-So, what do you mean by dry cabin?
-Well, you know, we don't have any running water, an outhouse and yeah that's about it
-So, you are allowed to drink alcohol then?
You see, the term dry, can very well mean dry, as in no alcohol. On the North Slope (and elsewhere in Alaska) there are villages that are dry. You can't get alcohol there. The whole dry cabin deal has nothing to do with this at all. The town of Fairbanks happens to be underlained by discontinuous permafrost
What does this mean? Soil, that remains continuously frozen for at least two consecutive years. This in turn makes it very unstable to build on, let alone, have a well or pipes that can transport water to you. This means, that if you don't live on campus, or downtown you probably live in a cabin. Not necessarily a dry cabin, cause a lot of cabins/houses has a large water tank (think a couple of 100 gallons). Anyhow, we have a dry cabin. a 35 Gallon water "tank" if you want to call it that. We have an outhouse, a chicken pen (that is not being used) a greenhouse, a terrace, a balcony, 2 floors, a woodstove, a foot pump for the sink AND a door to the outhouse. The previous cabin I lived in only had a curtain...
So what am I blabbering about? Well you know when life feels rough and you are stressed, living this simple life can very fast become hard. Who did the dishes last night, who emptied the bucket last (you know, with no pipes the water from the sink has to go somewhere). Oh, we are out of water....well then, I guess we can't do the dishes. No clean clothes, oh yeah, when was the last time I had a shower now again. These things that we usually take for granted when we do have running water becomes so much more complicated when you are running out of time, and it is -40 outside.
But we do try to make the best of the situation in the wintertime, keep the light sources to a maximum, even in the outhouse..
Waking up in the middle of the night, - Crap, the fire went out and it's now freezing cold (ok, think 55, maybe not that cold indoors, but you get the feeling..) Or when you hit rock bottom and it's below 50 and the propane freezes...which mean oh, we can't use the stove. Great. Or, oh I forgot to plug in the car last night...well good thing I have a bike. But it also gives you opportunities, such as making your dinner on the wood stove, warming up in front of the wood stove with a glass of wine and so on.
Alaska can grow on you, but they say, either you love it or you hate it. Either you move here, move away but always come back, OR you move to never ever return. I have no clue which one of these I am at this point. I love Alaska, but sometimes life is just hard up here.
But, days like that you go and climb some ice on campus, (cause yeah we do have that opportunity now), you go to the gym, to the climbing wall, hang out with friends knitting, or some other extraordinary thing. You talk about ordinary dry cabin things like, - Jeeze I needed to pee this morning and it was -40 outside, or - We ran out of propane right before dinner. Even siri knows what 30 below mean:
Alaska is so much more than living the simple life; you get the opportunity to experience a really tough lifestyle. Life is not always easy or straightforward up here. But we like it, and that is why we are still here I guess. But I do admit....a couple of years in, it doesn't become easier.
And if you need a winter wonderland, you know where to go! There is always snow here in the wintertime, but it comes with a price...the dark and the cold.
Alaska is so beautiful, calm and Awesome! All in one. And a lot of people would maybe disagree..but it is what it is. You can judge for yourself.
Almost always a blue sky in the wintertime here...
Have a warm Thursday night!