Articles written by Maraley Mcmichael

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 By Maraley McMichael    Columns    May 1, 2024 

The garage sale to end them all

For three days in mid May 2022, I held my seventh and final garage sale. (The first was in 1975 in Fairbanks, before we moved to California.) My husband, Gary, and I conducted all the previous ones...

 

Alaska, chickens and their $35 dinner

Back in the spring of 1992, my husband Gary and I decided we wanted to raise homegrown chickens to eat, something we'd done twice before. But this time he also wanted some egg layers, so in addition t...

 

Basketball memories run deep in Alaska

In the fall of 2002, my husband and I attended a Pioneers of Alaska Convention dinner for 400 people in the gym of Monroe High School in Fairbanks. A Glennallen Panther banner hung on the wall along...

 

Library is a vital community and personal asset

In August 2023, I was listening to my kitchen radio one morning as usual, when the Wasilla Mayor's weekly information blurb came on. Near the end, she said people who had a library card could read...

 

Sharing a love of sewing across generations

My daughter Erin called from her home in Colorado and left a voice message, "Call me when convenient. I want to talk about quilt batting." Erin had recently resumed work on the corduroy quilt she...

 

Memories of Glennallen Community Chapel

The small space between Mt. Sanford drive and Crossroads Clinic didn't seem big enough to hold the log church building from my childhood memories. How could the main room with the cathedral ceiling,...

 

Making cards and memories with friends

"Oh!" I said looking around at the ladies. "Did I tell you that I'm going to be a grandma?" A jumble of congratulatory words followed as well as comments and stories about grandmas and grandchildren....

 

Recycled, reused and repaired work clothing

Over 25 years ago, while at my sister's house in Glennallen, a gentleman dropped by to discuss some business. I found myself staring at his Carhartt vest and blue jean bib overalls, which featured...

 

Class reunion is a town reunion in Glennallen

After making the 140-mile drive from Palmer to Glennallen, I parked my car, gathered the coleslaw I'd made from cabbage from my garden, and I walked with anticipation to the picnic area of the Pinneo...

 

Matrimonies, memories and celebrations

My son, Patrick, proposed to his girlfriend of three years, Brandi, on March 30, and of course she said yes. It was a shocking surprise to all involved because of his insistence that he would never...

 

Gardening's gifts endure across time and place

One spring morning during breakfast, back in 2003 when we lived in Slana, my husband Gary said, "I turned the oil stove on out in the greenhouse. Let's move plants today." "Fine," I replied, glad to g...

 

Living with antiques

"Dad, we would like to replace your stove. Is that okay with you?" I asked back in the spring of 2004. He said he supposed so. I was planning a two-month visit with him in Homer and the thought of...

 

Remembering the 'Nurse from New York'

"Here is something you might like to take a look at," Dad commented back in spring 2005 as he brought me a worn manila colored bundle tied with string. Dad had been puttering around looking for...

 

Bed and breakfast reluctance and reward

Spring weather makes me think of summer's influx of visitors to our wonderful state and I am reminded of our years living in Slana running a bed and breakfast in our home. My husband Gary and I...

 

Email relationship thrives post-pandemic

For various reasons, I had not cleaned out my email inbox for almost a year. So, last October I spent a whole weekend purging and filing. Not surprisingly, the majority of emails were from my two...

 

The worst weather brings out our best

The afternoon of Dec. 12, 2022, the phone rang and it was Michael, my snowplow driver. "Lady (he always calls me 'lady'), I've been thinking, and I just don't know what to do with you." He said he...

 

A lifetime love of books

During my recent bout with COVID-19, books helped keep my sanity. I enjoyed reading during the long weeks of recovery, when I had little energy to do much else. I have loved books for as long as I...

 

Denali Fault Earthquake, 20 years later

Upon feeling a familiar "swirling" motion that Sunday afternoon of Nov. 3, 2002, I left the kitchen and walked to the living room of our Slana home. I'm always a little jumpy during earthquakes,...

 

A show-and-tell of the colony lifestyle

The third grade students looked at me like they did the other two docents – old ladies who were telling them what life was like back in the good old days of 1935. The way I talked made one student a...

 

Cutting wood and tending brush as a family

Author's note: Life is a journey and circumstances change, as they always do. It was with bittersweet thoughts that I recently recalled this story from 10 years ago while tending a brush pile fire wit...

 

Suburban outhouse has rustic lineage

"I think I opened the wrong door and went into the 'men's'", her friend said to my sister, Shirley, after returning to their car, which was parked in the driveway of my house. "The one I went into...

 

When self-sufficiency and chickens collide

Living at our place on Chena Hot Springs Road out of Fairbanks the spring of 1975, my husband Gary and I wanted to be as self-sufficient as possible. We had five acres, but no electric power. Besides...

 

Farm tour surprises include familiar names, shared pasts

My sister, Jeanette, who lives in Soldotna, made arrangements for the four of us siblings to go on a farm tour, though Margaret Adsit, original owner of Alaska Farm Tours. As the date got closer, it...

 

Roadside litter-gathering, a longtime tradition

My first bike ride of the season was on April 1 this year, two weeks earlier than spring 2021. That first ride is always thrilling after months of winter snowshoe lap exercise. The sides of the...

 

Handwritten treasure may require translation

I became alarmed when what I thought could become treasured gifts to my grandchildren might turn into indecipherable codes by the time they received them. Back in 2013, it was called to my attention t...

 

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