21 de septiembre de 2023

Sept 21, 2023 https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/184326134

Musk Ox (Ovibos moschatus) are located in northwestern and eastern Alaska. Though once native to Alaska, they became extinct in the 1920s and were reintroduced in the 1930s where in less than 40 years the population went from 34 to 750. Today it is well over 4,000.
Musk ox are most similar to bison, I would say. They are large, up to 800 lbs, dark and wooly animals with two large horns that meet in the middle of their forehead, almost like a headband. Their soft underfur is called qiviut and when woven is very soft and very warm, most commonly made into what we call smoke rings (neck warmer), headbands and hats. Their fur is rare and very expensive, hats can range from $300 to $500, sweaters around $2,000.
Musk ox are a source of nutrition. I’ve only tried it in chili, which I think masked any chance at sampling flavor or consistency. I’ve been told that their meat is amazing, very rich and oily and flavorful. There is no open hunting season on them, hunters must enter a drawing to be selected to hunt them. Only a small group of hunters are chosen, and they have rigid restrictions, such as they can only hunt from herds located 80 miles outside of town or that you must only use a bow and arrow.

Musk ox are something our tourists and new residents are amazed by. They really are impressive creatures, however, they are not looked upon kindly by locals. In recent years they have taken up residency in city limits, on streets, next to buildings and in yards. Though seemingly docile, they are not friendly. They have killed many our residents’ dogs and charged their owners. Last year they killed their first human, a Trooper very dear to our community. There is an ongoing unofficial battle between residents and Alaska Department of Fish and Game that has no sign of resolution in the near future.

Work Cited

Dfg.webmaster@alaska.gov. (n.d.). Muskox species profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Muskox Species Profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game. https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=muskox.main

Publicado el 21 de septiembre de 2023 22:48 por amyfrances52 amyfrances52 | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de septiembre de 2023

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/183232793 Blackberries

The crowberry, Empetrum nigrum, is known in Western Alaska as the blackberry. It a very prominent evergreen shrub in Alaska but can also be found in Canada, some of the norther New England and Great Lakes states and the Pacific Coast of Northern California. It is a low-lying shrub that isn’t any more than 6 inches in height and grows in thick patches that can occur on in both forests and open tundra. Blackberries have a wide variety of uses, both nutritional and medicinal. For many mammals, such as species of birds, caribou and rodents, blackberries are an important staple in their diet. They are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Humans use them in jams, jellies, and pies, usually mixed with blueberries and/or cranberries. They are used medicinally for main internal problems such as digestion (diarrhea) or kidney health.
The crowberries aka blackberries that are pictured in my observation are located on the top of Anvil Mountain, on the outskirts of Nome, AK. I hiked up the mountain on a slightly windy and overcast day. This was my first-time hiking up the rather steep face of the mountain, it was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Sitting on the top of the mountain, looking over the land and sea I grew up on was very peaceful. Before making this observation and reading about blackberries, I didn’t know much about them. I do know they are one of the most abundant berries in our area and that people bake with them. I knew they were harvested in the fall time, after the first frost, just like cranberries. I’ve never had a taste for them, but my son does. I’ve mentioned in one of my other posts that one legend in this area is that when a member of the tribe passes away, their name goes to the next born and they take on his likeness. My ex-father-in-law passed away a couple of months before my son was born, so my son is his Eskimo namesake. The elder really loved blackberries, my son is obsessed with them.

Empetrum Nigrum, www.fs.usda.gov/database/feis/plants/shrub/empnig/all.html. Accessed 14 Sept. 2023.

Publicado el 14 de septiembre de 2023 19:27 por amyfrances52 amyfrances52 | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

9 de septiembre de 2023

September 8, 2023


Today I observed blueberries on the tundra near the airport in Nome, Alaska. Blueberries are found all through out Alaska, though there are different types found through out the state. The ones in our region are known as bog blueberries. Today was the first nice day we've had in what feels like months, everyone has been calling it the 3rd day of summer. Its sunny, clear skies, minimal wind and 39 degrees out but feels more like 50 degrees. You can see mountains in the distance covered in snow. As I mentioned earlier, its been nothing but rain and high winds for what feels like months, so it was nice to get out and enjoy the tundra. I came upon some late season blueberries. They were pretty soft and mushy, the insides were very dark when smooshed. Blueberries are picked here in Nome and used for many things. We use them for jams and jellies, pies, ice cream, or eat them with canned milk and sugar. There are many other deserts that blueberries are used for but the one that is by far the most famous is called blueberry delight. Its a desert with a graham cracker crust and layers of whip cream and cream cheese, blueberries and jello.

Publicado el 9 de septiembre de 2023 02:35 por amyfrances52 amyfrances52 | 1 observación | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario