Saturday, July 16, 2011
It’s been fantastic being outdoors these last few days. The temps are in the 70’s and the sun has been shining most of the time (like 22 hours/day) . Al showed me how to carve bark right off the birch tree so I’m planning some new basket making strategies. Yesterday we sat by the lake and had our coffee watching beaver, otter and eagle compete in the latest episode of Nature's Got Talent. Entertainment at it’s finest!
It isn’t all paradise though. My head is full of huge lumps from mosquitoes. Alaska mosquitoes are often mistaken for bush planes and they go for the hair. A phrenologist would have a hay day with me.
I’ve also discovered there is something that grows in Alaska that parallels southern poison ivy. Maybe it’s southern poison ivy. I shouldn’t be surprised. If there are southern Baptists here, I should have suspected southern poison ivy (that is NOT a spiritual commentary).
The scars have only just faded from the unfortunate poison ivy experiment of 2007 (some of you will recall my shame). Now I have a new patch of ugly itchiness on my leg. I know it will be with me for a while, so I’m calling it my Northern Lights tattoo, if anyone asks.
When my two commercial itchy creams (and one is prescription) didn’t phase it, Al just shook his head, made a poultice by boiling some weed growing in my backyard (which has an Indian name that no one knows how to spell) and had me hold it on for a few minutes. The inflammation subsided almost immediately. Wow! I woke up in itchy restlessness at 4AM, reapplied the creams that didn’t work, waited a while, then dug through the garbage for the remnants of my plant poultice. I heated it and reapplied it, and it’s 5PM now and still no itching. Did I mention Wow??!!
I was relating this story to Al’s brother, Thomas, and telling him I was going to gather lots of that plant, when he casually remarked that the medicinal plant and the poison plant look almost identical. Sheesh! That MIGHT be useful information!
Today we spent at the river fishing. Fishing the old fashion way: baiting a hook, casting it out there in just the right spot, reeling her in at just the right speed and Voile! I landed a 30 lb. salmon! It was harder to bring in than I thought. For every turn of my reel, the fish swam farther away. I yelled out, “Is this reel broken or what?” Al and Thomas just laughed and I huffing and puffingly finally pulled it in. It took forever but it sure was beautiful.
I know I’ll be sore tomorrow (but not itchy).