Homesteading – Alaska Style!

August 2013 – scroll down for April 2023 update

Alaska truly is TNo photo description available.he Last Frontier – at least as far as the United States is concerned.  In 2010, we bought 40 acres on a north-facing ridge overlooking the Chatanika River Valley (every bit as beautiful as the renowned Shenandoah), 18 miles north of Fairbanks, off the Elliott Highway.  It’s what they refer to as “off the grid.”  No electricity to it.  (Generator.)  No water/well.  (Hauling it – to begin with, in 5-gallon jugs from a borough-maintained spring.)  No phone lines. (But, yes, we do have the edge of cell reception and the possibility of internet.)  The first winter, we not only heated all our water on the wood stove, but did all our cooking and baking on it, too.

Continental dwellers, you better sit down.  When we started pulling trees out and digging a basement in Fall 2010, we did not have to obtain one single permit.  Didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission.  No inspections.  FREEDOM!

Wish we’d had time to blog about it while it was happening.  But with the 6 of us working overtime, trying to get in before Fall 2011 (and not making it until December 3)…well, it just didn’t happen.  The photos (linked below) will just have to speak for themselves; after all, each is worth 1000 words, right?


Update April 2023: If you’ve dropped in from our prayer letter link, we are encouraged! Please pray with us as to how to best prioritize and complete the following projects.

Home needs

When we purchased our home property and began building out of pocket in 2010, our intent was to be unencumbered by a mortgage and so require less support and be more flexible for ministry.  Thirteen years later, we are desiring rest from the ever-pressing burden of living in unfinished space:  the need for visual rest (think smooth walls as opposed to red-taped vapor barrier over insulation and “black death”), easier cleaning, and to have the construction buttoned up from deterioration.  We are thankful for the unique sphere God has allowed us to cultivate in order to minister where He has placed us. That focus has not allowed a great deal of time for completing construction of our home. 

Here’s a list of what’s on our plate for completion; for some, we have materials on hand but no time; others are larger projects that need financing.  Perhaps there may be an item or two for which you could help bear the burden while we continue to serve in the areas for which we’ve been particularly equipped.

  • House siding:  this will be the 4th summer that James and Jared have been chipping away at this project.  For completion:  a few areas to trim, and painting.  Maybe finish the balcony?
  • Interior dry wall (w/ceiling insulation)/trimming/painting.  Various levels of completion throughout the house.  The great thing about our construction is that no mudding and taping are needed!  We are trimming each piece of drywall with stained 1x. 
  • Basement bathroom completion:  includes finishing out with some hand-built cabinetry and shelving, then trimming/painting.
  • Kitchen.  Design is complete, and we are looking for the right time to order cabinetry (to be financed).  (Self) Installation (including lights/ceiling insulation/drywall) planned for the fall.  Meantime, we just reinforced a 6’ table that’s feeling the strain of being used as a prep counter for the last 12 years.  🙂
  • New wishlist item:  our new place in Grayling has a Blaze King wood stove, and we are blown away by its burning efficiency.  Replacing our (Craigslist purchase, 13 years ago) Earth Stove here would reduce our heating costs significantly.
  • Garage/shop:  from raw land upward.  Some materials are on hand.  Out-of-the-weather place to work on the car, metal/woodworking, rehome inverter/battery bank currently in the house.  Battery bank is ready to be replaced.
  • Flooring:  someday.

A small peek into current finished-ness. I’ve found I very much avoid including background when I take pics. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Homesteading – Alaska Style!

  1. I’m looking to live off the grid and homestead near Fairbanks. I would love to go super remote but must remain close enough to Fairbanks due to medications that I take. Can you recommend any areas that sound like what I have in mind? I’m driving myself nuts trying to figure out where to look for real estate. Thank you sooo much. I appreciate any help.

    • One of the great parts of living in the Fairbanks area is the availability of land. It’s much more available than in those places that are on the water (like Anchorage or Juneau). We just kept looking at realtor websites (Fox Realty is good for land sales) and craigslist. There are a lot of areas where land is available but close enough for regular trips to town. Goldstream Valley, Elliot Highway, Chena Hot Springs Road, North Pole, Nordale Road. If you want to get out further, you could even look at Nenana or Salcha.

  2. It was so interesting to read your blog. I wish I was younger and could come help this summer. Continue to pray that God meets your needs and blesses you serving there.

  3. I continue to pray for your family and needs, including the ministry God has called you to.
    I will take your prayer requests for summer ministry to our ladies Bible study. The Lord will provide for you and your needs. A older lady once said to me you can’t out give the Lord. Now I’m the older lady and I can attest to the fact. Bless each of you and keep you close to Him. Nancy
    I receive info from Sovereign Grace Baptist in Mission, B.C❤️

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