Monday, May 10, 2010

Alaska in Spring Means Alaskans in Boots

Alaskans and Their BootsStop the presses! I'm excited to announce something very big here at Scribbit. Well . . . actually I'm going to tease you a bit with a taste of what's coming up and let you in on the first part of my secret.

There are some changes coming this summer, BIG changes and with all these surprises there will be some new voices here at Scribbit.

So I'd like to introduce one of the new contributing writers: Kim from The Mommy Machine who will be sharing her family and adventures on a regular basis as we take things to a new level.

I'll be giving you more information on Kim next week (you'll love her, I promise--I've met her myself so I can make that promise in confidence) but for now you can read her words about our lovely Alaskan foot wear. We called them "clam diggers" when I was a kid and I loved the feeling of standing in a freezing cold spring puddle where the water pressure pushed the boots up against my feet and I could stand there, experiencing the joys of the puddle without the wet.

I need to get myself a pair of these.

***

I’m knee-deep in spring. The snow is gone, but the muskeg’s soggy and the garden is still muddy, so I keep my trusty pair of rubber boots next to the door, ready at a moment’s notice for tromping around outside. Water-resistant boots aren’t just for little kids jumping in mud puddles; a good rubber boot is the go-to footwear this time of year for Alaskans of all ages.

When I was just a whippersnapper, my dad slipped my feet into my first pair of ugly brown XTRATUFs and carried me onto his fishing boat. Growing up in rainy southeast Alaska, I became accustomed to seeing the men in my family working in and around the water while wearing tall neoprene boots. On weekends, I joined my grandmother, mom, and aunts in sliding our wool-stockinged feet into rubber boots and heading out to the damp wilderness to pick blueberries, low bush cranberries, and salmon berries.

As a teenager working a summer job on the shrimp line at a busy cannery, I stood for hours in my XTRATUFs; thank goodness for my youthful arches, because back then I didn’t know about support hose or Dr. Scholl’s inserts. While I wouldn’t recommend standing in rubber boots for a 12-hour shift, I do suggest donning a pair if you ever get the chance to stroll along some Alaskan shoreline.

Now that I have children of my own, I make sure all my kids wear sturdy rubber boots when we go beachcombing. Fashionable play boots were good enough for toddling about the yard after a rain shower, but when my daughters reached the age to begin hiking independently around the beach, we visited the local gear shed to purchase their first pair of XTRATUFs. The thick brown work boots aren’t pretty, but they’re the best for protecting feet from sharp rocks and cold waves. A fisherman I know once joked, they keep the stink in and the moisture out. Who could ask anything more from a pair of boots?

I don’t care if my feet look fancy, as long as they’re warm and dry. Fortunately, I live in a state where most everyone subscribes to this same philosophy. Fisherman, hunter, gardener, berry picker, beachcomber, mud puddle jumper . . . we’re all united in our appreciation for the durable, dependable, and downright homely rubber boot.

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19 comments:

cndymkr / jean said...

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like change. However, I went over to Kim's blog and I love her! What's not to love, she posted a picture of a moose. And her kids, but the moose isn't something I get to see here in NJ! So bring on the changes and I'll be peeking out from my covers.

flip flop mama said...

I can honestly say I have never owned a pair of rubber boots.

Suzi Dow said...

During our trip to Alaska, sans waterproof footwear, while in Ketchikan, it was suggested we get "Southeast Sneakers." Okay and off we went to the local "Sneaker" store and asked for "Southeast Sneakers" in size 7 (women's) and 11 (men'S). I wonder how long it took for the salesperson to stop chuckling. Not pretty and playing basketball in those things would be a feat but our feet did stay warm and, more importantly, dry. Thanks for the reminder.

jacjewelry said...

Yes, I'm with you - dry takes priority over fashionable! I have a pair of rubber boots, and they are a must here in NY. I wear them every time it rains and fearlessly walk right through puddles!

The Shultzs said...

Yay Kim. =] I stumbled across Kim's blog awhile back through a friend and I became a daily follower. =]
I love the way she writes and since I am a family oriented gal, I love hearing about her life in Alaska and especially the kids. =]
And I think it's neat to see what she makes for dinner...lol...that has encouraged me to try new things to my dinners here in Pa. =]
Luv ya Kim. =]

KLZ said...

I'm intrigued....and clearly not from Alaska....what are salmon berries?

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I got me a pair - the U.P. is the same way - mushy! They are a true necessity!

I can't wait to see what you have cooked up over here.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

When we spent some time in Hoonah, we picked up a pair of the brown boots for the then 3 year old and they lasted through all 4 children, 10 years later. We called them the Hoonah boots.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

We used to call them breakup boots when I lived in Fairbanks, since all the snow and ice was breaking up. Definitely a necessity!

Lee said...

Kim's such a great blogger. Love reading her stuff. What a great combo of writers.

page2 said...

When I was a kid I called them "break up boots" since we wore them during break-up season. I still call them that and I suppose nobody here in Wyoming knows what I'm talking about.

JanMary said...

We have "wellies" here (short for Wellington Boots) and I always keep mine and my son's in the boot of our car - he is addicted to puddle jumping .... and we have puddles all year round!

Daisy said...

If we bought a pair around here, it would probably be blaze orange or camo - or maybe camo with blaze orange trim! :)

branda50 said...

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby?..The ladies with their Derby hats, fancy dresses and their rubber boots...

Heather said...

I love my rubber boots-I also want to get more of them in different colors.

Heart2Heart said...

I love these! I am so in love with the plain old yellow ones from my childhood and just seeing these brought back some great memories from my childhood of puddle jumping in the down pours on the way home and to school.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Alexia said...

Yay rubber boots-- I don't think I've ever owned a pair either. Although maybe I've imagined I have. I love them for some reason, although I now live in sunny LA and would have no use for them!

Blond Girl said...

What did we do before rubber boots? What I loved was purposely buying my daughter's heart-covered boots a size too large, knowing that she'll wear them through 2 springs. Though we don't get nearly the use out of them here in IL that you do, I'm sure.

glitzen said...

I'm already a fan of Kim's (and also of XTRATUFs). We called them break up boots too, and I'm also a commercial fisherman's daughter, so I know them well.