Sunday, August 23, 2009

Only in Deering

Here are the long awaited pictures. These are some of the unique things about Deering, Alaska.

Here is the view to the end of the spit from the second floor of the school (facing east). You can see that we are pretty surrounded by water. The tide is high so it is more pronounced.

This is a walrus sans the head and flippers. The flippers are supposedly good eating and the tusks are used for jewelry and carvings.

This is a sign posted in the school. Stove oil is $7.75 a gallon and gas is $7.59. This summer the price were cut almost in half.

Eloise our little Tundra Baby. Where she is standing isn't actually the tundra, but rather the river bed. The river bed is considerably larger than the river at this time of year.
A word about the tundra: Because of the permafrost, water doesn't drain into the ground like it does in Washington or most other places. Atop the frozen ground you have clumps of fungus/lichen/moss. This makes the tundra quite spongy. Also it is NO myth that the mosquitoes are wretched up here. They are HUGE and HUNGRY! Without bug spray berry picking would be a no go.

Right to Left: Paul, Shawna, Jessica, and Miah (Jeremiah)
This was a night spent playing Uno. The kids in Deering are endearing.

Paul in his office...check out the view.


A caribou close to our more than a mile out.
Caribou and Reindeer are almost the same thing. A caribou is wild and a little smaller; a reindeer was domesticated for a period of time (they are wild now) and so they are bigger. They are essentially the same animal. Reindeer herding was a part of this culture for a while. The rumor is that reindeer was getting to be quite a favorite at the dinner table in the US and so the beef industry decided that they would put a stop to that. The beef industry influenced the decision to have reindeer banned from being sold commercially in the US. Caribou is a staple in these parts.

This is the local herd of Musk-ox. They look like cows draped in brown blankets. They are very funny looking. We tried to get a closer look than this after they had crested the hill, but they were long gone. They heard the four-wheeler and took off. From what we have heard musk-ox are ridiculously easy to hunt. The only tough part is that they circle up after the first shot. If the musk-ox that has been shot isn't killed it is very hard to determine which one it was that got shot.

See the musk-ox in the background...Here I am looking Alaska Tough. (the gun is for effect) :)

Mathias and three fish.

Paul has not gone fishing once, but we seem to have a freezer full of salmon. There have been several evenings where just before going off to bed there is a knock at the door. It is often Chris, Gilford, or Robert (a set of brothers in the high school) asking if Paul would like some fish. The salmon (pinks and chum) are running right now. As you can see this has been and will be the large portion of our meat consumption for quite awhile.

Hopefully we will have more to share soon. On Thursday the school is having an Inupiaq Day (pronunciation: in-you-PACK). The kids will be berry picking and fishing. Friday they hope to cook the fish and have a community dinner at the school.


  1. Hey! Love the pictures of you three. Also am thrilled to see pictures of the students. Pictures of the guys who bring you fish?

    It's really good to get an overview of terrain --beautiful territory! Of course, I miss you like crazy, but this is a good way to keep up with your weekly life.

  2. Well they say three servings of salmon a week is ideal. An impossibly pricey ideal for those of who don't get it delivered to our door :-) I love the 'Alaska Tough' picture. Stay tough.

  3. Love the pics! Beautiful countryside and you can guess what Uncle Don is going to say about the fishing. Be forewarned, I "bookmarked" your blog for Aunt Carolyn so that she can keep in touch (she doesn't do FB). When you figure out great ways to cook salmon, let me know -- I get into a rut and could use some new fun ways.
    Love to all of you!

  4. Eloise looks so much older already! Libby asked if she could talk yet. I am blown away by the amazing life experiences you are having. Love you all so much.