Safety on the homestead is no joke. This week Kyle and I have both had to slow down, Kyle pulled a muscle in his back lifting logs, and I’ve strained something in my shoulder. It’s definitely making life out here that much harder. We’ve been taking it easy for the last week trying not to make the injuries worse, and it’s hit home that we could really be in trouble if we hurt ourselves. Since everything is done by hand here, being out of commission causes a lot of set backs in our plans. And so much of what we do out here is dangerous, like falling trees!
We’ve only had scrapes and bruises, sawdust in the eye, and one wasp sting on our homestead so far until now. Although Kyle did put a hole in his pants (that needed patching) with the chainsaw, and yes, he was wearing them at the time! We do try to mitigate risks as much as possible, though the land and weather sometimes make it hard. Occasionally we’ve had a sudden stiff wind while taking down a tree, and the ground is so uneven from previous fallen logs that I’m always finding something to trip over. But we do the best we can to be safe and try not to get hurt, especially since we are remote. There is no easy access for emergency vehicles out here. Any injuries that required hospitalization would also require being helicoptered out. Luckily there is a helicopter landing space maintained by an oil company about 1500 ft from where we live.
There are a lot of things you wouldn’t particularly worry about in town that require more conscious thought out here, like dehydration. We’re doing a lot of physical activities every day, especially Kyle, and that means more water intake. We have to be careful that we don’t run out of clean water since our filter system is gravity fed. It can take a while to build back up our clean water supply if we let our reserves fall to low. Part of conserving clean water is that we don’t waste it in our solar shower, so we use creek water for that. Dishes, drinking and cooking water all goes through our filter system before use.
Another thing that requires safety prep here is burning our trash. In town there is a hose and water pressure to help put a fire out if it gets away from the fire pit, and a fire department if things really get out of hand. Out here there is just a bucket of water on standby. Dirt isn’t very helpful here either, as it has a lot of half rotten organic matter in it that catches if thrown on a fire. The ground around our burn barrel has actually caught fire because of this before. But burning trash out here itself is a safety measure to prevent bears from being attracted to our homestead.
Speaking of wildlife, it hasn’t given us to much trouble yet, but we do keep an eye out for bears and moose which are the two I’m most worried about. Moose are just ornery and will charge when annoyed. Bears are, well, bears. Usually we carry bear spray and/or a shotgun when we go out exploring. We also have wolves, coyotes and foxes that could potentially cause us problems as well. And eagle’s have been known to attack people sometimes in Alaska. One of our friends told us to be careful with our daughter when she arrives, because infants make sounds that attract predators, and she actually did have a an eagle come after one of her kids!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these are the worst injuries we have out here. Hopefully we’ll heal up quickly and be back to work soon!
Have any tips for us to stay safe? Sound off in the comments!