We The Kids

"Returning God
to America's Story"

Alaskan Life – Tracey Mendenhall Porreca

Tracey has lived in Alaska for 7 years. Originally from Ohio,  she was in the Navy and moved around a lot. She has been all over the US, but when she got to Alaska, she felt like it was home.

Tracey with Alaskan Bushman


I grew up in farm country in Ohio and much of who I am goes back to my upbringing there. Even though we didn’t live on a working farm, my parents had farmed, my grandparents farmed, and I was heavily involved in 4-H and other organizations that centered around it. My love of cooking, canning, sewing quilting, tractor pulls, cars and many other things can all be traced back to my roots in farm country.

When my husband and I decided to move from “big city” Wasilla, Alaska, we knew we wanted to live a simpler life and get away from it all, but we had to choose where that would be. Alaska is a really big place (think Texas x2.5) so there were lots of options, but we had a few basic criteria: We wanted to be on the road system (or close to it), we wanted to be within 4 hours driving distance of one of the larger cities (Fairbanks or Anchorage), but we also wanted to be out and away from everything. We searched for over 2 years before we found a nice little piece of property about 30 miles outside Delta Junction, Alaska.

A lot of folks have never heard of Delta Junction. Some Alaskans can’t even tell you where it is on a map, but it’s a hapnin’ little place if you like small towns. Delta Junction’s main claim to fame is that it is the end of the Alaska Highway, the road built during World War II that connects the lower 48 states to Alaska by way of Canada. But Delta Junction is much more. One of it’s best kept secrets (unfortunate, really) is that it’s a huge agricultural area. Crops include some of the best hay in Alaska, as well as potatoes and other root vegetables, livestock to include elk, bison, yak, and cattle, and one of the last dairy processing plants left in Alaska.

When Tony and I found this property, I was giddy. The thought of settling back into a place that was centered around agriculture excited me. It’s like getting back on a bicycle – it all came flooding back, all those good memories of growing up in a small town. Like every small town, it has it’s quirks, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Think Petticoat Junction (without the train) meets Green Acres meets Northern Exposure. Yeah – it’s just like that, well, sort of…

Anyway, here’s an image taken yesterday afternoon at sunset on my friend Ruby’s farm, just down the road from my place. Looks just like Ohio – except for those gynormous mountains in the background!

Now who would not want to live here, or even visit?

Just check out that view!







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“Skookum” is a Chinook word which loosely translates as “good.” A lot of Alaskans use this word to describe any thing or situation that is good, or productive, or a treat perhaps. I’m going to start a daily column called Skookum that is basically a place where I might post a photo, or comment, or question, and you guys can just chat! You can chat amongst yourselves or ask me questions about my life in Alaska, my photography, or whatever. Hopefully it will be a fun place to hang out.

So, for today’s entry, I thought I’d post this photo from Thanksgiving weekend. Some of you may have tried this before – taking balloons, filling them with colored water, then letting them freeze. This was about as close as we got to fireworks last night, as my husband  and  I decided to stay in. We’ve been having some terrible wind storms for nearly two weeks, with winds anywhere from 30 mph all the way up to 60 mph. The other day, I noticed the snow drifted up against these balls of colored ice and I also noticed that the relentless wind had polished them so they were very shiny. You can really see the difference!

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So, tell me, what kind of fun things have you done during the holiday season to brighten up your part of the world?