.
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The little tug that couldn't budge the barge

We have a stranded and beached barge at the west end of the lake. Apparently it got frozen in the bay last year and has been stuck here ever since. Sometime this fall it escaped its mooring in a storm and was washed down to the westend of the bay where it has stuck fast in the sand.. The other day while we were doing the Terry Fox run, two tug boats tried to budge it, so it could be towed out before it was once again frozen into the lake, but it looks like it might be permenant.

Speaking of boats, the rumour is that our last major barge is due in any day now. So, waiting is near done and then what will I do to keep myself in suspense... I guess I'll have to see.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunrise Clouds

Sunrise is happening at a much more people friendly time of day now and while I admit the picture composition isn't anything to write home about... it was the best I could to capture the really neat clouds in the background.

I'm done watching the skies - as nothing much is my headed my way from that form of transport - now I'm watching the water, hoping that the tardy barge makes it in before it gets to icy and unsafe to make it up here from Chesterfield Inlet. There hasn't been any rumours of it showing up - which either means there is still a while yet, people don't know that its lurking off our shore or that people have given up worrying about it - save me.

I'm not sure if I'm nearly as excited about the food. For one thing, it'll be work to unpack and figure out what belongs to who and where to put it. But it'll be nice to have flour for bread and multi-grain cheerios.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Skiing in September Anyone??

I really want to go play in the snow and hang the slow recovering process and being good and all that..... Its still snowing big flakes and there is probably about an inch of fluffy snow on the ground. This is the heating oil tank I believe.

If there is enough snow in the morning... I'm totally going to ski to school - unless they plough it.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

First real snowflakes

There was some solid looking wet snow falling earlier this morning. I would have taken a picture, but my memory card and camera were not in the same location and it took me a bit to actually find the memory card.

Its been a good weekend. Nice to have some downtime, especially for my voice, although I'm still sicker than I'd like to be. I'm glad to be totally unpacked and enjoying having a desk and my own space. The loft bed worked out great despite what the naysayers though and I even managed to cram a bookshelf in here... It does look a bit like a dorm room though.

I have been trying to be good and stay in and give my body a chance to get better. Its hard, because I know that there isn't much fall left before its cold and my roomates are heading out and about. But if I'm not careful, then I'm going to go from being inconvienced by a cough to really feeling awful... and now I'm just trying to convince myself that I've made the right decision.

I guess I'd better get better soon, because I'm running low on photographs. In the meantime... lots to do... so off I go.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rocks My World

Tundra on the rocks... and rocks on the tundra too. The spot we camped at had some of the coolest rocks ever. I also found some neat geological features on the flood plain. Some nice terrace beaches and eskers.

Mission Ikea has been completed and aside from some cuts and bruises, we are all set up. Much nicer room - although it looks more like a dorm room than an adult's bedroom or maybe more like an office with a sleep space. Anywho. It feels much homier and now back to finishing year plans.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Staring out the window

The following was written in a random moment of staring out the window.... on the back of a scrap of paper no less.

"I'm staring out the window of my classroom - The weather outside is yuck (read this as cold and drizzly). I sound like a rusty hinge and watever I have hasn't done much for my asthma either. Usually if I get sick it is the end of November... but I'm think that the weather is about the same right now.. so this could be my november cold. At any rate, everyone one else seems to have had this one, so perhaps its simply my turn. At any rate, I'm on the mend and trying to get enough liquids into me.

My stuff finally arrived although there were a few moments of drama when I called the one location to see if it was still waiting to go and they said it wasn't anywhere in their warehouse - so after a bit of panic we discovered that it was already here and so I'm still in the throes of unpacking. A piece was missing for my bed, so everything is in choas and room looks like Hurricane Ike has been through... but all my shirts are on hangers.

Back to the view from the window - aside from rain - there is a soaring seagull, a fluttering (Nunavut) flag, and a water truck ambling from house to house in the distance. Anyways.. back to writing tests and quizzes for me.

The rest of this is being written as I type... The stew is on the boil and nearly ready to eat.. or rather its ready to eat, but the stew in my bowl is still too hot to eat unless you are keen on having a burnt toung. I don't feel like I've made enough progress on the unpacking side of things. But I'm going to have to do something.. because right now there is a pile of junk on my bet. The current outdoor temperature is 0.5 C., the dogs are howling (or is it wolves) and a young picture of Mr. Jack Henry... whom I believe I owe a phone call this weekend (and to his lovely tupperware giving mother).... Sigh.. where do the hours go... there is so much to do and so little time.

But tonight I really need to get there soon.. in hopes of getting better because I'm sick of being sick and I'm sick, sick.. (not siksik)... so good night...
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Coat of Many Colours

I spent the entire time outside wishing I had my paints (not that my hands would have been able to withstand the cold - I really can't wait until some warmer mittens arrive). Every day the colours just screamed to be painted... so I've settled for taking pictures.

In good news, I hopefully can end my sky watch soon. I'm not getting too excited, becuase they only said they'd try to get it shipped in the next 3 days... which probably translates into another week, but at least it isn't in Winnepeg.

I also apparently missed some stunning northern lights... but then again we had near constant cloud cover over the last few days.
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Rustic Accomondations

Here was my home away from home. Unfortunately... I seem to have come home with a rusty-hinge voice, but I'm hoping to overcome this soon.
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Monday, September 08, 2008


I've expanded my wildlife viewings to include willow ptarmigan (living) and snow geese (in large flocks). We also were visited by numerous ermine and I intervened on behalf of a number of siksik. I stumbled across facinating bones and glacial features (and a few headwater streams). I tried a type of mushroom and several types of berries.
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The theme of our camp was rocks and minerals... and here is one of the traditional uses of rocks set against the confused sky.
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Tundra Skycapes

I've had my first chance to get out and camp on the land - and really.. the picture says it all.... I couldn't stop taking pictures of the views. The weather couldn't decide between sun, rain, snow squalls or overcast which meant that the light and colours were constantly changing. As for the 4 cargo planes that landed this weekend, none of them contained any of my stuff. But, I"m past the impatient and hopeful stage - so I'm much less anxious. I guess it'll get there when it does and now that my camping trip is done, I won't need my parka for a while.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Sky Watching

Here airplane, airplane, airplane..... I know I'm suposed to be patient, but just about everyone else has gotten their personal belongings, but mine are still somewhere, out there.. beneath the pale moonlight.... Its an immature sentiment - but really... my stuff was in Winnepeg before some of the others even had their stuff packed up... why is it the last to come....

You might wonder which items in my belongings I'm wishing for the most.... well... amusingly name brand Q tips top the list - my roomate has been lending me some of hers, but it is one of the few items in the world that I figure it is worth the extra money for the real thing. So, while I'm incredibly thankful for her generousity, I'm looking forward to their arrival. Stickers... I'm back owing in stickers for my math students... I wish they'd get here before it becomes too big a job to catch up. Hangers... it would save on wrinkled shirts for sure. Moisturizer.... I guess it is the little things. As for the rest, I barely remember what is in there.

So, I'm watching the skies and praying they send up a frieghter in addition to the 3 regular incoming flights - and hoping that my stuff is in line.
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Fungi on the Tundra

Well, I may be 2500 km from home, but I'm still taking pictures of fungi. At least it isn't at twilight with a flash. I have no idea what it is - but I think its one of the funkiest fungi I've ever photographed - :D The bearberry are all turning a fabulous shade of red. I know Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi - but up here they are either Arctostaphylos alpina or rubra. Their inuit names include kablarjuit and kablat.
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