Base camp in our Seek Outside tent. Dog approved
Our Homestead Adventure began in February 2015. We moved out to our raw piece of land after looking at it only on the map, and experienced the intense thrill of discovery the day we arrived. Since there was no suitable landing place on our actual property, we had all of our gear flown in to a lake 2 miles away. In total, we had 4000+ pounds of gear flown in, all carefully weighed, vetted, and packed in the preceding months.
Neisti inspecting progress on his barn
Home Sweet Home
Morgan pulling a sled load of gear to our winter camp
In April, we selected a site for our first cabin and began construction. The cabin is built from lumber sourced on site, milled by a chainsaw mill and has a living roof. That spring we also began clearing an airstrip, creating a garden area, tapping birch trees to make birch syrup, and, of course, further exploring the landscape.
In September 2015, we began the next phase of our adventure: Moving our horse herd from the Eastern side of the Alaska Range to the Western Side. Loaded up in a plane, our herd traversed the Alaskan skies to access their new world. We then began our 25 mile pack trip home, starting with the ford of 7 channels of the Big River. We arrived back out at our homestead after a five day ride through woods, over foothills, along rivers, and bypassing bogs. We endured two early fall storms of pelting rain and hail. It was a treat to return to our cozy cabin. Upon arrival, we immediately began construction on a pole barn for the horses. After completion of the barn, we began our new winter activities of trapping, keeping the fires burning, caring for the animals, and indoor crafts.
Morgan and Margaret after landing.
Margaret Peeling Tipi poles
The beginning of the pack trip
Laying down the first milled boards for our floor.
Frilla and Margaret begin barn construction.
Morgan milling lumber with his Alaska mill
Life on the homestead continues to be happily full of work and the actualization of longtime dreams... but it certainly isn't always easy. There is always more to be done. We are constantly growing and improving our facilities and home. With so many projects, it can be overwhelming to think about all we want to accomplish. With the work load so great, we find it important to remember the joy of the many milestones we have reached.-- discovering our property, a comfortable cabin, a plane landing on the airstrip of our own construction, crops harvested from our fields, a cozy horse barn, a solar system set up, and the satisfaction of having our herd arrive at the homestead.
Pack trip continues.
For the first week, in temperatures of -20F and below, we camped out at the landing lake. From this base camp, warm in a Seek Outside tipi tent with titanium wood stove, we attacked the first order of business: breaking trail through thick powder to our property and identifying its corners. It took us eight days from the day we landed to select the site for and erect our home for the remaining winter and into summer: a beautiful tipi with wood stove. For the next few months we hauled gear from the lake by foot in sleds, selected and milled lumber for our cabin-to-be, and explored the area by snowshoe.
A Winter's worth of Gear and Tools
Morgan with Frilla loaded up in the plane
Margaret notching for framework
Inside the completed pole barn