by Mike Reimer
The Reimer and Webber families, like most in the North, have spent a lifetime enjoying nature’s bountiful harvest. In our case this includes big game such as moose and caribou, several species of freshwater fish, as well as a variety of wild berries used to complement these delicacies.
Our version of Saturday afternoon grocery shopping does not mean driving to the mall in a minivan, but rather involves a snowmobile, a boat or good old foot power. There is no healthier more satisfying way to put food on the table than harvesting fish, game and berries for the winter while immersing yourself in God’s wonderful creation. And of course, there is no such thing as a bad day of hunting or fishing. Sure, the wind might be blowing the rain sideways at 60 km an hour or whipping the snow into a windchill of -50°C, but that can be exhilarating!
We have had many great outdoor adventures over the years with friends and family, highlighted by the exceptional top-of-mind experiences that most often involve our children. Several, okay many, years ago (yikes!), we decided to spend a family Christmas at our remote fishing lodge on North Knife Lake.
It was a beautiful experience highlighted by wolves howling at night to the Northern Lights, hauling northern pike in through 5-foot thick ice, enjoying fireside chats, sliding down the esker in -40°C, dream watching roaring fires in the Lodge fireplace, and bathing kids in the metal wash tub!
And just when we thought nothing more could be added to this idyllic setting, the caribou migration showed up. This was too good to be true, and soon our oldest daughter Rebecca, who was 10 years old at the time, started bugging Dad to let her “catch” a caribou. We were not going to let all that fresh meat just walk on by!
Father and daughter slipped out the cabin door early the next morning and quietly trekked through the snowdrifts down to the lakeshore. For several minutes we sat snug in our goose down parkas watching a long line of caribou file across the ice, their ankles clicking loudly in the frigid morning air. It wasn’t long before a shot rang out from the rifle of our young huntress and one of the caribou stepped out of line and fell to the ice.
The sound of the rifle brought sisters Karli and Allison and Mom Jeanne dragging little Adam on a sled down to the shore, where we soon had a roaring fire of driftwood warming frozen fingers. The next couple of hours were spent on those rare teachable moments you sometimes get with your kids. Each part of the skinning and butchering process was carefully analyzed and discussed in much detail, while choice bits of caribou sizzled on sticks over the open fire.
Outdoor life, as good as it gets!