Home Sweet Home

Shelly asked about our accommodations.


We are staying in the staff lounge, which we now refer to as our cabin. This was the first building to go up last summer, and it was where the staff ate, hung out, got warm, watched movies, played cards. There is no trim yet, and the flooring is temporary. It’s purpose for most of this year is to support construction workers with dripping rain gear and muddy boots.

With a little stashing, stacking, and rearranging, we’ve made it our home.


We’ve just entered the front door. Beginning on the right, we have the office/desk/computer/entertainment center. The wood stove, our sole source of heat, with two pots of wash water always warm on top. Comfy chairs in front of the fire. Fabric “soccer chairs,” as I call them, are the only comfy chairs as yet. Having once spent a whole winter with a wooden bench as my seat six days a week, I think these are great. (If we don’t have it…)

Fridge coolers and freezer on the deck outside the back door. Cool wash water in the garbage bucket behind the back door. The craft table. The pantry. In the center of the “kitchen” area is our dining table.

At the top of the image, note the loft above the back half of the cabin.


Standing beside the wood stove, starting again from the right, we pick up with the pantry. The kitchen sink with a French drain. Propane stove. Propane fridge which is not currently on.

Propane is the one thing we don’t have in abundance, and we want to conserve it for use heating work spaces. We’re using the fridge as an icebox, with glacier ice from the beach, and I’m trying to freeze buckets of water that we can swap in and out.

We also have coolers on the back porch which are perfect for fridge items so long as the bears are sleeping. We can move them in and out as needed to regulate the temperature of the contents. It’s been a balmy 34-degrees F lately.


Remember the loft over the back half of the cabin? We’re sleeping in it. Extra food is stashed on the left; our clothes, backpacks, and personal items are stashed on the right. We can let the fire go out at night and be snug as bugs in a cozy loft with wool blankets.

I will write about our power, internet, and water systems in future posts. Other questions? Fire away.

Categories: Alaska

4 replies »

  1. Thanks, Jen–this is exactly what I was hoping for! Your abode looks quite comfy,cozy, and highly functional. Of course, I expected nothing less. Personally, I think I’d find the kitchen chairs more comfortable than the soccer chairs. I’ve sat on those at many a soccer game (when I’m not standing to cheer), and I find that my legs get a bit too squished together by the sling of a seat, and the fabric causes me to perspire a bit, even when I’m not over-warm the slightest bit.

    Tell me, how do you access the loft? And do you run the generator when you are using the computer? Do you limit yourself to a schedule? Are you using kerosene or oil lanterns when not running the generator? I don’t see any in the photos. Are you guys using a bucket for a toilet which you store outside?

    I’d love to come and play! Truth be told, though, you’d probably find me curled up with a good book in front of the wood stove in my sleeping bag most of the time.

    It’s a little cooler here than there; we’ve got a few inches of snow on the ground and we’re expecting a bit more. The kids are having fun with a snow tube on our itty bitty hill outside .

  2. Ah life in the bush! Actually this looks better than most of the other places you’ve wintered-over. And the awesome modern technology to let us all in on your life. I remember waiting for the journal to come out of the bush from your first adventure and my typing it on the Apple IIe (which is still in my museum basement storage). And I know where your bathroom facilities are – hee hee. Love ya, Dad/Dick