Currently: August

Currently: August

Currently living/working in: We’re two months into our Leave No Trace contract—still from Alaska. It’s been a surprisingly full schedule even though we are not traveling around like we normally would be! We weren’t sure what kind of in-person programming we could do, but since Denali National Park is open, we’ve been filling in lots of campground programs! Those programs have been an easy way to teach outside from a distance with everyone spread out! Given our Leave No Trace gig is pretty much full-time, it’s definitely been a bit of a juggle struggle to stay on top of other ongoing projects outside of LNT (hence my neglecting this blog! I’ll try to do better in September … ).

Current mood: Still grateful to have full-time work and insurance coverage. Oh, and to live in Alaska!

Currently excited about: Fall is our favorite season, and has been different every place we’ve lived. Justin has been in Alaska in September way back in the day, but this will be my first September here! Fall is very short here (winter’s a-coming!), but it’s fabulous. The mosquitoes are gone, there’s still a full day of light and the colors come alive from head to toe. The alpine tundra at your feet turns crimson red between the sedges, berries & fireweed. The alders and willows turn yellow-orange at hip-level. Then look up to see the leaves of the aspens turning vibrant yellow and the birches bright orange, all while standing out in stark contrast against the dark green spruce. We took a trip last week where fall colors were full-on, so stay tuned for the next blog post, which will be full of visuals!

Currently regretting: We can all lament about something we missed out in 2020. Once Justin & I realized we’d be in Alaska all summer, we had all sorts of grandiose plans, most of which never came to fruition. One main thing we wanted to do this year was get into the iconic AK hobby of fishing. No dice. Luckily, I think we are lifelong Alaskans, so there will be many other opportunities. 

Current confession: Speaking of fishing, I do not love eating salmon. I am trying to learn to love it. I know it’s a superfood and well, we live in Alaska. Salmon is basically the staple food.  

Currently proud of: I think all the blog readers know we pride ourselves on living a nontraditional life, which includes moonlighting several jobs. But one of the key pieces of that puzzle is not carrying debt. So buying this Alaska cabin was a risky decision because we needed to get a partial loan on it. And it had to be a personal loan because it’s extremely difficult to get a mortgage on a dry cabin. It was always our goal to pay off the loan quickly, not only because we hate carrying debt, but also because it had a 9% interest rate!! Proud to say we paid it off on August 19, 2020 … exactly 363 days after we bought it!!!! WOOHOO! (This is not meant to sound cocky–remember this is no million-dollar cabin).

We truly took a leap of faith on this August 2019 decision!!

Current guilty pleasure: One of the perks of our Leave No Trace job is driving around a company car! Say hello to our 2020 Subaru Outback (which we will have to return at the end of our contract). And thanks to all the parties who helped pack it full of our supplies before it shipped up here! 

Quite the combined effort to pull together our supplies from several storage units–thanks to Justin’s mom, sister, brother-in-law and several LNT co-workers, we have everything we need!

Currently not excited about: Justin & I normally don’t eat out very often, and we lived in Healy all winter where there are a total of 2 restaurants open. But we’ve been spoiled! Even though there haven’t been nearly as many restaurants open outside Denali National Park as any other summer, there was still a lot of temptation this summer. And now that the tourist season is wrapping up, we’ll have to close the chapter of having a dozen choices of places to eat! 

Currently worried about: I will do a whole post about my meager gardening efforts, but the results are lackluster. I’ll be lucky if we get 1 tomato. 

Currently amazed by: I truly love the “Alaskan” way of never throwing anything out. I know upcycling is a big movement everywhere, but it seems on steroids in our small town. Justin & I have reaped so many benefits of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Most recent scores: a sawzall, pipe insulation, storage bins, a cabinet … most were either free or super cheap.  

New patio chairs … for FREE!

Currently reading: I finished Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, which was given to me by a friend. It’s a very quick read, and part of a series. I liked it, but not sure if I will read the rest of the series. Not only did it give me a better picture of life on the North Slope, but about wolves. I am also reading Cut From the Wilderness by Alicia Loveland. I met Alicia this month, so was intrigued by her story. There are tons of stories from Alaska homesteaders, and I think it might be my new favorite genre. When we lived in New Mexico, I devoured the books about the Manhattan Project, so when in Alaska, read Alaska stories! 

Currently watching on Netflix: We finished all 6 seasons of Longmire! We definitely enjoyed it. And now we’ve moved onto Money Heist about a criminal mastermind playing out a heist on the Royal Mint of Spain. It is dubbed, but not annoying. There are 5 seasons, and we are partway through Season 1 and loving it! 

5 responses to “Currently: August”

  1. Shayna says:

    You’d be jealous of our garden then! I have so many tomatoes and can’t freeze/give away the sheer volume we have, so I’m going to start canning them. Not to mention all of our other produce–zucchini, yellow squash, watermelon, blueberries, strawberries (sort of), rasberries, asparagus, corn (sort of), radishes, cabbages, peppers, brussel sprouts, basil, rosemary, sage, carrots, pea pods. Come visit and you’ll get a fresh meal!

  2. Jamie L says:

    Those look like some nice chairs! Good find. I can’t wait for you next post and lots of photos!

  3. misti says:

    Definitely try short growing season tomatoes–they exist! Are you growing by seed or finding starts in AK? Definitely interested in your gardening post—especially gardening with MOOSE!

    Can’t believe you got all of that packed into that vehicle? Are you sending it back like that or keeping everything?

    I will check out the books you wrote about–so many good things to read! I have a few I got from our trip last year that I haven’t even gotten into yet!

  4. Paul says:

    Living in Alaska and not liking salmon must be like living in Hershey and not liking chocolate. I once visited France and didn’t like wine, but that changed.
    It was the highlight of our week to talk with y’all. Congrats on paying that place off!

  5. Shayna says:

    So proud that you paid off your dry cabin. It’s Justin’s way to never throw anything away “because we might need it someday.” You are the de-clutterer, and keep it up! But we love other people’s trash sometimes too.

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