Attention All Alaskans!!!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by PappaLee, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    Location:
    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    Ok,

    This is my very first time posting to the board, although my wife (mammalee) has been posting for awhile now. I decided I wanted to throw a VERY WILD idea out here (in the spirit of adventure that jagger has been exalting lately), and just see if I get any bites.

    First off -- my wife and I have always dreamed about living in Alaska. I know, I know -- most think it's crazy to live somewhere that is perpetually dark during the winter months -- but we kinda like the idea. My wife and I revel in this type of weather : 1. Cold (the colder the better) 2. Rain (we like lots of rain -- preferably over 40 inches a year)

    And as for the scenery -- we love mountains, pine trees -- the classic Northwest type of scenery.

    Ok -- now for some background. My wife and I lived in Portland, Oregon for the first 5 years of our marriage (we married a year out of high school and now have two children -- ages 3 and 2 and with another baby due in Sept!! :) I am 25, she is 24.

    Because I lost my job in Portland back in early 2003, we were forced to look elsewhere for employment. The problem was: I wanted to start my own business AND I wanted to live in the country. Portland is hard in both areas for young couples because entrepreneurship is rather discouraged in the liberal minded Portland area -- and living in the country is very expensive due to the Californians driving up the prices.

    Anyhoo -- we wound up moving south to California in the Fall of 2003 (after nearly 6 months of unemployment) because we had some friends who lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They offered to let us stay with them in their double wide trailer until we got our feet on the ground.

    With some major blessing from YHVH (The Lord) and with the support of our friends, we were able to start our own housecleaning business and find a single wide trailer not far from them which we rent.

    Soooo -- we've been living here in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains for about 9 months. We commute about an hour west (down into the valley) where we clean houses in a town of about 70,000 people. We've been averaging about $2,000 a month which is not alot but it has at least helped make ends meet. We've also learned a ton about being self employed and running a business. We've been learning lots!!!

    Ok -- now for the point of this message -- as much as we love living our dream of living in the country (can't get much more rural than the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains) and owning our own business -- we still have that wild dream of living in Alaska. We don't care for the California heat too much and we soooooo miss the rain. Oh, how we miss the rain!!!

    Soooo -- are there any Alaskans out there who might be willing to house a family of 5? That'd be me, my wife, my two children, and the baby that is coming in September. It'd be preferable if you lived close to a major city like Anchorage or Juneau. I figure if we could start a pretty prosperous housecleaning business in a town of 70,000 people, we should be able to start one in a city like Anchorage or even Juneau (both of which have a much higher population). If you would be willing to house us until we get a housecleaning business up and running, hopefully we could then save up enough money to find a rental out in the country somewhere nearby.

    We'd also be willing to rent a small cottage that you may have on your rural property for cheap and possibly negotiate upping the rent payments once our business is up and running.

    Ok, ok -- like I said I know it's a looooong shot but I figured I couldn't lose by merely asking and seeing if anyone was open to the suggestion.

    My email is firebrand4@hotmail.com or you can private message me here on the forum.

    By the way -- we're not too strange or anything but we are Messianic Jews (combination of Jew and Christian) so this may factor in if you want to offer us a place to stay. :)

    Ok -- I guess I'll see what kind of response this generates!

    PappaLee
     
  2. freeholdfarm

    freeholdfarm Guest

    I'm not in Alaska now, but I've spent a good chunk of my life there, and still have a lot of family up there. You might want to check your population figures. Juneau and Fairbanks both run around 30,000 according to my fairly recent atlas, while Anchorage has 250,00 or so. Not to say you couldn't start a housecleaning business in a city the size of Juneau, but you need to know what you are getting into. Have you ever been to Alaska, especially Juneau? Juneau, like almost all the towns in Southeast Alaska, is bounded on one side by the ocean, and on the other by National Forest. This makes for a lovely environment, but it means there's no land to spare and drives prices sky-high. Also, all the towns in Southeast (except Haines and Skagway) have to have everything brought in by boat or air, which also raises prices. In other words these are expensive places to live, though if you can afford to live there, it's wonderful. (I went to college for two years in Sitka, and loved it.) I'm not sure how the economy is doing in Juneau right now, either. We were there briefly, the last half of 1990; my husband (ex) was working in a big mine. We left to move closer to his parents, who were having health problems, and shortly after heard that the mine had closed down. Don't know that it or another one that was in the works have ever opened. Of course, Juneau always has the government people, so it won't go completely under, but you might want to do some more checking before you jump in.

    Anchorage is a good-sized city. I wouldn't live there for all the tea in China, and in fact most people I know (Alaskans) hardly even consider it a part of Alaska anymore. It's just another city, like any other (although it does have a lot of moose wandering around town -- you won't find that just anywhere!). But you probably wouldn't have any trouble starting your business there. Again, though, property prices are high. I don't think you will find cheap land anywhere in Alaska, not even way out in the bush. Too much has been claimed by either government or the native corporations, so land available for private purchase is limited.

    You sound like you and your wife have a lot on the ball and I wish you both well.

    Kathleen
     

  3. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    Location:
    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    Ok, I guess I goofed on the population of Juneau.

    But just to clarify for anyone else who may be perusing this thread -- I'm not wanting to move in with someone who lives IN THE CITY of Anchorage, I'd want to stay with someone who lives out in the country (say within a 50 to 70 mile radius from the city). That way we could still live in the country but commute and clean houses in Anchorage.

    That's what we're doing right now -- we live in the Sierra Nevada mountains but commute 50 miles one way (100 miles roundtrip) every day east to a larger city where we do the housecleaning. It's a long commute -- but a beautiful drive through the mountains and nothing beats living out the country while making a city income! :)

    Anyway, from your advice it sounds like I'd want to steer away from SE Alaska. I guess the best bet would be if someone lives out in the bush within an hour to hour and a half commute of Anchorage.

    I found a homepage for the city of Willow, Alaska (it's close to Anchorage and looks plenty rural) and oh, how beautiful the picture looked!!! The mountains just took my breath away!

    Ok -- now THAT ought to really narrow my chances of success here! :) lol

    PappaLee
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Location:
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    I'm not living in Alaska right now because I just can't afford it. Still have family there tho.

    Willow is lovely. It gets pretty hot in summer and very cold in winter. Not unusual to be -40 there. Not close enough to Anch that you'd want to commute. And you wouldn't believe the skeeters there.

    Have you checked out the Caretaker
    Gazette? They sometimes have Alaska property that needs caretakers. Lots of people that want caretakers prefer couples.
    I think that is where I would start. And if that doesn't work, try putting an ad in the local Anch, and Fairbanks newspapers.

    BTW, climate wise, the Kenai penninsula would come closest to the Oregon climate. Very lovely place. Has some decent prices on property if you are able to live back off the highway. Building materials can be extremely pricey, but there are some houses available. Rents anywhere in Alaska are thru the roof. The real estate prices can swing widely, depending on whether or not there is drilling going on on the Slope.

    I wish you the best, hope you get to live your dream.
     
  5. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    Location:
    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    What do you mean by "it gets pretty hot in the summer"??

    I remember a day in August when it was in the 90's in Portland (with no air condition) and I was curious to see what the weather was in Anchorage. I think it was mid August or so. The Anchorage high that day was in the mid 60s. I thought -- THAT is the type of summer weather I want!!!

    Thanks for the tip on the Caretaker Gazette. I'll check google to see if I can find out what you're talking about. Or do you have a link for the publication? Or even an address?
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    http://www.caretaker.org/

    Anchorage has weather similar to Oregon. Willow is more inland and isn't tempered as much by the Japanese current.
     
  7. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    Location:
    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    WOW!!!!

    That publication looks awesome!!! I wish I had known about this long ago.

    One question -- before I fork over $29 for a year subscription, do you know if this "caretaking industry" even goes for a family with two small children and a baby?

    It seemed the sample listings preferred either singles, couples, and I saw one where it says ONE child ok. We have a 2 and 3 year old with a baby just a couple months away. Does this industry really look for a family with young children?

    Any other info on this industry would be helpful! Thanks!

    PappaLee
     
  8. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    Ok, actually I looked at the site and found an FAQ secition where they answered my question.

    However, do you or does anyone else know what happens with my possessions once I agree to be a caretaker? Am I allowed to use their garage for storage or would I need to factor in the price of renting a storage unit for all my belongings?

    Just curious.

    Thanks,
    PappaLee
     
  9. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I lived in Fairbanks during my childhood, and now live 60 miles north of Portland. Summers get warm in Fairbanks, don't think it is always 60 degree's. People wear shorts and go swimming and waterskiing in the lake there.

    Have you thought of applying to work on one of the fishing boats up there for the summer. Granted, you have a family and probable don't want to leave them for 3 months, but you could earn some decent money to make a down on a house.

    Growing up we had a housekeeper in Fairbanks, and they work in the summer, but not in the winter. Winter is a time to hibernate, lol, there!

    Good luck on your journey.
    Deb
     
  10. LindaT_AK

    LindaT_AK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
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    Feb 7, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska to N. Maine back to Alaska
    Well, my goodness I wish you had posted this months ago.. I live about 50 Miles north of Anchorage and we are moving to Maine, due to head out in a day or two. I have ten acres on my homestead. Have a well, no indoor plumbing and I had been looking for someone to stay here real cheap. Lots of privacy, trees, garden spot, room for some animals, etc.
    But I have found out that most women will not stay in a home that does not have an indoor bathroom. I lived without one most of my life, it is not one of my high priorities. My main high priority is staying out of debt and keeping it that way. Did find a couple people who where willing to stay here, but the wife said no way. Even for just about 150 a month. Still no way. Oh well.
    Will be boarding everything up and closing the drive.

    Willow is about 85 miles from Anchorage, and the farther north you go from here the hotter it does get in the summer. But winters are colder with more snow. But on the other hand, land is cheaper out by Willow and up farther by Talkeetna.
    My computer will most likely be taken down today or tomorrow and it will be at least two weeks before I get it hooked back up.
    Good luck in finding a place up here. Starting around mid July (as a general rule anyway), we start our rainy season and it lasts for a month or more. Then when it clears up, it starts freezing. I live in the Matanuska Valley area. Surrounded by beautiful mountains.
    Take care now....Linda T.
     
  11. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    That's ok Linda -- thank you anyway!!! I guess I should have found this board sooner!!! Oh, well . . .

    The offer sounds great but it sounds as if you are closing it down???

    One huge obstacle I haven't considered is the moving expenses from central California to Alaska. The cheapest way I can imagine is to load all our possessions into a U-Haul and drive all the way up -- but the gas and food expenses would probably be thousands of dollars.

    Anyway, I am really excited about the caretaker gazette and am currently inquiring about a handful of positions that I've found here on the West Coast. We'll see what happens.

    Maybe I can inch my way up to Alaska over the next several years.

    PappaLee
     
  12. LindaT_AK

    LindaT_AK Well-Known Member

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    Alaska to N. Maine back to Alaska
    Yes, we are totally closing it down, and boarding up all windows and doors. I don't intend to sell my place. I was born and raised here and so far, I have not been away from here for more than two years at a time before I come back. We shall see this time. Maybe I will totally love Maine.
    My goodness yes, moving lock, stock and barrell is quite expensive. Not to mention a big pain.
    I wish you luck in whatever you do. :)
    Linda T.
     
  13. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Mat-Su valley Alaska
    LindaT-

    If you decide to stay in Maine and decide to sell your property in Willow please let me know. If things work out in the next couple of weeks my commuting to Anchorage days will be over and my wife and I are looking at moving the family out further from Wasilla. Willow is one of the places we're looking at.

    Here is my email "just in case" akeric@email.com

    Good luck with your travels to Maine. Where in Maine are you going? I grew up in Vermont and spent a fair bit of time in Maine visiting grandparents etc...
    Lots of nice country and you've missed black fly season.

    Eric
     
  14. Anyway, I am really excited about the caretaker gazette and am currently inquiring about a handful of positions that I've found here on the West Coast. We'll see what happens.

    Maybe I can inch my way up to Alaska over the next several years.

    PappaLee -----> I'm interested in getting the caretaker gazette too! How do I get it? Thanks, Jim
     
  15. PappaLee

    PappaLee Member

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    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    Location:
    California -- Sierra Nevada Mountain wilderness
    Just go to www.caretaker.org and the website will give you all the instructions.

    It's $29 for a year's subscription and I'd recommend getting the email version.

    PappaLee