Friday, January 30, 2009

Stori: Country mouse

Hello, my name is Stori and I live in the Alaska interior. It seems that I get the opportunity to meet people in very different ways, my friend Debi is a perfect example.

Like Debi, my life revolves around my family. My husband and I have 3 children, aged 15 months to 10 years. We live in a log cabin that we built ourselves. Right next door to us, on the other side of the barn yard, lives my folks, and just up the road a bit lives my brother, his wife, and their 3 children. All of us have built the homes we live in, and all of us have helped each other with the building of each home.

Between my parents and my little family, we have a small farm operation. We raise a small herd of Dexter milk cows for milk and beef, we farrow out several sow hogs each year for extra income from the weaner pigs and also meat for our family, and we have a small flock of about 40 laying hens for which we sell the eggs we are not able to use ourselves. I also have a couple horses (draft mix) that we use for riding, packing, driving, and general companionship. We pasture out our larger livestock on our land during the summer and free range our chickens when the weather permits.

We try to live as close to the earth as possible, which is hard sometimes since most of our ground is usually frozen solid. We grow potatoes enough to last us an entire year, till next season's crop is done. My Mom and I can and freeze all the food we are able from our garden and from nature. If berry picking was a sport, my Mom would be professional. We also hunt, but we use what we hunt, and only harvest what we can use. My husband is the mechanic of the family as well as a blacksmith.

Since we have no other neighbors besides each other, my family has become a community in itself. We each have our own jobs and responsibilities to our community. We each create and provide in our own way, even the kids. My community is not covered with concrete, but with snow and ice most of the year, and tundra the rest. I fear no robber or break in, but moose, wolves, and bear are very real dangers.

With all of this said, it is amazing how similar mine and Debi's lives really are at the base line, yet so incredibly different in so many ways.

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