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!
Seal skin, beaver and calf skin design.
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!
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 or 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!
It was the first day of spring in Alaska. The sun was shining like it does everyday. This day there were no clouds in the sky to cast any shadows. The snow was still blanketing the earth, melting in the heat of the rays of the sun. My cheeks felt the kiss of the sun. A brisk gentle wind caressed both cheeks, creating a smile on my face. The feeling of the sun and the wind made the spring in my heart overflow with joy. It was if they both cared for me and my happiness this day. Is it possible? For the sun and the wind to care so? Anything is possible and I imagined so. The wind will assist in shaping the sands of the earth. Each granule of sand plays its part, together they form the land and shape of the desert, this changes ever so slightly each day, other days drastically. The snow is temporary cover for the earth and the wind will also direct where the snow stays or blows. The sunshine melts the snow where it may, day by day as it pleases. Until one day it is all melted away. The sun rays and the wind are directed by our creator, God the Father. So I imagine the sweet caress of the wind and the gentle kiss of the sun rays are for all to enjoy and receive. Enjoy everything life has to offer. I know with all my heart that each and every single person I know has an amazing life. How do I know this? You are alive!
One summer in middle school a family from Nome brought their horses to Unalakleet. This was the first time I saw a horse in real life. I was in love with horses and they were beautiful. They fed along the coastal beach grazing on grass and could not be more picturesk. Nena was the name of the female horse. I was dared to ride her bareback when me and some friends drove out to the old dump site. I was up first, being assured my friends would hold the reigns and with the help of my sister and friends hopped on Nenas back. They started walking her and she took off full speed and I held on for about 30 seconds before she came to a complete stop and turned to her side almost as if to say “this ride is over.” I tumbled in the grass and did not get hurt. My knees were covered in grass stains, a small price to pay for my first horse ride. Then a younger friend was next, she got on, held on and was taken very far up the beach. We had to go get help because the horse did not stop for her, it just kept going.
The second time I rode a horse was in Fairbanks when I went to Rural Alaskas Honors Institute. We got to pick the horse that we wanted. I chose a male horse named Jessup. He was amazing and while all the other riders stayed on a slow pace, Jessup would stop to graze and then do a sprint to the group when they got a good distance from us. I got to go fast if only for a few seconds, I was in heaven and he did this the entire journey.
The third and last time I rode a horse was at the Cincinnati Horse Derby. My ex husbands Grandma owned horses she raced in Cincinnati, Ohio. She had a beautiful male white stallion. For exercise they tied them up to a rod with a leash that goes in a circle. I was able to ride him for a couple of minutes. We went round and round in a circle, posed for some pictures and that day her horse won at the races. We got to pose for pictures with the Jockey and her horse along with the blanket of flowers for the horse as well. It was all a splendid memory.
Someday I hope to own my very own horse. That would be amazing and the kind of work needed to take care of them, I’m willing.
During summer in high school my older sister and I worked at the fish plant in town. We earned our own money to order clothes for the following school year. We practiced dialogues in German for fun. I still remember the words and what each word means. Sometimes after a long work day, we would walk the circle around our village. We laughed and giggled and shared stories. Treasured moments that what would seem like hours, was only five minutes, as if time stood still from our laughter.
When I was a very young girl I grew up next to Maggie’s Grocery. A small snack shop and video rental that also sold soft serve ice cream. A family had just moved to our village. I was eating an ice cream one sunny day and my little sister ran up to me crying. She said the new sisters who moved to town were teasing her and being mean. I told her to show me where they were. They were living in my Aunts house not too far from where we lived and I asked why they were being mean to my sister. Without thinking about my actions I smeared the ice cream on the girls face, she ran home crying. That same day my mom found out what I had done. I was trying to stick up for my sister but I hurt someone’s feelings doing that. My mom made me go buy a new ice cream and give it to the girl I smeared in the face. It was very humbling at such a young age. I apologized and gave her the ice cream 🍦 after that I tried my best to not be mean, even when I stuck up for my siblings. Remember we are all given grace equally and that I am thankful for. Bless and be blessed! ❤️
When we grew up, each spring our family would go look for and gather eggs. All different types, every day for a couple of weeks was like Easter. Seagull eggs are green with brown dots, most bird eggs share similar characteristics with varying shapes and size. Duck, geese, swan, ptarmigan, arctic turn, and the small eggs we came across that we did not eat, we did not touch, it wasn’t allowed. When a human touches the eggs of birds in the wild, and does not gather them, the mother will abandon the nest.
I was always sure to carry a stick and wear a hoodie. Mother and father birds are fierce protectors of their nests. We had to be fast and nimble and in a sense cunning. Knowing what to look for on the flat tundra with many lakes. Myself and my four siblings were all very competitive when it came to who found the most eggs. I can remember where all the hot spots are. One summer our family went, what we call egg hunting, down the coast. We camped in a white wall tent on an island and it took maybe a day to cover many ground. I was running from lake to lake as fast as I could run. I was pretending to be in the Olympics hurdling event jumping over tall groups of grass. When I jumped over a good patch a ptarmigan flew out and I was so surprised, startled. I found five eggs. See, as soon as a birds nest becomes empty, they quickly lay more eggs. We do not gather eggs near the end of egging season, so that the chicks have a chance at surviving. We ate all the eggs boiled, sometimes my mom would make wild egg cakes or bake with them. The taste of fresh wild gathered eggs are more rich than chicken eggs. The consistency is rubbery for the whites and the yolk is creamier.
As spring nears month by month I miss harvesting fresh nutritious bounties. The first time I saw an ant was egg hunting. The first and only time I came across something amazing and unexplainable was egg hunting. It was a rock inlaid circle path, very old and very small on a tiny mound on the tundra. I showed it to my mom after I looked and admired this creation. It was a perfect spiral. I grew up believing it was made by the Ishigaqs, or what our culture refers to as small people. In our oral tradition we pass down legends of old. Most teach respect for nature and people alike. When I showed my discovery to my mom, she grabbed my hand and we were all of a sudden in a hurry to leave. Everyone had to go back to the boat to go hunting in a new spot. I hope to find it again one day and take a picture, of course only with my Moms approval. I remember the relative location of where it was.
I hope all of you are truly able to reminisce about good times in your life but never forgetting that each day is a new day for memories to be made. So we make the best of each day, for tomorrow is not promised. Love and be love ❤️