Feb. 14, 2017

A new life to forge

February 2017

In the beginning life was simple and easy. Then we grew up and life hit us with both barrels. We have all experienced storms in our lives, and found that there are safe harbors to pull into to ride them out. God, Family, Friends... Doors open and doors close, gentle guidance from God above that sometimes isn't so gentle, led us to Eagle. Few things change quickly, but change is certainly inevitable. With that, a summer of adventure, heartache, love and change befell our family in 2016...

I was injured in the line of duty, causing a permanent disability that changed our lives forever. Surgery ensued to try and fix my arm, but it was not successful. Now, figuring out how to live with 50% impairment in my dominant arm and hand has been my focus for the past 6 months. I fought long and hard to try and get back to work, but my body said no as did my doctors and the state. My disability retirement is in process and my career as a police officer has ended for now.

The love of my life arrived during this transitional phase of my life. We met thru a dating site, a method that both of us had never tried and out of curiosity, attempted. After several dates and a road trip to Fairbanks, we decided to become a couple. Nathan Harbour is an amazing man that has brought love and laughter back into my life. We have had a year of amazing adventures and bonding experiences.  Together, we decided to take on this new adventure.

In October, 2016, we travelled to Eagle Alaska to find a new homestead, one we could forge together and bring a new era into our lives. We found an old house with a barn and outbuildings on 2 acres of land that used to be a fox farm back in the 70's. We purchased the property and have been making plans and buying gear to begin our new life!

In April, we will begin moving our household items to Eagle and in May, once the girls are done with school, we will move the family to our new homestead.

The plan is to hunt, fish, trap, gather, farm, garden and craft to support ourselves off grid in remote Alaska on the banks of the Yukon River.

Follow us on this new adventure and we will keep you posted monthly with our successes and failures, projects and adventures!

We yearn for this new life, aching daily to hop in the truck and head north. The days drag on as we wait for the Alaskan winter to break and for spring to arrive. The road to Eagle is the Taylor Highway, only open for travel beginning in May then closing in October. The rest of the year it is closed and not maintained or plowed. Travel options are then restricted to snowmachine, dogsled and bush plane.

The school the girls will attend is a remote community school that has 6th thru 12th grade in the same classroom. There will be 12 children their age in that class. Individual learning plans are incorporated with one teacher leading the crew. The older kids help with the younger kids and the district flies the kids nationwide for events such as 4H and sports programs.

Speaking with the principal of the school today, she told me all the kids were down on the Yukon River today, participating in the checkpoints for the Yukon Quest dogsled race. One of the hometown heroes, Matt Hall, is crossing the finish line in Fairbanks as we speak.

Community involvement is strong there and people help their neighbors. A step back into hometown USA floods your senses as you drive into Eagle and meet the locals. It is an amazing place and we have been blessed to be able to buy a home there to start a new life and create many new adventures!

Last night I processed 21 jars of chicken and steak to beef up our larder. We anticipate being able to fill our freezers with moose, bear, caribou, salmon, halibut, rabbit, grouse and ptarmigan.

We ordered seeds for our garden and will begin planting seeds indoors in April. Transplanting them in June into the raised bed garden we will build in May.

If you look thru the photos of the new house, you can see there is alot of interior work to be done. Nate and I will spearhead the move and travel to Eagle to begin construction and remodelling soon.

My eldest son Daniel is planning on flying up with his girlfriend Michelle this summer to help us with construction and to take a look at the area. Nate's brother Stephen is an electrician and we are hoping to coerce him with a free trip to Eagle to come visit and take a look at our electrical system and help install a solar power grid to the house.

We have to build a new outhouse, fix the barn, dig a septic system, put in a garden, remodel the interior of the house, build a blacksmithing forge, put in a woodshop, build a chicken coop and put up an electric fence around our property to keep out the bears and wolves that roam the area.

We will eventually have goats, yaks, horses, pigs and chickens on the farm. Our plan is to live a self sustained lifestyle off grid. We look forward to sharing our adventures with you all!