A letter from a real live AK backwoods homesteader!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by GREEN_ALIEN, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Dakota
    I thought I would share this with everyone. Sharon is a great friend of mine and has just started out on an AK backwoods life with her son and dil and thier kids. I included her wish list for entertainment value. It can get mighty lonely in the frozen north so I left her address in the letter hoping maybe someone could send some words of encouragement.

    GA

    Hello & Merry Christmas to all of you!

    I asked Challis to send you this letter. I still don't have Internet access. Satellite Internet is available but I don't have the money now to get it started.

    We've been in our backwoods cabin for a month now. It's so lovely here -- tall spruce trees, birch and alder everywhere. It's been snowing for several days and the snow is heavy in the tree branches -- it's nice to have the snow on the ground freshened.

    There's a lot of work to do here and it won't be quick by any means. I have discovered a lot about living off-grid and in the backwoods. We use kerosene lamps, heat with wood from our property, get our water from our creek... very nice and I do love it.

    A major problem is the access to our property. The real estate agent lied to us about the access. He said we could drive within a quarter-mile. It is not true. Our only way in is two miles by 4-wheeler ATV. And there will be some times of the year that the ATV won't ever make it. We are going to have to get an ARGO to be able to consistently get in and out. We just can't afford one though, so we're stuck. I do worry a lot about this issue and what we would do in an emergency.

    Until I'm back on line again I would love to get letters from you all!

    Love -
    Sharon

    [ Mom's address is:
    Sharon Marsden
    P O Box 470
    Anchor Point, AK 99556 ]

    My Wish List

    Argo! so I can get in and out of this place. Even during break-up & across the bog. Yes -- BOG!

    Internet! Satellite Internet! I can get Starband Satellite Internet started for $600. I would be able to be in daily contact with my friends & family then and wouldn't feel so isolated.

    A laptop computer that is wireless-ready. Laptops take MUCH less energy and that's so important when you live off-grid like we do!

    A cell phone with FREE Long Distance! :eek:) Of course that would require that someone could/would use their good credit to get me a plan with.... oh.... like Cell One in Homer. :eek:)

    Did I mention an ARGO???

    Poly water storage tanks! Big ones!

    Trash pump to pump water from our creek to our poly water storage tanks (see above.... LOL) then Denise & Jason wouldn't have to make any more trips from the creek, up "Sledding Hill" carrying two big buckets of water.... And I would have all the water I want, when I want it.

    RV lights to use inside. You know the kind that mount on the wall and use a small bulb?

    "Touch Lights" to put on wall by indoor potty room. (I can't get to the outhouse easily).

    Rechargeable batteries & charger for flashlights (D's), etc.

    Thermometer to hang on wall outside the window.

    Cell phone booster -- costs $50 at ACS in Homer. That would enable me to talk on my cell phone inside the house. Then I wouldn't have to go outside -- and it's getting too cold to spend a lot of time out there!

    Phone cards for Tracfone -- the cell I have now. Tracfone is expensive and doesn't have free long distance, but at least it's a phone and I do have something for emergencies. That's important when you're so far back in, isn't it?

    Blood Pressure cuff/checker.

    Did I say ARGO???

    Lifetime supply of kerosene and lamp chimneys.

    Three good marine batteries for our battery string. Or 6 V deep cycle batteries (or more! :eek:) ).

    Diesel generator to replace gas one (to use for laundry).

    Just My Size Sweatshirts 4x -- warm & roomy/comfortable.

    Ice treads to keep from falling on ice. They fit over the bottoms of shoes.

    New copy of the traveling music that John Lang made for us! Our inside tape player ate it and we are heartbroken! We love it.....

    Bear spray for spring.

    Chili Tepins and ground oregano.

    Here's wishing for everyone's dreams to come true!


    [ From Challis: I don't have everyone's e-address, so I did the best I could lol ]
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Seems rather a conflict to move to the boonies, yet want instant access to everything else.

    Ken Scharabok
     

  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
  4. Snowdancer

    Snowdancer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,828
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    Dyersville, Iowa
    Wow, that's a bigger wish list than some yuppies! :haha:

    I wish her well- AK can be unforgiving during the winter! Sadly, it seems like they made the move before being ready since she is asking for a lot of items that one who is prepared would have already secured. :eek:

    Hard to be self sufficient when you put a list of somewhat expensive items out for others to provide. Heck, with lists like that most of us could become 'self sufficient rather quickly'. ;)

    May the winter be mild and the spring thaw happen slowly so she can get in & out of the property.

    Happy Holidays
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    An ARGO is something like a six-wheel drive small buggy. Basically a go-anywhere vehicle.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Doesn't sound like they went up there to rough it! :haha: The access problem is a problem, but there are a lot of places in Alaska that don't have overland access unless the ground is frozen. It just points up the fact that you MUST take a good look at a place before you buy!!

    Kathleen
     
  7. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
    light just came on. LOL

    Thanks Ken
     
  8. reluctantpatriot

    reluctantpatriot I am good without god.

    Messages:
    858
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Location:
    Terra Planet, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy
    Not all homesteaders can store up all the suppllies and gear they need to be self-sufficient. Even if she had most of what she needed, something special like an ARGO might not be foreseen until on site. Around here the majority of the time a regular two wheel drive vehicle can get in and out of where I live, however with severe weather it requires tire chains or a 4x4.

    Her desire to have good communication is honest and not necessarily a luxury. If she can't get out easily over thawed ground with what she has, she may need to have good communication gear for emergencies. Having internet access might seem like a luxury too, but some technology helps ease the distances from civiliazation and can be used to help with weather forcasts, medical information and more.

    Sure, she can get along perhaps with little, but would it not be better to have a few things that will make the rest of it easier?

    As for needing to see the location yourself and not trust the real estate agent, I am not going to judge. Sometimes it is possible that you don't discover problems until after the sale.

    My hat is off to her for doing what I only dream of doing right now. I have plans for my homestead here, but it is not as remote as hers. I would like to one day have something like her homestead, but it comes in small steps.
     
  9. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Remember the wish list was an XMAS list sent to freinds and family, I posted it here for entertainment value.

    In her defense, we both checked via long distance with the city of Anchor Point and just use of maps and figured out that they plow to within 1/4 mile of her property line to service a tower of some sort. Well that changed lol, now no tower so no plow for that last two miles. It is a 4X4 track in the driest months.

    She was fully aware of the need of frozen ground for access and we spent many hours looking over the best snow machines etc... for winter travel. They just happened to show up in that doldrum period between dry and frozen.

    She wants the sat internet access OR cell service to stay in some form of contact with the rest of the world, like her doctor.

    Some might say they went unprepared and they are most wrong OR have absolutly no idea of what it takes to ship a working homestead to alaska. Not just the financial concerns but the logistics. They moved what they could in a suburban and a trailer and what made it through the P.O.S. canuks thieving at every stop. Yup guys, these people are one of us. They left a working 20 ac farm in AZ to live in AK after many many moons of research.

    Did I mention that this lady is 52 years old and suffers from a bad case of MS. She moved herself to the AK bush to live and die a dream. She has far more guts than just about anyone here I would imagine...

    To sum it up, before you get to critical send us YOUR Cheekacoo AK story...lol if you got one.
     
  10. McLeod

    McLeod Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    For the record GREEN_ALIEN I take personal offense to you calling Canada a P.O.S. and we are not all theives as you are implying. Grrrrrr. McLeod
     
  11. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,286
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .................I applaud her intestional fortitude in pursuing her dream but , there has to BE some Rational basis for being able to evalute your resources and your skills in surviving the climatic conditions that you will subject yourself , TOO . Personally , I would have NEVER closed on any RE transaction until I had actually walked the ground . If , she had a good life on 20ac's in AZ , it would seem , given the Onset of her MS diagnosis that there would have been Challenges enough for her , There as it were . There are wild places Aplenty , right here in the lower 48, just ask ALL the Folks who are Afraid to move to Wyoming . As is usually the Case , she will become a Cause celeb for martialing the resources of Others who are already "living" there and hopefully they will take up the Slack and get her setup so she is atleast be safe and warm . Maybe she should have watched the Expose on PBS about living in the wilderness and the level of skill and planning it takes to survive . Just my opinion , fordy.. :)
     
  12. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    561
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    ontario
    She has MS? What the hell is she doing? I have minor health problems, and find it difficult sometimes. I can't imagine having this disease, and roughing it in the wild with no communications set up, not much of a plan I'd say.
     
  13. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    561
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    ontario
    Whats a P.O.S.?
     
  14. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,286
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .............
    ..................Do , you remember , WHAT you called your first boyfried , when he acted like an Butthead...you called him a ..." :eek: , I'll just bet! Well , a POS :D , is a "T" is da same thang . :( , fordy... :eek: :)
     
  15. havenberryfarm

    havenberryfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    407
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Northwest Ohio
    Hey, GA. I know you didn't post that message for the purpose of soliciting help, but how about if some of us send a little something up there this Christmas. I know it won't get there in time, but we could certainly send a few small items up there in the Spirit of Christmas. What better gift for the King of Kings than to give a gift in His name? Maybe we could send touch lights or rechargeable batteries, 4X sweatshirts, Tracfone cards or a disposable cell phone. If she has any grandchildren living there maybe we could send a little something for them as well. I am sure that even Hot cocoa or soup mix would be appreciated. How's about it, folks? Anybody up for spredding a little Christmas cheer? It doesn't have to be much, but if we all pitch in for $10-20 ...
     
  16. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Reminds me of some of the old letters from the "real" homesteads in the late 1800's. Women just wishing in their writing, because their reality was present at every step. Of course, they may have wanted something like a new china lamp or something, but pretty much the same.

    I, for one, thank you GA for posting it. It was a nice view into her life. I hope she gets her internet access, that will help her communication wise.
     
  17. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    I understand what she's trying to do -- and just for the record, I was raised on a homestead in the middle of Alaska, and still have a lot of family up there. Maybe someday I'll even go back to live, who knows.

    However.

    First of all, she may regret those long winters with her health problems. My SIL with lupus thinks the long cold winters make her lupus worse, or at least she feels it more. They've been talking about moving down here, at least in the winters. That's if she lives long enough, as her health has been deteriorating. And she was born and raised up there, has lived up there almost her entire life, including quite a few years in Barrow.

    Secondly, while I really do understand her desire to live a dream, it just isn't realistic to go haring off to the middle of the back of beyond and expect to have all the modern amenities!! If you really feel like you NEED those things, then you need to select a location where they are more readily available -- unless, unlike most of us, you can afford to supply them yourself. Otherwise, you have to be prepared and willing to do without. If they check with their neighbors, I think they will find that few of them have ham radios, satellite phones, or ARGO's. They just do without, and work around the inconveniences.

    People nowadays have gotten so used to instant communications, to being able to go wherever they want, whenever they want, to being able to buy whatever they want whenever they want, and to having canned entertainment available at all times, that it is inconceivable to most of them that it's even possible to live without those things. Oh, and instant heat whenever you want, and instant hot and cold running water, and lights at the flick of a switch . . . ALL of these things are very recent innovations in human history, and ALL of them could literally disappear in the blink of an eye (don't believe me? Consider what would happen if an EMP bomb was detonated at a high elevation above the middle of this country.). While I enjoy the benefits of having electricity as much as anyone (probably more than most, as I've lived without them), I think it is sheer foolishness to allow ourselves to be totally dependent on them. Rant over.

    Kathleen
     
  18. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    a couple of books by Richard Leo come to mind

    Edges of the Earth and Way out Here


    He walked in and out of his place and left his car (once he got one) out where he jumped off the highway to get into his place. Eventually he got dogs. Good read about AK challenges and rewards.
     
  19. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Thanks Haven. I have been flooded with emails and PM's since I posted this and I will share the same response here. If you wish to send her anything just make it a few words of encouragment or maybe a big woohoo. She loves her pen pals.

    Please please remember that MS causes memory troubles so letters can get a little fun to read. As an example, I made sure over the phone that she had my snail mail address written down and placed once in her purse and once in her little wallet. 7 days later she had to email her DD from the homer library to get it from her...lol. I get a letter from time to time that seems that she does not know who I am but is writing because she must know me, she has my address.

    GA
     
  20. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Dakota
    OK be offended. They were broke into 3 times in your lovely country as well as turned away from motels in a few spots because they were Americans. Now this happens everywhere and I understand that, all they wanted to do was drive accross the place not live there.

    Years ago I was tag teaming a TT up the highway and this little note got sprayed on the side of our rig... P.O.S Yanks in Dawson.

    GA