Moose Meat

Day #25

Wait for it…this is a pretty big announcement…Okay, not really, but in my mind it is a monumental shift. I have decided that I will start putting my ‘title’ for the day’s blog in the ‘Title’ line and the day number below it in the body of the post. This represents a pretty drastic change in my posting, so hopefully you can follow along haha…

Anyway, today was another blissful Saturday. At the end of each week it seems like we have had about enough action and activity to last us for a month. When we finally hit a weekend, it is often impossible  to  believe that Monday was only 5 days past. As I’ve aluded to before, time passes in a very quickly, but slowly at the same time. Don’t ask me to explain this, because I can’t, I’m still working on the phrasing…We awoke this morning at a relatively late hour after spending our night and early morning hanging out at the community dance. I didn’t get to bed until about 2am this morning…It was one of those things where no matter how late I woke up, I was still going to feel tired by the end of the day. The dance was nothing to exciting, and those of you who are familiar with my lack of dance skills know that, at least on my part, there was not too much dancing done! I did however bust a move or two with my four year old friend ‘Paul’. He had the best moves on the floor, and people are less inclined to make fun of your own lack of dance ability when you are copying and entertaining a four year old!

Anyway, this morning I woke up around 10am, stayed in bed until about 11am and still feel exhausted right now. After stumbling from bed I managed to arrange my laundry so that I could begin giving my clothes a much needed wash. In my half coherent morning state, I was surprised that I didn’t try to wash my clothes in the dryer…After concurring that first activity of the day, I moseyed my way upstairs where I proceeded to plant myself in our comfortable armchair and devour Michael J. Fox’s latest book for a solid hour and a half. I have truly rediscovered my love of reading. Fox’s book is an absolute must read…I have laughed out loud, had tears well up in my eyes, felt the beating of my heart in my chest, as well as  felt the pain and most of all the joy in his life as I’ve navigated the pages of his latest book. He is not just ‘some celebrity’ writer with a team of ghost writers behind him. He is a truly inspirational writer, with the wit, candour and attitude of that great neighbour down the street. The books as fantastic. Please read it.

I am about 20 pages away from finishing Always Looking Up at this time, and I can’t wait to savour the last few ink stained pages. When I finally got myself going I put myself through the motions of making a nice solid breakfast and then putting in a tantamount effort on some extraordinarily dirty dishes. I have become the resident dish washer in the house…I’d like to think that it’s because of my incredibly deftness and skill with the wash cloth and scrub brush, however I believe that my appointment may have something to do with the fact that I’m willing to do the dishes. It also may have a good deal to do with the fact that the girls would rather not trust me with much cooking responsibility…For now I’m bearing this duty with the patience of a much stronger man than I, and completing my daily scrubbing with vigour and passion for grease removal.

I’m also the only member of the household with the sheer strength needed to completely turn off the faucet in our kitchen…My manly strength is the only thing that seperates us from a life of dripping water and sleepless nights.

With my freshly cleaned dishes gleaming in the overcast sunlight I found myself sufficiently motivated to hit the gravel for an early afternoon jaunt. I tied my shoelaces and readied myself to be hit with the chill of July in Fort Hope as I stepped out the door. However, to my pleasant surprise I was instead greeted by the welcoming rays of ‘Mr. Sun Sun, Mr. Golden Sun’ as he shone down on me. I hit the play button on my iPod and was off. 10km later I reached the front porch of our teacheridge once more, and realized that, while still warm, my glowing friend had once again retreated behind a thick veil of clouds. Despite my fleeting acquaintance with Mr. Sun I still find myself growing more and more in need of his presence…At any rate, my day was definitely off to a fine start and I felt wonderfully refreshed after showering and changing into my freshly laundered clothing. I read a few more pages of Mr. Fox’s book, then made wonderful peanut butter, banana and jam sandwich. I don’t think I’ve had a sandwich like that since I grudgingly accepted one from my mother about 8 years ago. For some reason I have never really like bananas, but my first few weeks in Fort Hope have helped me to grow quite fond of their yellow, fruity disposition. The sandwich, as you can probably tell, was a hit with my taste buds.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to the arena to once again check in on the Pow Wow. It was kind of neat today…The Pow Wow itself was still rather tame, with a few drum circles performing a song here and there, but what made today different from yesterday was the increased community presence at the event. The crowd at the arena today rivalled that of the one present on Canada Day. Everyone was milling around, perusing the wares of various people who had set up tables for the flea market, and buying different kinds of homemade food. We definitely sampled some of this delicious cooking…We gorged ourselves on moose meat stew, which I have to say tasted quite pleasant. I was expecting to be blown away by the taste of moose meat, but to be honest it didn’t taste a whole lot different than beef. I enjoyed the texture (key for me) and taste of the meat and would definitely be open to eating it again. I also had my first experience with bannock. The bannock was wonderful, and it is definitely something that I look forward to continually eating during my stay here. As we wandered around, I realized that I really hadn’t eaten enough food, and owed it to myself to sufficiently fill my hungry stomach. The result of this decision was to try a local favourite…bannock hotdogs. The combination of a hot dog wrapped in bannock with some golden yellow mustard was nothing short of heavenly. I managed to knock back two of these delicious treats before I got a hold of myself and stopped the carnage! I also had a great piece of homemade chocolate cake…I have not felt truly full since I’ve been here, so tonight was a wonderful culinary exception!

After feasting upon these local taste sensations we strolled down to the main docks (if you check out my pictures you will see that the docks amount to a built of gravel section a little ways into the lake) to witness a swimming derby. Our friend Harry Papah had organized a race to one of the islands in the lake and back to Fort Hope. It was pretty funny to see some of these relatively out of shape guys hop into the water and begin a swim across the lake. We didn’t see the finish of the race, but we were told that Harry was the winner (no doubt thanks to some sort of hair brained scheme that resulted in the other competitors racing to another town or something…Harry is a pretty entertaining guy!).

While the swimming race was in progress we hopped into our Northern Councilor Esther’s family truck and went for our first ride out of town, towards the dump. It was a great evening for a ride, and I really felt quite peaceful sitting in the truck bed as we made our way dump-ward. When we arrived at the dump we found ourselves face to face with two bears feasting themselves on garbage. They were quite apathetic to our advance, and we drove right up beside them. It was kind of sad to see these animals surviving thanks to the dump and they looked to be in rather poor health. Nevertheless it was neat to see bears (I think the last time I saw bears was at a garbage dump at Betula Lake near Winnipeg) and I got a couple of decent pictures. We also took a little side trip out to a place called ‘Thomasbridge’ that was kind of on the way to dump. It is a neat little sand quarry area with a nice river that feeds back into the Lake.

I now find myself back sitting in our living room, exhausted, but still not ready to call it a night. We again have to head over to the arena to watch what has been dubbed as ‘The Battle of the Titans’. Harry Papah and local NAPS (police) Officer Alex Nate will battle for the Fort Hope boxing title! I have a feeling that this fight may be more comedy than competiton, but I could be wrong. I wouldn’t miss the bout for anything, not even a little extra sleep!

Alright, that’s all for now, but in a brief aside, I would like to mention that there are 20 days left until my 19th birthday…It is kind of appropriate that me of all people would be having this particular birthday on a ‘dry’ First Nations reserve. Go figure!

–Be kind to each other and don’t fall down…

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