Monthly Archives: July 2011

Book Review: Borrowed Black

Borrowed Black: A Labrador Fantasy, written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by Jan Mogensenis a children’s story book about an imaginary creature that lives on the coast of Labrador. This children’s story is a poem written using rhyming couplets. This simple but effective writing style allows for a very coherent and fluid read. Although Borrowed Black is a children’s book, it is still appropriate for adults as it cleverly places information about Labrador within its text. Obed is an excellent author as she uses a collection of literary devices to create a more vivid understanding of the story.

Borrowed Black, the protagonist of this children’s story can also be viewed as the antagonist as he initiates the havoc created in the story. Borrowed Black is created from “borrowed” items, “For Borrowed Black borrowed and never gave back.” His hands were “borrowed” from the paws of a bear and a gull’s beak he “borrowed” as his nose. These “borrowed” items fueled his very existence. When Borrowed Black becomes consumed with greed, he selfishly steals the moon, leaving the land veiled in darkness. Borrowed Black drops the moon and breaks it into several pieces, “a billion and four.” Later, a few brave sailors, Mousie Mate and his Curious Crew successfully steal the moon back from Borrowed Black, returning it to the sky which consequently destroys Borrowed Black.

Like most children’s stories, a moral is often created throughout the story. The moral established in Borrowed Black is how courage can overcome greed. This story is also a legend, as when the moon was smashed into many different pieces they say that is the reason for the cracks in the moon.


To this very night on the Labrador

When you stand and watch from the tall, dark shore, 

You can see cracks in the moon round and high

And the silver it left on its way to the sky.


And fishermen say if you follow the trail,

You’ll come to the boat in the back of the whale.   


Borrowed Black is an excellent children’s story and I would certainly recommend this story to any audience.




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Birch Brook :)

Yesterday I went to Birch Brook to help with the open house they were having. The new lodge is so beautiful! In the large  building tea, coffee, and teats were held. I ate too many cookies! I helped make the hamburgers and hot dogs outside. They were very good too! But ran in when the rain started! But the food was so good, they gave us some to take home! Mmm!

It rained on us but many people still took the trails at 1, 2, and 3. I didn’t take trails because i was wearing flip flops! Never thought of that before! But I did walk around the garden that they had, the flowers were so pretty and smelled really good! Besides the rain the afternoon was beautiful and very fun!


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Happy Wednesday!

It’s been a very busy week here at Them Days! Since I’m leaving next Friday I’m trying to squeeze a month’s worth of work into two weeks! Thomas, Justine, and I have been working like quiet little busy bees putting together articles and stories for the next issue (my FIRST as editor, yahoo!).  I’m taking advantage this week of our full house since Melanie is gearing up for a trip to the Island next week and ustine will be house manager at the Katimavik house. Thomas and I will have to fend for ourselves!

This is our first week without Chelcie and a day hasn’t gone by yet where someone doesn’t says “I miss Chelcie.” She was such a great worker, and I know I couldn’t have gotten through my first month at this job without her help and guidance. We miss you Chelcie!! Good luck in Nova Scotia!

This Friday if you’re in the Happy Valley – Goose Bay area, why not stop into the office? As a part of Culture Days we’re having an open house! We’ll have tea and coffee (if I ever figure out how to use that machine) and maybe cookies! You can come on by and see how it’s done!

I’m off to work more on the magazine 🙂 I hope that all you readers will enjoy reading it as much as I have been enjoying making  it!


Happy Trails!



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New Summer Student

Hello fellow Them Days blog readers, my name is Thomas Abbass and I am the new summer student here at Them Days. I started work last monday, and lets just say the first week was very eventful. On the first day of work Chelcie and I drove down to the Northern Ranger (a boat that travels the northern and southern coast of Labrador) to drop off some Them Days magazines. Later in the week I had to the pivilege of accompanying Chelcie while she interviewed an elder from North West River. Then on Friday the staff at Them Days cooked fantastic Labradorian dishes at Aimee’s house for Chelcie’s last day – I don’t know what I am going to do without her!!

What I find very fascinating about this job is the insurmountable about of history within the building – the archive’s are phenomenal. I have already learned so much about Labrador in one week and am anxiously awaiting to learn more about my heritage over the summer!


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A Tasty Review: Pure Labrador Cookbook

So this will be final, final post! On Friday, Thomas, Sarah, Melanie and I (and Justine for a little bit) all went to Aimee’s house to try out three recipes from the Pure Labrador Cookbook!


As our appetizer we baked two rounds of camembert cheese topped with pecans and partridgeberry jam and wrapped them in phyllo pastry before baking them.

The recipe was simple and straightforward and took less than 20 minutes to prepare. They were delicious and a good appetizer, because it was so easy to make, and because it was so share-able! It was great to just cut off a piece and either eat it with crackers or on its own. I reccomend the recipe and will be keeping it in mind for the future.

Before stuffing and baking (Thank you to Matt MacFarlane for donating the trout!)

Our next recipe was a mushroom stuffing for fish. A friend of Sarah’s kindly donated a trout for us to try (and cleaned it for us, thankfully). The hardest part about this recipe was cutting off the fins! The end result was a very moisty and tasty fish.

So simple, yet SO tasty!

This recipe was only for the stuffing and gave no indications how long the fish should be cooked for (the recipe reccomends trout or salmon), which I would have liked to see.

Voila! The finished product!

It took us a bit of Googling to figure out the approximate baking time, but we just kept an eye on it and took it out when we thought it was done, which luckily it was. And though, this has nothing to do with the recipe, I recommend deboning the fish before cooking it, it makes everything much easier!

For dessert we chose a blueberry sour cream cake. This recipe was my least favourite. The directions were a bit misleading (we weren’t sure whether the sour cream topping went on before or after the cake was baked, but after realizing that the topping involved a raw egg, Thomas wisely pointed out it should probably be put on before we put it in the oven).

Stir stir stir!

The cake batter was not at all like a normal cake batter and was much closer to cookie dough-consistency. I only used about 2 – 2.5 cups of blueberries, as the 3 the recipe called for seemed like too much. The recipe specifically called for a spring foam pan, which unfortunately not one of us had. I would have liked to see the recipe list alterations or advice for people who didn’t have such a specific type of pan.

The cake, after we managed to get it baked, was pretty good. It was more like a coffee cake with a thick layer of sour cream topping and a middle layer of blueberries. I would have liked a bit of a warning about the unusual consistencies of the layers before baking it and then a hint that it wouldn’t be like a cake, but almost a tart, or something. The cake was good, but the unhelpful recipe means I would not recommend this.

So all in all I would say the day of experimenting was a thorough success and we got to hang out with Aimee and baby Beatrix so that made it all the much better.

Beatrix Bridget Elaine Mills ❤


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Book Review: Aullâk

Spoiler warning!

     Aullâk: A Labrador Experience, written by Alex D. Saunders, is the short story of his first caribou hunting trip when he was 21, in the 1960s. Saunders travelled into the country, about 120 miles north of Nain, in the winter with his 26-year-old cousin Wilfred. The story opens with the beginning of their trip and takes the reader along with them on their journey until they arrive back home.

     Saunders is a wonderful storyteller and it comes across well in his writing. His language is simple but descriptive and after supplying the basic details of his surroundings or thoughts, he lets the readers’ imaginations take them to the barren snow-covered wilderness of Labrador’s north coast. Saunders’ voice is romantic: talking about the calm and peace he feels when out on the land, hunting with just one other person and his dog team to rely on.

      As I’ve encountered with a lot of Labradorian literature, there is a great sense of humility in Labradorians. They kick up no fuss about whatever may cross their path and never brag or boast about their, sometimes astonishing, accomplishments. Even when Saunders awakes to see that four of his huskies are missing and there are wolf tracks about, he shows no hesitation in gearing up to go after them and spends the entire day in frigid temperatures searching for them; scaring off wolves looking for a meal. The atmosphere Saunders creates when he runs, keeping up with one of his female dogs, back to where Wilfred and his tent are, is magnetic. Reading about it, I felt like I understood the emotions and thoughts Saunders was describing, even though I’ve never been in a situation remotely similar.

     Clear in Saunders’ book is his, and his people’s, great respect for nature and for wildlife. When Saunders shoots his first caribou, he is elated to have killed a great animal by himself but is quickly saddened and even upset to know that he took away the creature’s life. He is constantly in awe and admiration of Labrador and its beautiful scenery, comparing it to far more exotic places around the world but feeling most humbled byLabrador’s endless tundra and frozen waters.

     Saunders writing is a great example of a common theme in journalism: show don’t tell. Writers shouldn’t have to tell their reader how it felt to see something or what they thought about a certain situation: they should show them through descriptive language. Saunders doesn’t tell the reader that community and family is the most important thing in his life, but shows them by talking about how glad and proud friends and neighbours will be when he and Wilfred return home with several caribou.

     Saunders’ short book is a great example of natural storytelling that showcases the wonders of this land and the inhabitants that call it home.


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So Long Them Days!

Well, Them Days, it’s the end of an era. Kind-of. Today is my last day at Them Days and I  spent it baking and cooking up lovely Labradorian dishes with my coworkers, at Aimee’s house with baby Beatrix!

I have met a lot of wonderful people working at this magazine and am thankful that I got to spend the time I did with all of them. I’m so grateful that I got to learn more about Labrador and it’s culture than I ever knew before, even after living here for years. I have seen a lot of really cool and amazing photos in the archives, read a lot of interesting stories and interviews and seen a lot of cool documents from decades gone by. I also got to see Katimavik in action and already miss Morgan and Justine, and fellow summer student Thomas.

I will miss having an excuse to read the great Labrador books I have over the past two and a half months and will now have to motivate myself to read them on my own time!

And an added bonus to a summer job was all of the babies! Jill found out that her second child is going to be a boy, Aimee had a beautiful, healthy baby girl and Melanie will be having a boy!

On Monday I will be posting my final-final post, with a review about all of the cooking and baking we did today!


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