I don't know if I can help or not. My wife and I aren't homesteading but are working towards living full time at our place in Southeast Alaska.
If you like old growth rainforest keep reading, if you don't like rain and cloudy weather you can stop now.
While not on the road system we are on the town's power grid. We also have 6 solar panels and a micro-hydro system and gravity-fed water.
What we like: SE is composed of communities of resilient people, a thin human population relative to the rest of the community of life, many/most towns get their power from small stand-alone hydro systems, abundant mostly intact ecosystem, mild winters and warmish summers, (our town is expected to have temps in the mid-40s to 50 this week and maybe the first frost of the season), droughts and wildfires are not a threat, a lot of "food" grows all by itself (imagine that!) such as deer, salmon, halibut, crabs, shellfish, berries, beach asparagus, goose tongue, other greens, mushrooms etc.. . . The drought/climate predictions show warmer/drier summers and an overall more monsoonal pattern in the future (as far as those are reliable, and the basic premise I work from is expect extreme variability as the new normal). We like being in a place where at times the eagles outnumber the town residents, no lights at night, drinking coffee on our beach in the morning while watching the kingfishers dive and fish the cove, hearing the salmon slap out in the channel, and every so often seeing a whale. We know who is in most of the boats that go by as they head out fishing, and keep track of what boats come by at the end of the day. If someone goes missing the word spreads by telephone or marine radio and whoever can goes out looking goes, whether they like the person or not. (most people have a marine radio on in their house all the time to keep tabs on what is going on)
What is challenging: It is a rainforest so finding appropriate property for typical permaculture activities may take time. We got lucky and located a south-facing piece of land on a lovely bay that the former owners had homesteaded for 20 years, so some of the hard work was done. The growing areas need drainage which I am digging by hand. It came with a bunch of useful stuff like a big shop, boats, chainsaws, crab traps, rabbit cages, tools, outbuildings, several greenhouses etc. . .Learning how to grow stuff in a rainforest at 56 degrees latitude takes time. Some stuff is easy like potatoes, root crops, brassicas, berries, comfrey, nettles chives, some nitrogen fixers like clover. Other stuff is more difficult. The deer are an issue, including the one that comes up on the porch every day looking for her piece of bread and a scratch behind the ears. There were the skeletons of two deer the wolves got over the winter on the path when we got back there this year. It is expensive, hard to get to, and demands respect. It is not for the faint of heart.
Our place is only accessible by skiff. Everything is carried up from the skiff to the house; groceries, propane tanks, bags of cement, buckets of clay and sand for the RMH, building supplies, gas cans, etc. . . whatever may be needed. Shopping is a two hour drive to a a small town via Forest Service roads. You either appreciate this kind of thing or you hate it, not too much in-between.
Our area is in a bit of a rain shadow and gets significantly less rain than other areas in SE, but still 70 inches or more per year. Some years there is no snow down at sea level, other years there is a lot. The bay does not reliably freeze over like it did 10 years ago.
Other areas of AK like the Mat-Su or the Kenai have less rain, more sun, but longer colder winters, shorter growing seasons, more people, but also more infrastructure. 20 years ago when I ran a fishing lodge on the Yukon and operated out of Anchorage there was a really good natural food coop there. I suppose it still is. They sourced a lot of their fruit and veggies from the Mat-Su. That sort of thing is not available on our island.
Squanch that. And squanch this tiny ad:
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