Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weekly Sales at the Northern

I haven't talked about food cost here in Baker Lake for a while, so I thought I'd show you what sale prices are like. I grabbed the Northern's flyer from last week and scanned it to show you what are considered "good deals."

I don't know if I've been here too long, but the prices don't actually shock me like they used to when I see the flyers - some of them are actually good deals compared to regular prices. Again, just because it's on sale, doesn't mean you shouldn't look at the expiration dates! (Click on each page to make it bigger.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Video: Baker Lake Weather

A co-worker of mine shot this great video from last Wednesday when the forecast called for a blizzard. Using a GoPro camera over the course of 45 hours, a picture was taken every 60 seconds totaling 2,752 shots. He then took those shots and made this amazing video that is under 2 minutes.

Now you can see what it looks like in Baker when winds regularly exceed 80 km/h and the temperature was around -40. (Lots of blowing snow but beautiful sunrise/sunset and a clear enough night to see the moon rise.)



Friday, January 25, 2013


I don't actually have a "real" post for you today. Truth be told, I'm feeling rather homesick this week so I don't have my writing hat on. Even though it's been 6 months, there are still days that it hits me hard and painfully, to know how far away we are from our friends and family.

On a brighter note, here's a random picture of Pepper - it's actually the first one we saw before we even met him, and it's the one that melted our hearts and put us on the road to becoming dog owners.


It's still pretty cold (-37 without wind chill right now), but it's been a nice week in terms of weather. Sunny and not too windy (aside from blizzard day on Wednesday). We're anxiously awaiting some parcels from Canada Post since we ordered boots and a parka for Pepper - poor thing gets cold just being near the front door, so there are days when he wears a little jacket inside the house if he's extra shiver-y. I feel the need to take him on walks to give him fresh air, so we're going to try suiting him up in winter clothes to see if he can handle it. I just wish it wasn't so crazy expensive to pay for shipping of tiny dog clothes, or else he'd have a lot more coming!

Every day is noticeably brighter and lighter for longer periods of time - when Jeff goes to work in the morning it's not pitch black like it used to be; the sky is actually starting to wake up! When we leave work at the end of the day it's not as dark anymore either, so you can still see outside a bit. It's definitely making a difference with just that small change, and we're not needing as much vitamin D to get us going in the mornings. Amazing what light can do for you! I can only imagine how much better we'll feel when it's 24 hours of daylight!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blizzard Wednesdays

Before I start, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who left comments with their support on our last post. It is humbling to know that we have people who know, and even those who don't know us, who appreciate our blog and like it just how it is. We have no intention of changing how we write and who we are, and it's nice to know that we are still loved for it. :) And that's all I'll say about the whole debacle!

Moving on, today is yet another blizzard day here in Baker Lake. Last Wednesday was a blizzard as well, so it's becoming a tradition! It is confusing because you hear the wind, see the snow blowing, but the sun is shining and the sky is almost doesn't feel right being home (not that I'm complaining, because I wouldn't want to drive in a blizzard). The airport is closed today as well, as no flights are coming or going, so Jeff gets to be home too - always a nice treat for us!
I don't know how to slow the shutter speed on my camera to show you, but there is more blowing snow than it looks like in the picture. Sometimes I just sit by the window and watch Mother Nature do her thing - there's a beauty to watching snow swirl around looking so innocent one moment and realizing that it can be completely blinding if you were out in it. At times it looks almost surreal and you feel like you're in a movie about the end of the world because it's so devoid of movement aside from wind and snow.

We heard that the weather is pretty chilly across the country, so keep warm! Maybe by us sharing that we're in -55 weather will make you feel a bit better. :)


Monday, January 21, 2013

A Response to Anonymous

We received a comment on the blog over the weekend that we would like to address since it's really been bothering us. We decided that instead of responding in the comments section, it was important to address it in its own post.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weather: Will It or Won't It?

The past few days have been a really strange tango of will-it-or-won't-it blizzard, which goes to show how quickly weather changes up here. It's frustrating because you don't know if you need to get up for work or not too, ha!

The blizzard warning came out on Tuesday night that Wednesday was going to be a blizzard, but when we woke up it wasn't bad outside at all. Jeff went to work, but the schools in town were closed in anticipation of the impending blizzard, so my office closed as well. Then we got the call just before lunch that schools and work was opening for the, off to work I went (much to the dismay of my puppy who was thoroughly enjoying a morning of intense snuggles).

By the time we left work, the wind was starting to pick up and the blowing snow was getting stronger. Jeff made it home just as the blizzard was starting up and went through all day yesterday and well past midnight when we went to bed. We had a nice day at home yesterday, and the puppy loved all the attenion he was getting! When we got up this morning, the wind had died down but again, the warnings were up and said the blizzard was going to die out around noon and then we'll have another one starting this evening.

Well, we've been at work all morning (after a harrowing experience of trying to get the car started. It still won't start and we had to arrange for rides and the taxi, etc.) and it looks pretty sunny and clear outside - so no blizzard this morning, even though the weather forecast still says it. Wondering if it will happen this evening...if it does, I just hope it waits until Jeff is safely home!

Blizzard days are fun once in a while, but it can really cut into productivity when the office keeps closing. Fortunately I can do some work from home, but I can see how people can get really antsy being stuck inside for days on end. We also have to be really careful about water consumption in case the blizzards last for a while and no trucks can get out (we've heard of people who haven't had water for a week because of weather, and we're terrified).

Ah, the joys of living in the north!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our New Addition

When we came up to Nunavut, it was just the two of us. It's always been just us, and we hadn't planned on growing our family just yet...
Showing off Auntie Jan's knitted gifts
However, the universe decided that it was time our family grew...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wind Chill Warnings

Did you know there are wind chill warnings once it gets past a certain temperature with the wind? I had no idea until I moved up here. It doesn't even seem like a real thing. We had our first warning last week when temperatures dipped below -55 for a couple of days with the wind chill.

For fun, I thought I'd share our weather forecast for today with you. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

If you're going about your daily business and feel cold, throw some sympathy our way up here - because it's *crazy* cold. (-60 and windy is a bad combination). Funnily enough, the girls and I went for a walk yesterday because it "wasn't that cold" at a balmy -45 or so. This coming from the girl who thought anything less than 25 degrees was "chilly" ... my how things change in just a few short months!

Stay warm, everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Working in Nunavut, Part 1: Making the Move

Update November 2013: You can read part 2 here.

Recently, I was asked to write for a blog community in my field about working in the Arctic. I started writing without a clear plan, and came up with an honest reflection of how I feel after working here for a few months. Here is what I came up with - apologies to everyone I already spammed with the article; I just really wanted to share it here as well. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chasing the Sun

I've mentioned before that the short hours of sunlight have really taken a toll on me and I feel like I'm chugging back the vitamin D all day, so I thought I'd show you what a typical day looks like here in Baker Lake.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Driving in Nunavut

Coming from a suburb in the Toronto area and moving to a hamlet of 1,800 people we weren't worried about driving and any differences we could encounter. After all, it's not like we're in Europe and driving on the wrong side of the road or anything drastic - how different could it be?

Well. It's not different, per se because you still have to follow general rules of the road (for the most part). But there are a lot of differences to note, and that we had to get used to pretty fast.

Edit: I stand corrected. There is a law in Nunavut that requires seatbelts and car seats for children. However, the law is not enforced here in Baker. 
  1. There is no enforcement of the law that requires you to wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle. 
  2. There is also no enforcement of the law that requires proper car seats for children in vehicles. (Things in the territory are starting to change, and Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, recently announced that it will enforce the law that makes it mandatory to wear seatbelts and have proper car seats installed in vehicles. Not sure when Baker Lake is going to follow suit, but I haven't heard talks of it even being mentioned here.)
  3. The speed limit in the hamlet is 30 km/h. The road to the airport is 70 km/h. (Most cars will follow these speeds.)
  4. It is socially acceptable to pass a recreational vehicle if they are moving slower than your truck, but not really acceptable to pass another truck. (It is never socially acceptable to tail someone closely to make them move faster.)
  5. ATVs/quads/Hondas and snowmobiles drive year-round on the road, on the side of the road and across the ice in the winter. 
  6. It is only a law to wear a helmet on recreational vehicles during the summer months. (This one I don't understand?)
  7. There doesn't seem to be a limit as to how many people you can fit on recreational vehicles. It is not uncommon to see a family with multiple children riding on a quad with 1 or 2 adults - no one wearing helmets or strapped's unnerving.
  8. There are no crosswalks or street lights (only stop signs), and people will jaywalk across any road at any given point in time. You have to be extra vigilant in case someone walks ahead of the car.
  9. Stop signs are only for roads going up/down towards the lake. Roads going left/right always have the right of way. (Before the stop signs were erected in the summer of 2012, this was just a known fact that everyone followed even though there were no markers.)
  10. "Parking lots" are not really enforced. If you can find a spot in front of the door of the Northern, you can park whatever you're driving right there, however, it is mainly for recreational vehicles.
So. Not extremely different, but different enough. Will we ever get used to 30 km/h or looking over and seeing a toddler sitting on a quad without a helmet? Probably not, but we're adjusting!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Ok. Now it's Cold.

When we first moved to Nunavut, we complained about how cold it was when the first snow started to appear in September/October. People just laughed at us, and that was generally followed by some form of "Just wait. Cold is coming." When the temperature consistently dipped below -20 (before the windchill), we asked, "is this cold yet?" and the answer was still no.

It's as though Mother Nature herself has a calendar that she follows because 2013 has seen a drop in temperature since it's rolled into town, a noticeable difference from the temperatures of last week, even. When your face aches walking from the car to your front door...I'd say that's cold. Finally, we had people agreeing, "It's cold out...but it will still get colder!" Not exactly what you want to hear!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back At It

After a couple weeks of holiday cheer, days off and over-indulgence in every sense of the word, things are back to normal today. Always such a sad thing to know the holidays are over, but we're looking forward to getting up and back to a schedule.