Letter Re: Getting Ready for Winter

The following is a response I received to my recent “Getting Ready for Winter” blurb……



 I live in Fairbanks Alaska where it gets very cold. Naturally we have been interested in surviving this cold location ever since We arrived here38 years ago. Redundancy is the answer.

I have a nice outbuilding 24’x 24′ which serves as an office, reloading room, spare bed, which is normally heated by oil with a 500 gallon underground tank. However every once in awhile the heater quits and, not always going over to the building each day, can freeze up fast at 20 below or colder. Last winter it nearly froze up but I used my Big Buddy to heat the building in about 1/2 hour. We keep about 2 dozen little propane bottles as spares. It took only two bottles to bring the building up to normal temps. 

We also have a flameless electric heater called the Pelonis which was adequate for keeping the building warm after Big Buddy did the original heating. 

In this country preparation is normal living.

Diversification of fuel sources is important so we have two 500 gallonfuel oil tanks (servicing two buildings), one 500 gallon gasoline tank, two wood stoves (one in shop, one in house) and several small generators (5,000 watts and 3500 watts). Also we power our stove in the kitchen from a 250 gallon propane tank. We store enough small propane tanks to serve for about a month or more of cooking. 
We have normal electrical service which is quite reliable, but we live out in the country so are more prone to failure than in-town folks, primarily due to trees falling over a line. 

Our only weakness is lack of a water well. We have water delivered to our 1000 gallon buried water tank which is enough to last for 2 to 3 weeks. In the winter we could melt snow in an emergency. 
We normally have 4 cords of wood, most of which is not used each year. 


Area near Tim’s place in Alaska during the winter…..


 Cool t-shirt anyone?

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2 thoughts on “Letter Re: Getting Ready for Winter”

  1. This certainly adds some perspective. Sunday I started watching ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier : Discovery Channel’, new season starts next Sunday. I had never seen this show before. It encompasses much of my fantasies of living of the land and self reliance. It’s “life on the edge” existence where making excuses gets you dead. 4 months of gut busting work, gardening, hunting, preparing everything that makes up your life so you can survive 8 months of winter. I’ve been working here for 2 years to be as self reliant as possible. Here it is a steep learning curve, in Alaska, well… I would have perished 16 months ago…

  2. In Nov. into Dec. of 1984 I flew into Fairbanks for Northern Warfare Training At the a training site southe of there. For a few days we had temps of around 14 degrees faranhite which we were told was a hot spell for that time of year. On the nights we slept out in ten man tents the temp was in the minus twenties range and our last day we were told it was 56 below, don’t know if it was that low but, being from New Hampshire it was colder than anything I ever experianced, that said it was beutifull though.


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