Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camp life 5

Kids and dogs and moose . Camp life was always busy during the day. first thing in the morning, after a breakfast of sour dough hotcakes and sliced caribou meat.... seared in a well seasoned cast iron skillet ... we would head out for chores. The air in the cabin had that suttle mixture of wood stove smoke, an oven that had 20 years of biscuits, bread and that little bit of roasted meat drippings that always seems to spill... and linger when you warmed it up. the boys had about 60 dogs in various stages of life from the pups that would tag along behind the small kids to the adults that could leap straight in the air about 5 feet to the old timers who always seemed to find their way inside or at least the inside the shop at night. The dogs were happy living in the groups that they teamed in . some were at the bottom of the hill and some were no more than 30 feet from the back door. the chores were were laid out in a kind of natural circle that made sense. head down the hill with a sled to get ice and a drum of water from the river, over to the net to check for fish, the net was under the ice in the winter, over to the dogs to cook them their meal and back up the hill for firewood and by then lunch. we timed the clothes washing and sled building and boat work for the afternoon when the generator was running. a natural rhythm for mind body and spirit. cut the sled runners, boat hull planks , plane ribs and sand with the power tools. steam the runners and tighten the clamps a little more each day until the hardwood scummed to the shape that would be its final calling of form and function. hand saws had to be constantly sharpened as well as power circular saw blades. no just running to the store as town was 20 miles away and depending on the season the route may be impassable. so you did lots of planning and thinking at night while laying in bed and listening to the dogs chat back and forth,growling yipping and howling. it was a music all of their own and you could tell what was going on outside. the generator was far enough away that the faint hum could be heard in the background . the noise was not overpowering but you knew if it was not running also.we counted on it to charge the bank of batteries that the CB and shortwave radio ran off at night. because of the " skip" we listened to Europe and Russia with no afternoon we were inside the cabin on a coffee break when we heard a growl and snap that was deep and usually meant that a wolverine or fox was looking for a napping dogs bowl of chow. then we heard tree limbs cracking and dog pots clanging and when my daughter looked out the back door she said a moose was stomping the dogs. this fella was bigger than an adult horse and his rack could kill a man. one of the boys put his book down and walked over to the door, picked up the rifle and walked out to the moose who was really trying to trample these dogs. he hollered at it and waived his arms and tried to shoo it away from the dogs and when it moved on him he dropped it about 5 feet from where he stood. the routine this afternoon would have to wait as we had moose to butcher and put up in the root cellar. well we will just do the afternoon chores tomorrow...

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