25 Reasons Why Living In The Alaskan Bush Is Awesome (And 5 Reasons Why It’s Not)

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The Alaskan bush is unlike anywhere else on earth, and it is an amazing place to live. Life out here is no walk in the park, but there are plenty of reasons why I never want to leave!

25 Reasons Why Living In The Alaskan Bush Is Awesome (And 5 Reasons Why Its Not) SledDogSlow.com

1. Fresh air

Anyone who’s traveled to the country from a big city knows all about fresh air. You can just breathe easier without all the dust, dirt, and car exhaust kicked up from city life. This also helps with reason #2 why living in the Alaskan bush is awesome…

2. The smell

There’s nothing quite like the smell of moss and trees and growing things. No smog out here!

3. No noisy neighbors

There worst thing about neighbors living in the city for me was noise. Cars pulling up and leaving all hours of the day and night, couples fighting, people mowing their lawns ridiculously early on a Sunday morning. There’s none of that in the bush. When our closest neighbors are out, we don’t know unless they call us, even when they are running a chainsaw or driving an excavator!

4. No solicitors

There’s no one coming door to door selling magazines or window tints. Knowing there aren’t any strangers that will come knocking makes it much easier to just be. Unfortunately this also means no girl scout cookies without making a trip to town.

5. Clothing is optional

Yup. I said it. Honestly, I hate clothes. Unless I’m leaving home or having visitors I’m pretty much always naked. I might put on clothes if I expect to get scuffed up doing chores, but if I can avoid getting dressed I do!

6. Almost no bills

Once you get set up (which can be expensive) the monthly bills for bush living are almost nil. Insurance and a phone bill are our only monthly expenses. We buy gas for the generator in the winter, fill up our rigs, buy groceries and the occasional incidentals. Living out here is much cheaper than our lives in the city were.

7. Freedom

There are no HOA’s or building permits in the bush. I can put a garden in my front yard if I want, or paint my cabin lime green. I can do fun, funky things when building that wouldn’t be acceptable inside city limits (check out this cool Alaskan bush house: Goose Creek Tower). There is a lot more freedom to do what you want with your land when living this far out.

8. No bathroom to clean

No scrubbing the toilet bowl when the bathroom is an outhouse! When the bathroom is ‘messy’ you just dig a new hole and move it.

9. No light pollution

If you really want to see the stars, the Alaskan bush is the place to be. The skies are so clear here it’s even possible to see that the night sky isn’t really all black.

10. Northern Lights viewing

The Alaskan bush is also an amazing place to see the northern lights. Clear, dark skies in the middle of nature just add an extra bit of aw to seeing the Aurora Borealis.

11. Adventure

From seeing bears in the driveway, to moose chasing us on 4 wheelers, there is never a dull moment in the bush!

12. Fresh food

Alaskan summers might be short, but the long summer days are good for foraging and gardening. Those long summer days also make for…

13. Giant Vegetables

Having 20 hours (or more) of sunlight a day makes for huge vegetables. Just check out these cabbage at the Alaskan State Fair:

14. Endless summer days

There are lots of places in the bush where the sun doesn’t set at all. There’s a reason why Alaska is called the land of the midnight sun! This leaves lots of time for adventuring and exploring Alaska. This also means lots of daylight to get things done in preparation for winter.

15. Winter sports

Opposite of endless summer days are the short winter days. Luckily these days are filled with snow and snow sports. Snow machining (yes, it’s snow machining here, not snow mobiling) is a huge deal here, both for fun and just to get around. There are lots of places in the Alaskan bush that can only be explored by snow machine in winter due to being marshy bog in summer. There’s also snowkiting (think wind surfing with a snow board), ice climbing, and of course sled dog racing.

16. Blueberries

At least in our little part of the bush, there are blueberries everywhere. And blueberries just make me happy!

17. Fishing and hunting

There is tons of opportunity for hunting and fishing in the Alaskan bush. Depending on where in the bush you are, there is also subsistence hunting and fishing for those who live so far away from cities and towns. This means the regulations are a little different, from extended hunting seasons to greater bag limits depending on what animals are being harvested.

18. Wildlife viewing

There’s nothing quite like being up close with nature. From watching spawning salmon to flying eagles, living in the bush gives ample opportunity for viewing wildlife.

19. No traffic

I always hated sitting in a grid lock, and I flat refused to drive in some cities when we lived in Washington (Seattle for starters). Living in the bush means no traffic because there are no roads. Not everyone owns a 4 wheeler, snow machine or air plane. It cuts out a lot of looky loo traffic when people don’t have the rigs needed to get out here.

20. Getting paid to live here

Did you know you get paid to live in Alaska? There are a lot of rules around it, like having lived in Alaska an entire year, but if you qualify for the Permanent Fund Dividend you could get anywhere from $300-2,000 depending on the year. Getting paid to live where you love? Count me in!

21. Cool summers

I always refer to myself as a desert baby. I’m used to flat, sandy land and hot, dry summers. Our summer this year has barely had a day over 70°. Considering it’s supposed to reach 109° this week where I grew up, I gotta say I’m very happy to be living in the bush.

22. Affordable Land

Land is pretty cheap when it’s hard to get to. As long as you don’t mind a loooooong ‘driveway’, the Alaskan bush is a great place to live. I often call the beach our driveway, and it takes us an hour to get from our cabin to a road, and that’s if we can get to the road at all!

23. Few bugs

Because of Alaska’s long, cold winters, there aren’t many bugs. We have the occasional wasp nest, and a spider or two but nothing like back in Washington. We used to have vegetable fields just covered in spider webs there! It’s nice to be able to walk through the trees and not get a face full of web.

24. Natural silence

With no neighbors, no traffic, and no solicitors the silence is glorious. We’ve got natural forest sounds from birds and squirrels, and when the tide is high we can hear the ocean from our little bit of forest. It’s a little disconcerting to hear ocean in the woods at first, but now it’s one of my favorite sounds here. Not being surrounded by city sounds is an awesome plus to living in the Alaskan bush.

25. You get to tell people you live in the Alaskan bush

People equate living in the bush with being crazy and lucky and crazy lucky. You have to really want to make things work to live out here. As you can see from this list, all the work is so worth it!

Now obviously living in the Alaskan bush isn’t all fun and games, there are a few downsides as well.

1. Mosquitoes

While there aren’t many other bugs out here, mosquitoes are plentiful. And there are a dozen different types as well. Some hurt when they bite, some aren’t noticeable, and some don’t even leave you itching. But they are all in your face, mouth and eyes when you get into certain areas, and Deet is about the only thing that keeps them off you! We also use a SkeeterVac on our homestead, which greatly cuts down on the overall population. Oh, and the mosquitoes can be BIG too!

2. There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the store

If you don’t have everything you need to make pumpkin pie, then you won’t be making it. Living in the bush means living hours from the closest store, and that means no running to grab a gallon of milk. Making a trip to the store takes all day, so it needs to be planned accordingly.

3. Isolation

Even though I like not having full time neighbors, it can be a pain when you need help. Sometimes you just end up spending hours doing something by yourself rather than making your closest neighbor drive 45 minutes to be a second set of hands. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is the life I wanted and I have to take the bad with the good!

4. Being stuck

At least in our piece of Alaskan bush heaven, there is a lot of being stuck. Summer means no going anywhere during high tide, during the freeze the beach is covered in ice burgs and the inland trail is still too mushy to drive on. We get snowed in sometimes during winter, and during spring break up we end up with a flooded trail and a beach that’s too icy and soft to drive on (this is why we loose vehicles folks).

5. Adventure and catastrophe happen every single day

If you ever think you might want to take a weekend off and lounge about, then living in the bush is not for you. From broken vehicles (once, or twice, or three times), to coming home and finding bears or moose in the yard, owls in the chicken coop, and sharks in the salmon nets.

There isn’t much time to relax out here, but living in the bush is awesome!

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Liebster Award Nomination

Sled Dog Slow started as a way to keep family apprised of our Alaskan adventure, but it has grown to so much more than that. Through writing this blog, I have met so many people from around the world on their own homesteading journeys. I never imagined that I would have as many readers as I do, much less that I would be recognized for this blog, so I was amazed to be nominated for the Liebster Award! 

Thank you to Sabrina at Crunchy and Country for the nomination! Check out her blog for more homestead goodness!

What is the Liebster Award?

Liebster is a German word, that means dearest, beloved, or sweetheart. As in, your dearest friend.
The Liebster Award started in 2011 as a way to recognize the efforts of fellow bloggers. It’s also a great way to discover new blogs, meet other bloggers, network, and share a little about yourself. This award is a great way for bloggers to connect!

My Favorite Blog

My favorite blog right now (and probably will be forever) is Idlewild Alaska. I discovered Idlewild Alaska when I was doing research on moving to Alaska, and the first post I read by Amanda was The Importance Of Self-Sufficiency In Alaska. That post has stuck with my on our homesteading journey, and I’ve seen the effects of late barges and bad weather now myself. I am consistently drawn back to Amanda’s blog as she is a wealth of knowledge for homestead living in Alaska, and she’s got great recipes for local cuisine too (some day I’ll get around to trying this Homemade Moose Summer Sausage). Even though she is Alaska based, much of what Amanda writes about is useful knowledge for any homestead. Check out her blog, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Ten Fun Facts

In accordance with the rules of this nomination, here are ten random facts about me.

  1. I have a degree in Criminal Justice.
  2. My favorite dessert is Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake.
  3. I LOVE Arctic Fox Hair Color and regularly dye my hair (it’s teal right now!)
  4. I used to keep tarantulas as pets.
  5. I’m allergic to Pineapple, Kiwi, and Dragon Fruit.
  6. I’ve been known to eat an entire loaf of Artisan bread, with just salt.
  7. I kept my last car running for years with electrical tape and bungee cords holding the engine together.
  8. Since I grew up in the desert, the best smell in the world to me is fresh rain on sagebrush.
  9. Yellow is my least favorite color, yet my wedding colors where yellow and white because…
  10. My favorite flowers are sunflowers!

Liebster Award Nominees

Idlewild Alaska

Oscoey

A Modern Homestead

Salt In My Coffee

Piwakawaka Valley

Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you should do the follow:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award
  6. List these rules in your post
  7. Answer all 11 questions asked and ask 11 questions that you would like those bloggers to answer.
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.

My Answers:

1. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Dark chocolate all the way!

2. Swimming in the pool, lake or ocean?

Pool. Water and I are not friends, and I hate not being able to see the bottom.

3. What is your dream vacation?

I’d like to go somewhere on the equator. A tiny, uninhabited island surrounded by blue seas sounds perfect.

4. Country music: Love it or hate it?

I can take it or leave it. I like some of the 90’s stuff, but mostly I’m an Alternative Rock kinda person.

5. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

‘Meeting’ all the other bloggers in the homestead niche from around the world!

6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl. I like mornings just fine, but I tend to sleep through them.

7. Besides blogging, what is one of your favorite hobbies?

I used to spray paint a lot. Now I don’t have the space for it, but I miss it and would like to get back into it some day.

8. What is your favorite ethnic food?

Mexican food. I could live off Chicken Mole Enchiladas.

9. How long have you been blogging?

1 year and 3 months.

10. Would you rather live in the country or city?

Country, way out in the country. That’s why I live in the Alaskan bush!

11. What are three words that best describe you?

Intelligent, Rebellious, Loyal.

My Questions

  1. What is your favorite flower?
  2. Who is your real life hero?
  3. When is the best time of day?
  4. Where is your happy place?
  5. Why did you choose your blog name?
  6. Which is better: Climbing in bed after a long day, or waking up after sleeping in?
  7. How do you prefer your eggs for breakfast? (Over easy, scrambled, etc.)
  8. What is the best movie you’ve ever seen in theaters?
  9. What is your favorite smell?
  10. Can you sleep with the light on or does it need to be completely dark?
  11. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Thanks again to Sabrina at Crunchy and Country for nominating me! I look forward to learning more about all the Liebster award nominees, and hope to see you all around the blog-o-sphere for many years to come!

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Why A Homestead Often Looks Like A Junkyard

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Why A Homestead Often Looks Like A Junkyard SledDogSlow.com

What do you see when you look at pictures of homesteads online? Perfect fences, flowering garden beds, clean coops. Well let me tell you, I can guarantee they don’t look like that all the time! In fact, homesteads often take on a junkyard vibe. When Kyle and I first moved out here and looked around our piece of raw land, he explicitly stated he did not want our place to look like that. Now we’re over a year into our journey and guess what? We are definitely taking on that look!

Now you may say you haven’t seen it, even with all the pictures I post to Facebook and Instagram.

The truth is those pictures, while not posed, are very carefully selected to avoid junky backgrounds. We have piles of pipe, cut logs/brush, and tarped equipment everywhere. There is an inherent need to put your best self forward, so I avoid showing those things for the most part. And when they do make it into pictures, I usually apologize for the state of our place! It’s a lot like having a friend stop by unexpectedly and apologizing because your dog has just torn up the living room and piddled on the rug. It’s embarrassing.

That said, I don’t want anyone reading my blog to think living this way is all rainbows and fresh eggs.

 

 

I want to provide a 100% realistic view of our life and what homesteading is for us. I want to share all the troubles and hardships along with the joy and goofy stories. And really, there is a reason why homesteads often end up looking like junkyards. It’s because we need all that stuff!

We collect that junk because to us, it’s not junk.

A rusted mattress spring can make a great garden gate, or a tractor pull behind to level a gravel road. Have a broken broom? Turn the handle into a clothes hanging rod. Old shutters are new mail holders, a rake is a ladle holder, junk tires become planters. There are at least 2 1/2 uses for everything on the homestead.

Here is an old bar stool re-purposed as a rabbit waterer:

An old trampoline used as a rabbit pen:

A kindling splitter made from an old treadmill:

A stock rack turned wood rack:

A scrap wood chicken coop:

It only looks like junk until we turn it into something new and useful!

In addition to re-purposing, sometimes its a hassle to haul out what took so long to haul in.

For us, our homestead is miles from the end of the road. We use our 4 wheelers to get everything here most of the year. Occasionally when the road is frozen and clear of snow we can drive our truck back here, but we have been snowed in doing that so it’s not something we like to do. And going to town is an all day affair, so making special dump runs just isn’t an option. We do take trash out when we go to town, but we only head that way when we stack up a bunch of errands. And space is limited with 4 wheelers, so many things stay until we find a way to fix it or reuse it.

We also need spare parts for everything.

Kyle and I actually have a list of spares we want to buy when we have a little extra cash. Extra bearings for our Kodiak and Rhino 4 wheelers, since they seem to be a reoccurring problem. Spare blades for our sawmill, and another chainsaw for if ours breaks. Homesteaders always need extra building materials and fencing, spare equipment parts, and bits and bobs, just in case. Most homesteads (in fact, every homestead I’ve visited) has a junkyard or a boneyard so they have extra items on hand when they need them.

As the saying goes, one mans junk is another mans treasure!

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Pros And Cons Of Tiny House Living

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Pros And Cons Of Tiny House Living SledDogSlow.com

We live in a tiny house. It’s not the smallest I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty small for two adults and a growing baby. Including our storage-only loft, our house is still less than 300 sq ft. I think it’s a mansion compared to what we started with out here, which was less than 100 sq ft. As much as I love our little cabin, it has always been a temporary space. There are lots of reasons to love it, and just as many reasons to be excited to start our larger forever cabin. Just like every aspect of life, tiny house living has its pros and cons.

Pros of living in a tiny house:

There is no room to collect junk when you live in a tiny house. This is a good thing for me, as I love a good junk collection!

It’s really hard not to be organized in a tiny home. This means almost always knowing where something is when you want it.

Tiny houses are super fast to clean when you do have the occasional mess.

Small spaces are easier to heat, which is especially nice if you are off grid and heating with a wood stove.

Smaller houses are cheaper to build and maintain than an average home.

Cons of tiny house living:

There isn’t much room to spread out in such small spaces. This means things like big baking projects and art projects don’t really happen.

More than one person in a tiny house means a lot of bumping into each other! It also means it’s hard to have friends over, so we usually end up visiting rather than having visitors.

Unfortunately, living in a tiny home means little to no privacy. There are no doors in our house for example, just a wider than average doorway leading from the main living area to our bedroom.

At least with small log homes, there is no sound dampening. I can hear Kyle running the chainsaw outside, or the chickens singing the egg song, or the goats playing.

Coming home from grocery shopping is like playing Tetris, sometimes more than one round. We will often bring in half of our goods, rearrange and put them away, then bring in the second half and do it again.

If you think you can handle the cons along with the pros, a tiny house might be right for you!

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5 Homesteading Secrets Revealed

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Homesteading. Its all over these days. In the news, on television, even in video games! That said, there is a lot of misinformation about what homesteading is, and who does it. Today I wanted to dive into those misconceptions and set a few things straight. Without further ado, here are 5 homesteading secrets, revealed.

5 Homesteading Secrets Revealed - SledDogSlow.com

5 Homesteading Secrets Revealed - SledDogSlow.com

Secret #1: You can homestead just about anywhere

Homesteading is all about being self-sufficient and the journey to get there. On 100 acres or a kitchen windowsill, as long as you are taking steps towards growing and preserving your own food, you could be considered a homesteader. Unfortunately, there is little opportunity to truly homestead,  where you would receive land in exchange for working it. The meaning of the term has changed with the times to encompass any one looking to live a little more simply.

Secret #2: Homesteading is H-A-R-D

I hate to burst bubbles, but TV homesteading is overly romanticized. It’s not all barn raising and moonshine makin. Homesteading is often tragedies like dogs killing chickens, or essential equipment breakdowns. It’s problem solving, and problem having. Homesteading is working every day, without fail. This means no long vacations, or even weekends sometimes!

Secret #3: You can homestead without knowing anything about it

Have a hankering to grow your own food but don’t know how? As long as you are willing to do research, ask questions, and try, you can homestead. There’s no required degree from the University of ‘Grew Up On A Farm’. The same applies to wanting to raise your own animals for eggs, meat and dairy.

Secret #4: Homesteading is expensive

It’s unfortunate but true, homesteading costs money. Sure, there are ways to get homestead goods cheaply, but there are a lot of expenses, and they add up! From starter costs like seed, to expansion costs like land and equipment, homesteading means spending cash.

Secret #5: Homesteading can be fun

That’s right, even if you are broke and covered in mud (err, poop) you can still have fun homesteading! I love watching all the baby animals in spring, chasing around our goats, and digging my hands in the dirt. The satisfaction if living this life seems to make nearly every aspect of it more enjoyable!

Are you a homesteader with secrets to add? Share them in the comments!

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