Whats it really like to live/homestead in Alsaska?

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We are planning to head there in the spring but am a little anxious going so far north. What can I really expect? All I can find is the touristy stuff. I am not inexperianced but the area seems so much differant?!?

-- Novina in ND (homespun@stellarnet.com), December 02, 2001


From ND to AK??!?? Bless your heart...... ;o}

-- Jim NE KY (Jedeweese@earthlink.net), December 02, 2001.

A lot depend on where in Alaska you'll be heading. A bit of trivia here, but the average summer high temperature in Anchorage is warmer than the average summer high temperature in Chicago. I believe that has to do with ocean breezes. Juneau isn't nearly as warm and Berol Point is truly arctic. I hope this helps.

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), December 02, 2001.

I went to southeast AK (Sitka and that area)last summer and loved it. Very mild climate in the southeast, like Washington state. Cool, rainy summers, mild, rainy winters. In the southeast, seems like a boat would defintely be useful. Defintely trying to find a reason to head back there!

-- Elizabeth (Lividia66@aol.com), December 02, 2001.

Where you are planning on going in Alaska and whether you have a job or not, means alot. We used to travel up there since I was a kid in the early 60s and my husband, children and I lived there from 84- 91. We greatly enjoyed our stay there. Our lives will never be the same because of it. (and I do mean that good). We lived on the Kenai Peninsula, our friends and my parents still live there. We lived on the southern tip, and even though things have modernized since we left, some things won't change. You are insolated. If you like to shop, forget having many choices. Depending on where you live you could travel 45 minutes or more to the nearest grocery store. If you have a medical emergency expect to take a med flight to Anchorage. You have one choice of road. If the potholes are huge, be prepared with a good vehicle. The current price of milk is $3.69 a gallon. When we left in "91 our grocery bill was $700 a month...the first week Outside (the lower 48) it was $400. True some things MIGHT have changed (but I doubt it, no industry, etc.) but one year unemployment was 35% (thirty-five!)There is only one crop of hay per year. How does $7.00 a bale strike you? (We can get it for $1.50 in Southern Wisconsin) Why did we leave, medical and money considerations. Our son needed a pediatric neurologist and there was only one, in Anchorage 250 miles away. (Hopefully those shortages have changed.) But money was a problem that was never going to go away. My husband had a good job. True we had large family; 7 children and I did not work outside the home. We had an in town house, paid $85,000 for it. We wanted to be in the country, but no way could we ever afford it. We could only grow potatoes, peas, cabbages, brocolli. We wanted to homestead!!!!!!! We couldn't do it and be at all self-sufficent. They passed a law right before we left that said no more outhouses on the peninsula! Oh, brother. On the good side, there is probably no more beautiful place in Alaska than the southern half of the Kenai. Frankly, it boils down to money. If you have it, go and try, see how you like it. But if you don't, please stay home. But your chances of homesteading are so much greater Outside. Here I have thrift stores, feed stores, sources to buy goats, cows, chickens, etc. and affordable housing and a huge garden and 2 year old orchard. Alaska is a gorgoeus place, but you can't eat the view. I do know a bit about Anchorage (half the pop. lives there); ask if you are interested. Sorry if I sound discourging. It scares me that someone would go without a job. Please write if you have any questions. Maybe I could answer them, or find out for you. I could go on and on and on, there is some much to tell about Alaska, but the baby needs me again. Take care.

-- Jane in Wisconsin (autumnwindfarm@yahoo.com), December 02, 2001.

When I came to Alaska, homestead meant free land, or at least free in the essence that you didn't pay cash for it, but did pay in hard work. Now there is no free land. Much of the state is still owned by the federal government with the state and native corporations being the next largest landholders. Last figures I heard were that only about 1% of the entire state was in private ownership. So land is expensive. Many years ago, before I retired, I researched locations to retire to within the state. I had certain considerations that had to be met, including that the location had to be on the road system. I have lived in areas without access to the highway systems and while I enjoyed my sojourn there while I was young could not do it again. Second, the climate had to be mild. I have spent too many winters that were long, and again enjoyed it as a young person, but could not tolerate that much again. Third, the ability to subsist off the land was paramount as my retirement annuity is not that great. I found 3 locations that met my desires, the southern end of the Kenai, Homer area and Haines were my first choices. There are southeastern towns that would be considered if one thinks of the ferry service as part of the highway. The last consideration was the Matanuska valley where I was living at the time. It lacked the climate consideration but came close on everything else. I decided to stay here. We also have all the pleasantries that the urban folk have within less than an hours drive. We have good hospital services. I just experienced the value of that after being thrown from a horse and suffering a compound fracture of the lower leg this summer. My boys graduated from a good school, one of them getting a full scholarship at south 48 prestigious college on his academic standing. Within 15 miles we have Fred Meyers, Wallmart and Sears. Both local towns have a sales tax and there are burro (borrough to those in RioLinda) property taxes. Raw land ranges from $3000 an acre and up. House prices run mostly over $100,000, with many in the $200,000 range. We get anywhere from 1 to 3 crops of hay a year, depending on how good one is at forecasting weather. Very few can get 3 crops, many get only 1 crop. Gardening is great. We grow cabbages that can reach over 100 pounds (special varieties only) and the carrots and peas are the sweetest in the world. All that summer sunshine you know. We can grow corn, not a lot, but enough for a change of flavors. Tomatoes can be grown outdoors, but are best grown under controlled conditions. I have grown the Siberians and other northern varieties outdoors, but they lack flavor. If you are still interested in coming to Alaska and are not a lottery winner, I would suggest that you have a viable trade or a job lined up. Unemployment rates vary and are not as seasonally fluctuating as they used to be but are slightly higher than the smaller states. Subsistance off the land is not possible without some sort of cash income as a backup. Even in native villages where subsistance is touted to be the lifestyle, natives depend on government dole either through government jobs or direct welfare. Many of them leave the villages to work seasonally elsewhere. Anchorage, the largest community with half the states population, has its share of the homeless, which includes all walks of life, Alaska Native, Caucasion, Negro etc. singles, families and so on. Before you leave ND, just make sure you have enough cash reserves to go back if things do

-- David A. (Scott@micronet.net), December 02, 2001.

Trying to escape those North Dakota winters, I guess....

I agree with the previous entry's line about homesteading, and much else, besides. I don't consider myself a homesteader, but am dead certain I live in a more remote fashion than anyone else on this forum. It's 200 miles to the nearest traffic light, or department store, or gasoline that is under 1.98 a gallon (Dec 2001); there is a 9-5 medical clinic 100 miles away. I have electricity from a grid, when it works, and when it works I pay 40 cents for each kilowatthour, whichis just at the run-my-own generator threshhold. But I used to do that, when I lived closer to Fairbanks, and it does tire. So while it's true that you can't eat the view, literally, I've figured out how to do it, figuratively. Here in the Alaska Range, visitors come all summer long to admire the view, the animals, etc., and they pay me to stay here. So I figure I've turned Alaska's greatest asset (and a non-depletable one, at that) into a way for me to have a wonderful, fulfilling lifestyle. -49F in Tok on December 1. Here it was much warmer, at only -31. But I was in Tok.

-- Audie (paxtours@alaska.net), December 02, 2001.

Greetings! Alaska was a dream that my husband & I persued several times in different ways & we've had many wonderful experiences in the "Land of the Midnight Sun". Our last adventure was building a log cabin north of Fairbanks on 5 acres... we still own the property although we live in Florida & are persuing farm options in more moderate climes.

I would be happy to share any part of our adventures if you'd like... feel free to write me privately. I would encourage you to follow your dream... we did, & I'll forever be grateful for all of our wilderness experiences!

-- Sally Gordon (we3sheep@viafamily.com), December 06, 2001.

hello. I am also wanting to to alaska to live. I just got finished reading your view on moving to alaska on a website. Alaska seems to me as a very wonderful place to live. It has always been a lifelong dream for me and my brother to move there, and now that the two of us are about to graduate highschool soon, the possibility is becomeing closer.

We were hopeing on homesteading some land to live on and etc. and we would like to know if there is (homestead) land near towns, or just far away from any other sign of human life? and wut a great job would be up there? I know logging is a major job there, but I am interested in becomin a welder, but if I should prepare for another job, then i would like to know as soon as posssible.

please email me back with some answers to my queatios. I would very much appreciate it. thank you. my email is freebeansandcornbread@yahoo.com

-- ricky d. Sanftner (freebeansandcornbread@yahoo.com), December 28, 2001.

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