hardy types
February 14, 2010 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Meet Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman, and their son Katmai. They decided they could live without running water, shower, bath or a working toilet, but they had to have broadband Internet access. They live deep in the Alaskan wilderness, in a yurt.
posted by flapjax at midnite (117 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Second occurrence of the word "yurt" in an FPP in two days. Hmmmmm.
posted by nevercalm at 7:04 PM on February 14, 2010


Whoops, I'm wrong.

Nothing to see here.....
posted by nevercalm at 7:06 PM on February 14, 2010


No shower = unlivable. In fact, I took a shower in our cabin this morning, but there was no conditioner, and I had to take another one when I got home. I'm so lame.
posted by Huck500 at 7:06 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


They look happy and healthy. Although the pictures alone make me cold, good for them!
posted by the_royal_we at 7:07 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I respect their sense of priorities.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:08 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


With no dishwasher or running water, they sometimes enlist dogs — their family’s and those of the neighbors — to lick plates clean before scrubbing the dishes in hand-drawn well water, which they said saves energy.

Well, that's one way to wash dishes I suppose...
posted by fearthehat at 7:11 PM on February 14, 2010


I'm sure I have friends who know them from college. I wonder if their reaction is the same as my own with, say, the girl I knew from college who started screwing her documentary subject (30 years older).

Either way, I was doing a decent job of suspending judgment until I got to the part about the doggy dishwasher.
posted by Madamina at 7:14 PM on February 14, 2010


They have a blog that my friend showed it to me while they were on their trek. I used to follow them for awhile as they blogged while walking thousands of miles to their new home. When they got there, they built the yurt.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:15 PM on February 14, 2010


Id get tired of being yurty all the time
posted by freshundz at 7:16 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Any idea where their electricity comes from? Mother's house, also on the property? The stove is electric, along with the computer(s) as well as (presumably) the modem, unless it's wireless from Mom's place.

I've always dreamed about living like this. But now that I've been a homeowner for a few years, things like waking up with the house at 54 degrees and an imagined lack of space in a 1450 sq ft home with two people, reality has intruded in a very large way.

Great article, thanks for posting this. And it just goes to show, that you can read the Times every day and still miss great stuff.
posted by nevercalm at 7:16 PM on February 14, 2010


Two things:

1) Ol' Bret needs to swing that splitter from straight overhead. My dad taught me that one when was but a young lad, splitting wood for the first time. I couldn't believe the difference it made in splitting power. I guess it makes more sense because you want to drive the splitter straight down through the wood and coming in from a slight left or right is kind of working against the grain a bit.

2) I bet there's an unspoken competition about who uses that outhouse first on a cold winter day/night. Someone will finally break down and use it and the other will silently thank him/her for warming up the seat for them.
posted by NoMich at 7:19 PM on February 14, 2010


Huh, weird. Thought this was a double for a sec, but realized it's actually that I'd just read this already when reading a story linked by a different FPP.
posted by limeonaire at 7:22 PM on February 14, 2010


2) I bet there's an unspoken competition about who uses that outhouse first on a cold winter day/night. Someone will finally break down and use it and the other will silently thank him/her for warming up the seat for them.

I used an outhouse a few weeks ago in fairly cold weather (-20) and was amazed when I sat down that the seat didn't feel cold or even cool. The seat was simply a piece of EPS styrofoam with a hole cut in the middle.

I hope they know about this! I should email them to make sure.
posted by davey_darling at 7:25 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


The funny thing is that we'll all be living like this in a few decades. Involuntarily.
posted by Avenger at 7:26 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is not an unusual way to live in Alaska, I know many, many people who live in a similar fashion. Although most have better insulation in their cabins than these guys appear to and keep them pretty toasty in the winter.
posted by fshgrl at 7:27 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


No running water or even a working toilet? That's gotta yurt.

Also, "in a yurt" is not this year's trendy suffix for fortune cookie fortunes.
posted by dhartung at 7:27 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I searched this article from top to bottom and found no mention of how they get their broadband, only that they have it. Nothing pisses me off more than journalism that doesn't reference the headline.
posted by Xurando at 7:27 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm going to turn yurty on May 10th and am a little frightened.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:28 PM on February 14, 2010


Looks like a nice place, actually, and not much smaller than my Tokyo apartment. The "waking up cold" part likely freaks out most Americans with central heating left on all night, but I learned that you don't need to do that, and most Japanese do without. Instead you bundle up to within an inch of your life and you'll be toasty warm all night. Waking to a cold room is tough some days, but whatever. Builds character.

More power to 'em, I'm impressed. How they do without hot water, though, is beyond me. Hot showers are, like, important. I also have an 11-month old and that kid is too cute.
posted by zardoz at 7:32 PM on February 14, 2010


I'm curious where they're headed on that trek to "unmaintained coal reserves in northwest Alaska" — that'd be kind of an interesting article in itself.

As to their lifestyle ... whatever does it for them. The no-showering thing really isn't my cup of tea, but if it doesn't bother them I'm glad they're saving the water.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:37 PM on February 14, 2010


Go Carls!

Nuts, but with their hearts in the right place.

Carleton '85
posted by Windopaene at 7:37 PM on February 14, 2010


Burning wood for heat isn't a particularly sustainable or environmentally friendly lifestyle. Fine for one family, but that particular 'lifestyle choice' destroyed lots of human civilizations.
posted by empath at 7:39 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ol' Bret needs to swing that splitter from straight overhead. My dad taught me that one when was but a young lad, splitting wood for the first time. I couldn't believe the difference it made in splitting power. I guess it makes more sense because you want to drive the splitter straight down through the wood and coming in from a slight left or right is kind of working against the grain a bit.

I noticed the same thing. Part of the problem is that articulating your swing from the elbows, like he is, will rob you of a lot of torque.

I kind of like these folks. I've noticed that whenever their type comes up in discussion, people tend to attribute their ability to endure discomfort to some innate hardiness, whereas the reality is that you can condition yourself out of low tolerance for discomfort in much the same fashion that you were conditioned into it. I'm one of MetaFilter's tribe of semi-secret Boy Scouts, and like most of the rest I reserve an appreciation for the opportunity to have learned that about myself in spite of my general disdain for the organization itself.

I was curious as to how they got broadband too, but I'm assuming they use satellite internet in lieu of any information about it.
posted by invitapriore at 7:40 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is so cold that homemade yogurt resting on the plywood floor stays chilled.

This sounds like my place! I don't live in a yurt, we're just cheap college kids in an ancient drafty house. The kitchen is essentially self-refrigerating.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:41 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Erin and Hig have a website documenting their work on Alaskan natural resource issues. In development, but already worth a look around.
posted by Tsuga at 7:42 PM on February 14, 2010


This is a case of a mefite going through their forwards approximately a month later than everyone else. Even Gawker has already mocked this family's smugness.
posted by parmanparman at 7:45 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


With no dishwasher or running water, they sometimes enlist dogs — their family’s and those of the neighbors — to lick plates clean before scrubbing the dishes in hand-drawn well water, which they said saves energy.

Tonight, thanks to this FPP, I discovered that I am much more bourgeois than I believed I was.

Thank you, flapjax.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:45 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting to think that their life is not that different than urban living was only 150 years ago in the US. My middle-class townhouse, in the middle of a city, is that old and the original owners of the house had to deal with most of the stuff that these folks do with the exception that they at least had a cold water tap in the kitchen. When my house was built, it had no electricity, central heat, telephones, bathrooms or car in the garage. If you wanted to bath, you had to heat up water on the coal stove and wash up in a copper tub. What we think of as civilized living isn't really very old.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on February 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Fido, after you're done licking your ass, could you take care of these plates? That's a gooood puppy"
posted by jason's_planet at 7:48 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


"articulating your swing from the elbows, like he is, will rob you of a lot of torque." Plus it's unsafe, and they're a long way from the axe-induced trauma repair place. Having put myself in that situation, I'd highly recommend learning how to use an axe properly (and First Aid).
posted by sneebler at 7:49 PM on February 14, 2010


It sits at the foot of a sloping lot they share with Mr. Higman’s mother, Dede. She bought the land and built a small house there some years after her divorce from Mr. Higman’s father, Craig, who still lives on the other side of town, where the younger Higman grew up.

Showers also didn’t make the cut; they take a weekly hourlong walk to town to wash their clothes and themselves.


I don't understand why, if they live on his Mom's land in the yurt, they can't shower or wash clothes there? I call shenanigans. This is really good PR for them and Ground Truth Trekking, but I wouldn't be surprised if the yurt is where they sleep and maybe cook, and they head to Mom's place when the journalists aren't around.
posted by misha at 7:49 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


LOL HIPPIES! What? Somebody had to do it!
posted by MikeMc at 7:54 PM on February 14, 2010


"There's as clean as soap and water can get them. 'Here, Soap! Here, Water!'"
posted by Zed at 8:02 PM on February 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


er, that was supposed to be "they're", not "there's." Well, that's one punch-line ruined.
posted by Zed at 8:03 PM on February 14, 2010


The funny thing is that we'll all be living like this in a few decades. Involuntarily.

lots of people presently live like this, involuntarily. and if you'd had to do without modern conveniences as a result of real privation, you probably wouldn't choose to do it out of a sense of altruism or ethics. not for long, anyway.

he's a PhD and she's an MA/S. I'm sure they have enormous student loans to pay off, unless, of course, they don't. I wonder if they have health insurance, what with a baby and their cavalier approach to sanitation and use-of-tools safety. I'm guessing they will do this for a few years, make some money or a book or documentary off of it, then move down to the posh manhattan co-op that one of them is sure to inherit.

this sort of inconvenience and discomfort is a luxury, the like of which very few can afford.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:06 PM on February 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ol' Bret needs to swing that splitter from straight overhead. Yes,. He'll get better follow-through as well.
posted by carter at 8:13 PM on February 14, 2010


parmanparman writes: This is a case of a mefite going through their forwards approximately a month later than everyone else.

Judging from the majority of comments so far, your "everyone else" is probably not so "everyone" as you appear to believe. Obviously not all of us here is as up-to-the-nanosecond as you are on every piece of news or information that turns up on the web. My deepest apologies.

It is fortunate for all of us, though, that those others (and I'm sure there are a number of us) who have already seen this are not as compelled as you to rush into the thread to point out that it's something that first appeared (gasp!) a month and a half ago. That would get really tiresome.

Even Gawker has already mocked this family's smugness.

I detected far less smugness in this family's attitude than in your comment here, parmanparman, which fairly well reeks of smugness.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:26 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is that a Netflix envelope next to their bed?
posted by swift at 8:27 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good eyes, swift.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2010


There's no way that someone who heats his house with wood could ever be that bad at swinging an axe.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:38 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Their poor kid.
posted by amro at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


this sort of inconvenience and discomfort is a luxury, the like of which very few can afford.

This is a comment that would make a lot of sense in the thread about that college kid who pretended to be poor for a while in the name of supporting some ill-considered, bootstraps-related idea about social mobility, but it doesn't make much sense here. I understand that they're enabled by their class, but it seems hypocritical to begrudge them that as we argue about it on the internet, especially because they're using it towards fairly benign ends. I don't see anything to suggest that these people are insensitively advocating their living situation as the solution to all of humanity's problems as if they were the Michael Pollans of environmentalism.
posted by invitapriore at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


swift: Is that a Netflix envelope next to their bed?

I suppose they watch on the computer they use with their broadband internet. But with mail service that is almost certainly super-slow, they might want to look into NetFlix's watch-on-demand offerings ... oh god I'm a shill
posted by barnacles at 8:42 PM on February 14, 2010


I saw this article when it was first published. My reaction was the same as any time I meet, or read about, highly privileged people choosing to live ostentatiously "simply." (Growing up around hippies, this was a staple of my childhood; lately I've been noticing it in all the blog-to-book projects.)

It's not a bad thing to do, and certainly it doesn't hurt anyone. But it seems to me inescapable that there is a world of difference between living austerely by choice, and living austerely because you have no other options. The meaning of living without amenities changes totally if you can wake up one morning, decide you are tired of not having luxuries, and change everything with one phone call.

So good for them for having the courage of their convictions, and for practicing what they preach. But outside of that, I don't see these experiments having a lot to do with either other middle class people (who are not choosing to live without these amenities) or the poor, who wish they had options like this. It's maybe interesting, though hardly new; other than the satellite internet I'm not sure what they are bringing to the table that wasn't there in the 1960s or even before.
posted by Forktine at 8:50 PM on February 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


They have good taste in board games. I see both Carcasonne and Tigris & Euphrates.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:53 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything to suggest that these people are insensitively advocating their living situation as the solution to all of humanity's problems as if they were the Michael Pollans of environmentalism.

well, if they aren't, then why is there a book, a website, a donation system and an NYT profile?

the problem I have with it is there's obviously an agenda, but it's being presented as if it's not an agenda. and I'm not mad at them for being rich hippies with an agenda - really, who else can afford to go out on a limb like that? but how 'bout coming across with the mission statement up front? "we're living in a tent and making wire jewelry and shitting in a hole in the ground for as long as we can stand it SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO!"

I saw on the website that "something something something environmental something," but by living so primitively that most people wouldn't consider emulating them any non-postapocalyptic scenario is really kind of obscuring their message. and I know there's a message, otherwise they wouldn't keep saying things (referring to their choice to heat with wood rather than propane) “Each step you take in that direction is a step away from the wilderness.”
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The funny thing is that we'll all be living like this in a few decades. Involuntarily.

You mean living on my Mom's property? Oh, hell no!

Funny about this. If everyone were to adopt their lifestyle, it would almost certainly be much harder on the environment and less sustainable than the way things are now. In addition to lacking all the amenities.

I do detect a bit of smugness that I find annoying. So they walked 4000 miles... to raise awareness of natural resource and conservation issues. Okay. Gee, thanks. I don't really have a problem with this kind of trek. But they couldn't have done it simply because they like the adventure? Instead, they're doing this for my sake. I kind of look at this the way I do when someone offers to pray for my soul, because I can't be trusted with the well being of my own spiritual life or something.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


One word: Ew.

Also, I recently went without a hot shower for awhile because my water heater's control board fried. After a week of that I was about ready to kill myself. (Partially, it must be said, because the cold water was much too cold to stand under, so I was effectively just giving myself sponge baths for the duration and felt filthy by the end.)
posted by Target Practice at 9:06 PM on February 14, 2010


I do wonder about the truth of the entire story--when the man is swinging an axe badly enough that I know that he's doing it wrong, that's definitely a warning sign.

I do think the idea of living off the land is an interesting and laudable one (though the extent that this couple actually lives off the land is debatable, and their 'yurt' seems like it's off-gassing enough volatiles that they really should re-think that idea), and I certainly give them points for traveling months at a time on limited income while now also raising a baby.
posted by librarylis at 9:10 PM on February 14, 2010


They decided they could live without running water, shower, bath or a working toilet, but they had to have broadband Internet access. They live deep in the Alaskan wilderness, in a yurt.

Of course they need broadband Internet access. Who's going to voluntarily live in a yurt without running water or a working toilet if they can't blog about it?
posted by schroedinger at 9:16 PM on February 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


the problem I have with it is there's obviously an agenda, but it's being presented as if it's not an agenda.

That's fair. I hadn't noticed the book or the donation system, and to be honest I know next to nothing about how the NYT gets tip-offs concerning who they should profile. My judgment is a little clouded by my personal feelings about wilderness living, so I think I'm going to sit the rest of this one out and see what other people have to say.
posted by invitapriore at 9:24 PM on February 14, 2010


With all due respect... those damned idiots.

They drink from the nearby well and shit in the nearby outhouse, which consists of an UNTREATED sewage system. With a PhD in geology and a Masters in Molecular Biology between tham, I would have thought that both of them would be well aware of the risks of groundwater contamination.

NB. Whilst permafrost acts as a barrier to groundwater percolation (and thus contamination of groundwater), this barrier has been found to become less dependable during the spring and summer months, regardless of whether a full thaw occurs. The permafrost is becoming particularly susceptible to seasonal variation as a result of overall temperature increases.

There is a great deal of literature out there on this topic that a PhD and an MA with internet access should be aware of. Especially a PhD and an MA with a baby... babies and dysentery don't mix.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 9:27 PM on February 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Huh, here's the part where I'm shocked by what other people consider "small" and brag about how my apartment is soooooo small.

I mean, damn, it's really small. That yurt is for wimps. I live in 180 square feet with someone else and 20 sq ft of that is shared with another person. Dang. A yurt. I could stretch my legs out like crazy.

Also showers are overrated but I have no idea how they do the diaper thing. Babies poop EVERYWHERE.
posted by kathrineg at 9:33 PM on February 14, 2010


That baby is going to be breastfed until it's 4, don't worry about it.

Brr, my nipples are freezing just thinking about it.
posted by kathrineg at 9:34 PM on February 14, 2010


People are weird in the most amazing and entertaining ways.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:37 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


My judgment is a little clouded by my personal feelings about wilderness living

mine too, invitapriore, only maybe the other way ;-)
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:38 PM on February 14, 2010


To add to the skepticism ... and why not?

“Part of it was just logistical,” Mr. Higman said, explaining their decision to buy the tent. “A yurt can be set up in eight hours.” It was also in their price range, suited their minimalist approach to life and, perhaps most important, evoked the wilderness experience they cherish. - the article

A couple of summers ago we spent a few nights at a nice little outpost camp near Ely, MN. They were setting up the same brand of yurt on site, and it was taking them the better part of the summer to get it done, and they had full access to electricity and tools, etc. So ... I too see shenanigans.

The way his back is bent as he's "dropping" that splitting maul ... well he'll not be up for to many bouts of Katmai-making if he's actually doing that often enough to keep that stove loaded all day every day.

So good for them for having the courage of their convictions, and for practicing what they preach. But outside of that, I don't see these experiments having a lot to do with either other middle class people (who are not choosing to live without these amenities) or the poor, who wish they had options like this. - forktine

This is too true. My brother works for an engineering firm that helps out folks who want to build alternatively (straw bale, stack wall, earth ship, etc.) and their customers nearly always have 1) an expensive education, 2) lots of cash to throw at their projects. Half a million to build a smallish "green" house is not uncommon (I'm talking about rural Manitoba, Canada, not Vancouver or Calgary).

If we're headed toward apocalypse, then we should be so lucky as to live like this. We wouldn't of course. A stove like the one in that yurt needs at least a 30 amp breaker, and if you noticed the zip envelope in this pic then you probably also noticed the two electrical outlets and what looks to be a phone jack between them.
posted by kneecapped at 9:42 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


They are living in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Walden. It's a core part of the American tradition and character. There is a reason Thoreau is so famous and why you keep hearing his name. Look beyond the surface stuff like hippies or class issues or materialism and be more creative than just saying they are roughing it and gee wiz no toilet. There are some fundamental issues that are raised by this lifestyle that are not so easily flipped off with a casual post on MeFi.
posted by stbalbach at 9:51 PM on February 14, 2010


@stbalbach. Thoreau also had his momma tending to him and all the buddies keeping him afloat.
posted by beardlace at 10:10 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


"They have good taste in board games. I see both Carcasonne and Tigris & Euphrates."

Well looks like Hunters and Gatherers to me, which is fine, but Tigris isn't very good with two. Makes me wonder about the pair of them...
posted by Windopaene at 10:12 PM on February 14, 2010


Re the wood splitting ... I too thought that was a bit suspect. Maybe he's just swinging it badly because it's staged for the photographer, and he just threw his back out or something. I was sort of giving the benefit of the doubt there. But: It's also an awfully large hunk 'o wood he's swinging at, sitting next to a bunch of equally-large hunks 'o wood. They're not so big that they'd be totally impossible to split down with a maul and wedge (and you'd need a separate wedge and probably a heavier maul or sledgehammer than the one he's swinging), but it'd be a hell of a job on a continuous basis.

The more I look at that photo, the more it look like a man who actually owns a logsplitter. Or maybe just buys split wood. Or, at the very least, like a man who's going to really wish he had a logsplitter in a few days.

Not that I think it really changes anything about their lifestyle as a whole (aside from possibly hoodwinking the NYT reporter). The wood he's splitting was obviously machine cut with a chainsaw, so it's not like he's doing the 'full primitive' all the way from tree to stove. There's modern conveniences involved already — given that, I'm not sure it really matters whether he's buying the wood pre-split or using a hydraulic splitter (they make electric and manual ones in addition to the common gas, so you could even make an attempt at being 'green') instead of DIYing it with that maul.

But that does, I guess, bring me to a greater question about where and why he and his companion decided to draw what are clearly arbitrary lines about their lifestyle. They live in a yurt, yes, but it's made of Tyvek and plastic. They don't have running water or even a good deep well, but they have electricity. And of course they have Internet access. It's not immediately obvious why they made any of these choices; they're all pretty arbitrary.

Other consciously primitivist cultures tend to do similar things — some Amish eschew bicycles, but they have kick-scooters that serve much the same purpose — so I'm not really calling them out just for making choices. When you decide to opt out of the majority culture, you necessarily end up drawing certain lines about what you want to opt out from. But inherent in each line is (to me, anyway), an interesting decisionmaking process. Why this, but not that?
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:14 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it could be really fun to have a yurt in the mountains to visit in the summer when it gets hot. A place to get away and enjoy nature. I think yurts are awesome, and someday when I own land I will have one.

Still, these guys seem off. I can't put my finger on it, but I too read this awhile ago and don't know what it was that rubbed me the wrong way.

When I saw the picture of their bed and read that their boy sleeps with them all I could think was "Do they have sex with their baby in bed with them!?!" I mean really, how does that work? They can't wait for him to fall asleep and then put him on the floor, the article said the floor is freezing. Are they having an experiment in celibacy too? I've never been a co-sleeper with my kids (I'm a really heavy sleeper and I'm afraid I'd roll over on them in the night.), so maybe I'm missing something...
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:16 PM on February 14, 2010


You're all ragging on these people for choosing to not give up internet over other amenities. However, the internet is a valuable tool, especially for people in such a situation, by choice or not. If you're bored, it gives you entertainment. If you're sick, it'll tell you with what and what you need to fix it. If you're foraging, it will tell you what you can pick to eat. If you don't have a phone book, it can tell you a number --- and if you don't have a phone, you can make a phone call via the internet. If you need recipes, they're there at your fingertips. If you need learning aids to help you home school your child(ren), it's there.

They have access to water, they have electricity of some sort. If you're used to living that way, you won't die without the internet. If you're not used to it, you can mess up easily and you just might.

Plus, the internet gives you an outlet for expression and socialization, which is important when you don't get much outside interaction.
posted by Malice at 10:22 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


TooFewShoes, there are many cultures where sex isn't something to be hidden or dirty. Certainly, I imagine they don't involve their child in it, but it's not unheard of in some societies for husband and wife (or equivalent) to have sex within view of others, including children.

I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with it, personally.
posted by Malice at 10:24 PM on February 14, 2010


For me, credibility collapsed when I saw their route, and realised that the couple had gone 4000 miles by foot where they could have gone half the distance by boat. I know it's rough sea up there, and I know it's cold water, but during the right seasons it's safer, faster, and easier - it's still more practical to move burdens by sea than to trek them overland. Let's hope they survive, and are able to care for the kid.
posted by Graygorey at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2010


And they could have gone there in 5 hours by airplane graygorey.

The point of their trip was to go along the entire coastline by the gear they could carry with them, foot, ski, and packraft. There was quite a bit of ocean going.

http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/WildCoast.php
posted by outsider at 11:07 PM on February 14, 2010


"Their last monumental trip took an entire year, during which they covered more than 4,000 miles of both urban and untouched terrain in Alaska, Washington and Canada by foot, raft and ski."

oh okay so america gets states and canada is just canada now
posted by tehloki at 12:03 AM on February 15, 2010


They are living in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Walden.

Seriously? They're living in a store-bought tent, they're eating store-bought groceries, and they've got internet and power. They aren't that far off from your average trailerpark dweller.
posted by empath at 12:10 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was splitting bigger pieces of wood all afternoon in my yard, using only an axe. What's the big deal? I'm pretty sure he was posing for a picture there, not actually chopping. Its like when you see hockey players during a ceremonial puck drop - none of it looks real or is meant to be real; just a photo op.
posted by mannequito at 12:30 AM on February 15, 2010


Well if he does have a chainsaw (that, or someone else cuts it into rounds for him and they schlep it to camp, obviously a ridiculously impractical option), then why does he bother using an axe to split pieces that large? It just seems disingenuous to have so clearly laid out the things you have sacrificed vs. the things you can't live without, then have a photograph which trivializes the entire lifestyle/concept. Just use the chainsaw some more, or get a hydraulic splitter, and you'll have even more time to travel and socially isolate your child.

It's like saying "hey, look at me, I actually have to hold this marshmallow over the campfire all by myself", then going into the motorhome and pulling microwavable s'mores out of the fridge while the camera isn't looking.
posted by Clamwacker at 1:43 AM on February 15, 2010


(Also, I realize he's probably just posing for a photo, but still, it's stupid to use an axe when you could have a safer, more efficient method, considering their proximity to emergency rooms.)
posted by Clamwacker at 1:48 AM on February 15, 2010


Even before I read the article I knew the guy would be sittin in his little (14k) yurt on his mac.
The smugness is indeed unbearable - they both didnt like "collegiate shenanigans" - oh dear.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:47 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am also deeply skeptical. You want to see real back to the wilderness badassness check out the One Mans Wilderness DVD. This guy goes to Alaska in 1967 at 50 years old a proceeds to build his own cabin, etc.
posted by humanfont at 4:58 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have...
posted by Splunge at 5:15 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't mind the smugness or the privilege or the Internet access so much as I mind their imposing suboptimal sanitary conditions on an infant who has no choice in the matter.

Improvements in sanitation and hygiene have been responsible for the lifespan increases seen in developed countries over the last century. Turning your back on those advances, especially when you have an infant, and when you have fucking graduate degrees in the sciences and presumably know better, is pretty damned irresponsible.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:38 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bah, Tyvek isn't insulation.
posted by electroboy at 6:38 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


...guy goes to Alaska in 1967 at 50 years old a proceeds to build his own cabin, etc.

That would be Richard Proenneke.

Previous MeFi FPP: Naturalist, Old Skool Blogger.
posted by ericb at 6:50 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


the way the guy's feet are set in the axe photo tell me it was a photo op. even an idiot would have his feet farther apart.

on the other hand, none of those logs looked hard to split. i'm sure, when he's really working, he can split up a nice bit in a few minutes.
posted by lester at 7:17 AM on February 15, 2010


Questions I would have asked, if I were the reporter:

Why a yurt made out of plastic?

Is Katmai vaccinated?

Are you concerned that, at one year old, Katmai is not walking yet (according to Katmai's blog--yes he has one, too), given that it is something the two of you enjoy?

Do you co-sleep?

What does your Mom think of this, and how often do you see her, since you are living on her land?
posted by misha at 7:20 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I went to Carleton with Hig and Erin, and Hig and I lived in the same (10-person, college-owned) house for a year. It's interesting seeing what motives people read into their actions.

For the record, "smug" is not an adjective I'd use to describe them. I doubt they really care what other people think; not that they're consciously rebellious, but that it wouldn't even occur to them that what other people thought was relevant (and if it had, they wouldn't know where to start in figuring out what other people thought, anyway). Good-hearted folks, but they're not particularly social.

I get the impression they live the life they do because they enjoy it and find it interesting -- no more, no less, no grand message. They're not hippies, they're Alaskans, and I'm not surprised that the Home & Garden writers for the NYT don't really have a good framework for understanding them.

I will say that their current dishwashing strategy is an improvement over their collegiate method, which involved cooking a week's worth of food in our kitchen at 3am, then leaving all the dirty dishes on the counter. I have no opinion on Hig's log-splitting technique.
posted by nicepersonality at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


When I saw the picture of their bed and read that their boy sleeps with them all I could think was "Do they have sex with their baby in bed with them!?!" I mean really, how does that work? They can't wait for him to fall asleep and then put him on the floor, the article said the floor is freezing. Are they having an experiment in celibacy too? I've never been a co-sleeper with my kids (I'm a really heavy sleeper and I'm afraid I'd roll over on them in the night.), so maybe I'm missing something...

In colonial times it was typical for there to be one bed per family-not sharing the bed with your kids was an unusual luxury. And yet, they still managed to have children. Many children.

And they were Puritans

So yeah, different sexual norms for different folks (or timeperiods or whatnot).
posted by dinty_moore at 7:46 AM on February 15, 2010


Both this article and this thread are pretty amusing from my perspective. I've lived in Fairbanks for the last 15 years and the only people who call this a "lifestyle" are what we call "Lower 48ers" which is what you are until you get used to being an Alaskan and you stop doing things like leaving bags of garbage in your open pickup beds (a raven's wet dream) and you stop making a big deal out of cabin life.

Fairbanks is populated enough (80k or so in the area), there is a major University here and we all have iPhones. However, plumbing isn't easy or cheap in a place like this so living without running water is really common. As a matter of fact, I would wager that around 75-80% of grad students live in cabins with no running water, no indoor toilet, but all kinds of electricity and internet. "Dry cabins" are cheap and available. Hippies and Trustafarians get their attitudes adjusted real quick once they see how many natural resources it takes to live here. Even without water.

I did my time without water. UAF, the local gyms, and laudromats all have numerous private shower stalls, so it's easy to stay clean, you get used to the outhouse even at -40 because when you have to go you have to go, and eventually folks realize it's nothing special in Alaksa.

Also, Seldovia is NOT THE WILDERNESS. Don't get me wrong, but Alaskans don't consider Seldovia the wilderness. And the Kenai Peninsula is really temperate compared to Fairbanks. They'll get a clue eventually and everyone in Seldovia will stop rolling their eyes at them after a few years.
posted by madred at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why do people get so pissed off and obnoxious when other people choose to give up luxuries? I can't believe how judgemental this thread is.
Here's my theory, very summarized: we live in a highly technologized society, and our economy is very dependent on a near-universal acceptance of increasing technological needs. We are socialized not only to adopt technological "improvements", but to very quickly see them as necessities. As a culture we have developed an aversion to critical thinking about technology, and we are made uncomfortable by people who attempt to introduce nuance and discrimination into our thinking about technological needs. Thus, anyone who exhibits anything other than full-on, non-questioning acceptance of all technology is immediately branded a "Luddite", and then chastised for being a hypocrite because they have a pump, or a pen, or socks.
These people are thinking critically about technology, and are deciding to accept some aspects of it and reject others. Makes sense to me.
Further observations:
An axe is a different tool than a maul. All you people who are trashing this guy for his misuse of an axe should be aware that he's using a splitting maul, not an axe, in that photo. A maul is basically a sledgehammer with one sharp end, made for splitting along the grain. An axe is smaller and lighter, made for chopping across the grain.
Outhouses can easily be used in winter without frozen buttocks by simply keeping the seat inside and carrying it to the outhouse with you.
Dogs licking plates, contrary to the prevailing tone of this thread, will not lead directly to the Apocalypse.
posted by crazylegs at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


All you people who are trashing this guy for his misuse of an axe should be aware that he's using a splitting maul, not an axe, in that photo.

He can't swing that for shit either.
posted by electroboy at 8:06 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


PS - They could keep their yurt a hell of a lot warmer by putting insulation and siding around the posts that it sits on
posted by crazylegs at 8:08 AM on February 15, 2010


Why do people get so pissed off and obnoxious when other people choose to give up luxuries?

speaking for myself, I'm not pissed that they're giving up luxuries, I'm irritated that they're living in an unsanitary, potentially dangerous (hand-dug surface well less than 75 feet away and downhill from the no-barriers pit latrine), not particularly sustainable (plastic tent with inadequate insulation that obviously leaks shitloads of heat, stove that burns craploads of wood) manner as a matter of privilege and then pretending their choice is about pointing the way to environmental salvation. it's not.

look, the article said the $14,000 yurt was "in their price range," not that they only had $14k to their names. they're living in a single-family dwelling on acreage and calling it "wilderness," a delusion that, given land-use concerns at the least, is arguably the worst thing you can do if you want to preserve "wilderness."

the best possible land use for preserving wilderness is to put all the people in hi-rises in one corner, and leave everything else undeveloped greenbelt. living in a tent with no toilet in a small town and flying to costco for groceries is just indulgence.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:26 AM on February 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


PS I am writing this in bed wrapped in my down comforter because my house is too cold to be out in. we can discuss this at more leisure in the summer when I will be lounging comfortably in my underwear with a beer somewhere (anywhere) in my also un-airconditioned house (in north Florida, which several times this winter has been colder than southern alaska).
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:34 AM on February 15, 2010


So, after reading the article and these comments I'm trying to get a better handle on their situation. I sent the NYT link to a co-worker who is from the Kenai Peninsula (where his family still resides) not all that far from Homer and he's going to see what he can find out. There are very few people out that way so he probably knows somebody that's actually had contact with these folks. He's guessing they probably spend a lot of time in Mom's house and based on the picture he doesn't think the hubby is splitting a whole lot of wood. Oh and having the well downhill from the outhouse is really f*cking stupid.

Why do people get so pissed off and obnoxious when other people choose to give up luxuries?

Attention whores sometimes get negative attention, film at 11:00.
posted by MikeMc at 8:36 AM on February 15, 2010


and ditto on the outhouse to well issue. n00b 48er.
posted by madred at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2010


I found the metafilter commentary much more interesting than the NYT article:

I filed this under 'a good deed loses all merit when spoken about.'

E.g. - if this was just a couple, using their privilege to live simply, well, okay- they look happy and healthy, good on them.

But they're not. They're courting NYT reporters, blogging, accepting donations, and apparently, living this way to enhance my understanding of resource management.

Which I find fairly disgusting, and others have pointed out, pretty deeply bourgeois.

I share the opinion that these two are about one book deal and one indie documentary away from a bungalow in the Hollywood hills. They'll tell their housekeeper Consuela that they understand where she's coming from, because 'they've suffered too.'
posted by mrdaneri at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I remember fast-forwarding through their endless story on Weekend America, which is now canceled. Coincidence? I think not.

(okay, it probably is a coincidence.)
posted by pinky at 9:49 AM on February 15, 2010


Why do people get so pissed off and obnoxious when other people choose to give up luxuries?

I understand it's all relative, but pick the items on this list that are considered luxuries in the developed world:
  • Running water
  • Flush toilets
  • A Personal Computer with a broadband internet connection
  • What appears to be an electric kitchen stove with a glass cooktop (doesn't that require 220vac?)
These people have given up the first two on that list, but chose to include the second two in their lifestyle. I'm not surprised that posters here cast a skeptical eye on their story.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:59 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm irritated that they're living in an unsanitary, potentially dangerous (hand-dug surface well less than 75 feet away and downhill from the no-barriers pit latrine),

Who knew that a picture on the New York Times could provide enough telemetry that any casual internet user could not only discern the distance, but the topology and soils of a snow covered site. I suppose it is also possible to tell from the picture that they don't boil the water before they use it.

Now, I tend to think that a pit latrine near a high water table is a bad idea too, but I've read their blog, and these people aren't impossibly stupid, in spite of what the picture seems to show. It seems premature to make the claim that two biologists have dug their well downstream from an outhouse from nothing more than a photograph.

What pisses me off is that that dog has clearly been carrying around that stick for hours, and everyone is too "OMG the NYT" to play with him.


These people have given up the first two on that list, but chose to include the second two in their lifestyle. I'm not surprised that posters here cast a skeptical eye on their story.


People all over the world live without running water, yet have electronics. I don't see why that choice is a good reason to draw all sorts of conclusions about these people's lives and their motivations. If I had access to electricity but no running water, I wouldn't ditch my computer in order to suit a bunch of random strangers who might judge me on that choice. They aren't back-to-the-landers or anything like that. And as madred points out above:

However, plumbing isn't easy or cheap in a place like this so living without running water is really common. As a matter of fact, I would wager that around 75-80% of grad students live in cabins with no running water, no indoor toilet, but all kinds of electricity and internet. "Dry cabins" are cheap and available.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:19 AM on February 15, 2010


Who knew that a picture on the New York Times could provide enough telemetry that any casual internet user could not only discern the distance, but the topology and soils of a snow covered site. I suppose it is also possible to tell from the picture that they don't boil the water before they use it.

don't pick nits. it's too fucking close and you know it. ok, say I'm wrong about the literal distance and slope. would you drink from a hand dug surface well that's visibly that close to the shitter? when there's a trenched footpath in the snow from the shitter to the well? it's not like that's the cold part of alaska. eventually the snow will melt, and it will rain, and guess what happens to your water supply?

maybe they do boil all the water they draw. they could save themselves a lot of trouble by relocating the latrine, storing the waste in a tank, installing a dry composter, etc etc etc.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do people get so pissed off and obnoxious when other people choose to give up luxuries? I can't believe how judgemental this thread is.

Good post. It's remarkable how many people are lining up to take shots at this family, simply because they have chosen an unconventional lifestyle. They wrote a book about a hike to express their thoughts about environmental issues. How they live is a separate matter. They didn't present their homesteading as an example for the world, it's just a personal preference.

But I suppose the real offense is not their lifestyle, it's allowing themselves to be targets for the projections of some very defensive people. There seems to be an assumption that they have self consciously taken on a morally superior attitude, and so everyone's rushing to Prove Them Wrong. God forbid that we just take them at face value as enjoying the conditions they live in...

---

As for the outhouse / well, do we know the depth of the well? I see it described here as hand dug, but how do we know this? The location of the outhouse doesn't matter all that much if the well is deep enough.

---

The Gawker post on this NYT's article is particularly bad, even by their exceedingly low standards. Started with the intent of focusing on "the darker Manhattan-centric themes: class warfare as recreational sport; pathological status obsession; and the complete, total, and wholly unapologetic embrace of decadence", devoted to ferreting out the provocative and shallow, the entire site is little more than one long dismissive sneer. They're one of our most prominent embodiments of The Whore of Babylon. Calling someone else smug? WTF?
posted by BigSky at 12:29 PM on February 15, 2010


The location of the outhouse doesn't matter all that much if the well is deep enough.

This isn't really the place for it, but there's a lot more to outhouse/well interactions than "deep enough." You'd need to know the specifics of the well construction (eg cased? how deep? through what soil profiles? how careful was the construction to not allow percolation down the casing?) and of the outhouse, and have an idea of what is in between them. State health codes will usually spec a minimum distance between potable wells and outhouses, but those distances are also assuming certain construction practices, soil conditions, etc.

My guess, from the article and photographs, is that their well and outhouse are insufficiently disconnected; my point here, though, is that we don't know this for sure, and that keeping fecal organisms out of your drinking water can be deceptively complicated.
posted by Forktine at 12:41 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


it seems to me inescapable that there is a world of difference between living austerely by choice, and living austerely because you have no other options. The meaning of living without amenities changes totally if you can wake up one morning, decide you are tired of not having luxuries, and change everything with one phone call... I don't see these experiments having a lot to do with either other middle class people (who are not choosing to live without these amenities) or the poor, who wish they had options like this. - Forktine

i was having a conversation with a friend who has chosen to sell all of his stuff & move into the jungle to become basically a hunter/gatherer. i argued that this was a choice and a privileged option. He said any capitalist american could choose to "leave the grid" and live more simply out of a backpack without the need for extraneous stuff (including hot water).

i have respect for any ex-boyscout that can live off the land. but this couple is parenting by a risky example. the distance to the next hospital isn't as shocking as the lack of insurance. what happens when this couple gets old & decrepit? how easy is plastic to maintain? will their yurt age well? heck, what are they going to do when his mom dies?

there are some great points made in this thread. i'm not concerned about the couple's n00b methods of cutting wood. i'm really questioning their experiment's sustainability.
posted by hepkatmama at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I swear I'm going to start a website called Look At This Fucking Trend Article.
posted by electroboy at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone who harvests and splits some where north of six cord a year with just a chainsaw, some come alongs and a six pound maul, he doesn't look the type to be dragging to many logs out of the woods. I live off the grid and there is no way I would ever consider running an electric range. It could be done no doubt, but why, when gas is a billion times cheaper/easier. So I am assuming a grid tie at Mom's place.

What was the point of this whole article in the first place anyway? Hey look! It's uber educated middle class American white people living like they would in the third world. Hooray!
posted by woodjockey at 2:17 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with Forktine and following up my earlier comment here...

The key issue is not the depth of the well. The key issue is that the untreated sewage from the latrine will likely contaminate the groundwater. The well water *is* that groundwater. Treated sewage is one thing, but untreated waste is just plain hazardous - there are plenty of bugs that survive boiling.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 2:27 PM on February 15, 2010


Funny. As soon as I saw the FPP, I thought, 'I bet they're Carleton kids.'

Ding! Good to know that my Carl-radar is still in such fine condition.
posted by colfax at 2:50 PM on February 15, 2010


The NYT should really stick to New York City. You can't beat them for fawning profiles of the latest absurd fad of the upper classes. This sort of thing? They think Tyvek is insulation. I'm not sure what else you need to know about the potential accuracy of this article.
posted by rusty at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2010


By the way, everyone having vapors about how they're "endangering their poor poor little innocent baby" should get over yourselves. Don't presume to judge someone else's parenting by one crappy NYT article. That's beyond obnoxious.
posted by rusty at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, Seldovia is NOT THE WILDERNESS. Don't get me wrong, but Alaskans don't consider Seldovia the wilderness.

Yeah. I've been to north of the Arctic Circle interior Alaska. There were two sorts of people. The first type were people making a bunch of money working at, for instance, Prudhoe Bay and then getting the hell out of dodge before they went too crazy.

The second sort of people were there because they liked the crazy. They did not live in a yuppified tastefully decorated yurt with Carcassone and Netflix. Their typical meal consisted of a couple plates of meat with, sometimes, some cranberries for vitamin whatever. Which they bought in bulk in the once yearly trip to a Costco in Fairbanks.

All those picture sof these folks in a snowy wilderness? Misleading. Today is February 15th. It's almost 40 fucking degrees there. On February 15th. This place has better weather than Chicago. It's shirtsleeves weather.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2010


You can't beat them for fawning profiles of the latest absurd fad of the upper classes.

How else am I supposed to know what accessories to request for my gigantic yacht?
posted by electroboy at 3:14 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's funny to see this being called a lifestyle choice" by people who have literally no experience living anywhere but the wealthy western world. There are thousands of children being raised in similar conditions in Alaska; a place where most house in rural areas and small communities still do not have indoor plumbing and sewage systems are only found in the larger metro areas. This is pretty much how the majority of people in rural Alaska live. It's normal there. The kids survive just fine. I also have to laugh at the health insurance question- most people in rural Alaska do seasonal work like fishing or guiding- do you think they all should refrain from chopping wood or having children?

Though a sauna is really a better option for staying clean than hiking into town to shower.
posted by fshgrl at 3:17 PM on February 15, 2010


I can't believe how judgemental this thread is.

Quoted for truth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:14 PM on February 15, 2010


I can't believe how judgemental this thread is.

They got a New York times article for camping out in a tent in his Mom's backyard, what do you expect.
posted by MikeMc at 4:47 PM on February 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


The key issue is not the depth of the well. The key issue is that the untreated sewage from the latrine will likely contaminate the groundwater. The well water *is* that groundwater. Treated sewage is one thing, but untreated waste is just plain hazardous - there are plenty of bugs that survive boiling.

I lived for a while in a very rural part of New Mexico mostly populated by homesteaders and ranchers. There was one homestead every twenty to forty acres and just about everyone had an outhouse. Our well was 300 feet deep, and not that far from the outhouse. It was commonly acknowledged that over time the water table would become contaminated, but it was estimated to be years away. No one was very worried about it. I can accept that the type of soil makes a big difference, but I'm having a hard time believing that the waste from two people will contaminate their water unless the water table is very close to the surface. The area I was in was free range, a lot of cows had been shitting there for a long time. If it was that easy to contaminate the ground water, then everyone's well water should have been bad from the get go. I'm not saying their conditions are safe, I just don't see cause for the certainty of some of these opinions.
posted by BigSky at 5:36 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can accept that the type of soil makes a big difference, but I'm having a hard time believing that the waste from two people will contaminate their water unless the water table is very close to the surface.

It simply depends on the specifics of the situation. Imagine a poorly constructed well that allowed surface water to run down into it, mixing with the ground water at the bottom of the well. In that case, the outhouse is the least of your worries, and you are going to get sick from the dog shit on the ground washing down into your well in the rainstorm.

Groundwater is super complicated. Underneath your feet might be three or four aquifers, some interconnected and some separated by impermeable layers of clay or rock. How water (and more importantly to our discussion, contaminants) move through this system depends entirely on the details -- how was the well constructed? What are the soil types? How deep is the outhouse pit? What is the gradient of groundwater movement under the site? Can water run directly through a fissure in the permafrost from the outhouse to the well? Or is it filtered through fine-grained soil instead?
posted by Forktine at 6:12 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And none of that really matters if they are actually eating and bathing at Mom's house, as some have speculated.)
posted by Forktine at 6:12 PM on February 15, 2010


Well, Justininan, there is a third type of Alaskan: we ARE the Crazy.
posted by madred at 8:21 PM on February 15, 2010


There's three kinds of Alaskans, AMIRITE?

Sarah Palin being the fourth
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:12 PM on February 15, 2010


Yeah, basically what Forktine said. Uphill/downhill is probably less important that the subsurface geology, unless the well is a hole in the ground with a bucket on the end of a rope. Since dude is a phd in geology, I'm fairly confident the well situation has been investigated. If not, shame on him. At least the typhoid outbreak will be small.
posted by electroboy at 6:13 AM on February 16, 2010


Cue the Werner Herzog voice over.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:36 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Palin is a whole different level of Alaska-Crazy. Her best Alaska quote: "It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future." Need I say "sic"?
posted by madred at 8:14 PM on February 16, 2010


electroboy: “unless the well is a hole in the ground with a bucket on the end of a rope…

From the photo, it looks like the well is a hole in the ground with a bucket on the end of a rope.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:27 PM on February 18, 2010


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