Showing posts from October, 2016

The squirrel wars

After a fractious week trying to rebuild the roof on our old cabin, there’s no better balm for marital relationships than a common enemy. We have one. The squirrels. Despite our best efforts to pin chicken wire into the eaves of the old cabin, they have got in already and begun to scatter our fibreglass insulation into the snow. Our squirrels are not the galumphing grey type that you see in London. They are smaller and soft amber brown, with tufty ears and tails that look like they’ve been sketched by a cartoonist in a few pencil strokes. They are also the most aggressive, noisy and bothersome creatures I have encountered here. They chant abuse nonstop at each other like little football hooligans.  Squirrels causing trouble at the football They get so livid, they wheeze asthmatically between each scream, desperate to suck in enough air to keep up the fight. In the warmer months, they will be up before us squeaking furiously, carry on all day, and still be at it when we go

A bucket full of lemmings and Homer’s disgrace

(Lou, Yukon) The most important events of the last week involve neither lemmings nor our dog. The river has begun to run with ice, temps dropped to -16C and we had our first meagre fall of snowflakes. Winter.  We woke one morning to a flotilla of ice chunks riding the river. Over the past week this has become a steady flow of ice pans spinning and slushing against each other, thick enough now that if you were quick and suicidal you might make a dash from one bank to the other, leaping across them like lily pads. The beginnings of the ice shelf has filled our eddy and lines the river bank and our creek swirls through a series of frozen falls. A difficult, arduous and pointless job For the last week or so we have been swearing, screaming and arguing viciously under the pretext of re-roofing the old cabin.  Things all started amicably enough. We had to rebuild one section of the roof in order to fit a woodstove and make a chimney hole for a recent guest as the cab

Isolation. Our toughest boat journey so far

Temperatures are down to -12C at night and below zero during the day. The creek is freezing over and ice is beginning to form at the river bank.  With our boat now out of the river, we are cut off from the world maybe until next year. We can’t travel again until the Yukon is frozen and we’ve managed to get a trail either 60 miles south to Dawson or 30 miles north to the old mining road. Until then we are in splendid isolation.  Moose receipts and laundry- all the glamour of our last trip to town And so we made our final boat journeys last week. We did our last supply run to Dawson for this year and, for once, got to town on a weekday that wasn’t a public holiday so all the shops were open! A cause for celebration though we had no time to.  Days are getting shorter and with at least 4 hours of driving once we got out of the boat it was a race against time to get everything done. We were on the river at first light around 8am- it was bastard cold still, at 12 below. We hunker


(Lou, Yukon) We’ve spent most of the last week in a state I can only describe as being moose-bombed. Anyone who hunts will tell you that pulling the trigger is the easy part. It’s a lot of work and I think we both wondered at points whether it was too much. But as I reminded Neil in my usual sympathetic style- “It is fucking disgusting to destroy this magnificent creature and then whinge and bitch about having to deal with it.” (In fairness, Neil had to do most of the lifting.)  But we managed it and, after about 3 days of work, we are toasting our beautiful bull as we tuck into tenderloin, Moroccan moose stew, dill and beetroot moose stew (and so it will go on all winter...) Last Saturday, a friend from Dawson stopped by in his boat after an unsuccessful hunting trip down river.  “Show us your moose calling then,” he asked. A bit shame-faced we gave it a go-  “Nah, needs to be more nasal. Shorter. With an ‘eaarlgh’ sound at the end.” So we all practised bellowing and snort