6.12.2021

Rambling over Coffee.... Alaska, skills, homesteading, frigid cold, snowstorms, and ultimately and oddly enough - decorating houses? It's just the coffee talking again!

Hello Coffee Friends

In the past week, in the evenings before bed, I've been reading 'old' abandoned blogs of people who went 'North to Alaska' to try to homestead, build a cabin, etc.  Most only stay a few years and can't do it anymore and leave to come back to the US lower 48 - usually in Oregon or Washington.   

It takes a special kind of person to make it up there. There are links that are still being updated but for the most part, the majority seem to stay less than 5 or 6 (or so) years before they give up.  I'm not talking about the people who buy a house in town or are there for their in-town jobs or even the military; but the people that try to carve a living on the land, often 100+ miles from... civilization?  Although that's hardly right  either as in the past 40 years, so many people have moved up there that it's getting more difficult to not be around people.  You have to use a plane and 'fly' in to do that.

I come from genetic stock that are pulled in that direction.  Relatives that did.  I can dream about doing it... but I know I never would... could.  I have a gold band on my hand of a man who won't even go camping or hiking with me.  I'd need to have a husband who is knowledgeable, has common sense, skills, knows how to fix things, improvise, work hard but also work smart, and like to read, study, learn, research... adapt to any situation and think quick. 

I have many of the skills I would need.  I've spent my life learning skills I don't 'need' but learned just to have the knowledge.  I still do that.  For fun.  I have the interest, the longing, the personality.  I'm totally ok with solitude.  Survival. I don't have upper body strength or the muscle to do a lot of the work that I'd need the husband to help with or do.  And I'd want my other half to bring to the table some skills and knowledge of things I really don't care about, I hate or I just don't want to know or learn.  Ha ha.  Ying and Yang.  

But mostly?  Boy, I hate the freezing cold!  No, really.  I was born and raised in the frigid cold.  Some of my earliest memories are snow, ice, cold, bundled in layers; climbing over snowbanks to even get to the car to go to preschool or library story time when I was 3 years old.  

I recall snowstorms around the age of 3 or 4 that dumped and blew snow that literally went up to the roof of our one-story home.  The large picture window in the living room was packed with nothing but snow pressed up against the glass to the top.  The front door was also covered.

My Dad worked for the state at the time and had left to drive the snowplow.  He didn't come home for three days.  He was driving through literal tunnels of snow.  To dig out our front door the men tied ropes around their waists so they didn't get lost in the snow.  Mom was stuck in the house with me and my little brother, and possibly another baby brother (I don't recall if he was born yet.)   This was in the 1970's.

Around 1981 or so (I think?) we lived in a different town and a snowstorm hit that knocked out power for about 4 days.  Drifts had covered the cars and blocked driveways and roads.  Our family was fine.  We had a Franklin wood stove in the family room; which doubled for cooking.  Mom cooked on the top of it since it got hot enough.  We had light from lanterns.  A couple neighbors and the town cops stopped in to see how our house was so 'lit up' with light when no one else had any.  We when we moved there in 1978 my Dad had remodeled the whole house and in the old basement (where they originally used coal to heat the house) he built a wood burning stove to heat the house.  He used the old opening in the wall where they used to shovel in coal to throw in the truck fulls of split wood we used to heat the house.  He would go out and cut down trees and cut wood, stack it in the truck and drive back - backing up the truck - and he and my little brothers and I would have to unload the wood, throw it through the basement opening and someone inside the basement would have to grab it and stack it.   The basement wasn't finished; it was original to the house and while some of it was covered in concrete/cement and a little bit in concrete blocks, other parts were were still dirt.  

I kind of chuckle to think of that awful (to me) basement.  It was the only part of the house Dad didn't completely remodel or modernize.  We were known for having one of the nicest homes in the area.  They did a lot of things that were 'new' or not really seen in our little part of the country as we were always traveling and visiting family so my parents got decorating ideas from our relative's homes in Los Angeles, CA and such.  Our wallpaper in the dining room and kitchen was bought in California and as odd as it seems now (with the internet the availability we have to literally buy almost anything from anywhere) back then it was a big deal.  My Mom had women pop into our home just to look at our wallpaper and one even insisted on tracking it down and getting my Aunt to buy and send her some from Los Angeles.   

We had cork board and mirror walls in the living room and part of the dining room that I recall strangers coming to see and get decorating ideas for their own home.  We also were one of the first families in our school and church to get a microwave.  Ha ha.  

We had very nice furniture, was the first house in our town to use large rock to cover the front of our home with a rock/siding finish.  We built a huge deck spanning the length of the house from one end to the next and my Mom apparently had women stopping at the house to 'tour' it.

My Dad had some important people (to a child's memory) stop in to see his homemade wood burning stove in the basement but he also built his own custom wood-splitter which also gained attention and I was told he was warned to put a patent on it as it was pretty awesome - but that's just not 'my Dad' or his personality.  He didn't.  And he built a second one for a friend of his that apparently went on to patent something or other about it.  



Ahhh... where was I?

Oh yeah.  Alaska.  Ha ha.  Homesteading. Working hard to live on land that will give you a million reasons to leave and nature that will try to kill ya.  But it gives you reasons to stay as well.   :)

My coffee is cold.  I'm still in my pajamas.  Time to say thanks for stopping by and sorry for rambling a bit, you know it's just the coffee talking again.


 

 

 

 

 










 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for sharing morning coffee with me!