We are a Christian family homesteading in interior Alaska. We started moving from AZ in 2009. We have joined forces with longtime Alaska resident Donna Scott who is allowing us to set up camp on her established homestead turning into a small farm community nestled into the remote Alaskan interior.
Before jumping into the laundry I would like to say that we had a great visit with some friends from Fairbanks on Saturday Lori and Georgeanne. They brought us a bunch of treats little things that you miss when your 160 miles from a grocery store: Oranges, cheese, pizza, pumpkins for the kids, M&M's, etc.. The kids love their pumpkins and keep carrying them around with them. Wyatt likes to give his little kisses.
Sunday we set up the kids play house that we hauled up with us from Arizona so they had a good time on the slide. The boys did really well climbing up the ladder and going down the slide. They didn't care for the tire swing though.
Ok on to the new laundry situation. As you can imagine having the washer outside the line eventually froze inside the machine. So, we waited for it to thaw and moved it into the house. Ken set it up so that it could drain out into the grey water tank. It's plugged into the solar set up. Sounds nice huh? Having the washer inside? OH NO!! When it was outside I had the luxery of filling it with the hose. Now water must be hauled about 5-7 gallons at a time and poured into the washer. It takes about 22 gallons to fill the washer for each of 2 cycles. Thats 44 gallons and aprox 9 trips carrying a heavy container off ice cold water with the weather in bellow freezing temps and up at least one small flight of stairs. Also you have to watch it closely so that you can get it filled fast enough on the rinse cycle to it doesn't burn up the motor trying to fill the tub with no water flow through the pump. Needless to say after one load on Friday I took the other 6 loads in to the washateria in Manley Hot Springs and washed them there. I also took advantage and the kids and I had a warm shower. While it was no picnic keeping the kids entertained in the washeteria it was alot easier than hauling all that water. I'll try to limit laundry to a load a week for as long as I can haul the water. When temps get too low it will not be possible as the water will freeze comming out of the hose. At that point I guess we will be forced to use the washeteria. It's not terrible but it is about a 14 mile drive each way and then $2.00 a load to wash and $2.00 a load to dry but they don't actually get dry in one spin. I didn't dry all our loads after the first came out still damp. We have line strung upstairs and are hanging cloths there. For now I guess I'll hope that the potty training stays on track and reduces the amount of cloth diapers, peed clothes and cleaning clothes. Any tips on teaching little boys to keep their little weenies down while sitting?
Washer under the stairs
While talking about the basics of washing clothes I thought I would mention a little about refridgeration. We have a nice fridge that we brought with us from Arizona. It was an ice maker that does cubes, crushed or filtered water. It is being used to hold canned and dry goods. It makes for a fancy pantry. Instead items are kept cool in a cooler wich is cooled using plastic juice and milk containers that are filled with water and frozen in the chest freezer. These are rotated every other day to keep things like Mayo and other dressings cool. Now that it's freezing out we will probably stop using the freezer space for the jugs and just start putting them outside.
Ken is still doing some work for John Dart on the thermal energy greenhouse that he is building. I'm not sure how much work he will have left this season, I would imagine that they will have to stop working once it gets too cold or starts to snow. Check out the website bellow. It really is interesting the greenhouse will be powered and run completely off of thermal power from the local hot spring. Growing up my goal was to work in hydroponics in the Biosphere II project so this is really interesting to me. I also included a link for the Biosphere II project.