Fortos Fort: 3 Years in the Making

Three years ago today, on a rainy Fourth of July, my daughter and I arrived in Alaska to take a look at a house in the small town of Willow.

I am sure you know the story by now, I have talked about it many times before. Long story short, Nicole was given the choice to move here or to stay in Denver. She texted her mom who was still in Denver while we were up here looking. She said, “Mom, we are moving to Alaska!” Nothing like leaving the biggest purchase in your life in the hands of a 12 year old.

I moved up a couple weeks later and got to work. It was in a sorry state of repair and it would test our construction skills, our financial well being, our family dynamic and even our marriage.

I was here almost a year by myself while the family stayed in Denver for a couple reasons; school for the kids and our dog training business.

My son, Tyler moved up in June 2011 and Michele followed in September, with Nicole around Christmas time.

Over the last three years it truly has been a labor of love and much a labor of necessity. We have fixed, repaired, replaced and remodeled most of what you see in the before and after pictures.

We couldn’t do this with out the help of some great friends–Marvin “Pee Wee” Rankin has not only become a good friend but also his expertise has helped so much in our daily projects to make our house a home here in the Great White North.

While there are still tons to do around our property we are happy to report that a lot of things are checked off the list.

  • a new roof
  • a green house
  • a walk in smoker
  • all new appliances
  • a kennel for 30 dogs
  • lots of paint and carpet
  • tons of trash and debris (literally) removed including a broken down truck and a half of a boat
  • and much, much more…

There are still things on the wish list that we will get to in our short summer months. We are realized that we can tackle two or three major projects a year. Upcoming are:

  • an overhang on the back of the kennel building with a sliding door
  • a deck on the second floor–our answer to a tree house–so we can enjoy the stars and the northern lights
  • a fence around the backyard and the dog yard
  • to level and a drainage system for the dog yard
  • remodel some of the rooms inside–we can do a lot of this in the winter
  • a sauna

Thanks to all of my rabid readers that have been along with me during this journey. Your advice and encouragement has been very helpful. Stay tuned for more to come!

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