For as much whining as I've done this winter on the Alaska weather and the snow and the cold, you'd think I'd be ready to pack 'er up and head south.
And believe me, those thoughts have crossed my mind more than once.
Especially in those six weeks of just a few hours of daylight and temperatures so cold, we can't even leave the house for fear of automobile failure. Driving at 50 below zero - we don't even think about wind chill factor up here - is a recipe for disaster.
Why, why, why???? I would ask myself.
Why do we live here?
Do we enjoy the torturous winters?
Are we cold blooded?
Do we like darkness?
You tell me. Why do we live in Alaska?
How does a lake all to yourself under the midnight sun sound?
Even if it is freezing cold?
Or dessert growing wild and abundant?
Or where every girl is raised to be just as tough as boys
When you finally catch a fish, you appreciate it so much more for the cold windy hours of waiting and waiting and waiting for a bite.
How about being able to build your own house just how you like? Yes, in Alaska you can just grab a shovel, start digging, and start building your dreams.
Or waking up to a distant mountain view
And then later that same day, somehow, looking back at how far you've come.
Up here in Alaska, we are blessed for sure
And we find ways around most any challenge.
But when you are looking at your feet, cold and wet, trudging along one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, for seventeen miles, it's the worst day of your life.
But when you look up, when you get some perspective, it becomes the most beautiful day of your life. And you don't remember the rain drops dripping on your nose.
In Alaska you don't need to be a millionaire to wake up to this view.
You just have to survive the ride.
This may be the road less traveled,
But that's the road we are on.
With every place you live, you take the good with the bad. Maybe it's the bad that makes the good look so much better.
Is it worth it?
You all look pretty darned happy with the road you're traveling! I'd say it's definitely worth it to you!
As for me, I'm happy to be "roughing" it through the winters of Southern Calif :-)!
Happy Spring to you and yours!
Thank you! I really needed to put this post together for my own spirits! It's all about appreciating what is good about where you live, right?
Love your comments ...love the pics...makes me almost want to live there. Problem is-if I'm more that 20 minutes from Lowes or Walmart, I go into withdrawal - not sure that I could take the isolation; but you make it sound great!
I thrive on isolation, but the lack of sun would probably kill me!
I'd say the beauty around you is definitely worth the trade-offs. If you lived someplace sunnier/warmer you'd have to put up with hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes... It's all about perspective!
Wow, those photos are beautiful! I whine a lot about the rain and lack of sun here in Seattle when I shouldn't. It seems like it's ALWAYS cloudy here, even if it isn't raining... but then when we get a clear day, it's just gorgeous. :) LOVE the ice fishing photo! :) Too cute!
I live in Pa, but my husband and I always talk about moving to Alaska, especially when we are having particularly bad days.. i would love to be in the middle of nowhere. Your pictures are beautiful, and doesnt help my longing to leave!
For me, your comments keep harkening back to my own as of late. You have to learn (I mean all of us of the Human race) to be happy for what you DO have, appreciate what you DO have because, in an instant in some cases, it can all be gone.
We have really been learning what those words mean over the last three years and what an awakening it really was for us. Learning to appreciate your surroundings for what they are (and where you are in life) is a wonderful thing.
Alaska is definitely one of the last great wildernesses of our planet. My late Grandmother LOVED Alaska and had hoped to live there one day so it has a special place in my heart too. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ride on the road less traveled!!!
Gorgeous photos, thanks or sharing them! Hang in there, building weather will be here before you know it! You rock Ana!!
Ana, I think it's a wonderful gift you are giving your daughter. One of the first things that impressed me when I stumbled across your website a few months back (after I got over seeing pictures of a supermodel beautiful young woman packing power tools like a he-man and telling me I CAN TOO) were the pictures of Grace out in the elements, helping with the momplex, hauling firewood through a frozen forest on the back of a four-wheeler, bundled up fishing in a frozen hole, walking hand and hand with her dad out to see him off for his first flying lesson...in other words, being part of all that you do. I thought, wow, what a great way to raise a child. So many girls are raised to think they "can't". All over blog world, women are saying...."Oh, I have to wait for DH to build me this, and fix that" or "DH won't let me use power tools, so I can only work with a handsaw" and on and on. You gave me confidence.....me, a middle-aged woman that you don't even know, hundreds of miles away...So I say again....I look at your pages and your daughter in that tough beautiful frozen world and she is thriving. And she is surrounded by love. And she is being given the gift of confidence and ability. I'm sure no matter where you raised your daughter, you would give her that gift....but from my vantage point, it looks like the place you live provides many of the opportunities to teach her ingenuity, survival, and like you said, to be as tough as a boy. I have no doubt that by the time your done with your Grace, she will be able to kick any boy's ass, change the oil on her Grandmothers' cars, build her own house one day and never, for one second, doubt that she can do a damn thing. Maybe that's why you live in Alaska. By the way Ana, I made my first circular saw cuts last weekend. Practiced for hours. This coming weekend, my husband is teaching me to use the compound miter saw. That's you Ana....you gave me that. Never would have happened if I'd never seen your website. I'm almost 50 years old....But I have to tell you, one of the first things that I told my husband when I first saw your site was that he better be nice to me or I was moving to Alaska and asking you to adopt me! LOL!!
Tearing up here! Thank you for your beautiful, touching comments ...
With Grace, there was no choice for me. She has always had such anxiety about leaving me - even now, she stresses about being away from me - that I had to just take her along on everything we do. I can't tell you how many times I wished we could hire a babysitter, but could never bear the tears. Now it's just too quiet and boring when she's not with us!
Thank you so much for reading, for supporting us, and taking your time to write such a touching comment. Really made my night!
Off to give someone a squeeze, a bath, and a bedtime story!
Ana, your thoughts were beautifully expressed and accompanied by gorgeous supporting photographs. You are an inspiration to so many! Whether it's where we live or other circumstances of life thank you for the reminder that the rainbows only follow rain!
I went back and read all of your momplex blogs and may I say that I am so very impressed with you! I love power tools myself and the best present in my eyes is a new nail gun!
Your winters look fearsome, but I think that the beauty that you enjoy on a daily basis make up for all of that. I wished that I lived closer and I would come and help on the momplex when spring starts again for you! Your moms are lucky ladies to have you in their lives!
All the best to you and your dear family.
I am pretty darned jealous of where you live, actually. I live in western PA and more than half the time it is cloudy and not sunny-and there are NO gorgeous views to make up for it. I say you are incredibly lucky. If I had my way we would pack up and move there (if my family was closer to Alaska, we would in a heartbeat). Since my family lives in the west, we may just settle in Denver-another amazing place in my eyes. Those mountain views are amazing and you are right, you don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy them. I have a friend who lives in Alaska and she hates the winters, but the rest of the year I know exactly why she lives there. I say you are lucky to have a home in a place you love. Not many people can say that. I don't own here and I am sure we will be heading west in a year or two, but for now I just have to sit tight and enjoy where I am now-even if it isn't my kind of beautiful.
All the best!!
My latest love is Katie Daisy, she's got amazing skillz...I want all of her prints.
I'm an Idaho girl, so here's mine:
As I read Yankee Belle's comment, I realized she said everything I wanted to say except I'm 57,single and in Connecticut. I couldn't have said it better so I won't add much.
You & Ram are giving Grace a childhood of strength and beauty beyond measure. She is learning teamwork, responsibilty and how not to give up whether it's a dream or a frustrating project. She is obviously one happy little girl!
Because of you and Kit, the DIY Diva, I purchased my own compound sliding miter saw and am preparing to put in a laminate floor, baseboard & closet trim for my first project. Your stunning picures awakened the adventurer in me that had been dormant for a time as I raised my child as a single parent. Now that he's 22, I'm starting to stretch my wings again and your encouragement means more than you realize! Thank you, Ana!
Ana, it *is* all about being happy with where you are. Someone somewhere always has a better life on the days you are feeling down. SouthernBelle said all the things I believe in. Ana, I hope your warm sunny days find you soon, because sometimes we all feel a little down!!
And, you're loads of inspiration!! I'm a horrible picture taker and poster, but I built the book nook for my two boys, a shelf for my daughter, the play fencing for two of my kids as well as the playhouse out back.
*YOU* shine light on my day, even when you are not feeling the warmth. So, today, I'm sending you some warm Cincinnati weather. (That seems like an oxymoron there - how about if we both imagine some tropical weather, ok?)
Enjoy the mountains, lakes, and love, and keep sharing! Hugs
I just stumbled upon your site yesterday and was loving the plans and thought it was so cool to see a woman designing and building things when I realized you are from Alaska! It all makes sense now.... ;) I grew up in Alaska and moved to the Idaho/Washington area when I was 20. I loved this post because it is true... Alaska is full of unmatched beauty that makes the winters worth it for a lot of people. And the girls ARE as tough as the boys! I really do see a cultural difference between Alaska and here. For me growing up the women in the family loved to fish, they cleaned, smoked and canned salmon, used the grill as much or more than the guys, when there was something heavy they lifted it, knew where the hammer was and how to use it, etc etc. And they sure didn't stay home when it was snowing because they were afraid to drive or didn't want to clean the car off themselves.You would never leave the house with that attitude in AK! ;) I realize this may be a generalization and there are plenty of women like this out there everywhere, but in my experience AK girls are just tough and a bit more independent it seems. Shout out to my awesome AK mama, I miss you!! Keep on doing what you are doing Ana, I love it!
Your lovely post made me very happy (and teary) I am so pleased to see that it is not just in Queensland Australia where girls are bred to be as tough as boys. You and your little girl are the epitome of what we promote here as "Girls can do anything".
I am lucky enough to live in a part of wilderness much closer to a big city than you, but I feel the same way about our place. Hope you and your family are safe (and warm). :)
There are some excellent picture. I really like it. You should post more often!
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Anna, these pictures are beautiful, they make me wanna move out to Alaska. Actually, this wouldn't be so hard to make. My parents died last year, I sold their properties and saved the money, I made a car donation, thus getting rid of their old car and, most importantly, I got fired 2 months ago. So I have money and no attachments to my home town. It's time for a change! How much does winter last in Alaska?
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