Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stinkweed, Bones, and a BABY!

Wow! I can't believe the first quarter ends tomorrow! I have officially written my first two IEPs and have the meetings tomorrow after school. I feel overwhelmed right now with a three year/annual, another annual, report cards, quarterly assessments, and stuff for my teaching in rural Alaska class to do but I know I will get it all done, I always do.

The puppies both left Thursday the 3rd with Meghan and Andy. When I called Alaska Airlines to make sure they could travel cargo from Dillingham to Philadelphia it was the last day of summer so when I called back to make the reservation they told me they could only fly them from Anchorage, cargo only goes out of Dillingham in the summer. I was a mess! I thought Piper had two new sisters for the rest of the year. Fortunately I have Meghan and Andy, my life savers! They were going to Anchorage that Thursday and offered to take them with. Everything fell perfectly into place. The airline said the puppies couldn't fly if it was over 85 degrees in Philadelphia when they were arriving. It's October, it won't be 85 in Philly! Well of course it was a high of 85 that day in Philly. Everyone's prayers came through and the temperature dropped. Meghan and Andy played carrier shuffle on their way to Anchorage trading mine with the vet that did the health certs and then needing to buy a new one from the airline in Anchorage. Juneau is happily living out with my aunt near Lancaster PA and Denali is living with a girl named Bekah in Selinsgrove PA. Before they left Andy said to me "Now did we learn our lesson...Are we going to do this again?" Lets just say there will be no more puppies shipped to PA anytime soon.

The day after the puppies left Piper got very sick. She was vomiting, had diarrhea, wouldn't eat (Piper ALWAYS eats!), and was lethargic. She was just laying there, drooling and looking so sad. I was a mess. The worst feeling in the world was knowing I couldn't get to a vet. She even pooped herself in her sleep Saturday morning. I knew she ate some puppy poop but she had also found some weird plastic thing with staples in it she ate. I didn't know if it was a parasite, virus, or blockage. I withheld food and then eventually put her on a bland diet. Thank goodness Dr. Ross her vet sent us with enough metro for an episode of diarrhea a month. After a few days she was back to herself and she is now feeling much better. That was very scary and I hope we don't need to go through that again out here.

Onto some exciting news....Meghan and Andy were going to Anchorage to find out the sex of their BABY!!! She told me she was pregnant at inservice in August and now that she has announced the pregnancy and the sex of the baby I can too!! They're having a baby girl! I am so so happy for them and can't wait until the baby arrives. She is due in March so she'll leave the village in February to go stay in their house in Homer until the baby is born. Then they'll come back here to finish out the year. Being pregnant in rural Alaska is quite a project. She has to fly out to Anchorage for all of her doctor appointments every six weeks.
Ash and Piper announcing the baby! :)

Last week Andy took me out ptarmigan hunting. Yes, I went out hunting and carried a gun. We didn't see any but I got to go all the way out to the lake I'd been seeing from afar. It is bigger than I thought and was very pretty. I then got to practice my shooting skills and after many attempts I shot a tree! Well he told me I did anyway. He also took a few shots at it so I wonder if any of the hits we actually me but we can pretend they were.

Martha took me to the old Togiak site this week. Most of the people there starved one winter. The people were so weak and so many were dying they began closing houses with the dead instead of digging graves. Their bellies were full of smelts so they say smelts have no nutritional value. The people lived in sod houses so old village has disappeared. It was right on the edge of the sea so the ocean is naturally excavating the site. Martha told me people come down here to find artifacts to sell. Because the ocean is eroding it everyday something new is always exposed. She also said because there were so many that died and buried in their homes it isn't uncommon to find body parts. We found some pieces of an old pot and lots of animal bones. We could also see logs strategically placed, ash from fire pits, and some areas packed with dried grass. While we were looking I found a pointy tooth I assumed was a bear tooth. I carried it around while we looked and eventually showed Martha and her boyfriend to ask what kind of tooth they thought it was. It was at that moment we realized I was looking at the tooth wrong. The pointy part was the root. We turned it around and the actual tooth was a perfect match for a human top front tooth! I screamed and threw the tooth up into the grasses. I should have taken a picture but I was too grossed out. Now maybe it was a tooth to some other animal but it sure was the perfect shape and size to be human! After carrying around human remains we searched for stinkweed, a medicinal plant. People use it for aroma therapy in maqis, drink it as medicine, and put it on open sores. We picked a bunch and it is hanging upside down drying in my house. I don't think I'm brave enough to drink it but it does smell very good.

Old Togiak:

 Old Togiak is right next to the cannery
 Pieces of an old pot
 Something made of dried grass
 More bones
 Martha looking for things

Bear jaw

During our trip down to old Togiak we got to see maintenance from the school district plowing down part of the beach for the barge to arrive! Our houses got here Friday night. Maintenance broke all of the equipment getting the houses off the barge so they are just sitting down by the beach right now. They'll be back tomorrow to repair the machines and start dragging them all the way to the village! They'll be here soon!

Here are some pictures from our boat trip to Togiak a few weeks ago. It was tough to take a straight picture rocking in the boat so sorry they aren't the best!

Passing the cannery 
 Huge boat at the cannery 

Last chance to help support student activities at our school! Order Twin Hills School clothing apparel at Sale ends TOMORROW!!! Thank you to everyone who has already bought something! It is very much appreciated!

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