Articles written by Maraley Mcmichael

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 By Maraley McMichael    Columns    July 1, 2022 

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...

 

March day trip turned hazardous for hunters

Editor's note: Al Clayton, who died in 2008, wrote this story about a cold misadventure. It's been edited and submitted by his daughter and Senior Voice Correspondent Maraley McMichael. I made a...

 

Designated driving for outback skiers

There are many Alaskan wintertime sports. I always preferred cross-country skiing over downhill, but my son, Patrick, is the other way around. The Hatcher Pass Mountains in the Matanuska Valley are a...

 

Winter fishing adventure was smooth as ice – for locals

"Whoa!" Grandpa McMichael exclaimed as my husband, Gary, drove down the boat launch at Finger Lake Campground near Palmer, right out onto the lake ice. We were only 30 feet offshore when Grandpa...

 

Shopping sprees were rare and memorable

One winter while living in Slana, a couple months after our devastating 2002 Denali Fault earthquake, I took a two month leave of absence from my school aide job, and my husband, Gary, and I drove...

 

Not my dog: Loss and other life lessons

One November many years ago my son taught me something about how the streams of love and loss flow through our family. It was the day our dog died, an eight-and-a-half-year-old Springer spaniel named...

 

Adjusting to life with commercial power

Late one evening in early October 2005, I stood at the top of the stairs in my home in Slana, unsure of what to do. Having just finished working on one of my quilts, I had switched off the lamp...

 

Letting go: Every garage sale memento has a story

The garage sale signs were posted on each side of the driveway, so I knew we were expected and welcome, but I still had mixed feelings. An older gentleman in our community of Slana back in the summer...

 

A full day of people, stories at the Alaska State Fair

Since 2014, I've enjoyed working each Wednesday and Thursday morning in the Flower Department in the Barn at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Wednesdays I fill the "vase" bottles with water and help...

 

A lifetime of Alaska fishing memories

I don't recall one of my first fishing experiences, but according to a family photo, grayling were caught in a little creek near Twin Lakes, about mile 28 of the Nabesna Road in the summer of 1958....

 

Sorting and stirring up memories

January 15, 1963: Dear Mrs. Ridener. It is cold up there. I do not want too go. But I'll have to. I love you Mrs. Ridener. I love the collass too. Your frend Maraley While going through boxes of...

 

An unforgettable Dougie MacLean concert

One of the best music concerts I ever attended took place right here in downtown Palmer at Vagabond Blues, back in May of 2017. From Scotland, Dougie MacLean sang and played his guitar. He said he'd...

 

All in the name of Grandma

"So, Mom, what do you want to be called when you become a grandma?" my daughter, Erin, asked in the weeks after we learned she was expecting our first grandchild. This question set off much...

 

Outdoor discovery becomes daily winter delight

Recently I came in from my afternoon snowshoe laps and quickly removed all my winter gear. While waiting for my tea water to heat, I pondered my enjoyment of my favorite winter exercise. I hadn't gone...

 

Warm memories of cooking for the crew

Not many 18-year-old girls that I know would take on the job of being "camp cook" for five construction guys. I don't know what gave me the idea I could do it. It just happened – the job fell into...

 

College graduation in the age of COVID-19

I sat at my dining room table this past Nov. 19, ready and waiting for the appropriate time to click on the link for our daughter's college graduation. Erin said she didn't know many details about...

 

Life and holidays at the Kenai Lake cabin

"My favorite place in Alaska is my Grandpa Clayton's cabin down at Kenai Lake," wrote Taral Clayton, my nine-year-old-niece back in 2004. "My Grandpa has a lot of neat things inside the cabin such as...

 

Every Thanksgiving memorable in its own way

Thanksgiving means different things to different people. For me as a child growing up in Glennallen, it meant a big turkey dinner that we always ate with just our family of six. Dinner was served at t...

 

Slana phone hack was retro, but effective

"Where have you guys been all week?" our son, Patrick, demanded when I answered the phone one morning back in October 1999. He was calling from his home in Colorado. "We haven't gone anywhere. Why,...

 

Ladies' nights out were rare, memorable

Every woman needs a ladies night out once in a while. I experienced one such evening in the fall of 2004 during the years my husband and I operated Nabesna House Bed and Breakfast out of our home in...

 

Berries bring out the good in us

One morning in August 2012 I answered the ringing phone and heard "Hi, this is Kim. Gary and I have been picking blueberries in Hatcher Pass and we have more than we need. Could we bring you some?"...

 

When bees and bears collide

During our first summer of trying to be self sufficient and live off the land, my husband, Gary, decided to keep honeybees. The year was 1974 and we lived 23½ miles out of Fairbanks on the...

 

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