Monday, April 30, 2007

Meltdown




Slowly the snow is retreating down the bluffs. The snow will stick around here for some time yet and a good May snowfall is certainly not out of the question. But the temperatures are noticeably milder now. We now experience about 21 hours of daylight. May is just around the corner now and I can't wait. It is definitely my favorite month of the year up here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Meal, A Rug and a Reminder

Gorgeous sunny weather here today! I took a walk "downtown" late this afternoon to visit my planned substitute for tomorrow so she would know she didn't have to come into the school in the morning. As a bonus, I got a nice home-cooked meal out of it. A few kids I bumped into were pleased that they won't be missing a pile of soccer practices while I had planned to be away. I'm happy too. I've always maintained that kids come first - not meetings, bureaucracy and other minutiae that fight to take up my time during the day.




I've taken my fair share of pictures of polar bear rugs, but I'm not sure I've ever posted one on my blog. I can just picture myself watching a playoff game (go Vancouver!), as I am doing at the moment, while lying on something like this.

Taxi?!

I began a post a couple days back with the words "It looks like I'll be heading off for a few days to Arviat." rather than "I will most certainly be heading to Arviat in 2 days time." I must be learning the drill by now. Such are the uncertainties of traveling in the North.

Turns out I did not make it out as scheduled. I had been unaware that the taxi here in town had been sold. I did manage to track down the new number but could not get hold of anyone Friday night. When I did manage to get hold of someone yesterday morning, it was a small child who of course could offer little assistance. I figured calling for a taxi 3 hours before flight time would be sufficient advance notice - not so. As it is a weekend, getting hold of any higher-ups in the bureaucratic food chain will have to wait until the start of the week.

So my weekend plans have turned into a bit of a mess. Truth be told though, it was a last minute decision to decide to send me to Arviat and I was only given a couple days to get set for things. There were forms for me to fill off and fax off, people I had to get hold of and of course, planning out for a substitute for the time I would be away.

Part of me is a little disappointed but I am also a bit relieved. I was a little apprehensive of heading off for a week with final exams just around the corner. (At least now, I am all planned out for my classes for the next few days.) I would have been traveling for 5 days - for a conference lasting only 3 days. I'm not all that fond of Iqaluit and spending 3 nights there on my trip back, to me, would have been a big waste. At any rate, I will try to get hold of someone Monday morning to find out what is going on. I'm sure if "they" really want me to know what I missed, they can simply send me a fax.

Friday, April 27, 2007

In Their Own Words

Sometimes you can get pretty caught up in the millions of things that take up your day. Education is a long-term investment so it's difficult at times to see just how much influence a teacher can have on a student. Understandably there are times when a student might just feel awkward expressing their feelings toward a favorite teacher.

We had a touching reminder today of the impact a teacher can have. As part of the territory's Education Week, a large banner was put up in the school for students to write a comment about their teachers. A couple notes from high school students talked about how one teacher on our staff (someone I have a great deal of professional respect for) motivated them to stay in school and not drop out. I found this quite touching and inspiring.

I wasn't sure what students might write about me. I haven't been here quite as long as some of the other staff members. Reading the comments was a nice little shot in the arm to end the week.



I'm not sure if I'm the best soccer coach but I do know that at Regionals we had the best team! Even a comment about the Northern Studies class I teach to the grade 9 class. Who knew? I joked with some of the students from that class I was "shocked" to see what they wrote and that I thought they might comment instead about my lousy writing on the blackboard or my profound lack of fashion sense.





Ah ha! So they DO like the hair!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Going on a Little Trip

It looks like I'll be heading off for a few days to Arviat. I got a call from the board office this morning and they needed another person from North Baffin to go to a conference in Arviat. From what I know, the meetings have to do with junior high school curriculum development/implementation. I head out Saturday and return the following weekend. So I'm scrambling a bit to prepare for a substitute for 5 days. Its been 3-4 years since I've gone on a work trip for this length of time.

I'm really looking forward to this trip however. Even though I teach high school and the conference deals with junior high, I will go for the sake of continuity for next year since we expect a 100% turnover of junior high staff. (As well, I have the option of teaching grade 9 class in the fall which I am carefuly considering.) I'm excited to see Arviat and a bit of Rankin on the flight over. I haven't been to the Kivalliq before and opportunities to travel out for work when you are this far north are few and far between. I just wish I had a memory card for the digital camera. Getting a snapshot of Arviat in 10 pictures or less will be a challenge for this shutterbug.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Take on Bureaucracy

Teaching in the North, I find myself tied in closer to government than perhaps I would be in the South. (Or at least it feels that way. I've never taught in Ontario, despite growing up there, so I could be way off base here.) At any rate, as I've come to learn, getting things done at times is like watching a glacier moving across the land. I can't get into too many details - despite my "northern-ness", the government has a big reach (and big teeth). Let me just say that today, I found out information that I really wish had been sent to me oh say, back in August, when the school year started.

I am sometimes handicapped in that I cannot say all I wish I could (but look for my tell-all book, coming to bookstores sometime in the future.) I therefore, can only offer you my take on dealing with government bureaucracy (taxes included of course).

Government Bureaucrat [with stupid smile on face] - My job is to push this button [pointing] and this button. The person whose job it is to push this button [pointing] is on vacation. They'll be back in 6 to 8 weeks. [again, pointing] The person who pushes this button and this button is away from their desk....if you leave a message......

You - Yes, but surely you understand the urgency of this matter!

Government Bureaucrat - My job is to push....

You [quickly interjecting] - But, really, how hard can it be to............can't you just make an exception here?!

Government Bureaucrat [repeating robotic-like] - My job is to push this button and this button.......

There are several possible endings to this sad scenario:
1) You - hang up phone in quiet resignation.
2) You - slam down phone in utter disbelief.
3) or better yet, (my personal favorite) - government mandarin gets downsized after a severe budget cut.
4) feel free to tailor-make your own ending....I mean really, this is a bit of fake post, kind of like a fake government job.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Language of Instruction

In the abstract, language of instruction in a school would seem to be pretty straight forward. However, here it is a major issue. The survival of a language depends on it. We had an all-day staff meeting today and another one is on tap for tomorrow. At issue is how to implement a bilingual school model so that by the year 2020 Nunavut will be turning out high school graduates fluent in both English and Inuktitut as outlined in a document known as the Bathurst Mandate.

Simply teaching students 100% in English will not work. There are a few communities where this is the case and their graduation rates are no higher than other Nunavut communities. One model, known as the Qulliq Model, developed in 1985, had students start school with Inuktitut immersion in all subject areas. This instruction then gradually declined as the amount of English instruction rose. By the time student reached high school, Inuktitut was reduced to a single language course while all other subject areas would be offered in English. In theory, this was supposed to solve the language problem. However, this model simply 1) gave the strong impression that English was more important, 2) demonstrated to Inuit students that Inuktitut learning did not require constant improvement and 3) led to a dramatic decrease in high school Inuktitut proficiency.

There are still many details to be worked out. Nunavut's communities have varying degrees of English competency in its schools so a one-size-fits-all solution is not feasible. The general idea for smaller communities is to begin schooling in Inuktitut, gradually increasing the amount of English students receive so that by the time they reach high school, instruction is something along the lines of 50-50.

There are still many uncertainties, not the least of which is funding. Add lack of qualified Inuktitut teachers, the overwhelming dominance of English and dialectical differences between regions and it all adds up to a big challenge - but a challenge that needs to be addressed and overcome if Nunavut is to reach its goal of truly becoming a bilingual society.

There is much more I could say and would like to say about this issue. However, I will save that until such time as I can think a little more coherently than I can at the moment. As with any profession, the education field is replete with its own jingoism - IL1 (Inuktitut as a first language), EL2 and ESL (English as a second language), L2 (second language) and LOI (language of instruction) - ouch....my head is spinning.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

School Happenings

I was into the school this afternoon for soccer practice and had the opportunity to meet our newest staff member. He will be taking over the vacant grade 8 position for the remainder of the school year. My conversation with him reminded me what a small world we live in. The man is originally from Kingston, Ontario, a couple hours away from where I grew up. He also spent 6 years teaching in Tulita, in the Sahtu region of the NWT. I began my career in the Northwest Territories and haven't bumped into anyone from there during my travels in the last little while. I always find it interesting that I tend to bump into people from past places I've been to. I mentioned to him that most of his students are involved with soccer here so he came down to the gym for awhile to watch and meet the kids, which I thought was a very smart move. I don't run across too many seasoned northern teachers unfortunately so it is always good to have colleagues like this to learn from.

The next couple of days are staff days so it should be an interesting time. We have an individual coming up and we will be discussing "language of instruction" models. What this means is that the GN is looking into ways of implementing educational programming in both Inuktitut and English and from what I understand, the community will get to decide which model it feels is best to be put in place for students here. Language of instruction is a big mine field education-wise here, or maybe not. Its too early to tell, but I will be able to comment more intelligently on this after the next days hopefully so I will leave it at that.

In the meantime, just a quick picture of the sea ice jammed up along the breakwater here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

That's Some Mighty Thick Ice

I didn't see it arrive. It almost seemed like God Himself had plunked this church down on the ice. Actually, it arrived via front-end loader. This is the old Anglican Church from Nanisivik. One of my young soccer charges told me it arrived after a 5-day haul from the former mine site down the road. According to a staff member from school, the building will get a second life and be used by the Ladies' Auxiliary here in Arctic Bay.

When the mine shut down, there was speculation that the buildings and other infrastructure there could salvaged for use here. Sadly, many of the houses there were deemed unfit to be used - too much contamination of some sort from the mine. This was an unfortunate twist as many of those structures, in the process of being dismantled could have helped alleviate the housing crunch. At any rate, I recognized this church from my last trip (actually my first trip) to Nanisivik back when I first arrived in July of 2005. Its in rough shape but its good to know it won't be bulldozed like many of the other buildings.



The church's arrival attracted a small crowd.



As you can see from this shot, the building is raised up off the ground (actually the sea ice) by some large metal beams underneath. It was up high enough for the kids to go crawling around underneath it at any rate.





As a side note, these pictures were all taken around 10:30pm this evening. The light comes back fast above the Arctic Circle.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Turnovers

J Consortium left a comment on my last post on a subject that really deserves its own post. Up to now I had been a little hesitant to comment on this but I do get questions on the subject of teacher turnover from time to time when I am back home so I thought a few comments would be in order.

First off, the reasons why teachers decide to head south are quite varied. I know for myself, the main reason why I left couple of positions was that as a rookie teacher, I simply felt overwhelmed by the new surroundings and the demands of the job. I feel though that if I was back at my first school, with the experience I have now, that I would be much better at handling things. I really did enjoy the community but at the time I had a really difficult time dealing with certain students.

I departed another community mainly due to health concerns. It was under a "boil water" advisory for almost the entire time I was there and I had picked up a rather horrid skin rash there. So of course putting health before career and moving on was the only option. (As an aside, I remember that when I would boil the water there, say for making coffee, it would leave a crusty yellow stain inside the pot...mmmm, tastey.)

At our school here, we have been fortunate the last couple years to have had a very small turnover. We have 10 southern hires, a handful of which have been here 4-5 years, which from my experience, is pretty good considering how far north we are. One is leaving to pursue a Master's degree, a couple more have spent 4 years here and are leaving because they are recently married and looking to settle down. A couple more are leaving because they are at the end of their careers. One teacher is planning to adopt yet still looks forward to teaching in Nunavut, though in a bigger community.

So as you can see, the reasons are as varied as the individual. I've tended to notice that most teachers in the north and not just Nunavut are either a) just starting out in the careers, as I was or b) seasoned staff at the end of their careers looking to do something a little different before they retire. There seems to be not as many teachers in the 30-40 age bracket like myself.

Turnover always presents a challenge but does leave opportunities for those remaining. For example, I know that with my experience level, applying for any sort of administrative position back home in Ontario would be a waste of time. Here, however, out of the 21 schools in QSO, there are 8 admin. positions that currently need to be filled. So the chances of landing something (in my case, I'm just hoping to land an interview or 2) are a bit more feasible. Within our own school, I could be wearing one of 3 different hats next year depending on how events play out - either remaining in my current high school position, teaching grade 9, as I mentioned in a previous post, or (the looooong shot), as an administrator here.

Anyhow, not to ramble on and get off-topic. The GN, of course, is aware of this problem. One solution is to hire more Inuit teachers. This subject by itself would take up a whole other post. In the meantime, I feel like I have carved out my own little niche here. After many moves in the past few years, it feels good to settle down.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Buyer's Market

One of the benefits of a staff turnover is that though people will be leaving, some of their larger belongings will not be. Rather than pack and move everything, many people leaving the North opt instead for a big end-of-the-school-year "yard sale". So I am hoping to get some good bargains. In the past I've been able to pick up a TV, VCR, enough paper towel to wrap up an iceberg, and of course some food.

My neighbors, Stephen and Stephanie, colleagues at the school, are heading back to Newfie in June so I have my eye on some shelves and possibly a small freezer of theirs. Looks like I'll also be able to pick up one more item I usually neglect to buy and only remember I should buy during those few times when I need to use it --

Me - "Are you selling your shovel or were you guys planning to take it with you?"
Stephen - "You mean the one you're always borrowing to shovel your deck?"
Me - "Yup. That would be the one."
Stephen - "$20?"
Me - "Deal."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

After Columbine it was supposed to be different. After Columbine, things were supposed to change. Sadly, history has repeated itself. Predictably, news outlets everywhere are eating up this latest tragedy at Virginia Tech. I flip back and forth between CBS and FOX and see images of people running in panic, a time line of events spelling out ad finitum.

Now, I like to see myself basically as an optimist but really, it is difficult to glimpse any modicum of a silver lining here. How sad that the human species which has accomplished so much cannot overcome its propensity to inflict harm on, and destroy, itself. The media tries to offer by solace suggesting that such events will unite and draw people together. How sad and pathetic really that such events have to occur in order for this to happen. People shouldn't need a tragedy in order to unite with their fellow human beings.

The blame game will start - guns, gun-law legislation, police authorities, the school. More guns will not fix the problem. (There are already millions of fire arms in society.) Stricter gun control will not fix the problem. (If a person is truly determined to inflict harm then, sadly, they will find a way).

What is truly needed is a collective look inward, to respect one another, to do good, to build a society in which people are valued, a society which is not fixated on violence (games, music, bullying and the idea that might is right).

A news channel promos tomorrow's morning show with the words "As this tragic story continues to unfold.....". Unfortunately, it will continue to unfold, and if society fails to make fundamental changes, it is a tragic story that will be destined to repeat itself.

The Bigger Picture

Now that I have Google Earth installed on my new laptop and have figured out how to save a few pictures, I thought I'd throw up a few shots. It took me several minutes of playing around so I figured after all the effort, I might was well do something productive with my ever-expanding technology skills.

Arctic Bay and surroundings.



"Downtown". The large building in the middle of the picture is Inuujaq School. The high school wing is the section of the building with the greyish roof.



Welcome to my neighborhood. The 4-plex I live in is the structure with the dark rectangular shaped roof in the middle of the picture. The road that hooks sharply to the right leads down a steep hill from which I've taken some great scenic shots of the bay and King George V Mountain.



Here is a wider view of town on the shore of the bay. This shot is rotated so that I could fit the entire bay in the shot. "Up" is east. The jagged finger of rock to the right is Holy Cross Point and if you look a little above (the the left of that funny-looking circle) the airport. This has served as the alternate landing strip to the Nanisivik Airport and is currently being upgraded. In about 3 years it will serve as Arctic Bay's main airport.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Recess

With all the nonsense going on in the world today, I find it comforting to walk look out our school's front doors and see views like these. I've posted a lot of pictures looking out the other side of the school toward the south but views to the north are just as impressive I think. Anyhow, I snapped these two shots this morning as I headed out into pleasant -10C weather for recess duty.





Sunday, April 15, 2007

Midnight

One of the (many) things that fascinates me here still is the long twilight periods we get after the sun sets. The sun set just after 10pm tonight but as you can see, there is still some light remaining at midnight. In about another 3 weeks the sun won't set at all here and we will enjoy 24 daylight for the next several weeks.

Here we have just a couple quick pictures of my housing unit and the bluffs to the north of town. (The little white dots are not snow. They just kept showing up in the several shots I took.) It was actually lighter out than the pictures show. I think my camera had a bit of difficulty with the light from the surrounding buildings and the -20C temps) but it gives you a bit of an idea of what "night" looks like this time of the year.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

Were These People Born Idiots or Did They Have to Work At It?

In a word PETA people. I caught a story off the CBC about how this group had requested that Iqaluit city council fly the flag at half-mast as a protest against the seal hunt. Needless to say that idea took off like a lead balloon.

Nonsense like this only serves to illustrate that groups like this are only interested in garnering media attention. (Visions of Paul McCartney posing on the sea ice with a baby seal in front of a myriad of cameras come to mind here). Ironically that seal likely died. Having picked up human scent off its young, the mother probably abandoned it.)

What irks me is really two things. First, groups like this always claim that they respect the rights of aboriginal groups to hunt for economic means and that they view the East Coast hunt and traditional Inuit hunts as two separate issues. Oh, if only it were so cut and dried. The simple truth is that any moratorium imposed on the East Coast hunt would affect Inuit as the resulting plummet in the price of sea skins would have a ripple effect on the Northern economy. Now, I'm no economist but even I can grasp this concept. Protesters alla Brigitte Bardot had a devastating effect on Inuit pocket books.

My other beef as mentioned earlier is that they only really want media attention. Don't believe me? Anti-sealing websites give out pointers on how to launch a successful protest which suggest choosing locations which have the most television cameras. (I'm itching to name this site but I'm not keen on having a pile of granola-crunchers inundate my humble blog.) As a result, they never come to small communities where the effects of their activities are felt the most. I guess it is easier to bark in front of a camera than to sit down face to face with a northern hunter who is trying to make a livelihood.

100 million sharks are killed worldwide very year and you don't hear a word from these idiots. I love how the left-wing of the spectrum tends to contradict itself over this whole issue (animals rights vs. the rights of minority groups) but that is a whole other issue I'll leave be for now.

In my mind, one of my grade 10 students summed it up best when I was discussing this issue in a class a couple weeks back: What right do they have to tell us what we should hunt and kill for food? We don't protest and tell them they shouldn't eat whatever the hell THEY eat.

Visitors

Its been interesting the past few weeks to see just how far my blog reaches. I've had visitors from some pretty far-off corners of our planet - England, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Israel, Australia, Singapore and Brazil as well as every province and territory in Canada. I've had a handful of e-mails from people who have considered moving to the territory as part of their jobs which was something I never really expected as well. Individual visitors have included a former town mayor, a former teacher, a nurse and a social worker who have spent time here, a record company exec. and the Pope. (Okay, I made up the last two). So to all those visitors a hearty thank you for stopping by. I hope to get some more pictures up in the near future.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Moving On Down?

Its been a pretty quiet week so far. I've been noticing a lot more loaded qamutiqs hitched to skidoos heading off across the bay, especially now with the milder temps and bright sunny days.

The only blog worthy thing at the moment is that I've started considering a possible grade change for next year. Nothing official yet though I have drafted a letter to my principal as a heads up. I have the letter tucked away in a safe place for now. The notion of teaching the grade 9 class here has been percolating in my brain for the past few days. Not only would this be a very strong group academically but as an added bonus, I've coached almost the entire class with soccer the past couple years and I have a great rapport with them. As an added bonus, if I were to make the switch then come tournament time in November the principal wouldn't have to worry much about tracking down a substitute as I'd pretty much be taking the entire class with me.

Of course with the coming turnover in the high school end, I feel it is also important that I stay involved with it to some extent for continuity sake. Ah, decisions, decisions. At any rate, it is a relief not to have to worry about packing, moving, interviews and all that sort of thing. I am becoming a bit of a pack rat I have to admit and I'm not keen going through the hassle and headache to packing up all my junk. (Don't ask why but I have every single pay stub I've ever had during 4 years in Nunavut sitting in a kitchen drawer. White coats are coming!)

At any rate, I can close off here by saying I'm perfectly happy to be here in whatever position the education gods decide to place me.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sacrifice

This long weekend is a very powerful time in many ways.....Easter, the 90th anniversary of Vimy, 6 Canadian soldiers killed today while on duty in Afghanistan. A tip of the hat and a warm and heart-felt thanks to all our young men and women serving in uniform. Perhaps if I can fumble through a couple examples, I may be able to give some expression to the debt of gratitude I feel toward the Canadian soldier.

While taking my history degree in Windsor, a professor tasked us with writing a paper on watershed battles in Canada's past. As a result, I found myself in the living room of a Mr. Johnston in Windsor, Ontario. Mr. Johnston was in his early 80s at the time, a veteran of Dieppe as well as the the Italian and European campaigns. Incredibly, this man had been wounded 4 times over the course of his service, yet refused to see himself sent back to Canada. I spent the entire afternoon speaking with the man, enthralled by his many stories. My 18 months of service in a Windsor reserve regiment paled in comparison with what he had to tell me, and there was much to tell. He displayed a dedication and spirit of selflessness so lacking in my own generation. I'm not sure how long I remained in that small living room, but I do know that after my conversation with him I was a changed man.

In my research specific to Vimy I also came across the name of a man from my home town who had fought there. James Robert Lowery was born in Campbellford, Ontario in 1884. He studied at Queen's and the University of Alberta and then became a member in the Alberta Legislature. He was called into service during the Great War. Serving as a Major with the First Canadian Mounted Regiment, he was wounded at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. Major Lowery survived the war and died in 1956.

How can we really thank these people, who left there busy lives and went off to take up arms in a foreign land? I'm not really sure what I can say other than to give the last word to Mr. Lowery, hometown lad and hero:

"The greatness of Canada will not depend upon the number of her people, upon the quality of No. 1 Hard Wheat, or the fine Shorthorn cattle she raises, her greatness in the future will consist in the character of her people."

Character as displayed by people like Mr. Johnston, James Lowery and all who wear this country's uniform.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Feel the Heat!

The mercury is really starting to rise here. Spring is definitely in the air. Many people are out and about, taking advantage of our 16 hours of usable daylight we are currently getting. For the first time in almost 6 months I was able to ditch my big red parka and wear a lighter coat. This lighter coat was one I bought 5 years ago in northern Manitoba. In most places it would qualify as a winter coat but here it serves as my spring coat. The temps had cooled off a bit by the time I took the first picture below. It was actually in the neighborhood of -14C this afternoon. (For any American readers of my blog, -17C is about 0F.)



I can appreciate that most readers of my blog will not find this temperature reading anything much to get excited over. However, this was the temperature reading back on March 11.......


......so you can understand my excitement. Not that I mind the cold. I don't mind it one bit. But it still is a treat to feel the warmth of the sun on your face when you're out and about.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Athlete Appreciation Night in Arctic Bay

The hamlet held an Athlete Appreciation night this evening in the community gym to celebrate the accomplishments of all our athletes. Certificates were handed out for soccer, basketball, hockey and badminton as well as for the Canada Games. There are plans to get all of the certificates that were handed out framed and put up on public display which I think is a fantastic idea.


Bronze for 15 and under girls soccer in the 2006 Baffin Regionals and the boys 13 and under gold medal.



Local athletes represented our territory very well at the 2007 Canada Games in Whitehorse and brought home lots of "bling". One of our athletes displays her gold and bronze medals.

More Time Off

In what seems to be becoming a familiar tune, our school was closed yet again today due to illness. This time we had 9 staff members felled by the bug. We are already short a grade 7 and grade 8 teacher due to resignations so it looks like we ran out of available substitutes to fill the need.

I must possess a magic bullet or have a horseshoe stuck somewhere because I feel perfectly fine. Its been frustrating with all the disruption in the schedule trying to get through all the material for my courses, but experience has taught me not to stew over what I cannot control. I certainly don't envy our admin having to track down 9 substitutes at 8:30am on a Monday morning. I've had to get subs in the past, but I only needed to find 2.

Speaking of administration, my principal let me know this morning that he's put in a good word for me at the board office. So I am just waiting for the positions to be officially advertised and then I will get my resume sent off. A big turnover will open up some good possibilities for me though I also realize that there will be many new challenges that come with this as well. But then again, I've never been one to back down from a challenge.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring Moon




I miss the big windows I had from my last house overlooking the bay. I got used to just walking through my old living room and having the views jump out. This year I have to keep my eyes peeled. I have to take a stroll down the road to get good pictures without houses and telephone wires in the way. I lucked out tonight though. The moon was even more splendid that the picture shows and the short stroll down the road was refreshing. -28C may sound chilly to most of my readers but I don't mind it a bit.

Here we have a full moon shining to the southeast just after 9pm. We are rapidly gaining in daylight. In about 5 more weeks the sun won't set at all.