Vic & Ann, salmon bycatch, gardening & more


By Victoria Briggs

Pilot Point/Ugashik has had enough blowing snow and wind the last ten days-to-two weeks for us to think it was mid-January.  It’s been a winter of prolonged cold spells but precious little snow. Global warming at its best, from what I understand.

I am doing this in a hurry, so, if it is not complete, I apologize.  I will double-check before doing the next update.  Unexpected plans (see below) are keeping me hopping.


Mt Redoubt is wreaking havoc with mail deliveries, so do not be alarmed if your boxes are not listed.

1 box from B Family
Anchorage, AK

1 box from C T
Sterling, AK

1 box from E D
Wasilla, AK

Ms You Know Who – thanks for the hair dryer – it is already at work:-)

3 boxes from LG

1 box from Linda (my helper was writing, so not sure if the last name is missed or she couldn’t read it)
Willoughby, OH

5 boxes from TT
Juneau, AK

Thank you all so much and we really do appreciate the variety you continue to come up with. We are good at this point on beans, sugar, flour (I believe I got everyone stocked up well for a bit on these basics), and powered milk

Although we are low on supplies, I am trying not to panic, because I feel the lack of mail shipments is due to the volcano interrupting flights into the state.

Doing this each week, I (and sometimes my 4-year old ‘helper’) unpack and make up bags to distribute so we usually have a start on the next ‘bag’. This helps us give our families a balanced bag most times with a little from all food groups.

Spring may be the hardest time as we are still many weeks away from fresh game and fish or the chance to return to spring/summer jobs.

Two families were added to our list this past week, one returning from some time away due to health issues, and another finding themselves in a place they never imagined!

We have received the goodies for our toddler needing additional formula and for our lady with the yogurt/dairy need. Thanks so much from both of those families for keeping them and their needs in your thoughts.

I contacted the Alaska Food Bank and am attempting to track down some shipments of food to a local Native Association that the state sent out. No luck so far, but I will let you know when I find them.

OVERALL, please know we are ever so thankful that you continue to support us and keep us in your thoughts. The words of encouragement and ‘extras’ you are sending are helping ever so much!!!

Our kids have pen pals in Hawaii!

Our kids are corresponding with the 2nd grade class in Hawaii via letters and art. Wish I could send kid photos, but we have a bunch that are camera shy :-)

Hopefully, I will get some of the art work to share in the future with you.  Our kids are thrilled having ‘pen pals’ with whom they really have so much in common: fish, different weather than most of the US, different things to eat, ‘island’ life, Native culture, etc.

Salmon bycatch update

Yesterday, Ann and I were invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage this week to testify directly to them on the Chinook Salmon By-Catch issue.

With travel being so expensive, over $1000 for us to just get to Anchorage, it was not within our individual means to go, and we did not feel we could ask for help again.

A group we have been working with offered to pay our way, which came VERY unexpectedly, and we are thrilled.  After some discussion between Ann and me, and considering her ongoing “bug”, it was decided I would make this trip alone. I am in touch with Ann and all those in her village who have helped us so far, and I will attempt to present their side of the issues as best I can.

IF I remember correctly, I will be allowed 3 minutes of testimony, amongst days of others doing the same thing. We expect to hear, mostly, from large corporations and some other groups.  Few individual speakers directly impacted by the bycatch limits are expected to address the council, so the hope is they will take that into account.

I will spend the next couple of days jotting notes on ‘talking points’ and getting ready to head out Thursday.  I will probably testify on Friday or Saturday and return Sunday.

The final bycatch decision is expected by the time the meeting adjourns the middle of next week.

Editor’s note: We wrote about the pollock bycatch cap in a previous post and asked you to leave comments asking NPFMC to set a 32,500 cap on salmon bycatch. You left a total of 43 comments and they were delivered to NPFMC before the March 25 deadline.

Victoria will now be there in person to present our comments and speak to the Council. Our comments from the lower 48 and as far away as Germany will let them know it’s not just rural Alaskans waiting for them to do the right thing.

In other news…

window-plants-kitchen-windowIn the Bristol Bay/Alaska Peninsula area, where Pilot Point and Ugashik are located, we have two different meetings this week.  The first one is in preparation for a meeting later in the year that deals with fishing regulations for our area.  A second meeting this week deals with the lack of a subsistence level of moose. These will keep a number of us busy for a few days.

I continue to work on the gardening updates so keep checking in on our ‘gardening journal’ page. We are putting a plan together for the kids to start seed before they leave school in May and planning how we will get the garden under way when life gets ever so busy for all of us due to fishing.

I am going to have to end for now as there is much to do before I leave for the meeting but know that Ann and I are ‘talking’ and our team of ‘helpers’ are keeping us sane with all of their support.

There are not enough or the right words to express all we both feel, and the villagers you are touching, with this show of support!!

8 Responses to “Vic & Ann, salmon bycatch, gardening & more”

  1. E. D. Says:

    Please ask M for me how long the formula will last. Ready to put together some more boxes, I can include more food items if formula is not needed. My Gosh that stuffs spendy even here! I can’t imagine what it costs out there! Toddler is my little buddy now, and will have what he needs.

  2. the problem child (an aunt, also) Says:

    So glad the yogurt stuff shipments finally arrived! Give the yogurt lady a hug for me next time you see her.

  3. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    @ E.D.

    I went through that infant formula issue when I sent a bunch to Ann in the first place. Are you buying Sam’s Club Generic brand? It’s about half the price, 1lb bigger container, and rates the same nutrition as Simalac. Shows comparison on the box itself and I had a Dad walking by with his infant confirm.

    Ann said the babies in the Villages adapt easily because they never know when/what they can buy.

  4. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Victoria, just thought. What if Ann wrote/emailed you her thoughts to be presented to the conference?

    Given the explanation of her illness, perhaps they would alot ANOTHER 3minutes time for reading by you or someone. That way you can get 6minutes worth of comments instead of having to rush.

  5. alaskantiger Says:

    Victoria, let me know if you don’t have a place to stay in Anchorage. My futon is still open to you.

  6. E. D. Says:

    Ty for the info ScrappyKath! It was over $60 for two containers. I will definitely look for other brands with equal nutritional value.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    I haven’t forgotten you about the root cellars idea. I talked to my supervisor at Whatcom county Master Food Preservers. It turns out she has been asked to give a presentation on root cellars for another Washington county. So we are going to work together to get some more ideas.

    Meanwhile she gave me a wonderful one: take an old refrigerator, remove the freon, make a couple of holes for ventilation (back them with screening to keep the critters out), bury the refrigerator on its back, cover with light weight material so you can get to the door to open it. And there you have a root cellar. All it takes is getting some worn out refrigerators. I don’t know how hard that would be for you.

    Since you just got fresh yogurt, do you know how to make more yogurt with powdered milk? If not, I’d be happy to share with you.


  8. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Good News!!!

    Pebble Fund announces $1 million in grants
    The Alaska Community Foundation announced its first round of grants from the Pebble Partnership-endowed Pebble Fund. The endowment is expected to provide $5 million total in competitive grants over the next few years. The next round of awards is in the fall.

    Ugashik Traditional Village: Greenhouse Project
    This grant is for purchase and shipping of a greenhouse, construction costs and miscellaneous supplies required to start growing fresh produce.

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