Stage Left: Enter 48-year-old high school English teacher from Wisconsin, now residing in a remote Alaskan village on the Bering Sea, teaching Spanish to Eskimos.
Stage Right: Enter 60-year-old trapper/fishing guide/small engine repairman from Minnesota, who has spent the last 25 years earning his Sourdough title in that same remote Alaskan village on the Bering Sea.
Front Center Stage:
It all started with a Wink.
Kathy (aka Alaska_Soul) had been dating on and off via for 15 years. Finding herself single and headed to the Alaskan bush to teach, she began checking out profiles for men in the Unalakleet area, located on the Norton Sound, south of Nome, Alaska. Her lifelong dream had been to live off the land in an off-grid cabin somewhere in the wilds of Alaska. She wasn’t getting any younger and with both of her adult daughters building their own lives in the Lower 48, it was time to make the jump.
In a state whose motto is, “The odds are good, but the goods are od…

Wash Day

Wash day starts early. The sooner I get the laundry up on the lines, the more likely it will be dry by the end of my day. My days are not measured by daylight because that would give me a never-ending day in the summer and only an hour or so in the winter. However, that’s another story in itself.
Wash day actually starts with the rain. Our rain collection system provides clearer water than we can get from the river, so it’s much better for laundry. However, in the winter, melting fresh snow does the trick. The water catchment system drains into a 5-gallon bucket under the cabin. Every time a bucket is full, we dump it into a large 35-gallon trash barrel. We try to be extremely vigilant about this when it rains. To have a bucket run over means wasted water, so we catch every drop we can.
Using an old, plastic, Folgers’ can (the 3 lb size is most useful), I dip out the water and pour it through a strainer, to catch any pine needles that may have floated down with the water off of the r…

Different Strokes

I’ve been a single mom for 19 years. My daughters are now 26 and 23 years old. You might be thinking that the mothering is over. The truth is that it’s never over. Their feelings, their wants, their needs are always on my mind whether I just got off of the phone with them or it’s been weeks since we talked.
“I just want you to know I’m happy for you,” Sarah, my youngest, told me today, through tear-filled eyes.
I am visiting her and her husband and my new 2-month-old grandson. My 11-day visit ends today, when I go back home, 3,180 miles away.
I’ve always dreamed of living in an off-grid cabin in Alaska. Ask anyone who’s known me for more than 10 minutes. My girls were raised with me telling them that, one day, they would have to bring the grandbabies by plane or 4-wheeler to visit me in my cabin in the wilds of Alaska.
“I’ll make sure to have plenty of sleeping bags for everyone to camp out on the floor,” I’d tell them.
Neither one of them can remember a time when I ever told them d…

Making Lemonade

Sunday evening - May 21, 2017

I don’t need your sympathy. I’ll have your envy in no time.
Tonight, we are rich, wealthy beyond measure.
I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee and the sound of songbirds. I rolled over in our flannel sheets under the homemade quilt and felt the breeze come through the window screen over my head and brush across my shoulders. I could hear the occasional creak of a kitchen chair as Gregg sipped his coffee and scribbled numbers on his latest Sudoku puzzle, a morning ritual. I smiled to myself, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and ran my fingers through my gray hair.
This is my life, I sighed deeply, rolling out of bed and heading toward the eco-friendly porta-potty on the other side of the bedroom.
After a quiet morning of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on the radio while we ate breakfast sandwiches (caribou breakfast sausage, eggs, and pepper-jack cheese on mayonnaise fried English muffins), I worked on a crossword puzzle until Gregg came in from outside askin…