And the cold just won’t go away…. It’s now the end of January, which IS typically cold but it has been sub thirty below now for what seems like the whole month. It did warm up into the negative teens and Rachelle commented about how nice it was to be able to take off her mitts on the trapline without instantly freezing.
I love Alaska and I love winter but when it’s this cold outside, getting things down takes more effort and more time and that includes just getting ready to go outside. Once outside you find yourself in one of two situations. One, you have a packed snow that is as hard as concrete and slick as ice or two, a very fine powdery snow that is equally as difficult to walk through. While I have been shoveling snow from the driveway and around the house all winter in the hopes of minimizing the amount to water near the house come spring, I definitely couldn’t keep up with the snowfall. I should still be able to remove the snow from the area around the sides and back of the house which little traffic to compact it but the driveway area is solid and there to stay until breakup.
Speaking of the driveway, I walked out of the house recently and found myself staring at moose who had decided the willows in the driveway would make a nice late morning snack. I’d say we had a lengthy conversation but it was really just me talking and her standing there munching away and occasionally glancing my way. After about 15 minutes, she finally decided to head down the hill behind the house and I went about my day. A couple days later, I opened the front door and spotted a fox running down the driveway. While many may consider all the wildlife in the yard a nuisance, we see it as a blessing. The opportunity to witness so much beauty right from our front door, is one of the things we love about living here.
On the subject of wildlife, we have had a pretty successful couple of weeks on the trapline. We’ve bagged five rabbits already in spite of the temperatures. One of the fox sets has tracks all around it but it’s being extremely cautious. After skinning and processing the meat from the rabbits, we added a few leftover parts to the back of this fox set to help entice it into the trap. Hopefully, in our next posting we’ll be able to tell you that it worked.
As I mentioned, we skinned and processed four of the rabbits. The pelts are nice and full. We went ahead and put them in a bucket with our tanning solution. We have a total of eight hides in the solution and in the next couple of weeks should have enough ready so that Rachelle can start working on the mittens she’s been planning. You’ll have to make sure to come back to hear all about that project.
We did make a big pot of rabbit stew and shared it with Rachelle’s 88 year old uncle. He said he grew up eating rabbit but hadn’t had any in years so he was really excited about getting some now. We have shared much of the remaining rabbit with others as well. We strongly believe in sharing our bounty and believe it comes back many times over.
Rachelle got a chance to skin her first rabbit just in the last couple of days. She has watched me do it numerous times but with me out of town for work, she took it on and now has a nice pelt on the stretcher. She’s a fast learner and you wouldn’t be able to tell it was her first time skinning by looking at the hide. She did an amazing job on it and I couldn’t be more proud.
So next week is FINALLY supposed to warm back up with highs nearing zero and we are planning to get out and extend our trapline. We still have a number of traps and snares and with fox season closing at the end of February we need to get busy. Rachelle’s primary goal of the season was to catch her first fox and we’re running out of time to make that happen.
Since you are reading this, you obviously know we recently launched our website and blog but you might not know that we also launched our Roaming Alaska podcast. It took some time with the technical stuff but it’s live and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, so please subscribe to follow along on the adventure. You can also find out latest episodes on our website.