How would you do it?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Anataq, May 14, 2005.

  1. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    Would love to see this thread take off. I am sure there are many out there considering a move to the wilderness whom would benifiet a lot. We have been working on our version of the answer for quite some time, but we'd love to hear from others. Even if you aren't planning on moving to the wilderness, YOU KNOW YOU'VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT... daydreamed anyway. Here is the question...

    You are family from the lower 48 looking to move to the Alaskan bush to "homestead" You have a limited budget, a family to consider, and you are starting from scratch. How would you plan your venture in order to have the highest potential for success? Where would you begin? What items would you purchase or make sure you had with you before going off into the wilderness? What supplies would you consider necessary the first year? What list of ten Items would you consider most important to your success?



    -Anataq
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Whatever I was planning on doing for myself, I would make sure I could do it. If I'm gonna chop wood for my heat, can my back take the punishment? Do I know the difference between types of wood and how they burn? If I'm going to grow my own food, have I ever planted and successfully taken care of a large garden, as well as putting up the food? If I'm not going to go grocery shopping for three months straight, do I know how much quantity I will need to last MORE than three months? You get the idea.
     

  3. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Do your homework first.

    This applies to any area. First read all about it. Spend at least a year learning about the area by reading books and subscribe to least one newspaper in or near the area. Even if you're going into a wilderness, you need to understand how the laws work that affect you and property. Some areas have climatic issues (believe it or not, West Virginia is one) that can make the unprepared miserable at best. Dead at the worst. It's not unusual for people moving to this area which is not a wilderness, (although you can get far enough away you might think you're in one) to have problems that would have been prevented by a little effort expended in learning about the area beforehand. That is one activity that can greatly contribute to success by creating an awareness of the new area and alerting the person to circumstances that might require special preparations.

    Do your homework first.
     
  4. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I'll be reading this thread with interest. I grew up outside of Fairbanks, and have been yearning to go back. Finally, plans have been made to go back with my own family, after my husband takes early retirement in 2-4 years.

    My first suggestion would be to at least live a winter up there near civilization, so you can see if you can survive if you have never lived there before. Too many people have the dream, but no knowledge of what life is really like there.

    Homesteading is going to be hard, seasons are different, land is different. It's going to be a "whole 'nother" experience then what you are use to down in the states, and only experience will see you succeed. :)

    I've got to go, but will come back later to add on.
    Deb
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Read "Arctic Homestead" by Norma Cobb and learn from their success and failure.

    I would recommend working in AK for the winter. If the winter darkness gets you while you have things to do, then it will drive you mad in isolation.

    Fishing, hunting and foraging will be of great importance. Learning to avoid inherit dangers of these activities and/or how to deal with them. I'm thinking of bears that come to the sound of a rifle. And bears that come to your favorite fishing hole and berry patch.

    Basic log construction. Simple machines and how to build and apply.

    Record keeping for food supplies, fish runs , when berries are ripe.

    Plastic totes full of 1yrs worth of dry goods. I'd ask family and friends to send boxes of canned food in lieu of gifts.

    Dont laugh at this one....I'd be collecting all the moose poop and bear scat I could find and I'd have a small green house off the house and a garden that I would expand over time.

    I'd build a smoker and a high food storage shed.

    And anyone in the group with poor attitude or behavior or work ethic would be asked to leave.

    Thanks for the daydream ;)
     
  6. ralphsmom

    ralphsmom Well-Known Member

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    I kind of had that dream until I read "Artic Homestead". I don't mind roughing it but that was beyond roughing it. I enjoyed Peter Jenkins book "Looking For Alaska". Alaska magazine is interesting too.
     
  7. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed Arctic Homestead, found it to be helpfull and a fun read, definitely did not detur us. Bob Dur's "The Cold Man Cometh," was another good read and since he spent his first year near where we will be living it was exciting.

    So what would you do??? Come on all those of you are allready off the grid, living in the wilderness, planning on walking off into the wilderness, or just daydreamering, if you were to pull up and move into the wilderness how would you go about it??

    -Anataq
     
  8. SweetTater

    SweetTater Texas

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    10 items wouldn't be near enough for me. As far as dreaming of this life....Nope.
    That is One Hard life!
    I would make sure I had a good radio for sure in case someone gets sick, town won't be right around the corner. I would make sure I had enough money to live on. Rare to have any type of real income to survive on out there.
    Plenty of medical supplies, water source, cabin that would support heavy snowfall and away from avalanche danger, guns and ammo, Lots of warm clothing, ice fishing gear, tools, lamps and fuel, LOTS of books, matches, Plenty of food. I could list so much more but I will stop here. :p

    I had a friend and her husband who lived in Alaska for about 15 years. They knew someone through another friend who tried this. :no:
    You have to really know what you are doing.
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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  10. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lots of views....no daydreams...or maybe Alaska is a nightmare to some.
    I can only dream!
    My vacation was unbelievable.....
     
  11. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    Ten Items wouldn't be near enough for me either, just trying to see what similar items might pop up, but definitely list as many odds and ends as you can think of. What would you take with you,... I read in another post and I'm not sure who said it, but "it takes a lot of money to be poor," you certainly need a whole lot of things to make the transition, if you haven't been accumulating homesteading stuff for many years.

    So how you you plan your move to the wilderness, what would you bring with you?


    -Anataq
     
  12. cruiser3006

    cruiser3006 Active Member

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    First off, I want to say, Alaska is BIG! 2 and 1/2 times the size of Texas. You will need to know what area in Alaska you are going to. The needs will vary with the region. How self-reliant do you want to be? What skills/knowledge/abilities do you have? What comforts do you expect? What are you willing to do without?
    4 out 5 people that move to Alaska (1st timers), don't stay more than 18 months. Further north you go, the longer the winter nights. Do you plan on paying for your land in full, or make payments? (payments will require work or income) Do you have any medical needs or health problems?
    Research the region you want to go to. Don't rely on TV commercials and programs. They don't give the reality of being an Alaskan. Cruise ship commercials glamorize an area that is different in reality.

    TOM
     
  13. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    My family and I are on 10 acres withing driving distance of Fairbanks, off grid and hauling water with a fourwheeler or our dog team. I work two weeks on and two weeks off north of the arctic circle, so our income is covered and by proximity to Fairbanks we are not really isolated like one is where the only access is by boat and bush plane.

    We moved on to our land at the end of May some years ago into wall tents with our five children and started building. We had some savings and built out of pocket. With every paycheck we ordered more building supplies. The house is still a working project.

    After the first summer we moved into the house and finished insulation five days before the temperature dropped to 40 below and stayed there. We have heated and cooked with only wood during the winter and have a small alternative energy system for our basic power needs. Our outhouse is uninsulated and quite interesting to use at 50 below.

    As far as the 10 most important items....or let say the most used are:

    Bunny Boots- US Army winter boots. These are by far the best winter boots ever. You can step in overflow water at 40 below and still have warm feet

    Artic Insulated Carharts- I prfer overalls. Those and other woolen layers allow me to work outside all winter.

    Chainsaw- Have a couple of them and don't go cheap.

    Rifle-a couple of firearms are mandantory....and make sure one is big enough to kill a grizzly.

    Basic tools- This is pretty obvious...you can't build a homestead without them.

    Woodstove- Obvious again. When purchasing remember to get one rated for even up to twice as much as you need. Our first year we had a Vermont Castings rated for exactly as many cubic feet of space we had and found ourselves up every two hours adding wood.

    Dry goods- even though we have access to stores we start our winter out with our pantry full.

    Kitchen and cookware- Have enough knives and cookware and the knowledge to process that moose or caribou. One thing about interior Alaska in your fall moose can be frozen with just the outdoor temperature. We always make tons of jerky.

    Medical Supplies and knowledge-My wife is now an expert on fixing up little boy's split scalps with adhesive sutures and other such things.

    Transportation-whatever you may need where you are located. In our case we have a couple of pickup trucks, a fourwheeler, snowmachine and dog team.


    Just be ready for extreemly cold weather. It is actually alot of fun. My wife and I are always ready to grab the five year old and in a half an hour be on the sled with dogs ready, at 40 below and mush for days. We have actually spent more than a week outside running dogs with a toddler. All you have to do is be prepared. When gearing up don't ask the Northface supplier, look at what the trapper is wearing....I bet it includes Carharts, Bunny boots and a gun.

    I forgot to mention bug spray. You need lots of DEET. Though I still won't spray it on our youngest, the natural ones just don't cut it with those Alaskan mosquitoes.

    Good luck it really is a rewarding way to live

    Phil
     
  14. Sharon in NY

    Sharon in NY Well-Known Member

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    I spent a good portion of my early life in a part of N. NH that wasn't quite as isolated as AK, but not as far off as you'd think. Not much in the way of roads, snow mchines everywhere, long, cold winters (not quite as long, cold or dark, but enough). I admit, I fantasize about Alaska, but probably the more southerly, temperate rainforest areas, simply because I want to be able to grow a full range of crops.

    The isolation is part of the attraction for DH and I - we spent a year together travelling around the world, and I'm pretty sure we'd *enjoy* being together in a cabin all winter.

    Besides the obvious tools, I'd want lots of books, kerosene lanterns (all day darkness gets old fast), a greenhouse, a fair number of batteries and a CD player to go with our collection, lots of fleece to spin and yarn to knit with, and a plentiful supply of cocoa and popcorn - all the things that make life pleasurable as well as the tools of good labor.

    Cheers,

    Sharon
     
  15. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I actually think some of the best gardening areas are in the Fairbanks region...inland gets warmer in Summer but also colder in Winter. Its a trade off.
     
  16. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    Some of the very best gardening is in the Mat-su Valley North of Anchorage not to far. Pictures of the gardens I've seen are amazing.

    -Anataq
     
  17. cabe

    cabe Well-Known Member

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    Ill play, and I have had this dream for many years.I am afraid that only part of my family would go. So this is just fantasy for now.
    #1. Location;I would want to be close to large tracts of Gov. land , but at the same time have at least 100 acres of heavy Forested land that I own, with streams.
    #2.I would only start in the late spring, and the second possesion (land first)would be a very good and large tent.
    #3.2 very good and big chain-saws, with all the gear to go with them.
    #4.several very good ax heads, I can make the handles.
    #5.several good bow saws, and replacement blades.
    #6.At least three shovels, and two picks, and three splitting mauls, a peevee, and two drill steel bars for prying.
    #7.Two oxen matched pair with all the tack.
    #8. A very good 350 series king cab truck four wheel drive, and a snowmobile.
    #9.500 LBS of salt,200 lbs of dry beans, rice, and at least a ton of cracked corn.
    #10.A job somewhere near so that I could purchase everything else their as I learned more and knew what to get.I own already the firearms, and dogs , and clothing to start. Let us not forget the nets and fishing supplies as well and bug nets and repellent.

    My plan would be to go at it hard during the spring and summer building a cross lapped small round wood 20x30 great room with a stone and mud fireplace at each end chimneys and all. We would live in the tent,then move to the log room and after the temp. winter home, we would build a lean to with fire pit for Oxen.My main focus would be hunter gatherer and fish then salt cure and store for the first winter.The first shelter would have a vert high ceiling for racking of dried meat, and storage. I would only bring the youngest to our new home after the first couple of winters, when the kinks are filtered out. My oldest son and I would start it all, and then bring in everyone else when it was more civil. Marty.( I know I have left off alot, but I think I have allowed some leeway for adjustment).