Halloween Weekend 2015 & The Palmer Reindeer Farm

Considering Thanksgiving has already come and gone, it’s probably time I get the Halloween recap done, eh? We had a few errands we wanted to run in the “big city”, so we decided to spend Halloween weekend in Anchorage this year. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s about four hours of drive time to get up there from Homer. We headed up on Friday afternoon amid a beautiful snowfall. While we’ve had an occasional snowfall here or there, this was the first real accumulation of the season. By the time we were getting closer to Soldotna, it was quite pretty to see everything covered in a fresh coat of white. As we passed through Cooper Landing, we spotted six bald eagles and a couple of vultures within a short span. Needless to say, we’re still loving the frequent wildlife sightings up here. It was also neat to see the early winter mountains. It was like looking at black and white photographs; almost surreal.

We arrived in Anchorage around 5:30pm, and ran our first errand – picking up our double stroller. After scoping out the options, I had decided on purchasing our stroller from a “local”small business called Alaska Baby Rentals. Somehow Anchorage still feels local to Homer. Perhaps since we’re a bit isolated up here; despite the massive size of Alaska, anything within the state feels local. In addition to selling equipment (at a discount for Alaska residents!) they also rent out a ton of kid gear for visitors. They have everything from the standard options of car seats, pack n’ plays, and strollers, to more adventurous gear like hiking child carriers, etc. If you’re ever planning a trip to Alaska with a little one in tow, definitely check them out. (Considering we only have a few posts up so far, and about as many visitors it’s probably obvious, but worth saying nonetheless: we’re not being perked to say that.)

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Real Estate Shopping in Homer, Part 1

We recently purchased some land in Homer. Real estate shopping here was a learning experience, to say the least. For anyone out there contemplating a move to Alaska, here are some of our observations. Take these for whatever they’re worth to you. No warranty is expressed or implied.

First and foremost, land in Alaska is expensive. “What?” you say, “How could that be? Alaska is huge! Don’t you all live on 100 acre parcels with magnificent views from log homes you built by hand?” Alaska most certainly is huge. It encompasses over 570k square miles of land, which is roughly 16% of the total land mass of the United States or approximately 19% of the land in the contiguous “Lower 48”. It has more land than Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa combined. Alaska’s percentages are even larger when considering waters of the United States.

"Alaska area compared to conterminous US" by Eric Gaba (Sting - fr:Sting) - Own work. Data:NGDC World Coast Line (public domain) NGDC World Data Bank II (public domain). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alaska_area_compared_to_conterminous_US.svg#/media/File:Alaska_area_compared_to_conterminous_US.svg
“Alaska area compared to conterminous US” by Eric Gaba (Sting – fr:Sting) – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

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Homer Radio, part 2

I wanted to give you all a short follow up to a previous post Local Radio. A few days ago, while tuned to .. well, admittedly I forgot what I was tuned to … but it was probably K-Wave. On came another auditory gem that won’t be found anywhere near the Minneapolis airwaves. It was an ad for a gun raffle. I don’t remember the particulars, but if I recall correctly there was at least one rifle and one shotgun up for grabs, probably more. All you had to do was head down to one of the local churches and buy yourself a ticket. Mama B and I looked at each other with the same “did we just hear what we think we heard” look on our faces. Yes, yes we did. Now if only I could remember which church, I could go pick up a ticket!

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We Bought Land!

First, like every other blog, we need at least one post to start with “Sorry it’s been so long since our last post!” It just wouldn’t be a blog without it. So here it is. Sorry it’s been so long since our last post. We’ve been busy, and are thrilled to share that we’ve bought the site of our new home!

The search is over. About 3 years ago, we decided it was time to leave our longtime home in Minnesota and try something new. We wanted to live some place different, and work toward our goal of being more self sufficient. A pseudo homesteading lifestyle appeals to us. We want to be connected to the world; we want high speed internet (I need it for work and we just enjoy it), grocery and hardware stores nearby, and the option to go out for breakfast on Sunday mornings. But there are plenty of things we enjoy doing ourselves and would like the space/means to do so. For example, we want to raise our own chickens, and who knows, maybe a few goats or a single cow in the future. We want a shop to work on whatever hair-brained ideas we come up with (and let me assure you, those come in fast and furious). We also want some privacy between us and the neighbors.

About 2 years ago, after another wonderful vacation, we decided Alaska was going to be home for the next stage of our lives, and I began the real estate hunt. Knowing that we were at least a year out from moving at that point, Mama B had no interest in watching a market that could be entirely different when we finally got around to buying. For two years, I checked the MLS listings and Craigslist postings every single day looking for what was new. We originally set out with the goal of finding a reno-able property as we very much enjoyed renovating our previous home, and it would allow us get into a place with less money up front. Land, a house, a view, close to town, internet, and an affordable price. Oh, how naive I was.

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