Tag Archives: environment

Cranberries

With Thanksgiving coming up, you could have really fresh cranberry sauce if you lived here. There are lots of them!

But … they are just millimetres above the ground, so picking them is not easy, especially if your back is touchy.

I tasted one, and they are very tart, the way they should taste, and also very crisp, and just … very intensely cranberry.

I think I’ll leave these for the bears and bison, though.

Happy Tuesday. 🙂

A Yellow Wood

This photo reminded me of Robert Frost’s most famous poem:

The Road not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I hope you are enjoying your path. 🙂

Wild Rose Hips

If you like rose hip jelly …

… a trip to the north might be on your agenda. We truly have a bumper crop. They are quite large – bigger than cultivated blueberries – and plentiful. They pack high levels of vitamins C and D as well as a substance that fights inflammation.

I’m not sure what this means. A longer winter? We had a long one last year, even by the north’s standards. So, if that’s the case …

… maybe we should just leave them to the bears. We humans have enough.

Happy Monday. Have a good week. 🙂

It’s Getting Cold? … Isn’t It?

Well, maybe. It seems that everyone to the south of us is experiencing some interesting cold weather with large dumps of snow.

We have had some snow, but by Halloween it had mostly disappeared and temperatures were above 0°C. We are getting some snow today, but it’s still fairly warm out. Very strange for this area, but the elders do say that generally, the northern weather is a lot warmer than it used to be. For this year, they also predict a severe winter based on their observations of the behaviour of the animals. I posted about that earlier this autumn. So far, though, that doesn’t seem to be case.

A frozen lake photo from last year.

Yath is the Chipewyan word for snow. Chipewyan is one of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories – French, English and nine indigenous languages. There are lots of yath-related words and compound words. The quality and quantity of the yath is very important to the animals and their survival, and hence to the health of the land. Because of that, lots of yath vocabulary came into being.

I never thought that I would think so much about yath. But I do now.

New yath. (Yup, that’s a small joke. Really small, I know … )

As I already stated, yath is extremely important up here. An entire ecosystem has evolved with it, and many species depend on it for their survival, both animals and plants. It is a seminal part of the culture of the indigenous peoples. But it’s not as healthy as it has been.

The amount of yath that falls is erratic and unpredictable; it starts late, it starts early; it’s too cold at the wrong time, it’s too warm at the wrong time. And that seems to be the case farther south, too.

This exhausts the animals and plants, can damage their health or even kill them outright. A bear that wakes up too early will have nothing to eat, may try to beg from humans, and … a fed bear is a dead bear. A fast thaw can cause flooding followed by drought.

We all need healthy yath. Cold when it’s supposed to be cold, melting when it’s supposed to be melting. Crispy and squeaky in -40°C, soft and sticky in -1°C.

It looks so hardy and tough, but it is actually a sort of delicate white carpet that stains easily, so the next time you’re treated to some yath, I encourage you to try to appreciate its intricacy and necessity, even if you hate what comes with it and the chores it brings.

Greetings from yath central. 🙂

A Rain Forest

Vancouver Island is home to very old, very sodden rain forests.

Many of the Douglas firs in this forest are 800 years old. They were little trees in 1219, when St Francis of Assisi was founding the Franciscans and Genghis Khan was a teenager.

It rains a lot here. A lot! As a result, the trees are covered in velvety moss fronds.

In areas where the sun gets through more easily, the moss is less prevalent.

These trees have seen a lot and are still standing and growing. It is our job to make sure that they can continue their life journey.

Greetings from the giant firs of Vancouver Island.