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My 14 years off-grid living in the Alaskan wilderness…. Why you should spend time living off-grid

May 22, 2017

The term off-grid as described in the ‘Urban dictionary‘ is “the state of being off of the internet, no Facebook, Twitter, Skype, AIM, Gmail chat, Myspace etc. But to most it means living a lifestyle devoid of any connection with civilization or public utilities including commercial electricity or running water. Then there are others that only consider you living off-grid if you are have a totally sustainable lifestyle by growing your own food and butchering the animals you raise or hunt. Lastly there are those who are called ‘preppers‘ who insist that along with the above lifestyles you must prepare for the collapse of civilization by stockpiling months and even years worth of food, medicine and supplies.

But why do I say that everyone should spend some time living off grid and just how far do I think you should go? Having recently returned to living in ‘civilization’ after 14 years in a remote wilderness cabin I think I have a very simplistic answer for you…. appreciation. Something as simple as flicking a switch and having the lights come on in the city is not taken for granted after you have had to carry a generator in and out of a cabin every time you wanted to have a light on or your battery bank fully charged. Or how bout the appreciation for turning a spigot on and having running drinkable water at your fingertips without hauling water jugs to the nearest river or town to get water especially when temperatures are down to 30 below.

Your thinking so why should I appreciate things that are part of daily life in any city in our nation? Because at times even here in civilization things do fail to work like they are supposed to do. Power lines go down, water is shut off and phone and internet service at times stops and to some that is stressful and to them equivalent to the end of the world. Even if you have a high tolerance for aggravation sooner or later you will get upset when these things happen, but not so if you have lived off grid for any length of time, because you will be prepared for them not only psychologically but by having a physical plan to cover most emergencies.

Since living here in civilization I have already experienced all of the above utility disruptions and it effected me not in the least. When the power went out I started to use one of the many headlamps and battery powered radio I had from my old cabin, or when the water was shut off for repairs, not only did the 20 gallons of bottled water I had on hand help, but I knew instinctively to gather as many pots and bottles I could find and filled them with what water was left in my apartments water lines.

Simple things done because I lived for years without ‘civilizations’ modern conveniences and my point is you too can be ready for most disasters that turn your comfortable home into a lonely scary cave. From power outages that can last for days to snow storms that isolate you for a week in your apartment, that old Boy Scout motto ‘be prepared’ rings true. Yes I know its common sense to have some extra batteries and a flashlight around but if the power went off as you sat working on your computer would you instantly know where they were and be able to navigate to them in the dark? And what is wrong with having a number of jugs of bottled water tucked away in the closet or some canned or packaged food that will last for months on a shelf somewhere?

Now these few minor steps will make most crisis you encounter a bit easier to weather but will not make you psychologically ready to handle those situations for extended periods of time. For that you need exposure to those conditions to mentally prepare you to accept your current situation. For that taking frequent forays to where you have to learn to live without modern convinces is in order. With your work life so full I know it may be hard but I am sure everyone can find a few days to just drop out and get away from it all and spend some time camping. Camping is a wonderful way to prepare you both mentally (learning to do without) and physically (gathering the things needed for your time away). Plus a few days without internet or phone access I know will be hard at first but will reward you later when you loose your cell or internet service.

I guarantee that if you camp on a regular basis
you will soon develop the attributes
needed to handle most (loss of civilization) disasters
and who knows you may actually begin to look forward to
getting away from it all.

Alaska: State & State of Mind

May 18, 2017

I have only rebloged someones writings once before but for those who think my Alaskan lifestyle and longing to return to it is insane I offer another Alaskans point of view.

Alaskan at Last!

The genesis of this piece involved a response to a dear friend’s lamentations concerning his move from Alaska after nineteen years and his burning desire to return to ‘The Last Frontier’ even after spending a year in the lower 48.  After he read it he saw the potential for the response to become the foundation for a blog posting.  After some brief consideration I, too, saw this potential; for his creative eye and his suggestion I cannot thank him enough!  While I’ve written on a number of different topics in the three and a half years I’ve been blogging the basis for this blog was ‘to document the learnings and experiences of one man who lived his entire previous fifty nine and a half years in the suburban lower 48 before picking up his home, saying goodbye to friends and moving to semi-rural south central Alaska.’  Given this foundation a…

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The never ending battle to bring down this Presidency…

May 16, 2017

Just this short observation should make even the most tenacious of Trump haters take a step back and wonder if not just maybe these continuous attacks on the President are based more on a concerted effort to bring the Presidency down with half truths then the missteps of an incompetent leader.

Last week it was Trumps Watergate over the termination of FBI director Comey now today we have the President committing treason by discussing classified information with the Russian Foreign minister and the Russian Ambassador. Even if we were to ignore the fact that President Trump has the power to declassify anything that government agencies classify, we have the statement by Gen. McMaster the nations National Security Advisor who was present at the meeting who said, “In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that investigation,”

This new intentionally created firestorm started when the Washington Post reported that, “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting”, and was received by applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per minute.

So we have yet another trumped up
end of the world scandal
caused by people actually breaking the law
by leaking government information
to media outlets
who’s sole function it now appears to be
not the truth
but just maybe a way
to topple the Trump Presidency.

Perceived reality…. or mind control

May 14, 2017

There is nothing wrong with this news broadcast,
do not attempt to adjust or ignore this information
we the media are controlling what we think you should believe
we can change your focus from a soft blur to crystal clarity
of what we want you to think is important

…that opening is just a play on words originally used at the beginning of each episode of the 1963 television series Outer Limits. However my use of these alternate words still echo the same philosophy put forth by the TV series….. that the show was controlling what you should focus on.

It does not matter if you are republican or democrat, conservative or liberal all of us should be concerned over the power and influence that the media wields to influence the American people whether it be online the radio or television. Because we live in such a fast paced society where it seems we have no time in our daily lives for anything the media has reduced our exposure to the ‘news’ to sound bites and video clips that once were only the domain of the MTV generation.

Gone are the days of reporting the (who, what, when, where) taught in every journalism school for decades to be now replaced with one sided ‘insta-news’. These quick bites are purposely edited to appear that this is all you need to know about certain events and that we should not even consider the other side of the issue. We may wonder about other issues but no matter what venue of media we use for our information the news is the same. Decades ago one could change the station and you could well encounter news not covered on the previous station, but not today. Today it is as if all news outlets were linked and though the presentation may be different in essence it is the same news.

For example over the last eight months we have been told by the media to focus on Hillary’s illegal use of her home servers, the Russians influencing our election, Trump’s connection with the Russians and now the firing of FBI director Comey by Trump. Each “crisis” touted by the media as so important that we should not even consider thinking about other issues facing our nation. With the Comey firing being touted by the media as Trump’s Watergate not one news outlet has mentioned that just a few months ago it was the democrats calling for Comey to be fired!

One would think with our nation not having a balanced budget and facing a national debt of 19 trillion dollars, North Korea threatening to nuke the US, 45 million Americans living below the poverty level and Islamic terrorism now happening across America that there are indeed more important issues to resolve.

With all the tangible problems facing us
one must wonder why the over 16 thousand news outlets
all have almost identical slants to their news.
One may think like that old TV series
that someone is indeed
controlling what we are to focus on.

Leaving Alaska…. divine intervention or miss cue?

May 11, 2017

…..over the years and more noticeable to me when I lived for almost two decades in Alaska I have often thought someone is watching out for me. From driving through an intense snow squall in August when cresting Atigun Pass to fog so thick on the Alcan I had to put my head out the window and use the center line to stay on the road, a guiding hand kept me from harms way.


Lately I started to watch an Alaskan reality show ‘Life Below Zero’, (the only one I have seen that bears any resemblance to the ‘real’ reality of life in Alaska), and of course it has me lamenting my move here. Of the many fine people in the series the ones that hits home the most are Andy & Kate Bassich who live about 15 miles up river from the village of Eagle. Not only watching them in their daily lives living an off grid existence but the photography of the surroundings they live in tugs at my very soul.

So because I am sure you have notice the big gaps in my postings I want to tell you I am once again dealing with the formidable weight of loss. At the same time I am also trying to figure, because of current circumstances, if this move was not once again a form of divine intervention…. confused, join the club. With it being only a day away from the day I arrived here a year ago I am looking at not only a cranky old man but one that has deteriorated physically over that year.

(Its that old chicken or egg problem)
For four winters my son and his wife flew me down for the Christmas season to be with them and the grandchildren here in Texas and while here they both would promote the benefits of moving here permanently. The last two visits we looked somewhat seriously at apartments and even a travel trailer for me to live in, and though nothing was a perfect match the seed was planted in my mind of a different life.

It wasn’t until the last winter I lived in Alaska that made me face the reality that my family must have seen all along, when I was literally snow bound for almost two weeks. Normally I can clear my drive (by snow shovel) in about 4 days, well it took almost two weeks because it snowed almost every other day during that time. Because of my heart I can only shovel a few minutes before resting and during that continuous snow fall the frustration of not getting anywhere made the task that much harder.

That was the literal straw that broke the camels back and I decided to make the move if something was available. Again ‘divine intervention’ or ‘luck’ played a role because after being on a waiting list for two years for an apartment in a senior living complex one opened up and it was offered to me. Obviously I accepted the opening and the rest as they say is history.

Now sitting here a year later I find that it seems to me that I am having more problems than I did while living in Alaska. I have tried to figure out if the move itself is a contributing factor to this physical decline or just fortuitous timing. Then again we can not rule out divine intervention putting all the pieces in place to make this the logical next step for my life.

So that leaves me with
a yearning in my soul for a home now gone
and an unsettled mind
wondering if it was a mistake
divine intervention

Sanctuary cities, not in Texas…. at least until the aclu finds a liberal judge.

May 8, 2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday night signed what he calls a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities” that allows police to ask about a person’s immigration status and threatens sheriffs with jail if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities.

……and you can be sure the aclu and other pro illegal immigration organizations are not far behind with filing challenges in court, but I have to ask why, other than someone who supports violating laws already on the books would someone challenge this new law?

Being a realist I know this law has no chance of making it unscathed through the court system. After all our President tried twice to pass an executive order pertaining to the restriction of immigration into the United States and even he was overruled by our court system, so what chance does a mere Governor have. Even though both laws deals in their own ways with attempts to protect the citizens of this nation, both the law and executive order are considered by some as racist or bigoted.

Growing up my parents drilled into me
that all laws were to be obeyed
without question
and if a law was wrong
people should work to change it
not disobey it
apparently now in this new day and age
we are free
to choose what laws to abide by.

A different kind of baseball game….

May 5, 2017

…..unlike what I usually do every day here in Texas I went to a T-ball game on Wednesday. We will not even speak about the fact that at 11am I am usually still dragging my knuckles across the floor and instead today I am surrounded by children, but because today was my grandson’s first T-ball game I wanted to be there. Normally a child’s first introduction to baseball via the T-ball route is of merit but for this group of children, I feel, it was truly remarkable.

This was a game for the children of the various Frisco Texas schools that are in one way or the other physically or emotionally challenged. When I first learned about it I could not understand how children like my grandson would be able to focus long enough to play the game and until I was there and saw how the kids reacted to the game, was a bit apprehensive. But as you look at the pictures you will understand that not only they indeed had a great time, but it brought a tear to this old mans eyes.

From the way the kids focused one the ball when they were at bat

To the smile when they were running the base’s

Or how intent they were to catch the ball after it was hit

and of course the end of the game high-5

Looking at these photographs
will hardly convey
the good time these kids had
or the happiness
I felt
in my heart


*all photographs by Anthony