Alaskan Fiddleheads

Usually, when I start to see geese or crane flying North, I know the fiddleheads are almost ready. These are the early unfurled ferns that like to grow in moist areas, such as near creeks or by the bay. In their raw form, fiddleheads have a toxin that can be removed by boiling the cleaned greens for five minutes then rinsing well before cooking or pickling. I like to pickle mine with a easy to remember solution of 3/4 water 3/4 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt along with pickling spices. Soon Devils club shoots and masu are what is harvested the same time as fiddleheads. Dandelion jelly is batter up and spruce tip syrup. I love harvesting goodness from this area!

Sweet smell of spring in the air.

There is something about the first breath you take in when you step outside in the morning. I question myself “am I smelling spring?” Soon the sweet smell of flower blossoms will mix in with one of my favorite smells, right up there with baby’s first breath, is fresh greens. The smell of new life, it is intoxicating.

I look forward to harvesting fiddleheads and pickling them. I look forward to the mud! Why mud? Even though it may seem messy and a chore to clean up, mud represents the changing of the seasons. Spring or fall, times and seasons change and each season should be looked forward to. Different seasons give us different opportunities. Take each opportunity with a smile on your face because surely a new season is upon us!

Inupiaq Lore The Mosquito Man

The Mosquito Man
By Gertie Ann
Long ago, there lived a wicked hearted man. He despised summer. In part, due to the pestilence of the mosquitoes.
So, each day he worked very hard to kill as many mosquitoes as he could. No matter how many he slapped or flicked, there were always more to fight the next day.
This wicked man did not understand that the mosquitoes were an important food source for the birds of the sky. Each animal and insect in life plays its role in the circle we call life.
Our mother taught us to respect animals and insects alike, only taking what we need to survive for food.
One spring, the man was hunting in the woods with his dog sled team. His hate for mosquitoes transpired to different parts of his life. Creating a hate in his heart for all life.
His dog team knew to listen to their master. The one time they did not listen was the last time the wicked man would wreak hate in this world.
It was a spring day with the snow not yet melted. There were spring puddles here and there that the dog team worked hard to run through. Then on a trail well used the dogs came to a sudden stop. The furious wicked man beat the dogs to keep going, yelling and screaming like the mad man he was.
Still, the dogs refused to go on. Then he looked down the trail. There was a figure of a man on the trail. The wicked man was taken back and started yelling at this figure. He knew he did not hear him because he still stood there. So, the wicked man went to go talk to this figure.
Upon close contact the wicked man trembled at this figure, for it was not a man at all, but a swarm of mosquitoes shaped as a man. The mosquitoes swarmed him. Sucking so much blood from this man that he passed out and soon died.
When a caribou comes across a swarm of mosquitoes, this will happen to the caribou. The caribou will be so badly bitten they could not live on.
Being cruel in any shape or form will have severe consequences. Always remember there is a reason for all forms of life, and the best thing to do is to show respect for all life. In our culture, Inupiaq, we are told stories from old, so that we do not be cruel. Lessons are learned through stories like this to not be mean, even to blood sucking insects. When an animal is caught for food, nothing is wasted, we eat all that is edible. Anything that isn’t edible is given to the dogs. So always remember to be thankful, for food provided by our Creator, God. Giving thanks for everything.

Prayer week Alaska

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Have you ever been driving down the street and stop to let an ambulance pass? First thought? I lift up the people being tended to in prayer, I pray for the EMTs going to the crisis. Do not for one second, doubt the power of prayer. Each and every single prayer makes a difference in this chaos we call life. Where two are more are in agreement, He is there! Do you ever meet a stranger through a simple hello? Not knowing a single detail about their life, do you lift up their life in prayer? Always ending in “Your will be done?” A few months ago I saw something beautiful, not in person, but online. It was a picture of one million children in India praying for world peace. It touched my heart, what would your reaction be? I joined them in prayer. The children took the initiative to pray for sometime that this world desperately needs. This is prayer week for Alaska and He will hear our prayers. A chain link of seven for each day of the week. We lift each other up in prayer and believe it makes a difference because it truly does. Amen!