Too Many Dogs

The dog that’s been hanging around our house has made us his people. He comes in, sleeps on the carpet, eats, lets us know when he needs to go out. All is good.

We’ve been warned that loose dogs will be gathered this Friday (today). I remember reading about dog culls in the north and being horrified. In an isolated community, where there is no vet, dog populations increase. Dog food is very expensive at the local stores and it costs even more to fly it in. The ideal solution would be for all dogs to be kept on a leash and watched at all times. This is not realistic here. Of course, there are constant litters of puppies tumbling about. Puppies are adopted quite easily, but after their first winter, they are put outside. There is little to hunt around town, so many hang around the local stores begging.

While in the south, I imagined locals in pickup trucks with guns driving about shooting the hapless animals. In reality, they are picked up and brought to an enclosure where they are kept for a few days. Plenty of announcements are made for people to claim their dogs. Remember, there are no vets with sanitized offices and careful injections. The gathered dogs are dealt with as humanely as can be done here.

I will just make sure our dog is tied up tight, even though we don’t yet have a name.

A Quick Casket

Another person in the community has passed away; a man just in his 40s. He was the foster dad of one of my last year’s students.

Flags are at half-mast. As is custom, the bars, stores, and schools were closed for the funeral this afternoon.

I was at the kitchen window when I saw a man bound up our front steps. I recognized him as one of Andy’s students.

“We need a coffin,” he told Andy. “We need it in an hour and a half for the funeral.”

I put Andy’s lunch on hold and prepared a coffee for him to take to the shop. I heard the men quickly made inventory of available wood and the dimensions of the deceased.

At the shop, some of Andy’s students, as well as other community members, were ready to offer their help.

At the funeral (I had to stay back to nurse a nasty virus), Andy was given the privilege of placing the body into the casket, along with close family and friends.

It was a great honour that Andy was able to offer his services as a cabinetmaker to the community.

New Dog

No name yet. Ideas?

No name yet. Ideas?

I noticed this dog on our street since we’ve returned after summer break. She’s very sweet and friendly and follows us everywhere. She’s now pretty much adopted us. Our previous ‘almost’ dog was claimed by seven groups of people when we posted her picture on the community website.

This time, Andy found the owner. When asked about the dog, he flicked his wrist and said, “Just take it!”

She’s slowly coming into our house for short visits. Only upon closer examination, she’s really a he. Hmmm. We now need a male Inuit name. Any hints?

Where the Boys are

I work in a classroom of 23 registered students, of which 3 are girls. On a good day we have 17 students, with 12 to 13 on an average day. Kids go to camps for hunting with their families or they just don’t come to school. Many days there is only one girl in the class.

When the two 3/4 split classes (English and French) are combined for gym, the students are split into two teams of boys and only one team of girls.

Today I asked one of the Inuit teachers from the lower grades about this. “It has always been like this,” she shrugged. “Even when I was in school.”

“Must be something in the water here,” I said, and she laughed.

The Bay-Effect

Storms brewing over Hudson Bay2We’ve been following the media about the storms that have hit Buffalo, NY. Meteorologists explain this huge dump of snow as a “lake-effect”, which occurs when cold arctic winds move over large masses of water and absorb moisture.

On Wednesday morning after dropping me off at school, Andy took the slow way back along the bay.

He snapped this picture of storms brewing. We call it the “Bay-Effect”

Wonder what the winds will bring …

Improvisation

Is it edible?

Is it edible?

I found a picture for a pasta dish, Penne with Ricotta & Mushrooms, in Chatelaine Magazine. Most of the ingredients are unobtainable so I made do with what I had.

Penne  :  Whole grain rotini

Olive oil  :  Canola oil

Fresh Rosemary  :  You’ve got to be kidding. I did find some dried thyme leaves though …

Mushrooms  :  Bingo!

Green onions  :  Regular onions

Ricotta  :  Cottage cheese, on best before date, blended smooth

Fresh parsley:  See rosemary – compromised with frozen spinach

Grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano :  Kraft parmesan cheese

Here is the end result. Enticing or put out for the dogs.?

Actually, we both agreed that it tasted quite good, along with the grilled chicken.

Puppy on the Loose

Dog Lost and Found

Dog Lost and Found

Andy found a puppy running loose, with a couple feet of severed yellow cord trailing after it.

He brought it to his shop, where it followed him everywhere before finally settling down in a cardboard box. When I passed by the shop after school, his truck was still parked, so I stopped in and met the thin little pup. I took a photo with my blackberry and posted it on the community Facebook page.

While we waited for a response, we brought her home and fed it some crunched up dog kibble mixed with evaporated milk. She attached the food, snarling and growling. I didn’t want to feed her too much, thinking it may make her ill.

We had several responses to our post and phone numbers of where the owner could be reached. None of the numbers lead anywhere.

Finally we looked up the number of the person who claimed to be the rightful owner and called him. He couldn’t pick up the little dog, so Andy dropped her off.

The owner gestured to the space between the outer and inner door and said “just leave her there,” and closed the door.

I hope she’ll have some food and a soft blanket to sleep on. It is getting very cold.