South From Alaska

Posted · 5 Comments

We drove south from Alaska near the end of May this year on a whim. Maybe I’m just tired of the winters. The darkness gets to me. Or maybe it’s just a classic mid-life crisis and the husband and I have sunk at the same time. Because in April when I said, “Let’s go south,” […]

Fishing For Elders

Posted · 3 Comments

Yesterday the kids and I found ourselves on the Ninilchik beach helping pull king salmon from the water to feed some of the village elders. Here on this same beach many years back, the natives of Ninilchik built fish traps and pulled nets much like us, feeding their families before there were grocery stores to […]

Bison Of British Columbia

Posted · 6 Comments

I’ve actually got nothing funny to say about today…which is good news since that means nothing bad happened. Good for us, bad for entertainment value. It’s late, we drove about 13 hours today through windy, mountainous, freezing, roads and we’re tired. We drove, we ate, we watched me cower behind the truck while a buffalo […]

South of the Border (Canadian That Is…)

Posted · 14 Comments

We bedded down last night in Tok, Alaska in a highway frontage hotel.  If I have learned anything on this trip so far it’s that there is no need for an alarm clock with five kids, three dogs, and two cats who are all used to the silence of the backwoods. Nobody sleeps through hotel […]

South From Alaska

Posted · 12 Comments

I was born a nomad.  In my forty-two years I have lived in 18 different homes in four different states and yet I feel like I’ve been stationary my whole life. My feet get the urge to wander and my family knows it’s time when I start thinning my belongings to a manageable heap. So […]

Locked and Unloaded

Posted · 4 Comments

I’m not an avid gun handler. I mean, I grew up lugging around a BB gun and could take out a Budweiser bottle as well as any filthy boy next door. I blew away ant hills and sabotaged unsuspecting spruce hen deep in the woods of Alaska late in the fall of my childhood. But […]

Just Another Scenic Sunday 8-11-13

Posted · 4 Comments

Apparently we only have Sundays about once a month this summer…either that or I’ve just been TOO BUSY TO SIT AT THE COMPUTER! Probably, it’s the latter. But here’s a glimpse of the past few weeks. Alaska Photos

Photo tour of Homer, Seldovia and Tustumena Lake

Posted · 4 Comments

They say you never really know your area until you have company…or at least that’s what it seems.  This past two weeks my oldest daughter, Heather, and her boyfriend, Andrew, have been visiting from Oregon. SO we are playing touristy and seeing the sites.  These pictures come from our ferry trip across from Homer to […]

A Moostacle Course!

Posted · 13 Comments

We spent most of the day trapped in the house by two friendly bull moose who just don’t realize that next Fall, they may be dinner.  The mistake is, when they are babies they are so darn cute that we just ignore them…don’t try to scare them off. Well eventually they grow up and become, […]

Aurora Borealis March 2013

Posted · 17 Comments

Robin and I trudged through the cemetery in Ninilchik, Alaska in the week hours of the night on St. Patrick’s Day 2013 to achieve these pictures.  The auroras were floating directly above, to the north, south, east and west. They were everywhere. Robin lay in the snow on her back, reaching her hand up to […]

Ninilchik, Alaska Beach Of Winter

Posted · 10 Comments

  The kids and I made an evening trip to the Ninilchik Beach today under the false pretense that Spring was just around the corner and the sun that shone so brightly might ACTUALLY BE WARM!!!   We walked briskly, snapped quickly, and jogged back to the truck with frozen hands and toes. We’ll give it […]

Stalactites Of Winter

Posted · 2 Comments

When winter blends in to the fall that precedes And darkness consumes us and sunlight recedes Tall spears of ice, from the roofs edge they dangle Nearly to ground—a precarious angle.  ~ Through winters of wonder, they magically hold Till summer comes closer and Christmas grows old Near April the ice swords, wet, shiny round […]

Settling In To Cabin Life

Posted · 10 Comments

My lantern oil just dimmed to nothing and left me in complete darkness but for the glow of my laptop and the internet box blinking green to my right. I see the hazy glow of Luke’s flashlight bouncing as he walks back in from the outhouse and another in the hall where Anthony pulls a […]

Our Fearless Leader

Posted · 23 Comments

This is not going to be well written, of that I am sure. It’s late at night, I’m tired, and I have computer access for just a short time. I apologize ahead of time… The past few weeks have been very stressful.  We left behind our 7 bedroom home, moved completely out, cleaned it spotless […]

Boys In The Backwoods…

Posted · 9 Comments

I don’t remember being covered in bruises, blood and broken skin on a daily basis as a child…perhaps that is the key difference between little girls and little boys.  Then again, the way I used to roll my 3-wheeler down every dirt hill within miles, it’s rather surprising I made it through my eleventh year […]

Backwoods Bees

Posted · 16 Comments

When I was a kid in Kasilof, Alaska, there was a honey store about a mile down the road. We’d pedal down there, present our quarter, and get a sample of honey such that I’ve not tasted since.  This year, as we move onto our off-grid property and make an attempt at becoming more self […]

Aurora Borealis-Ninilchik, Alaska-March 8, 2012

Posted · 8 Comments

Thanks to the sun doing some fancy stuff this week, we in the north have been getting quite a show.  So it didn’t let a little thing like deflated lungs stop me…I sucked down my Albuterol, chugged Nyquil and headed out.                             […]

At The End Of The Trail

Posted · 27 Comments

As I sit in the Alaska dark, waiting for Spring, I can feel the grit beneath my nails, the sweat across the back of my neck and the ache of my arms after a day in the woods.  The course skin of hands, dry and stiff from the leather of my gloves, the grain of […]

They Pay Me To Live Here

Posted · 32 Comments

Whenever I tell people from the lower 48 that I live in Alaska, I inevitably hear the same question: “Don’t they pay you to live there?” It’s kind of like saying, “Why the heck would you live in that frozen wasteland? Oh yea…that’s right…they pay you.” They are referring, of course, to the Alaska Permanent […]

A Trip To Good News Bay

Posted · 8 Comments

I put in a call to a client a few years back to arrange a trip into the village of Good News Bay, Alaska, where I would assess an adoptive situation and write a report for the courts either approving, or denying, the potential adoptive placement. The young woman who answered the phone sought to […]

Sawmill Saga

Posted · 7 Comments

In August, shortly after we purchased our 40 acres, we acquired a portable band saw mill with the intent of creating our own lumber with which to build our own home. But first…knowing we couldn’t afford to complete a home this year nor did we have time to begin with winter nearing…we decided to build […]

Whaling Away Her Youth

Posted · 3 Comments

Photo courtesy Charles Lampe-Kaktovik, Alaska Yesterday Sandi’s daughter, Kendra, climbed into a twenty foot boat with a group of close friends and family.  They pushed into the Arctic Ocean off the shores of Kaktovik/Barter Island…the only permanent settlement in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the North Slope of Alaska.  They scanned the waters and […]

Alaska Log Furniture

Posted · 1 Comment

For more than twenty years I wanted to know how to make log furniture…I’m talking cut the tree down, pack it out of the woods, custom, from scratch kinda log furniture. Not the neatly perfected pieces you find in most furniture stores. I’m talking backwoods…Alaska style. So last summer I did it. Now, mind you, I have […]

Why Off-Grid?

Posted · 9 Comments

We turn the handle, water flows from the faucet.  We flip a switch and a light goes on or off. We flush a toilet, crank the thermostat, open the fridge…and voila, magic happens. And then we all get three days off and we spend it sitting around a campfire, looking up at the stars, listening […]

Yardwork…Backwoods Style

Posted · Add Comment

We took possession of our 40 acres off-grid this week and as is our style…dug right in.  With no time to waste before winter and Dan working half his life away from home, we have about four weeks of actual time on the land before we have to start to buckle down for winter. Our […]

Resurrection Trail — aka Trail Of Terror

Posted · 2 Comments

 Written summer, 2010…warning…this piece is long…but worth the read (or at least look at the photographs of true Alaska wilderness.) We were eighteen steps down the trail when Anthony announced he had to go to the bathroom. And not the easy one. Blood pressure rising so early in the day, Dan unclipped the boys backpack […]

On The Kenai

Posted · Add Comment

Ignore the cheesy grin…I’m much better behind the camera!                         I’ve spent the last two days at the mouth of the Kenai River dip netting Sockey (Red) Salmon from a boat.  It’s my version of “I’m broke so I gotta get food somewhere” and […]

Moose Attack!

Posted · Add Comment

Object in this photo is closer than it appears… I first noticed her in the distance, blending in to the swampy foliage with her thick brown fur.  She moved through the forest nearly silent, long legs fluid beneath her, as my dad and I crunched loudly through the mossy undergrowth.  We stopped.  Figured we’d stand, […]

Kenai River Rafting

Posted · Add Comment

The great thing about life jackets…everybody has the same square figure…   The last time I was rafting on the Kenai River, a bunch of us folded an old Avon raft over the top of a tiny car, threw in a cooler chest of questionably legal beverages, and spent the day pulling to the bank […]

Fuller Lakes Trail

Posted · 3 Comments

It was noon on a sunny summer day last June when Dan and I decided on the spur of the moment to hike in to Fuller Lakes Trail near Cooper Landing, Alaska. We’d driven by the spot a thousand times but never had we explored what was beyond the steep steps rising from the side […]

One Night On Tustumena

Posted · 2 Comments

The world is so wide here, I can see clear into yesterday from where I stand. This lake was once, a lifetime ago, home to trappers and homesteaders; those with a spirit adventurous enough to journey the miles of wilderness and settle here, in this pristine land. It’s said they followed the river to its […]

Without A Paddle

Posted · 6 Comments

Sandi and I had escaped, kid free…which says a lot considering between us we have thirteen children…and were laughing our way across Tustumena lake headed for Nikolai Creek to spot some grizzly bears through our telephotos. We intended to stake out the creek until dark if we had to, just for the perfect shot.  Photo, […]

The Pilot Fell-A-What?

Posted · Add Comment

I’ve gotten used to flying in small planes. In fact, I prefer it immensely over large planes. I figure, if a forty ton jet loses an engine, we’re all toast. There’s no way out of that one. But if a tiny plane, the kind that appear to be made from paper gum wrappers and glue […]

Going Backwoodsier…Our Off-Grid Dream

Posted · 1 Comment

From the home site… Not everybody’s idea of a dream come true involves the potential for being eaten by bears…but tonight when I found my third pile of fresh bear poo in as many trips to my new land, I knew my dreams were coming true right before my feet. Not that I want to […]