Sunday, November 15, 2009

Landing Strips, Fish Fries, and a Moose Hair Tufts.

Oh, Hay River, how do I love thee.

Let me count the ways….

I love thee on cold weeknights in a winter wonderland.

I love thee keeping company in a Woodshed.

I love thee with Thursday Wine.

I love thee in a DC-3 loading cargo.

I love thee frying fish, though you deny me the chance.

I love thee collecting willows.

I love thee with raisins and curry.

I love thee at the disco-bowl.

I love thee, I love thee, I love thee.

…I love thee keeping company in a Woodshed.

The Woodshed is the local diamond in the rough. It is a garden centre, a coffee shop, a home decorating and book store all rolled into one. It’s actually open at night…and the coffee isn’t half bad, either. Thursday night we met up with our friends Adam and Shannon at the Woodshed and had tea and biscotti. It felt like a small dose of my real life. It may become my go-to place when I need some comfort, since I can’t buy Safeway’s Hermit’s cookies here. Hermit’s cookies, the big fat fluffy raisin and walnutty cookies you can only get at safeway in the bakery section, became my chicken noodle soup of comfort food when I was missing Winnipeg while living in BC. They were the cookies my memère always kept (and still keeps!) in her cookie jar. Since there is no safeway here, alack! No Hermit’s cookies. Woodshed, here I come.

… I love thee with Thursday Wine.

This week I added a new rule to Thursday wine night. I noticed myself being strangely overwhelmed at the decision of which wine to buy…because I’m not allowed to just buy ones I know I like. I’m having to venture into a whole other realm of wine buying – not having a clue about what I’m about to purchase. So…the new rule, to help narrow down the shelves I have to choose from, introduces a country rotation. It just so happens that the last 4 weeks I have been here, I have bought wine from all different countries. First, Canadian, then Chile, then Argentina, then Italy. Germany is up next. But this week, I got the chance to do a bit of a comparison exercise, which is helping me understand taste a bit more. I bought an Italian wine this week: Colle Secco, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. As the name suggests, it is dry as a bone. I would never have bought this particular wine if it weren’t for my rules, mostly because I would never normally buy Italian, and then a dry wine at that. But I’m glad I did. I didn’t like it at first, but I think it must need to breathe a bit, because I accidentally left it to breathe in my glass for a good hour before I got back to it, and it was an entirely different wine. Then the next night my friend came to our dinner party with a bottle of a dry French wine, and I did a little side-by-side sampling to see if I could taste the differences and write them out. The dry French wine was Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and it was genious. I immediately loved it – dry, but not as dry as the Italian. Smooth, full bodied, but mild. I highly recommend it, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons.

…I love thee in a DC-3 loading cargo.

I accompanied my journalist friend édith to the teeny airport on Friday night as she interviewed some people from Buffalo airlines, the airline that will this week see itself in the world première of “ice pilot”. After the interview, we went out to the landing strip and up into one of the planes, a very army-looking stubby thing that seats 12 plus a bunch of cargo. I had to be hoisted up into it…a ladder would have been a luxury. The passengers in from Yellowknife had just disembarked, the stairs were already put away, and the staff was loading the plane up for a big cargo trip. We lent a hand. It was a good moment.

…I love thee frying fish, though you deny me the chance.

Have you ever wanted to know how to tuft moose hair? I have. Wanted to, that is. And I had the opportunity this past Saturday, but found no success. We went to a craft fair being held at the reserve (just across the river from town), in their beautiful treatment centre/lodge. All week I’d been looking forward to the event, as the posters promoting it around town promised a moose hair tufting demonstration and a 2$ fish lunch between noon and two. We got there at 1. There was no fish. And no tufting demo. They ran out of fish at noon, and everyone was starting to pack it up (and pack it in, let me begin) by the time we got there. Nonetheless, we still managed to get around to some tables, and I (of course) managed to cram some bannock down my gullet.

And oh, how I wished I could have bought you all a pair of moccasins from these ladies. If I could spare a couple hundred bucks each, I would, I swear. Beautiful beading, luscious furs, softened leathers…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the north!

…I love thee collecting willows.

Saturday night we planned to have a bunch of friends over for dinner. Well, it started with inviting a new friend for dinner (Diana, who I met in a store this week…when she snapped my picture and put me in the little section of the local newspaper that asks lame one-sentence answer questions. Turns out she’s from Vancouver). And then it somehow evolved into a whole thing with Meaghan and Adam and Shannon and Edith and Diana’s cousin David visiting from Vancouver. So…it was time to clean and to cozify our home a bit more. Saturday afternoon I went collecting willow and birch branches. I made a wreath, a lamp adornment, and a pickle jar full of wisps.

…I love thee with raisins and curry.

The above-mentioned dinner party was a great success. I made a massive pot of brown rice and another massive pot of curried vegetables. Meaghan made a delicious salad, Shannon made cinnamon buns, Edith brought wine, Diana brought chicken to add to the curry. It was delightful. Conversation was never at a loss, and we were very comfortable crammed into our tiny living room.

…I love thee at the disco-bowl.

Adam had the foresight to reserve a lane at the bowling alley so we had a place to move our gathering to after dinner. Yes, there is a bowling alley in Hay River. 6 lanes, to be exact. It’s in the basement, under one of the Chinese food restaurants. Sound ghetto? It was surprisingly un-ghetto! Very state of the art. How state of the art, you ask? So state of the art that Saturday night is disco bowl night. Spinning mirror-balls, techno music, and black lights that expose every piece of lint and dandruff. And…all new scoring computers. A really technologically relevant locale. We were impressed. The only thing that didn’t impress me was my score. Probably an all-time low…Karla and Gary, you’d be ashamed. But I made up for it by making Abbey proud – I was ridiculous.

And that brings us to now, Sunday night. Rosie and I just got home from dinner at Mary and Glen Davies’– the family that has already had us over for multiple dinners (starting with thanksgiving dinner the weekend we got here, before they even knew us… and gave us an incredible house-warming basket when we got our apartment). Mary sent us home with a tray full of pumpkin cheesecake. Lucky for Rosie, who has an ample supply of lactase naturally provided by her body.

Hay River:

I love thee, I love thee, I love thee.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

1 comment:

  1. More, more, more...I want to read more. Hey, what about US wines Jo? Have you tried Twin Fin: California 2006? Its yummy!