Sunday, September 29, 2013

What to do with a bear

I was none too impressed when my husband shot a bear this fall and hauled home all the meat.  Bear meat is not something I have ever enjoyed the taste of, but Matt really wanted to try smoking a bear ham. 

I hit up google, found a recipe for smoking black bear ham, and thought what the hell.  Worst case is we don't like it and he never gets to shoot a bear again.

The hind quarter sat in brine for ten days and then I smoked it up in my Bradley Smoker.  At the end of smoking it, I did put it into a pan and cooked it in the oven.  I wanted to make sure I had the internal temperature right up to 180F to make sure the meat was thoroughly cooked.

End result?  Oh my god.  It is amazing!  It really does taste like a ham.  The outside got really black and crispy and I could not stop eating little bits as I carved it up.

I carved up the entire quarter and vacuum sealed them in lunch sized portions.  We have been having sliced bear in sandwiches!  With a bit of mustard and cheese on homemade bread?  To die for.  And tonight I took all the little bits of meat along with the drippings from the oven pan, with onions, carrots, celery, chicken stock, a small bit of brown sugar and salt and then a bunch of beans (one of those bags of 12 types of beans) and I made a great soup!  The kids even ate it.  Hunter declared it his third favorite soup!

We have the other hind quarter in the freezer, but will take it out this week to start the process all over again.  And I do believe a black bear tag will be purchased again next fall.

At this point I was not happy about putting a hunk of bear into my smoker.

But after slicing a bit off, I was a changed woman!

Soup bits on the left, sandwich slices on the right.

All ready for smoked bear sandwiches!

Bear and bean soup!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Decade North Of 60

This month not only marks our ten year wedding anniversary, it is also our ten year mark of northern living!  We have now lived a full decade north of sixty.

Our first two years were spent living in cheap crappy rental units in Hay River, NWT (pop. 3500).  Matt was working shift work at the hospital there and I was working a number of jobs.  I worked casual at a young offenders facility, did some subbing at the schools, and then got on permanent at the college teaching upgrading.  We lived bare bones so we could pay off our massive amount of student loans (100k paid off in three years!), but we always found a few bucks to go and have beer and wings with our friends once a week.  Ahhh.... the child free years- staying up late, drinking homemade wine a friend made, late night bonfires at the lake....  Yep, those were some awesome years.

Then I drug my husband further north.  Matt is from Cape Breton while I am from northern BC.  Poor guy really had no where he was being taken.  Matt landed a job at the nursing station in the fly in only community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut (pop. 1600) and we bought a nice little house (sight unseen).  I got my dream job of being the Adult Educator/Coordinator for the community college.  We lived there for nearly three years, made great friends, worked our butts off, and then I got pregnant and had Hunter.  Once I had Hunter, I realized I wanted to be closer to family (as in have road access) and we were also pretty burned out from our jobs.  Time for change, but I knew I couldn't leave the north.

Onwards (and southwards) we came to the Yukon.  We have now been living in Faro, Yukon (pop. 375) for five and a half years.  Matt works at the nursing station and I have been a stay at home parent all this time.  This place definitely feels like home and I cannot picture us leaving.  We love our home, the community, the school, and how accessible outdoor activities are.  While all of the territories have unique aspects, the Yukon is my favorite.  We like to call it "The Easy North."  I am happy we have found a place where we are able to put down roots.

Across all the places we have lived, we have always been active in volunteerism.  Both Matt and I believe it is important to help out in the community you call home.  I am thankful that I do not have to have a job outside of the house now and that I can give more of my time to my community.

I hope our next decade is spent right here, watching our kids grow up in this safe community where they are free to roam and just be kids. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why I am having this surgery...

I really don't need to write anything as I think this picture says it all:


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Garden: The End

I am pretty excited that fall is here.  It is time to squirrel away all the lovely produce from my garden and from the bush too. 

I have canned all of my beets, green tomatoes have been turned into chow (a type of relish) and minced meat (for tarts at Christmas), 32lbs of potatoes are stashed in a cool room, and 10lbs of carrots are sitting in the fridge just ready for snacking.

There are six cups of low bush cranberries in my freezer for baking and all the high bush cranberries I picked have been turned into jelly.  I bought 10lbs of farm grown carrots and sliced them for my freezer too- yummy for soups and stews!  I think I am going to buy 10lbs of carrots and shred them for baking and freeze them too.

My raised bed garden is not very large, but it is definitely producing a lot!  I am learning more each year and I am already planning what I am growing for next year. 

Beets just out of the pressure canner.  The bottom fell off of one jar, so I had a lot of sticky cleaning to do.

Lots of green tomatoes from my three plants.

Green tomato chow.

Green tomato minced meat.

Testicle 'Tatoe!

The last items to come out of the garden- carrots and potatoes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Four Year Olds Talk Bullsh*t

If you are the owner of a four year old, you will know that they talk total bullsh*t all the time.  All the time.  They live in their own little crazy world and entertain those around them with wild tales.

This week Cavan has told some mighty impressive tales:

- apparently dinosaurs are still alive, but they live under the ground.  They moved underground when the asteroid hit earth.  When there is enough meat back on earth, they will come back up to eat.

- people are not made of meat, so dinosaurs will not eat us.  People are made of circles.  Not like Transformers who are made of squares and rectangles.

- sometimes grizzly bears come in our house.  We should hide our favorite toys and crafts so the grizzly bears won't wreck them.

- carrots, when consumed straight from the garden, give kids super energy that makes them run very fast.

- if we leave the water in the bathtub overnight, in the morning and there will be whales in the tub.

Those are just a few of the tales from this week.  Good thing he is entertaining, because he is also at the height of his whiny-ness and I have come pretty darn close to setting him free in the bush to be raised by wolves. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Decade Of Wedded (Bliss) Entertainment

Today Matt and I have been married for an entire decade.  A decade!  And we have known each now for thirteen years.  Incredible.

It has definitely not been a decade of bliss.  Entertainment better sums up it all up.  My husband entertains me with his (sarcastic) witty ways every day.  Sure, I want to throw him out the door and lock it when he continually leaves the peanut butter covered knife on the edge of sink or when he wears his knee high socks with shorts and sandals.  But I know I have a good guy and I really don't want to start fresh training some other man on the right way to do laundry or load the dishwasher. 

We have been together through living in three territories, buying two houses, having two kids and a few different jobs.  Our relationship has survived things other peoples haven't such as: house renovations, visits from in-laws, building 1000 piece lego sets, long drives with children, explosive baby diarrhea, and vomit from the tops of bunkbeds.

His constant state of mellow perfectly matches my constant state of high-strungness.  I am like a squirrel on speed whereas he is more like a black bear during hibernation.  A very nice balance indeed.

Life is grand and I look forward to the next ten.  Maybe even longer if he ever learns to put the peanut butter knife in the damn dishwasher. 

I love you, Matthew! 

Wedding dress doesn't fit so well anymore!  I am about 100lbs lighter than I was when I got married.

Just a bit of excess at the back!

I could fit an entire person in here with me. 

10 years ago I promised to put him down quickly if he ever got bitten by a zombie. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sit Ups and Going Nowhere

I have been putting a heap of effort into my exercise regime, combined with strictly tracking my eating.  And I am going nowhere fast!

These stalls drive me bonkers.  How can I be burning 400 calories at the gym each morning, walking a few km a day, eating 1200 calories a day, and have the scale just laugh at me?!  BLARG!

It is especially frustrating since I really want to be around 180lbs before my skin removal surgery and I am sitting at 192 and holding.  My surgery is exactly two months from today!

While the scale frustrates the shit out of me, my progress at the gym is making me mighty happy!  Today in my ab challenge workout I was able to do 60 situps with a 4lb medicine ball, 75 crunches, 30 leg lifts, and a 50 sec plank.  I never thought I could even do 10 situps in a row and now I am working my way up to 120.  Using the rowing machine I can now cover 2km in nearly 10 minutes.  Each time I use the rower I am determined to get my 2km in in under 10 minutes.  Almost there!  I sweat buckets using a couple of the torture devices for 30 minutes there every morning.  The bow flex step climber and I are best buddies now.

So I know I am getting healthier, but the results just aren't on the scale.

They aren't in the measurements much either.  My entire body seems to just be holding steady!  But going back to when I was 320lbs, there is a lot of change!

My hips used to measure 64".  And now they are 47"!  I wonder what that measurement will look like after surgery?

So I will just keep on plodding along and hope to see some results soon!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Garden: The Harvest Is Starting!

What a fantastic year for my garden!  Year two was definitely a success and the only thing missing was a greenhouse.  I will continue to dream for another year while we work on making room in our yard for one.

We have already pulled around 25lbs of potatoes out and they are so delicious.  I will wait another couple of weeks and will dig up what is left and stash them away for us to enjoy for the fall.  I doubt they will last long into the winter.

There are 19 one-cup bags of peas in the freezer and the pea plants have been pulled and put in my new compost pile.  The bean plants have been growing and we have had probably 6 or so feeds off of them.  I covered them up on our few frosty nights, but it wasn't enough to save them.  They got nipped by the frost, but are still growing beans and we hope to have a few more suppers with them on the side.  I dehydrated more swiss chard and then pulled the stalks and threw them to the compost pile too.  I have five large ziplocks of dried swiss chard to add to soups this winter.

The outside tomato plants have large green tomatoes that I will can into a green tomato relish this week with a recipe from my mother-in-law.  It is pretty delicious!

My carrots are small this year and are continually raided by my kids and most of the neighbourhood kids too.  I am hoping to freeze some of them, but I doubt they will make it that far.  The beets look fantastic and I will be canning them this week.  That is always a fun purple mess!

My cherry tomato plant now lives indoors along with most of my pepper plants.  I am eating little tomatoes as they ripen and perhaps in another couple of weeks I will have some peppers to enjoy!

Cherry tomato goodness!

Lots of peppers!

mmmm  Beets!

Wee carrots!

Super beans!

Purple potatoes under the dirt.

Yukon gold under here somewhere.

Green tomatoes for canning! 


Big weekend for the Tooth Fairy at the Went home.  Hunter's two front teeth have been wiggly and yesterday I yoinked both of them out!  He looks hilarious with the huge gap in his face and the lisp he has now because of it cracks me right up.

One out!

Two out!