Five years ago there were just two of us in the Open Sky family and we were sitting in our home in Spokane, Washington talking about leaving the city again and going back to our roots. Back to Alaska. Back to simpler living. Back to a slower pace of life. How quickly we had gone from a simple less-is-more lifestyle to moving faster and faster and acquiring more and more….stuff. Doing more. Owning more. Having more. Wanting more. It wasn’t freeing. It was suffocating. Instead of owning, it owned us. The mortgage, the motorcycles, the car, the property, the jobs. We made the decision: after the baby was born we were leaving everything behind and going. If it didn’t fit in the car, it wasn’t going.

At first, we weren’t sure WHERE in Alaska we were going. Back to where I was born and raised on the lower Kenai Peninsula? Or somewhere new, like Southeast and closer to my sister and her family? In the end, we moved four times in two-and-a-half years trying to find the right place that really felt like home. A place where we could truly start our farmstead and raise our daughter.

We ended up here, on the lower Kenai Peninsula just miles from my old stomping grounds. After all, it meets all of our lifestyle criteria and we do have some history here: nineteen years ago we were married in the middle of winter off in the woods near the ocean a few miles from here. I grew up here. Mr. Open Sky loves the area. It’s about 20 miles from a real town and from our land we can see the Cook Inlet, mountains, three volcanoes, the river valley and always incredible sunrises and sunsets. Plus, there aren’t much for neighbors and the closest electricity is about three miles down the road. Any of us out here are looking for similar things: simplicity, slowing down, a fuller life, and more self-reliance.

So here we are, roughing it on our little five acres. We bought the land last winter about this time, while we were still living in town. Once our lease was up in the spring, we moved out here. We decided on where we wanted the cabin and then had Techno Metal Post come put in the foundation for the 16×24 log cabin we are going to build. In the past, we have built our cabins on 6×6 treated posts sunk in the ground for a foundation. It’s cheap, it’s easy. But we want a permanent foundation. Something that will stand the test of time, the thawing and freezing of winters, earthquakes that frequent our part of Alaska, and the weight of a two-story log cabin.

After researching it, we decided to pay the money it takes to have the guys at Techno Metal Post come put in the foundation. For us, it’s worth it. One of the advantages was that we didn’t have to wait for summer to come in order for the ground to thaw enough to dig down. The machine drills right through the ice, no problem. It took them one long day. Easy-peasy. Foundation: check.

That was in late-March. Mr. Open Sky works a full-time nine-to-five and the days are getting longer by that time of year, so when the weather cooperated, we drove out to the property at the end of his day and started on the floor. We had to get the floor down and then we could put up the canvas tent that was to be our home until the cabin was livable. I had set the goal for the end of August to be in the cabin. It didn’t need to be finished, just the downstairs livable for autumn’s hunting season and then the long, cold winter.

We put up the 9×12 canvas tent and moved in the end of May. Think: camping in a two-room canvas tent in bear country, just two adults and a three-year-old. All day. Every day. For months on end.

Let me tell you, it got old fast but we had a goal in mind: get the cabin up by the end of August so we can be warm and safe and dry. Sounds good, right? And then the rain started….and all our plans went out the window. Now instead of building, we are fighting to keep things dry. Enter set-back number one.