Help Ugashik and Pilot Point

Spring 2009

Update No 3:

Please read this before sending items to Vic in Ugashik:

We are shutting down the food drive for the summer to Ugashik and Pilot.

Thanks for all your help and warm wishes this winter for the villagers of Ugashik and Pilot Point to help get them through the winter.

Spring and summer seasons bring fishing and work projects for just about anyone who can work.   We also get a huge influx of people into both villages and thus it would be a nightmare trying to keep the food drive organized and fair for all residents.

Thanks so much,

*   *   *

Background and discussion: The tale of two villages and one common struggle — Victoria explains events leading up to the crisis in Ugashik and Nunam Iqua — there’s more to it than a bad salmon run and an early winter.

February 11, 2009

After reading Victoria’s letter in the Tundra Drums, AnnS  contacted her with an offer to help Victoria set up a food drive in her region.

Here is Vic’s story:

I, too, read about the crisis in the YK Delta when it was just a letter to the newspaper and still gathering steam. My first thought was – “by the grace of God…!!”  Then I realized my village, and the village ‘next door’, Pilot Point, most likely had people in the same situation, or close to it.

A week before that, I found out that Pilot Point, a mere 7 miles from us,  had not gotten their winter propane due to an early freeze up.  This meant that they had no cooking fuel.  They had been out for over a month, and were being forced to pay over $400 for a 100 # bottle.  I could not imagine how these families were going to afford that.

I then started looking even closer to those in our own village and asked a few questions.  Sure enough, there seemed to be signs that I had not paid enough attention to. People’s pride wouldn’t allow their hardships to show. Both villages had people that were living with the same kinds of issues and hardships. As some discrete inquiries were made the stories came, one of a household who could use ‘some things’ and come to find out had NO food in the house and no idea when there would be some. Of an elder who was buying heating fuel a few gallons at a time as his check did not allow for more than that. How could I have missed this?

I thought, “We have to get the state to look at these issues both in the short term and the long term!”.  This was the second year in a row that Pilot Point had been forced to fly in fuel, making it very expensive. This year the difference came from our salmon run which was less than half the predicted forecast and causing one of the worst harvests ever remembered.  Scary part – we have a very low forecast, again, for this coming year. How were people going to make it? Ugashik, AK

So having all those emotions I wrote up a quick letter to the newspaper to say “Hey look around it isn’t just one area!”  A few days later I heard that the YK Delta was getting some relief, and I was happy. I was still thinking about how our region on the Alaska Peninsula would fare if this negative temperature cold snap continued. About that time I get a call from a reporter who wanted to publish my letter – which was a tough thing to agree to!  They needed my name on it and I did not want attention to come to me, but to the issues.

As the reporter asked more details and we talked, I realized that the pride and determination of my neighbors, as in the YK Delta, would not bring my region’s crisis to the attention of anyone without some one speaking up!  I wanted this discussion to reach further into the future and make us ALL look harder at HOW we can help ourselves. My permission was given with all this in mind.

WOW – the letter got published and AnnS of Nunam Iqua sent an email offering help.  Then I received more calls.  Off and rolling we are, and now we are trying to make sure we can address the needs of the communities. We are working with Pilot Point Tribal Council for the effort as they have a bigger need and we can coordinate with them so much easier.

I really had no idea I would join this effort. Given that we have, I am hoping that we can open the door for people to better understand the issues that we, in Western Alaska, face on a day to day basis. I hope that people will see that we are stubborn, but hard working. We are a soft-hearted group of people that pull together to help each other.  With some additional help we can ultimately solve these issues long term. It is not an easy discussion to hold!

*   *   *

Update No 1:

One of the quickest and easiest ways to help is to pick up a FREE flat rate priority mail box at the post office, fill it with items from the list below (remove extra packaging to fit more in the box), use Ziplok bags and other useful items as packing material.  Please note that Vic’s list below differs somewhat from the Nunam Iqua list.

There are no resident babies under 1 yr old.  We have more elders in our villages so our list is a little different:

powdered milk
powdered eggs
toilet paper
pasta- all kinds
dried fruit
canned fruit and veggies
split peas
brown sugar
Bisquick/Krusteaz mix
tomato paste

Also we are low on meat, but do have fish – so anything of the canned meat is great – corned beef hash, Spam, etc.

Thank you ALL so much. It is hard when there is no store in either of our villages and the costs are so high to bring things in. The wait can be from a few days, for ‘local’ to 4-6 weeks, cheaper, for grocery orders to arrive. Families are hard pressed to guess and then stretch things to make it.

Thanks again,

*   *   *

Update No 2:

February 18, 2009

Victoria  reports receiving the first boxes of food, over 100 pounds!  She has delivered it to the neediest of families.

“We had not said too much about what we were doing until the food started coming. No one expected the food and were overwhelmed and happy when we showed up with the bags.  I couldn’t take pictures – too many tears in everyone’s eyes because of this stuff:-)”

first-load-of-food-going-out-2-17-09Bags ready to be delivered to needy villagers


One of the quickest and easiest ways to help is to pick up a FREE flat rate priority mail box at the post office, fill it with items from the list below (remove extra packaging to fit more in the box), use Ziplok bags and other useful items as packing material.

Refer to Victoria’s list for Pilot Point and Ugashik, which varies from the Nunam Iqua list recommended by Ann.

There are no resident babies under 1 yr old.  We have more elders in our villages so our list is a little different:

Powdered milk
Powdered eggs
Toilet Paper
pasta- all kinds
dried fruit
canned fruit and veggies
Also we are low on meat, but do have fish – so anything of the canned meat is great – corned beef hash, Spam, etc.
split peas
brown sugar
tomato paste
I think that is a good start.

Thank you ALL so much. It is hard when there is no store in either of our villages and the costs are so high to bring things in. The wait can be from a few days, for ‘local’ to 4-6 weeks, cheaper, for grocery orders to arrive. Families are hard pressed to guess and then stretch things to make it.

Thanks again,

114 Responses to “Help Ugashik and Pilot Point”

  1. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Dear Ann and Victoria – I’m so glad that you have been in contact! We look forward to updates, and more stories of your lives from both of you. I have observed a huge change in Ann throughout her short time as Village Coordinator – her courage and confidence have grown tremendously and it’s a joy to behold!

    Victoria -stay warm, keep us posted, and I hope that you have good food on your table very soon! It’s great to meet you!

  2. Alaska Pi Δ Says:

    I am glad to see you here.
    Are we going to see a list of necessities folks are short on?

    I am proud of you stepping forward, neighbor. It cannot be easy.
    The voices of everyday Western Alaskans are necessary to forging long term solutions.

    It is too easy ,away from rural Alaska , to PRETEND folks who want to be there are somehow goofy. The pride and determination , hard work, and helpfulness of neighbors towards each other are the values ALL Alaskans like to claim but it’s in your neighborhood where folks really live it -everyday. We need those voices at the table. Thank you for coming.

  3. UGAVic Says:

    AK PI – thanks, you are so right. Moving from the East Coast – middle of that city they try and run our gov’t from:-) to the bush was so refreshing to me. People have time for each other, get to know each other and are there to help if they can in anyway.
    Today we ran to PIP (Pilot Point) and found out the city generation plant was down – brand new- and whom ever knew enough to be of a help were there helping. None of that – “it’s his job” stuff!
    Yes – Guess in getting things up we forgot to do that, put up a list.
    Here is at least a good start of one.
    (We do not have babies under 1 y/o, at this time, and more elders in our villages so our ‘list’ is a little different.)
    Basics –
    Powdered milk
    Powdered eggs
    Toilet Paper is ALWAYS good
    pasta- all kinds
    dried fruit
    canned fruit and veggies
    Also we are low on meat, but do have fish – so anything of the canned meat is great – corned beef hash, Spam, etc.
    split peas
    brown sugar
    tomato paste
    I think that is a good start.
    Thank you ALL so much. It is hard when there is no store in either of our villages and the costs are so high to bring things in. The wait can be from a few days, for ‘local’ to 4-6 weeks, cheaper, for grocery orders to arrive. Families are hard pressed to guess and then stretch things to make it.
    Thanks again,

  4. AnnΔ Says:

    I am really happy that you have found this blog.I hope that you will keep us informed about life in your village and the problems that you are confronting. When I get information _-sometimes I get ideas that are helpful. AnnA

  5. Alaska Pi Δ Says:

    Thank you for the list.

    A couple questions:
    1-Where in the world does one find dried eggs anymore? When I lived in the sticks we relied on dried eggs, powdered milk, and other drygoods as power was so shaky it could be out for a week or more regularly.
    It may be a Southeast Alaska thingy but I haven’t been able to find dried eggs…
    2-Does Span Alaska serve your communities? Is there a way to setup a Span “account” for Pilot Point like has been set up for Nunam Iqua? Or is it better for checks to go to tribal council as they have an already setup way of ordering needed bulk materials?

    This is the time of year I start mooning over seed catalogs and dreaming about what new tough, cold hardy lettuces and so on to try. It’s waaay too early to be thinking about that lil frozen patch of ground that is my garden in February but I do it every year anyway. I think, this year, postal one-rate boxes to fill with food are saving me from myself. Thank heavens!
    Best wishes neighbor.

  6. UGAVic Says:

    Alaska Pi-
    I get our powdered eggs via Amazon:-) Since if you spend $25 most times it is free – not to plug a supplied, but that has been the easiest for me. I have also picked them up in ‘sport/diet/special’ item section at a number of major grocery stores. I just ask someone who stocks in the back of the stores versus a cashier as I have found them to be a little more helpful. (egg whites – powdered, are good also – doesn’t have to be full eggs)
    Span AK does serve us, as does JB Bush in ANC (Anchorage). The Tribal Council uses either one so even checks to them can work. Ann is helping us get an actual ‘account’ set up with Span, so we should be good there within a few days.
    I TOTALLY understand the seed ‘mooning’. One of the hardest things for me when I moved here was not being able to grow a huge garden with all the great things you can get. We have GREAT SOIL – thanks to years of volcanoes, BUT have winds that rip things to death.
    This is part of a long term solution a few of us are working on, growing things in ‘tunnels’ and super cold frames to get around this.
    Greenhouses are another ability but can be expensive to do indidually so we will work up to this as a village. (A couple of us with some experience in this area were actually ‘dreaming’ yesterday of such a great thing when I was in Pilot Point (PIP) yesterday:-)
    Hope that helps,

  7. AnnΔ Says:

    Alaska Pi & Juneau Joe can you check out my comment on my page. I could use your help. Thanks.

  8. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    “This is part of a long term solution a few of us are working on, growing things in ‘tunnels’ and super cold frames to get around this.”

    Wouldn’t it be cool if the tunnels harnessed some wind power while growing your food? I know – easy for me to say! It’s interesting to hear you talk about how to get around the wind challenge. I have a girlfriend from the plains in North Dakota and she tells me that when you live there, your day to day activities are determined by the wind.

  9. ugavic Says:

    Martha Unalaska-
    “Wouldn’t it be cool if the tunnels harnessed some wind power while growing your food?”

    Actually we are working on that long term, but takes LOTS of money and some time.
    We are looking at the ‘tunnel’ method as it doesn’t take heat and can extend the length of the season and the variety of what we can do, pretty inexpensively and low tech wise.
    Pictures of our villages would look basically the same as Ann’s, I will get some post in a bit. Right now we are going through a good 30+ mph wind evening, unpredicted and have had 3, 70-100+ mph in last 3 months.
    Our snow is so dry at times that it either blows away, making travel hard, or is in such drifts that again it is hard to travel.
    I go either with my husband or alone if conditions are right between our two villages for various needs, clinic or to get fuel, but even that is dangerous as one tip over of the machine, which ours are older and weigh up to 500 lbs, and I can get stuck with up to a 7 mile walk.
    Ann- thanks for the Span connection.
    Thanks again all for your thoughts, questions and help,

  10. Alaska Pi Δ Says:

    I am fascinated by the challenges of gardening in different places.
    We have very poor soil here in Southeast Alaska. It is glacial till ( powdered rock left behind by retreating glaciers ) and rocks- lots o rocks.

    I get better every year at building raised beds – with the dadgum rocks- and working to add to the plain old dirt so it acts more like soil.
    We have 90+ inches of rain here – heaviest in July and August. The raised beds provide necessary drainage and ease the bending my increasingly old back has to do.
    Battling fungus and mildews is another biggo here along with holding nutrients in place . So much rain brings the bad guys and washes away a lot of the bad guys…
    And porcupines and bears. This last year I really wanted to kick the bear who smooshed all my fall greens in the patoot but probably wouldn’t have won that one so was better I didn’t. The porkies ravaged the new canes on my raspberries- I don’t know what I’ll get off them this year. I hope the lil boogers understand swear words cuz I flamed enough of them out there while working on a wire net to keep the porkies out and let me get in.
    Oh- getting steamed just thinking about it.

    So- is Co-operative Extension service helping out with ideas in your area?
    I have heard the soil in your area is fabulous.

    We get winds like you describe a few times a year for a FEW days at a time off the icefields. Wears me to a frazz getting around in them . You be careful !

    Thank you for the dried egg info- !
    will go and look.
    Best wishes neighbor-

  11. Alaska Pi Δ Says:

    woops- washes away a lot of the GOOD guys… the rain does

  12. ugavic Says:

    Alaska Pi-
    No Extension Service here, at least not in this part of the state. Surprised me when I went looking for info out here. I have emailed with many over the last few years and not gotten much they can offer as they only have experience with other parts of the state.
    I am working with a good lady in extension, who has worked with the Tanana (sp?) Chiefs area up by Fairbanks on some tunnel growing they are doing. (there is a sustainable ag meeting in March that I would love to attend as there is ALL sorts of info being presented BUT that is not going to happen:-) Too much $ needed for this to happen this year.)
    On your bear and porkies – electric fence!! (Won’t publish my hubby’s ideas on 220 and bacon to help teach them to leave things alone!)
    I had a electric fence unit when I moved here from MANY years ago that we put up when the bears were doing to much damage up by the house. It made them ‘speak on demand’ when they met it – end of issues!
    They are easy to install as it can even be put up with light weight rods versus posts so almost anyone can do it.You can even get units that run on solar to help with the bills. Many hunters use a portable set up now when hunting here as we have such a bear and wolf population they can be so very threatening.
    What I wouldn’t give for some of your early rains and milder weather to start things in the spring. Our ice does not even break out until May and soil can’t even start to be worked until June!
    Our soil is also good, sometimes too sandy in places but overall responses well. Not having easy access to an Extension Service I haven’t gotten soil samples going to them yet but the Elders of the area said, just ‘add lime’. I compost, which is just a frozen pile most of the year so is only useable on the second plus year, to help.
    I would like to get us going with some of the worm units that we can keep on our attic porches accept in the coldest part of the year to help with all this. As you know the more compost we can add will only help and shipping soil helpers in is too much expense for most villages.
    Over the many years many elders tell of planting potatoes in the spring, going fishing, and coming back to dig them. The last two – three years here it has been so cool and wet in the summer most have not had a decent crop at all. We use mostly those fingerling potatoes versus ‘regular’ potatoes. We have had some raspberries and strawberries that we get something off every few years, again too cool and wet lately. I am working to do a little enhancing of the natural ‘cranberries’ that are actually lingonberries we have. I THINK that by laying low cost drip irrigation in the tundra so we can make sure they get the water when they need we can increase at least the size of the berries. I did a little on a small patch experiment on some we have on our land – did wonders.
    Anyway if we can keep the energy up and get a little help I feel there is much so many areas can do – one guy in Bethel is raising cukes in tunnels – NOW that is a goal:-)

  13. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Victoria and Pi,

    This is so off topic I left it as a draft so it won’t show up in the menu and confuse people. WordPress has a really easy utility for uploading photos — I’m lazy.

    Just thought you would both be interested in this.


  14. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Hi Victoria! 3 boxes (66lbs) en route to you from Seattle today. Dried peas/beans, spaghetti, corned beef. Keep an eye out will ya? In my rush (finished up 10 minutes before Post Office closed Whew!) I forgot to ask for Confirmation on 2 boxes.

    Can you believe it? The little outlet store, where I buy beans cheap & you have to take what’s available, had 13oz spagetti on sale 2for$1.00. So I snagged a bunch.

    In Memory of my Big Sis that we lost last week (Mudflat Folks were so kind to me) & her Husband. (Sis was a USPS worker just 2 months short of retiring, BIL was a Grocery Clerk) this feels like an appropriate way to remember them.

    Welcome to the club Victoria! Thanks Ann for bringing her on board and showing her the ropes!

  15. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Jane- I didn’t get a preview to show… ?

  16. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    @ Kath the Scrappy From Seattle

    I missed telling you “hugs hugs hugs” on the Flats for your sister story. So now I get to say “more hugs, more hugs, more hugs” for jumping over here to help!

    @ Victoria

    Me, too – I have a box to send. Just one lonely box, but it’s a start!

  17. ugaVic Says:

    Kath fr Seattle-
    Thank you so much – will be on the look out and let you know.
    Gotta run this evening but will answer more later.

  18. ugaVic Says:

    So many thanks for you too:-)

  19. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Here’s the garden link:

    It’s in the main menu now which might confuse folks but this whole thing is confusing in positive, upbeat way!

  20. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    @ Martha

    Thank YOU! It’s still so raw.

    This may sound a little mean, USPS ran my Sis ragged for years trying every possible way to fire her because of her disabilities. Turned out that she should have been on oxygen the past 1-2 yrs. When Doc said that, Sis said “You don’t understand, they would really fire me if they saw me with an oxygen tank!”

    So, as heavy as I can pack my boxes, USPS isn’t making any profit whatsoever on my boxes. A little ‘sweet revenge’ here. Hope you don’t think less of me for saying that.

  21. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Besides, beans in the pot end up doubling size plus provide protein. So I figure I’m “double dipping” to boot.

  22. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    @ Kath the Scrappy from Seattle –

    Boy- we need “double dipping ” of your style here!

    I’m sorry about your sis and BIL.

  23. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    @ Kath the Scrappy from Seattle

    If it were MY sister, I’d be outraged, too! Well you can feel a tiny bit better because I’ve been sending out heavy one-rate boxes for two-three years and they aren’t making a penny on me, either! I will be sure to ready my evil and gloating smile at the PO in memory of your sister for for each box I stuff and send from now on.

  24. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Alaska PI and Martha, thanks Neighbors, I’m now feeling like it’s okay to be a little ‘mean’. I’m grateful that USPS is able to deliver our stuff quickly to areas that are hard to deliver to. But, still, I find it hard to reconcile what they’ve done so long to my Sis.

    Martha – “I will be sure to ready my evil and gloating smile at the PO in memory of your sister for for each box I stuff and send from now on.”

    Martha, You Make My Heart Sing! My Sister’s memory will live on! I’m not asking a pound of flesh from that outfit, just shipping lbs&lbs of beans.

  25. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    One thing I discovered today is that spaghetti doesn’t take much room, it just lays nicely flat and weighs heavy too.

  26. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    I was JUST thinking about spaghetti and how nice and flat and tidy it is for packing – but did this occur to me when I was at Costco? Of course not that would have been expedient. But my next box (inspiring evil grins from me to them) will probably just be a bunch o’ spaghetti. My next box was going to be coffee – but I think that’s been taken care of, at least for awhile, by our one and only chief and champion anonymous blogger Jane.

  27. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Oops – probably Nunam Iqua gets the coffee so maybe Ugashik could still use (not on the list?).

  28. ugaVic Says:

    All –

    Sorry for short resposes earlier, hubby had a rough evening – usually a chippe guy despite his broken rib and torn shoulder but tonight needed some extra time and attention from me.

    I am reading all, my heart goes out to ALL of you, especially that in your times of need you are helping us – gives me a few too many tears – but happy ones.

    Ann did mention keeping a journal of donations and I will do that. The good people at PIP (Pilot Point) – I ‘talk’ in airport codes since I work so much with getting fish flown out during the summer, sorry- are setting things up so we will be well organized when things come.

    I will confirm all boxes so you know and keep each of you in my thoughts and prayers.

  29. ugaVic Says:

    I think Jane took car of us for coffee too- a staple here!

  30. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Ann vouched for you and we’re going along with what you’re doing. Might not be on the “fast track” but we trust you.

    Sure hope your husband gets better. Sure sounds like it hurts! Danged!

  31. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Ok- Jane-
    where is a link to the ADN story here?
    Our very own Valentine’s day present from Jane-
    Our chief anoblogger.
    Back in a few hours Victoria-
    had more gardening questions.
    If folks are working to grow their own food I want to help come spring too.
    Hope your husband is feeling better some. Ouch,ouch,ouch!

  32. ugaVic Says:

    Hubby is doing better this morning – was a slip and fall from 6’+ onto frozen ground – no snow- a few weeks back. Doing well overall, yesterday evening was just a little back tracking.
    The timing is fine, I well realize that it takes awhile, and food is on it’s way.
    I, like all you, want to make SURE the state is aware that this is wider than they thinking.
    I am SURE in my heart there are still others out there they are not talking and admitting to being in the same situtation.
    We just keep plugging away:-)

  33. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Ann and Victoria, I sent 2 boxes weighing 38 lbs total, lol, to Victoria (Pilot Point Tribal Council) in Pilot Point yesterday (Friday), I taped them really well and apologized to the PO guy for the heaviness, lol, but said Alaska natives are starving and freezing and I need to get them as much food as possible in these boxes. He said oh you mean the Eskimos? lol I chatted it up as long as he was helping me, hoping the folks in line behind me were listening too.

    I also wrote little notes on the outside saying I hoped food and help were arriving, I wanted to draw attention to everyone who laid hands on those boxes.

    I took out insurance and delivery confirmation……I’ll post where they’re at as I get the news.

    I’ll be sending more boxes on Monday. Pictures would be fabulous!

  34. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    a few questions……do you guys need veggie seeds? the hubby and i love to garden! we used wood framed raised beds. It’s exciting because spring happens early here, the grass is starting to peak out, weeds ugh are staring to grow too, last I checked the peonies were about an inch up. I’m going to start some seeds inside this week. We put in a huge 4×8 foot bed of 2 yr old asparagus last year so I’m excited about that, it comes up early spring. I may have to get a booth at the farmers market! We had heirloom tomatoes coming out our ears last summer, I cooked them down, almost daily, lol, to freeze. We also had a bumper crop of peaches, our first, delish. Fruit is iffy here, weather can turn cold anytime in the spring.

    Also, have you considered container gardening? I’ll post a link when I can dig it up about using the big blue deep storage buckets, they can have a drip system, or a draw up from the bottom system or just top water. I think they even put them on wheels.

    as for rocky soil, yep we got that here in the Missouri Ozarks, we have friends who sifted rocky soil on some big screened shakey thing they devised just to build their garden.

    Plus about a foot down we have a hard lime shelf. which makes it a bitch to plant trees, lol, we have have anyway. An interesting thing I read recently is that the hard lime shelf layer used to be the bottom of the ocean, the sea floor, wild huh.

    Hey Martha UnAlaska, I lived in Bismarck, North Dakota from birth to 18, I loved the beautiful long lasting sunsets. The worst was the wind always blows. And nope, one does not go wandering around North Dakota roads in pending snow storms and one is always prepared for the worst in the trunk of your car, whiteout blinding blizzards, snowdrifts and -40* windchill temps are highly respected by those who know better.

  35. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    @ Say No to Palin in Politics

    Brrrr – I don’t like the wind very much so I would be a terrible Tundra resident – whining and holding my hands over my cold ears! We have Taku winds in Juneau, but they are only around in the winter and due to climate change, they have lessened considerably in the last years.

    All of you talking about seeds and growing vegies is making me very ready for spring, and now like, Ann S, I WANT A SALAD!

    @ Victoria – now I remember – Jane the amazing has found enough coffee for all three villages that she’s afraid you can’t drink it all! Enjoy – I hope it arrives very very soon!

  36. ugaVic Says:

    Say No-
    Will be on the lookout!! Neat to have the messages – working the word all the way- great!!

    I have to say the USPS has not made any money off us since those flat rate came out! I hope a little satisfaction for ‘Seattle’ also!

    All the goodies you can grow and start already makes my mouth water and brain buzz with ideas!

    On seeds – yes – but let me get back to you. We are trying to figure out how to do the tunnels in a serious way so will need to look at what will work best in those, besides the little we already know.

    I will just start tomato seeds this month, so we have a little bit of time. I want to get with Ann and see if there is any of this we can do with her village so we are learning on this together as much as possible.
    We have tried a little container gardening but found I have to figure out a way to keep them protected from the wind.

    I would love to see the link on the idea as we can always look at how to adapt it.

    Trees – what are those ??LOL! As Ann say what people here call ‘trees’ are actually just tall shrubs!

    Thanks- that is so much getting to be just not enough.

  37. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    I ordered some dry goods for folks there today.
    I hope it helps some.
    Need to go do my taxes- YARG!!!
    take care

  38. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Happy Valentines to all you wonderful people!

    Jane, much appreciated that you set up this entire site. Sure makes it easier to find Village Specific lists of needs. Saw the mention of you and the entire blogging efforts at ADN today. Finally, the word is definitely getting out.

  39. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    I’m having dreams of a Rural Co-Op based in Anchorage.

    Bulk orders placed from Village Co-op (small store with no walk in traffic, just catalog orders placed locally) in each village and sent to Anchorage location. Known staples needed by all villages could be stocked regularly in the Anc location w/ bulk discounts for purchasing quantity. Special orders for building supplies, etc could be again coordinated in the villages during building season, then purchased in bulk by Anchorage. Special orders delivered in bulk to Anc location, which breaks them up by village for shipping. Same thing w/ other large special order items (snow machines, etc?)

    All orders from the Rural Co-Op are delivered to and distributed by the local Village Co-op store. Pick up times could be announced for residents to get their items, whether regular orders or special orders. This way the store could have limited hours and just be operated by someone (Ann?) when needed, w/ space for storage and distribution, and pick up. I would think the produce thing would not be included – just items that aren’t perishable and need little attention.

    Victoria – how bout a Village Greenhouse Co-op in the village for that?

  40. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:
    February 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm I’m having dreams of a Rural Co-Op based in Anchorage.


    and I am HEARTING YOU Ms Martha! please help make this happen. hugs

  41. Jim Says:

    My 2 cents about gardening: In Alaska I’ve had success using Wall O Waters in the Spring. They are tubes that you fill with water and set up like teepees around plants. They extend your season. Look up Wall O Water online and see what the concept is. They are expensive so you’ll probably want to make your own version with used plastic soda or water bottles (labels removed) filled with water and arranged in protective circles around seedlings. If necessary use some clear packing tape to hold it together. Wall O Waters are good because they warm the soil earlier and it takes a hard frost before the seedlings freeze. White plastic buckets, with the end sawed out, would also help protect young plants but would lack the water insulation.

    When I lived in Fairbanks I grew asparagus. It came up each year. You pick it for a couple weeks in early summer and then leave it alone to mature. I don’t know if asparagus would survive heavy wind but it can handle extreme winters and in Fairbanks it kept coming back. Follow the planting instructions– roots need to be planted in a trench. Other hardy plants are brassica family (cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage– caution: moose love all brassica). With potatoes, I try to get a head start by letting the stem-things grow out of the eyes for a few months in a dark place, beginning around January, until they are a foot long or so; then bury the potato around June 1 with the stems sticking a couple inches out of the ground– they leaf out more quickly. You might even try zucchini. Zucchini is amazing. You need at least a couple plants for the blossoms to pollinate. Use a plastic mulch around zucchini. I don’t transplant my zucchini– I plant a few seeds under plastic after soil has warmed and cut them through when they germinate. You could possibly grow parsley, lettuce, and some other herbs and greens. Turnips and radishes should work. (as with brassicas, you have to deal with cut worms). Asian greens and cabbages are hardy and some of them come up very quickly. You could grow onions unless the maggots wipe them out.

    I like to start anything I can from seed in the ground because transplants really get shocked in the north. Of course you must transplant stuff like tomatoes. I also use a ultra-violet reflecting (weed killing) plastic ground cloth around plants that like to have warm roots (like zucchini) but not around brassica that like cold feet.

    While I lived in Fairbanks I grew cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, and pole beans. South walls really helped for plants that like heat, but I didn’t have to contend with killer winds. I can’t grow this stuff in Anchorage although I am getting some artichokes.

    I’d suggest you contact the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Center, or look them up online, and ask for garden suggestions for your area.

  42. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Victoria, I have one box to mail tomorrow (wish it could be more). But you are either going to die laughing, or run for the hills (are there hills?) when you see it.

    I have bright pink duct tape all around the box and stickers, too. I wrote “I heart Rural Alaska” on each side of the box. If you have to pretend to villagers that you don’t know me, that’s fine, I will understand!

  43. ugaVic Says:

    Co-op sounds a heck of a good idea. We will have to compare notes on this idea once the crisis gets a little closer to calming down. Long term solutions are the way we will have to go.

    On that ‘pink’ box – LOVE it!! Every box helps and I am thrilled people are willing to help.

    We do have mountains – to our east, about twenty miles away. The Aleutian Chain, with a daily smoking volcano that I look at out my kitchen each morning. Some of the prettiest sunrises and then out towards the west we look out over the river, swamp and out to Bristol Bay eventually. In summer we get the most vivid pink and red sunsets – about 1 AM :-)
    I love Wall O Waters and they hold up pretty well when I used them. The tough part is they do not make the big enough:-) I need ones that stand about 4 foot so the tomatoes can grow in the all summer. Once the plant starts peaking out of them the winter grabs them and shreds them.

    Our toughes part is that the winds can come in such gusts that they will rip things off trellis and shread vines that are on the ground. I have to even be careful with the tunnels that I do not open both ends at the same time in case the wind switches around and they become wind tunnels!
    The extension service has no real info in this area. I started there a few years ago since I had some expereince with them in other places I lived.
    This area is not really known for having supported any real agriculture or animal farming so info is limited or just not there.
    You offer a lot of good ideas and info – did not know moose like brassica!!
    I did not consider asparagus, must have missed a good beat on that one but will have look at it. It would be sooo welcome in the spring!

  44. AnnΔ Says:

    I live south of the mason dixon,but I love to garden. Qwat I say may be foolish to you. I know that ann collects berries. Would it be possible to shelter the garden with native berry bushes to make a hedge type wind block, a micro climate?PS how do you do Victoria, I was otherwise occupied when first you came.AnnA aka Annishka Check out my page…does anyone need DRS and is it close to you?

  45. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Victoria……..I’m sending off another package today. I’ve also been checking the delivery status of the 2 pkgs sent on Feb 13 but they don’t seem to be updating the info, just that it was accepted.

    guess I’m spoiled by UPS tracking.

    Also, I wanted to ask if there is anything specific that you know people need. I already have a lot bought but would like to know if there are certain items needed.

    You mentioned no infants correct? I did pick up some powered formula but will send it to Ann.


  46. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Another question…….on Ann’s shopping trip she bought packages of Koolaid 8/4.72…….is this the regular little 1 qt dry powder packages? if so that’s really expensive! like .60 a pack, right?

    I went ahead and bought some my last trip to town, it was .10 a pack.

    Somebody let me know, if it’s the same thing? .23 0z, makes 2 qts…….if so, these take up like no space in the boxes.

  47. ugaVic Says:

    Our infants are past formula BUT I am hearing diapers might still be a need, but not as much as Ann. I will check and get back on that. I am trying to be REAL careful in asking so as not to hurt feelings so messages get to us sometimes via the ‘my neighbor…’ :-) Once we have food come in and go out I expect people to be more vocal.
    I will also check on extras to add to the list and.
    Cool aid in any form that fits into the boxes is good here – families use it a fair amount versus drinking soda pop:-)
    I have lots to check on and get back to you today – will be late in the day as we will head to PIP around noon.

  48. Jim Says:

    Victoria: What size diapers? They’re easy to mail. Or I can get something else at Costco if you prefer.

  49. alaskantiger Says:

    ‘I love Wall O Waters and they hold up pretty well when I used them. The tough part is they do not make the big enough:-) I need ones that stand about 4 foot so the tomatoes can grow in the all summer. Once the plant starts peaking out of them the winter grabs them and shreds them.’

    My folks are farmers in Illinois and we have some killer winds on the praire, too (I live in Anchorage now). We do something with our tomato plants that could be modifed for your fiercer winds. We use 4 foot fencing to make a cylinder about 3-4 ft in diameter. We then put that around the plant and shove it about three inches into the ground. When it’s really windy, we use heavy wire bent in a ‘U’ to stake it even further into the ground – meaning the arc of the ‘U’ is over the bottom of the wire cage with the tops of the ‘U’ in the ground. You have to put about ten or so of those around the bottom.

    The modifcation that might work would be to then wrap the wire cage in plastic sheeting or nylon tarp. You may want to cut a few small hole in for the wind to go through it but not big enough to tear up the plants. Not sure it will work, but it’d be worth a try. If you used that black plastic sheeting, it might even keep the plant a bit warmer.

    Just a thought. Can your soil sustain spruce trees? Because of our praire winds, we built a wind break of blue spruce all around our farm lot. Took a while for them to mature, but now my Mom can grow her garden in the middle of them all and has it a lot easier. Not sure you’d ever have enough for everyone’s garden, but if you could plant a small stand, maybe the weakest plants could eventually be placed in there.

  50. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    another good idea would be to contact other university ag departments in windy locations for help…..or even find some ecology, green or garden forums and pose these questions for help.

    I’ll try to do some investigating for ya, I do remember reading an article about a group gardening in AK, I’ll try to find the link, they may have some ideas too.

    people love to brain storm a good cause……and you guys are a very good cause!

    I didn’t get to town yesterday but I’m headed out shortly with 2 boxes comin your way Victoria.

    also, before I forget, how about dehydrators? how do you guys dry stuff, like your fish? on screens or what? I ask because I come across dehydrators all the time in the thrift stores. I like to make jerky out of ground beef on ours.

  51. ugaVic Says:

    Update – the first food reached us yesterday, thanx Seattle and MO (forgot the town – is written down – will fill in later)

    We got a box of food out to each of our most needy households yesterday. Since we hadn’t really said much about what we were doing until we had our food show up, they were surprised, overwhelmed and just so grateful my words can’t say enough. All of you who are working on this have them so surprised that someone actually cares – I can’t tell you the impact that has already made.

    We are posting your notes and messages on boxes on a bulletnin board so when you do that it is being shared with all of them too. The town and state is listed so they see the range of response!

    Trying to catch up-
    Diapers – 12-18month sizes are good. We have a few kids about 1 year but not potty trained totally yet. All other moms (dads returned and left mom’s and babes with relatives) with tiny kids stayed in ANC this winter due to be such a tough situtation in the village.

    Stuff at Costco – any stables are great – we can split big bags up of things. Cheese, canned milk, mac & cheese:-), and really anything you can think of – my mind is blank right now.

    After our first getting out of boxes out yesterday I guess the grapevine was quick and going strong on how to cook things like white beans – someone unknown but they are doing it:-) I hear it goes well with fresh caribou one village member brought back from a hunt out of our area:-)

    On drying fish and berries. Most of it is done via air methods that are traditional. I am looking to get some pictures of when they strip the fish and dry it outside – it is beautiful and real effective.

    We are also talking about teaching some of the younger generations, who we are realizing not as well set up, on home canning of fish and meat this coming summer. (I thank my mom and grandma that they insisted I help them with this when I was growing up)

    On gardening – I am working, hopefully, a way to get to a conference in Fairbanks in March on all this with various people who have expereince in this type stuff at least in our state. It is a sustainable agriculture one.

    I belong to a community garden list serv that has helped with some details on the hooped gardens and also some of our issues. (the conference in March has a couple of guys who know lots on this stuff) What we have found is that, so far, there is not much they can offer when it comes cool springs, high winds, and shorter season but anyone else who can jump in and offer some input we would love it.

  52. bonefish Says:

    This might seem a bit weird but… has anyone thought of putting up a group on Facebook in regards to this? There are a gazillion people on there and it is a highly visible site. A fair proportion are politically active college-age kids and young adults who may not know about this situation as they get their news via the net… might give it a thought as it certainly wouldn’t hurt and may help a whole lot.

  53. ugaVic Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion – we have one up!! One of the earliest people to start helping was forward enough thinking to start one.
    I just joined on as an administrator on the site yesterday.
    Check it out under groups-“Rural Alaskans Forced to Choose Freeze or Starve”. I got a group announcement out yesterday on two new villages added.
    Got a few answers back – which I did not expect.
    We are trying to get a page letting people how they can buy salmon to help us. Also soemthing up on the web site on traditional food so people can learn more.
    Also looking to get some pictures up soon. PLS review it and give us feed back – we have tough hides:-))

  54. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Victoria and Ann…..

    arg……heads up…….last week the post office took 2 fully jam packed boxes no problem…, nope, the clerk said “they’ve been told” if the flaps don’t fold down and meet where they are supposed to they won’t ship at flat rate…..the difference would have been 30.00 (per box, extra) on top of the flat rate, I suppose she used priority rates, she didn’t say……so now I’m going to re-pack these 2 boxes so I “comply” even though there is nothing on the boxes that says anything about the flaps.

    just wanted to let ya all know……..things inside the box are supposed to fit within the “conformity of the box” or maybe it’s the end flaps need to fit with the conformity and things inside need to fit within the confines, lol….. now I can remember her exact words….we kinda went around, I told her I sent boxes just like this last week, her bla bla bla, I said well it doesn’t say anything on the boxes about that, her reply it doesn’t? well I’m just going by what I’ve been told bla bla bla, then she says I can still ship them would you like to know the rate? she gives it to me…..and says would you like to still ship them and I said at 40.00? 30.00 more? I said nope, she says, sorry….I would have asked for a manager but there was a long line behind me, I didn’t want to make them all wait while I pressed the issue. And these 2 boxes were 8 lbs lighter than last week, lol.

    I don’t know if this is a bible belt thing, my po or a nationwide po crack down.

    I also forgot to ask since she threw me off track, lol, how long it should take to arrive at flat priority. Did you get any boxes from MO yet?

  55. ugaVic Says:

    UPdate on Flat Rate boxes-
    Given the issues some have been having on boxes – I never thought to tell you this:
    #1 – yes – got 2 boxes from MO – yesterday – thanks:-)
    #2 – our PO told my MIL a couple of years ago the flaps had to meet when she tried to ship a number of pairs of shoes CRAMMED into a box home to SC:-) Loved her, the PO, being sweet to my MIL who with her degree in Chemical Engineering was just NOT getting the concept. Funny!! She had a a $tight streak a mile wide when it suited her:-)
    #3 – IF you go to and set yourself up an acct – is easy and free. You can do all your shipping priority and express from home with just your computer and printer. They give you some discounts for doing it, you get delivery confirm for free and you do not have to wait in line.
    Hope that helps.

  56. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    That is so FUNNY about the White Beans! I was expecting puzzlement about the BLACK Beans, which I believe are more common down in the SouthEast of Lwr 48, they eat them for Good Luck on New Years too.

    I was raised on Pintos (lived in Hispanic neighborhoods) and White Beans – never heard of Black ones until I was an adult. The White Beans are mild & blander, so they absorb more flavor from whatever meat you are using, probably why it went well with caribou. This little outlet store where I get them cheap doesn’t always have the same stuff, you just buy what’s available. So I was trying to get some variety in there.

    Thanks for the update! This makes my day.

  57. annstrongheart Says:

    I just offered to adopt another village!

    I am waiting to hear back from them on contact information and a mailing address on where to send donations. When I do, I’ll probably make another page and also add them to the HOW to HELP page!

  58. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    hehe Ann, people don’t get “mad” they get “packing”.

    Some people have been asking for additional Villages in need to help, so I think you’re providing what they’re asking for.

  59. AnnΔ Says:

    Go for it Ann S.

  60. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Ann S-
    Ditto what AnnΔ said-
    Waiting for our orders…

  61. Jim Says:


    I’m not sure if I should take space here with this idea but it is indirectly related to food. I’ve been researching grow lights and there is a small light- emitting- diode light strip that might allow someone to grow a few herb plants in the winter. It would mount like an under-cabinet light strip. It is a narrow strip with 5 lights about 22 inches long. I asked the company and the lights should work fine off diesel generators and they have a service life of over 10 years at 24/7. They use 9 watts of electricity, so even if electricity cost a dollar/KWH, apparently it would cost lest than a penny an hour to run one of these. If someone in your village or another would like to try growing a couple herb plants in the winter, let me know and I’ll get one sent. The lady I communicated with would give me a discount for the villages. I’m naive and I don’t even know if homes ever freeze up– that wouldn’t be good for herbs.

  62. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    @ Jim

    I’ve been enjoying all of the gardening ideas here! I suppose we could start another thread about northern gardening ideas if we want (Jane? Victoria?), or just leave them here for awhile where we have been discussing many different topics. I like the eclectic paths that wander through the thread. It’s a story of how people think and exchange ideas.

  63. ugaVic Says:

    All of this, myself included, is about sharing ideas and educating ourselves to help. No bad questions or ideas. Ann and all she writes is helping me understand things that we do not experience as much down in our part of AK.
    If you can get us two of the lights to start – one for someone who has a little experience in each village- we give this a try. We can then do a bulk order with some funds this summer and a little clas with ideas.
    We try darn hard to not have our houses freeze up at night, although certain portions of a house might. We do have running water here but many of the homes do have issues with keeping it running in the winter.
    I do think we might be able to do some real good work with the lights and they look to be cheap enough to run that any one could have them.
    Send them to the same address for the food drive – just mark – PERSONAL on it and they will hold it for me.
    We will probably split off the discussion onto another if we get closer to spring and more ideas come up but right now I think it is spurring other ideas that are helping also.
    Thank you all for your ideas and concern. The help you offer in all its forms helps get us through the days now as we wait for spring when the real work starts.

  64. Jim Says:

    Victoria: I may only be able to afford one light–they are expensive! Let me see what I can do. I hope to send a full package– growing medium, seeds, light. Thanks for reminding me about water– you can’t even take that for granted.

  65. ugaVic Says:

    Let me figure out a way to get you my private email address and then we can talk $.

  66. ugaVic Says:

    email me at this address it – will get forwarded to me.

  67. Jim Says:

    Victoria: I forwarded a message to you. Jim

  68. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Victoria…..I “successfully” sent off 3 boxes today……I was good and obeyed the flap law, lol. I got the same Postal Clerk who waited on me yesterday (flap nazi, lol) that refused my flat rate shipment, low and behold she was super nice. She said it takes 3 days priority from MO to AK, not too bad!

  69. Michigander Says:

    Dear Victoria,

    I sent out 2 boxes Sat. A.M. from Michigan. Am hoping to get my Grandchildren’s schools involved – will let you know.

    Respect and Blessings to you all – Rainie

  70. ugaVic Says:

    Say No –
    I shared your story of the flap Nazi with our PO mistress – she got a GREAT hooting laugh out of it. (I have to tell you our PO lady is great – she lets her 4 legged “kids” in the back of the work area on Saturdays and our ‘kid’ visits with hers)
    She is thrilled we can do all this via the flat rate – couldn’t be for a better cause.
    Will let you know when we see them.
    Michigander- Rainie
    Say hi to all those Blueberry bushes and Cherries trees from me – I will always remember my time working with those producers in such a lovely state.
    If the kids go for it – will be loved by ours!
    Thanks for caring!

  71. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    @ Michigander

    Welcome, and thank you for joining us here!

    @ Say No & Victoria

    FLAP NAZI is killing me! I am considered the “one-rate box queen” by my family and now I see that I have been living in a Flap Naze free zone, thank goodness!

  72. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    Greetings Victoria……have my boxes arrived yet? and what is the needed plan of action now? anything to let us know?

  73. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Say No to Palin in Politics –

    I just put a story Victoria wrote about the run up to this mess under our “Discussions” links. I think PR and awareness are what we all need to work on — get the whole story out. Thanks for all you are doing!

    We want to open the discussion on a number of issues that have led to this crisis. Suggestions are welcome.

  74. ugaVic Says:

    Quickly while I wait for dinner to bake:-)
    Spent this afternoon and early evening at PIP unpacking boxes and getting ready to get a big box out tomorrow to all of our families in need.
    We got about 225 pounds of food;
    Pink duck tape, special dried stuff from the App Trail, powered milk, snack bars, tooth paste, tomato paste, noodle mixes, applesauce, fruit mixes, hot chocolate, instant soup, etc.
    If any of this sounds familiar – know we got it!! :-))))
    I will do a run down of boxes and exactly whom tomorrow evening – forgot to bring list with me to computer.
    Things I would have never thought of but our helpers where thrilled to get and know we need.
    Bags for distrbution – thanks !
    My head is spinning with all the goodies.
    The help we got on meeting the deadline for comments on the Chinook by-catch – THANK YOU.
    I did get a chance to talk with Ann’s fisheries person and we got two quick comments off to the committee.
    Give me a day to catch up and will do a longer and more detailed recap.
    Stuff for gardening is being put together- going to get the kids involved.
    Also canning for summer harvest supplies, we will get info to you.
    Lots to do and sorry not more info – gotta get something to eat and feed the guys – since I made them skip lunch:-))

  75. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Congrats Vic! So MANY balls bouncing and you haven’t dropped a one! I’d have bopped myself in the head with a couple by now.
    Do you get to put your feet up and lollygag a bit? Ever?
    Waiting for canning supply list and gardening info.
    Still only February… gonna go slobber over my own seed catalogs…
    getting the gardening bug WAAAY too early with all this talk about it!

  76. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Thanks for a great update, Victoria! SO GLAD you got some comments on for the Chinook Bypass, too.

    Hmmm… the pink duct tape box sounds like it came from Juneau! I hope it reminded lots of folks along the way of its travels that Alaskans help each other. We also cherish and appreciate the help from kind folks all around the country and the world – but first and foremost, it’s our duty as good Alaskans to answer the call.

    It sounds like you have your hands full, and I hope that means full tummies, too!

  77. alaskantiger Says:

    Hey, Victoria, just in case it helps to know what’s on it’s way. This is on it’s way from Anchorage today, so you should have it by Saturday or Monday at the latest:

    12 cans of spam
    12 one pound packs of spaghetti
    10 lbs of pancake mix
    3 big bags of dried fruit (2 raisin, 1 apricot)
    4.4 lb box of powdered milk (the ‘makes 22 quarts’ size)
    bags for distribution

    If there are things that are more needed or if you get plenty of something and it drops to the bottom of the list, just let us know.

  78. ugaVic Says:

    What can I say? I appreciate EACH and EVERY box, note, check and thought that each of you is putting into this.
    The villagers are still very much trying to ‘wrap their arms around’ the fact that people all over are interested and CARE about them.
    I know Ann and I both are still struggling to find a way to help them understand fully where all this is coming from and that people think they matter.
    We have both been busy and have lots of updates to get to you. We are working on it in our ‘spare’ time:-))
    I have funny BUT serious request:
    When doing your spring cleaning – no need for new ones – please send up your old blow dryers!
    Our health clinic lady uses them to shrink wrap eye glass repairs and fix things like that on an emergency basis for people.
    We use them to thaw pipes – a few weeks ago the ENTIRE community center, city hall and clinic had frozen pipes. Once one gets frozen up we can’t keep up (these things share two buildings and one system).
    We use them to thaw out the windows – when someone needs to open them or someone forgets to close them and they freeze OPEN:-))
    Many uses for us.
    If you can find your way to send your working old ones we would love it.
    More to come,

  79. Jim Says:

    Do you folks have a pipe thawer? I froze a pipe here and the plumber thawed it in about 20 seconds with a electric power box and 2 wired clamps that look like jumper cables. There are various manufacturers. Rigid makes one:

    Of course they cost at least 700 bucks– used hair dryers are a lot less expensive.

  80. Say No to Palin in Politics Says:

    help…….where is the “discussions link”?

    anonymousbloggers Says:
    February 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Say No to Palin in Politics –

    I just put a story Victoria wrote about the run up to this mess under our “Discussions” links.

  81. ugaVic Says:

    You all caught me doing “catch up” this morning on the computer, so quick repsonses are here:-))
    Yes, there is one floating between the villages – owned by the school district.
    Problem is we have moved away from metal pipes here in many places. We use PEX pipe – a plastic that can expand some when it freezes, making repairs less.
    The hairdryers are easy for almost anyone to use, given the skill set at times here can be lacking. Our most talented people end up doing a lot traveling at times to help out and as is the case in all families everywhere – all crap breaks loose when they are out of town:-)
    Hopefully you have found the link – more is to come.

  82. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Say No to Palin in Politics Says =

    It’s on the right under discussions — Bristol Bay fishing woes.

    Any ideas you have to make this more user friendly are appreciated — I’m still learning.


  83. Jim Says:

    I was was scratching my head about that too– After I sent my message I wondered if you had plastic pipes. Too bad they don’t make a metal-foil encased plastic that could conduct electricity.

    Perhaps you might reinstall metal in runs that most often need to be thawed. Capital costs (copper over plastic) may be initially expensive, but frequent thawing may make copper cheaper over the long run if its easier to thaw. Too bad electricity can only heat and conduct (apparently) through the outside pipe and not also through the ice inside too. I don’t understand! I’m nuts!

  84. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Jim –

    You’re scratching your head, I’m completely baffled. Would a hand held, hair dryer sized heat gun help?

    What kind of pipes? The thing I have would probably melt PVC.


  85. Jim Says:

    Jane: Victoria answered my question– they have plastic pipes– they must use hair dryers or other surface heat with plastic.

    Pipe thawing equipment can only thaw metal pipes by conducting electricity through the metal. It might be good to install some kind of electric heating conductor along their plumbing lines that most frequently freeze– Perhaps a metal wire along their plastic pipes–

    At your place (in Florida?) you may have copper pipes that can conduct electricity (like my own copper pipes in my house here in Anchorage do), but in the villages they installed cost effective plastic pipes that don’t conduct electricity– that’s perhaps unfortunate, although plastic is more durable through freeze-thaw cycles than copper– it can go through several cycles before it eventually fails. Copper can only handle one or two.

    Let me know if you need more information. I’m not a plumber; I’m just an artist, but I’ll try to answer your questions!


  86. ugaVic Says:

    A quick note as I do not know how long the Internet connection will last.
    We have been battered by high winds – 50-60 mph and gusts to over 70! for the last day plus.
    It took the tide and pushed it up under the ice to cause a surge of water and ice that flooded parts of the dock and almost to the warehouse in Pilot Point. Add frozen spray on top of that and you get an idea of what it might be like.
    We have so much ‘overflow’ – water that seeps up in the cracks of ice on the river when tide comes in – that we have a river against the shore that you have to cross to get out onto the river of ice – hope that makes sense. In other words – dangerous and no traveling on it even if you could against the winds.
    No homes seem to be in danger from the floods, not sure on winds.
    Will check back when weather slows down.
    Ann – Hope all of you are safe and sound and warm.

  87. UgaVic Says:

    An update today.
    I want to get everyone caught up on what we have gotten lately- sorry it has been slow coming but been busy getting food out.

    THANK YOU so much.
    We got out about 325 pounds of food out this week. I know it was appreciated as the day or so after we got a bag out we had gail force winds, some local flooding-but no homes, and cold temps. The ability to have a hot meal was commented on the last day or so.

    Funds for fuel-
    E & R P from MA – thanks so much. We are trageting getting cooking fuel to everyone first and this helps!
    We still have a nubmer of families that are without as the expense of over $400 for 100# of propane is hard.

    Boxes came in from:
    1 box -BP from MA
    2 boxes – GS from Fairbanks
    3 boxes- C&MP from MO
    3 boxes- SC from OR
    1 box – BFarm from OH (TT- :-))
    3 boxes – Anon Blogger from WA
    1 boxes- GJ vrom WI
    1 boxes- GB from NY
    1 box from LR from NY
    2 box- RG from MI
    3 boxes – LB from ANC
    The variety and goodies you all have thought of is great. I tend to forget all the great things that are available, you REALLY pare down your food shopping selection when living in the bush, is great for the families.

    We did hear from Samaritan Purse this morning and they arrived a little after noon with a box for each of the families on the list for both villages. (Ugashik is getting thier food through Pilot Point as we are neighbors and it is easiest given the tiny size of Ugashik. Thanks from those elders too)
    We want to thank them and especially the pilots. One traveled up from TX who came up just to do these deliveries.
    The effort is appreciated.

    On another note we are planning some meetings int he coming weeks, the first being this next week, to move on long term ideas to help our village.
    We will keep up as the discussion continue.
    All, enjoy your weekend.

  88. Linda Says:

    Hello! I’m sending 2 boxes to you from Willoughby, OH today. I’m debating with myself whether sending money or food is more cost effective. Between the food I bought and postage I’ve spent about $100, but I’m thinking the $ probably bought more here than in Alaska? Anyhow, I’ll send more next paycheck. I admire the good you are doing by receiving and distributing the food! Best wishes!!

  89. UgaVic Says:

    I really an not sure, when it comes to cost effective. When you remember in our village, and Ann’s we do not have a store I think we might get more from the $ spent in your town.

    Ann can spent $30-$50 dollars to get to a store in gas. We have to ship all our food in a either $1-$1.60/lb or wait 3-6 weeks for it to be mailed in. Of course we THEN get to fret over if the mailed in food will be frozen solid – it comes via Parcel Post so sits around for weeks in warhouses.
    The flat rate boxes get to us quick and overall in great shape given how tight everyone is packing them:-))
    We appreciate you taking the time, money and effort. It is not going unnoticed here and is touching many hearts and minds in our villages.
    Drop in to any of our “discussion” links on ways to help us figure out long term solutions. We need all the ideas and thoughts we can get.

    I will be looking for your boxes and will post when we get them.

  90. anonymousbloggers Says:

    I’ve just posted a letter that Ann and Victoria will soon be submitting to The Alaska Dispatch. It includes many thoughtful suggestions to improve life in rural Alaskan villages.

    It’s a must read – must comment!


  91. Linda Says:

    Vic — thank you for clarifying that buying and mailing food to you all up there IS cost effective. That was my thought, also, but without all the information you included. It really is hard for us down in the lower 48 to imagine just how cut off you all are up there. I will join in some of you discussion links as time allows. I intend to just keep sending boxes to you each pay check and am encouraging friends to do the same. I just realized that my local dollar store — Dollar General — still stocks small canned hams. Something I haven’t see anywhere else for a LONG time. So, next time you all will get canned hams. Plus I plan to get on Amazon and see if I can order some dried eggs for you all.

    Best wishes to you all!

  92. shrinkinggranny Says:

    About the potatoes, there’s a version of a “potato tower” I posted about on the Nunam Uqua page or the “cold weather gardening” page, there were some links there too – I don’t remember who posted them.

    Maybe a state like Minnesota or N Dakota or Upper Peninsula MI would have good info for gardening?

    take care,

  93. Joplin Says:

    I sent two flat rate boxes in late February to Pilot Point – from D&LS in Illinois.
    Do you recall getting them? I am concerned that they might be delayed or missing, perhaps due to weather issues. Is it safe to assume that even with the large delivery from Samaritan’s Purse, people in the villages will still welcome some assistance at least into spring? Thanks to you and Ann for all you’re doing!

  94. UgaVic Says:

    Good Morning, or at least it is when I am writing this”-)
    We have had either freezing rain, high winds, or unsafe conditions pretty much for the last week.
    We have only gotten one mail delivery in or out so there is mostly likely a back of up of mail at our hub town.
    We are suppose to get a break in the next few days so I should be able to get mail and thus update eveyone soon.
    Been the weirdest year for winter we have had in awhile.

  95. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    Victoria, agh…..I just wrote and posted a big ol response to you and Ann on Mudflats congratulating you on the awesome interview you two did. Hopefully it will be retrieved, otherwise ugh, lol, I’ll try to remember everything and say it again here.

    Keep on rollin girlfriends!

    I submitted you guys to Brian Williams, twice, lol…..the second time with links to info. Brian @ MSNBC is asking for nominations tfor stories about people doing good things in these hard times, people making a difference.

    (hint, hint) others may want to 2nd, 3rd to 50th that nomination, I’m hoping they will do an in depth story with follow ups on progress made.

    get your ducks in a row, try to outline your plan and gather information, let’s take advantage of this opportunity we’ve been given…..hollar out
    for help if need be and don’t be afraid to delegate, I’ll do whatever I can to help.

    do we have a creative name yet? (don’t ask me for ideas, lol, not my forte)

    also, are you guys in contact with a comment poster “seadog55” ?
    this person is native & writes grants and lines up funding (I sent the following to Ann also (too) and I commented at the article asking the person to please get in touch with you guys)

    here’s the post
    from this article

    Posted By: seadog55 @ 02.28.2009 7:39 PM
    McBride, you are more qualified than the man who replaced you because you are willing to think about the needs of others before yourself. As one of the Natives with an Ivy League education, I am very disappointed to see so many of them more interested in promoting their self-interest, the interests of their friends and family, ahead of the Native people. As for your successor, he doesn’t have a college degree and actively follows the policy I just outlined, which is not so enlightened self-interest. As for myself, I don’t know how to cut fish like they do in Bethel, but I can write a grant for $500,000 and get it funded. I also can jig humpies like they do in Southeast where my family is from, but we are supposed to give what we do best, I’m better at typing than I am at smoking fish.

    Take care and Illegitimi non carborundum

  96. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Say No… Please check my request on Cold Weather Gardens…We need your ideas… thanks!

  97. UgaVic Says:

    Everyone please realize I am reading posts, just juggling lots right now.

    Am also working to get to gardening/AK agriculutre meeting in 10 days, so am slow to answer.

    I am doing a lot of reading of all your links during my ‘free’ time so I can respond with some knowledge:-))

    Traveling is still dicey so we are having to stay close to home. We got a good size package of food to each of the households in PIP so everyone is holding tight for right now.

  98. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    Vic……don’t feel like you need to answer my questions….I’m ususally just throwing out ideas that may help……you, Ann and the villages know best.

    Hugs to you……everyone, watch this youtube, this young lady says a lot of very good things about indiginous peoples rights, their land, and what we are doing to the planet in the name of greed at the expense of mother earth and our future. I think it will stoke your engine, lol.

  99. hmm Says:

    Say No thanks for the video I really enjoyed listening to it and she mane so much sense

  100. Jim Says:

    Victoria and Roland: Not sure where to post this, but there is an volcanic ash fall advisory for King Salmon/ Pilot Point until 5 AM tuesday. I figure you’ll probably get little if anything there.

    So far Anchorage has lucked out but that could change any time. Not good news for mail.


  101. ugavic Says:

    Thanks – I had not heard specifically this morning. We will be watching on generators and flights.
    I just heard Re went off again last night.
    I will also pass the word to be more proactive- sometimes we feel like we are “so far away…”:-)

  102. InterestedPerson Says:

    HI, Vic,
    Posted in error about boxes on N. I. page…please keep posting if
    boxes arrrive in bad condition. About to mail a personal best of weight
    -18# flat rate, probably 1# = duct tape.

  103. ugavic Says:

    Will be watching for them.
    I am working to get an update from all that was unpacked and delivered yesterday, just moving slow today.
    The Mt (volcano) is holding up some mail according to our airline rep. Everyone got a nice size ‘bag’ yesterday so I am hoping we will be OK until the darn mountain slow down, or blows ash someother direction that will not effect one or the other of us:-))
    So far boxes have arrived in surprising shape -Thank all of you who put sticky stuff in other bags – it does help LOTS!!
    We are in another snow storm today. Funny as two -three weeks ago it looked like an early spring. Now more snow than we have seen yet this winter. It is also one of the coldest winters we have had in some time, despite the lack of snow.
    Thanks again,
    Victoria B
    Ugashik/Pilot Point Food Drive

  104. walkaboutstory Says:

    Hi, this is womanwithsardinecan. Just wanted to apologize for the note I put in a box to Pilot Point yesterday. I was in such a hurry to beat the post office closing that I accidentally said Virginia instead of Victoria. Darned 4 syllable V-names. And I hope that box arrives in good condition. It was the box with all the breakable items (crosses fingers).

  105. ugavic Says:

    Not a problem.
    Will let you know when we see it.
    So far- say a pray it continues- things have arrived well from all places.
    Thanks for the continued thoughts!!

  106. walkaboutstory Says:

    this is womanwithsardinecan again. I forgot to put my sardinecan name on the boxes (they are the ones from Arcata) but I see from my track and confirm that they arrived and were picked up. If anything broke in the breakable box, it is insured, so if everything is covered in syrup you can get some insurance money for it.

  107. ugavic Says:

    We will let you know BUT so far:-)) I have had no breakage to speak of. In a day or so I will go over to do a update on all the packages, but did not want to head over until over a nasty cold I have.
    I did hear today that mail is looking to start moving again after some major hold-ups due to the volcano so packages are coming in.
    By the end of the week I should be able to do a package by package list.

  108. walkaboutstory Says:

    no worries. I’ve just sent so little that I really really hope it all got there in one piece. Hope your cold is gone soon.

  109. lgardener Says:

    Darn Vic,

    I guess I should’ve sent a get well care package to you like I did with Ann & her family.

    I do hope that you and your hubby enjoy the treats as well as the latest edition of Alcohol Can Be A Gas that was sent up your way recently.

    Best wishes for your speedy recovery!

    LG (Life’s Good) :)

  110. ugavic Says:


    I think the package is in PIP waiting. I hate it when you have the kind of cold that sneezing is so much of – spreads germs and no village needs that:-)

    Going ‘to town’ always seems to result in some bug, but you just deal with it!! ‘Am thankful it is not more than a cold.

    Now you have me curious so I will have to up that dose of VIT C a few more times more so I can get over there;-)

    We are ALL so ready for spring and the temps we have had in the teens are a bit too cold for this time of year.

    I should be able to update by the end of the week.

  111. Secret TalkerΔ Says:

    Hi : wanted to let you know that I mailed my Passover box today to you and it weighed 22lbs. The post lady said” you sure know how to do it” it would have cost $44 to mail regular.

  112. ugavic Says:

    LG – NY –
    Got box with book and goodies.
    Am delving and purring;-)

  113. lgardener Says:

    I thought you might need a few treats to help digest all that info in the book! :D I’m thinking of sending a copy to Tim Myers in Bethel too. Since he’s already got a farm going and has had success growing beets, he might consider setting up an alcohol for fuel operation.

  114. ugavic Says:

    Am really digging into book.
    I think Tim would like it too. I got a chance to meet him in Fairbanks – the results of which I am trying to get back up to date on:-)
    I am envious of his place but we will get there.
    Thanks again- was like Christmas!!

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