Hack! Pack! Crack! Stack!

Wasilla homesteaders keeping warm in winter For most poor homesteaders near Wasilla in the early 1950s there was only one way to keep warm in the wintertime: burn wood. It was hard work. Wood had to be cut, hauled from the woods, split and stacked. Hack! Pack! Crack!...

My Favorite Teacher Mrs. Clara Slumberger

Of the many people who impact our lives, perhaps the greatest are school teachers. Our favorite teachers influence us far out of proportion to the small amount of time they spend with us. I first encountered Clara Slumberger in the 1955-56 school year, when I was in...

Spoon Carving with Birch

How to carve a wooden spoon One of my hobbies is woodworking and I especially like to carve wooden spoons out of birch, a great carving wood. Whoever discovered its usefulness should get some sort of plaque or medal. I grew up in an Alaskan birch forest so whenever I...

A Neighborly Christmas

When my family was living in the Matanuska Valley it seemed everyone in our friendly rural neighborhood had some useful skill, helpful to the rest of the neighbors. Some people were good mechanics, some were carpenters, some were handymen. In a pinch they could all be...

Making Ends "Meat"

Homesteader’s Season in the 1950s Everybody has to eat. For poor homesteaders in the Matanuska Valley and other areas in Alaska, prior to plentiful jobs and modern stores, moose meat provided much needed food. The problem was moose meat could only be acquired...

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