Living Off the Land
Our life style was set by 1979. The garden
was doing well with fertilizer from the animals and constant attention.
Neighbors and strangers alike would watch the progress as they rode by.
Cold weather plants like peas and broccoli and cabbages grew like crazy
in the long summer days with the cool misty, almost daily, rains. The
state of Alaska
decided that all residents should share in the wealth of the oil and so
a $1000 was given to each adult and child. Denvy spent his on a TroyBuilt
rotor tiller which made gardening a dream come true.
goats were grown and after having given birth were a wonderful supply
of milk. The thought of goat milk is disgusting to many but if cooled
quickly, most could not tell it from cow's milk. A gallon of milk a day was
more than the family could drink and so Denvy made cheese, however the
heating process brings out every bad favor that is hidden in goat milk.
The cheese was not desirable and the yogurt needed lots of fruit to hide
the bad taste.
Chickens lay eggs enough for the family and
some neighbors. A pig, who became pork, joined the menagerie from year
to year and recycled food into garden fertilizer which became vegetables
again. Both chickens and rabbits provided protein for the family. The
rabbits grew and multiplied well. To avoid personal attachments to the
animals they were not named unless they were to serve as parents of
During the first fall there was a meeting
considering the possible establishment of a fire department. Denvy attended,
offered to support the process and eventually became the training officer
and for a short time served as fire chief.
on the other hand blended her nursing skills into becoming an EMT and
serving on the ambulance crew. One day, within the first month of living
in Trapper Creek, the first grade teacher came to the door and said that
he'd heard that Gail was a nurse. He showed her his arm which had a red
streak running up its full length and Gail said go to the doctor. That
was the beginning of medical care in the area.
Darron was enrolled in the Trapper Creek
Elementary School which was a collection of recycled trailers from the
construction of the Alaska Pipeline located along the main highway. During
Saxowsky's first full summer in Trapper Creek, the units were moved to
a new site, the site of the future permanent school, along the secondary
Petersville Road. In the clearing process the community was offered the
opportunity to gather the firewood and so Denvy and Gail with saw in hand
filled the pickup and prepared for a cold winters.
There was no kindergarten but Gail noticed
that most of their friends had children that age. So she started a kindergarten
type program in their home with about six children including Marc and
a couple little girls who lived very remotely up the road. The parents
all became very good friends.
About this time folks in the Lower 48 became
this lifestyle in remote Alaska. Denvy's mother and her brother came to
visit during the summer. About that time, a cadre of Saxowskys' friends
decided it was time for their children to experience a truly formal dinner.
The date was set and everyone dressed in their best, going to the point
of buying a Elvis-like red velvet suit from the second-hand store. A table
was extended the full
width of Saxowskys' home using plywood and sawhorses. Everyone contributed
to the settings and the food. It was gorgeous.
One of the fathers, it was told, played
concert piano and so after the meal he played for everyone. This brought
down the house or so it seems when a pile of sheetrock fell on some of
the children who were played in the loft on the sheetrock. It appeared
as if Denvy took only two steps to reach the loft and single handedly
lifted the edge of the pile while Gail pulled the child out. Fortunately
no harm was done.
As the evening continued another knock came
to the door and which was a young couple who simply hitchhiked up and
down the road with their two children. They wouldn't be able to reach
their remote cabin that evening, so they were fed and invited to spend the night.
Later Denvy's mother expressed her dismay that anyone would just come by,
expect food and to invite themselves in to spend the night. Welcome to remote
"help your neighbor" Alaska, Mom.