A Tour of the Zeiger Homestead Cabin

By , January 30, 2010

Recently, Michelle took photos around the first floor of the cabin to show the original owner/builders how things had changed lately. Here’s your chance to take a peek inside our home without making the hike across the bay.

Imagine yourself standing in a fairly open room, pivoting around. That’s pretty much how Michelle took the photos, so it’ll give you a better idea of the space.

The entryway, with Michelle's glider, and Lissa on the loveseat.

The beige box behind the glider is the battery bank. The totes hold our gloves, hats, and other winter accessories.

The "living room."

The "living room."

Look! It's your humble host! Blogging, no doubt. Wish he'd get a REAL job . . . .

We laid the wood stove hearth ourselves from beach stone. To the right of it, just out of view, is the wood hot water heater, and behind it the shower, which more or less dominates the back center of the room.

The "library corner," with our year 'round pepper plants in the window.

The piano! That’s an interesting story, for another time, perhaps. It was here when we arrived. Note the CD shelves we built under the stairway. Space is a premium!

The kitchen. The hot water heater is the cylinder on the left.

The master bedroom.

You can see some of my icon collection on the wall. The queen size bed, which we built ourselves, takes up almost all the floor space, with a narrow walkway around it.

There you have it! Michelle wanted to take some photos of the upstairs, but it’s hard to get a good perspective on the small space. Perhaps in the future we’ll get some good pictures up there.

60 Responses to “A Tour of the Zeiger Homestead Cabin”

  1. mike I says:

    Stumbled across your blog. Ive seen only what must be the latest. Its nice. Recently Ive been evalutating things (like “life”) and though things arent bad for us, its just this isnt how I thought we’d be at this point (Im 56). I thought, years ago, we would be like you. I must say I am very envious. Your blog is an encouragement. Keep going!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Mike, I’m glad you found us. I hope we inspire you to take your life further in the direction of your dreams. The results, even in progress, are incredibly rewarding!

    Mark

  3. katlupe says:

    I am enjoying your blog. Love your cabin! I love the way you made use of every inch of space!

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks for your comment! Wise use of space is an imperative here! I’ll be writing about that subject very soon in regards to decorating for Christmas.

  5. JC says:

    Greetings from Texas! I love your blog. I hope you realize you are living my dream. I’d be interested to know how you and your family came to live where and how you do, and the trials and tribulations you encountered reaching your goal. Do you have such an article posted? Actually, it would make a great book. Take care!

  6. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi JC, yes, we’re living OUR dream as well! For a look into the topics you ask about, try this post: http://www.akzeigers.info/blog/?p=748 and this one: http://www.akzeigers.info/blog/?p=68

    I hope you’re right, that it would make a great book–we hope to start writing it soon!

    Thanks for visiting the site–I’m glad you enjoy it.

    Mark

  7. backwaterjon says:

    Thank you for letting me walk through your homestead. It is much like ours except different of course. More like we’d planned on having at the start 75 years ago now.

  8. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thank you for coming, Jon! And, as always, thanks for wiping your feet before coming in! 🙂 Folks, check out the link that Back Water Jon included–if you’re interested in organic gardening like we are, this group looks like a useful resource!

  9. Derek says:

    The cabin is simplistically Perfect! All the necessities and a view to kill for, I would have to agree with Mike, Envious. I can’t do this quite yet, so second best thing is a Homestead Website of my own. Quick question, You get internet out there?

  10. Mark Zeiger says:

    Yes, Derek, we have a satellite connection through Starband. It’s more expensive than most people’s connections, so I try to defray the cost with book sales and Web design work. A couple of hours of contract work a month covers the bill.

  11. Edda Woywod says:

    Dear Zeiger Family, very nice cabin and cute cat! I was just wondering is Lissa an indoor/outdoor cat? Has she ever been attacked by a wild animal? We live in a small city in Southern California and our tom cat, Artie,was attacked by a raccoon and seriously injured.I have many questions about your lifestyle but I don’t want be a pest, so I will just follow your blog. Best regards, Edda

  12. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Edda,

    We had two cats at the time of the photo, Lissa, and her “little sister,” Spice. Lissa passed away in June. Both cats are indoor cats, although we used to take them out in our fenced backyard in Juneau for supervised adventures. Spice used to escape outside now and then, but has settled down from that, thankfully. She used to run outside, go straight under the cabin, then cry piteously, as loudly as possible. Ringing the predator dinner bell! Then, if we didn’t manage to corral her, she’d try to work her way up into the forest for some unknown reason. The last time she did this, we had friends visiting. Their tiny daughter walked upright under the cabin and drove Spice out. That frightened her so much, I think she gave up on going outside.

    Our main predator would be coyotes, although a house cat versus a feral cat, a mink, or even one of the local otters might not end well for us, either. The last few would be about on the same level as a raccoon, and Spice is a very small cat.

    Your questions are quite welcome. You can always ask through the comments section, or email us for lengthier, less public replies. Thanks for commenting, and for your interest in the site and blog!

  13. Carol says:

    Hi Neighbors, I was looking up info on homesteads and came across your blog. Nice. Now I can say I’ve been to your place without walking across Mud Bay. I enjoyed your reading at Northern Light Showcase, Mark. It’s amazing how many fascinating and creative folks the Chilkat Valley holds. Someday I’m going to cross over and meet all of my neighbors. Happy gardening.

  14. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Carol, Thanks for visiting the homestead! Virtual visits are the only comfortable way to cross the bay in the current weather, but when it subsides, you should come over. The Internet doesn’t give you hot drinks and cat fur!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the reading. I was very pleased with it, and glad that it got Aly and me out of the cabin and in to town to see the other acts. What a night!

    Mark

  15. Annie says:

    I just couldn’t click away from your blog without having to look at what’s inside your cabin. I’d say it’s very interesting. It brings back good, old memories back when my grandparents were still alive; the trees, the waters, wood stove, etc., reminds of the life away from the busy city life.

    I will definitely be back soon to check on your blog again.

  16. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thank you, Annie, for visiting the blog, and “touring” our home. You’ve captured our life in a nutshell!

    Mark

  17. Hi Mark, just wanted to say, we LOVE what you’re doing. Awesome cabin, too! I’m an artist, and my family and I have begun building our small (4 acre) homestead using recycled materials and being as green as possible. We’ll be building our house soon, right now, we’ve got our garden going, built an entirely recycled chicken coop/run and doing lots and LOTS more planting. The work is never ending but the experiences are priceless.

    My website is: http://www.scryker.com (for my art, but a link to our homestead blog is provided there)

    Our homestead blog is: http://www.stephaniecome-ryker.com/blog

    Have a terrific day, and keep up the good work!

    Steph from Indiana

  18. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Stephanie, thanks for “visiting” our home and blog. I perused your site, thanks for the links. I love your artwork, and your blog is very interesting and entertaining. I’m so glad we don’t have raccoons in Alaska. The closest we have to smart predators of their stature is our river otter, plenty formidable when aroused (we watched one chase a coyote off our beach one night) but they seem far less aggressive than raccoons can be. ‘Coons are considered an invasive species in Alaska, as pets sometimes escape. Our hunting regs allow us to eliminate any we find, but I’ve never heard of anyone finding any.

    Best of luck with your home building. I regret the circumstances that have led you to this, but I see that you know the old Chinese equation of crisis including an element of opportunity.

    Folks, if you want to read some great humorous description, be sure to visit Stephanie’s blog and read “Paws of Fury!” Not to be missed.

    Mark

  19. Hokanut says:

    Greetings Zeiger clan. I was just researching older oil lamps when I found your site. Been reading excerpts and blog posts for over an hour now. Funny,as I started reading things on your site the thought occurred to me that you were living my dream. Then I read JC’s reply to that same effect. I’ll bet you good money JC’s and my thoughts aren’t rare. Warm wishes to you and yours. Keep up the good work….P.S.,cozy kitty and nice looking Christmas cactus too!

  20. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Hokanut, I’m glad you found our site! As I’m fond of saying, we’re living our dream, too!

    Mark

  21. edward says:

    greetings from texas as i read yer blog n look at yer cabn nice cabin by the way i happened across yall while lookin into property in alaska as its always been a dream of mine to live in alaska in a cabin but i went on to get married n have children so most days i just look on the i net n dream now but back to what i am sending ya this message about recently well within the last cple yrs i was watching a movie on pbs about a man who had moved to alaska and built a cabin up there and since you mentioned selling books my suggestion is why make your blog into a movie put out on cd like they did for the guy on pbs you may know his name it escapes but he donated his cabin which still stands in a national park in alaska i believe he had lived there till he was 90 when he passed anyways just a thought

  22. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Edward, thanks for visiting our site.

    I’m familiar with the PBS film you mention (and I can never remember the gentleman’s name, either) and really admire what he did. He’s way out of our league in the self-sufficiency aspect.

    You offer an interesting idea. We’ve already been approached about a reality show in the past, but we declined it. We fear that editing would provide a very different picture of our life here. Besides, I know writing well enough to create a book about us; I don’t know film-making well enough to do the same.

    If you’re thinking of buying semi-remote land to develop in Alaska, you might consider the lot we have for sale.

    Thanks for visiting the site, and good luck in making your dream a reality!

    Mark

  23. Bob & Carol says:

    As I follow your blog, the one thing I have not come across is how do you keep yourself occupied in the winter so you not at each others throats. Do you get cabin fever and how do you control it.
    Bob

  24. Mark Zeiger says:

    That’s a good question, Bob. Being limited by cold and severe weather to a cabin this size has its dangers. We keep occupied by the never ending chores of the homestead, which, because they’re somewhat reduced in the winter, provide a lot of time for reading, watching movies, and pursuing hobbies and other interests. As you may have gathered from some of the posts, we get deeply into holidays, particularly in the winter. Mostly, though, I think we’re just really blessed to be genuinely interested in each other, and very easy-going. There are times when tempers grow short, but a vigorous hike out of doors does much to cool one down and change one’s perspective.

  25. I love it. You have a beautiful cabin! I just love all the book shelves! I hope to, one day, have a room with walls covered with book shelves and lots of books! 🙂

  26. Mark Zeiger says:

    Katy, better make that two rooms! There’s never enough room for all the books. Thanks for visiting!

  27. Catherine says:

    Mark, great site and I love your cabin. So cozy! We are just starting out moving from the city to the country here in Qc, Canada. Great tips on your site, I will be back often.

  28. Mark Zeiger says:

    Catherine, glad you like the site. I’ve been looking at your site, too, and enjoying it very much. Good luck out there!

  29. […] I felt right at home and ready to learn from The Zeiger Family Homestead. […]

  30. Amanda says:

    Your homestead is so inspirational and I can’t wait to sit down and read more soon! My husband & I are going off-grid in Arkansas and building a small earthbag home. I’m sure your blog will be very helpful to us, and I’ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! You deserve it. Check out my post for more details about the award and congratulations!

  31. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Amanda, I saw the nomination, and I really appreciate it! I’m not sure I can fulfill the obligations of nominations, though. Even in the “downtime” of winter, There’s no way I could be familiar enough with 15 blogs to nominate any in turn!

    I hope our blog will be helpful to you. I’m very interested to hear how your earth bag home turns out. We’ve been following bale homes somewhat because my sister once planned to build one, but we’ve heard some disappointing reports. earth bag sounds like it avoid some of those problems. I’ll be watching your blog to see how things go!

  32. Herschel Weeks says:

    Great messages … I am in Tajikistan right now for a couple more years … it is snowy and cold… and in six months it will be hot and dusty… I recently built a cabin in Oregon on a river… wish I were there, as your notes and those of others, remind me why I built it…

  33. Amruta says:

    Hi Mark

    Great blog. your homestead is really out of the world. I’m from Bangalore, India. Your life seems so beautiful and close to nature..

  34. ken richard says:

    Mark, I enjoy your website, my reason for looking, I am looking for an old friend, August, who I have not been able to find, any relation?

  35. Mark Zeiger says:

    Sorry, Ken, I don’t think I have any relatives by that name.

  36. Katy says:

    Stopping by this post again…as I love looking at the little tour of your cabin…have you guys considered doing an updated post tour? 🙂

  37. Mark Zeiger says:

    That’s a great idea, but it would have to come after the honey-do list gets done!

  38. Jim Chamberlin says:

    Looking at the “Teal” links I stumbled onto your site. Beautiful. Really admire those who do what your family is doing. Thanks for sharing your life. If we ever get back to Alaska….
    Kindest Regards,
    Jim and Cherie

  39. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Jim. I passed that Teal on to my daughter, Aly. Hopefully we’ll have time to get it sailing again, after being left alone too long.

  40. Andrea Jobe says:

    I just wanted you to know that I love your blog. I dream of going off the grid. I don’t know if it will happen. But, I am attemping to learn new skills in order to create a homestead where I currently live. (Arkansas) Alaska is beautiful. It has always been a hope of mine to visit there someday.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and life with us.

    Andrea Jobe

  41. […] I felt right at home and ready to learn from The Zeiger Family Homestead. […]

  42. kathy says:

    i enjoyed looking at your site. do you perhaps have an opinion on the now popular rocket thermal mass stove? thnx

  43. Mark Zeiger says:

    I’m sorry, Kathy, I’m not real familiar with rocket stoves. They look like a great concept, but I have had no experience with them.

  44. Vivian Wille says:

    I love our blog. I live in Independence Missouri and love reading about other places. I particularly loved the beautiful quilt on the bed. I am a quilter and am always interested in the stories behind the quilts. I am 73 yrs old and am working on some quilt tops that my grandmother left behind unfinished. I will look forward to reading more of your life in Alaska.

  45. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Vivian,

    Michelle’s mother made that quilt for Michelle’s 16th birthday. I won’t do the math here, but it’s getting to be venerable–for a quilt!

    Quilts are a big thing in our family. I should blog about that sometime. We have so many, and some are so old, that we use them as “under blankets” beneath the “show” quilts. My favorite is one Michelle’s great grandmother made for Michelle’s parents on their wedding–the fabric on the reverse has drawings of Davy Crockett fighting a Native warrior. Mom H. always hated it, but I get a huge kick out of it! I’ll post photos some day.

  46. steve shelton says:

    Mark! You probably don’t remember me…Dave and I were in the same class in Tieton. I stumbled on your site tonight and love your home. My kind of kitchen!….and love all of the books. I would like to see all of America get back to gardens and enjoying the real things in life. I see Dave has become a pirate. Tell him I said hello. Good for you Mark…my best wishes.-S.S.

  47. Mark Zeiger says:

    Steve! Of course I remember you! I can’t believe you found us. I’ll send a real message to you via your email. Dave will be as thrilled as I am!

    Mark

  48. Melissa Museth says:

    So THIS is where you went!!! God’s country. I found you by accident, doing a search on halibut jackets and found your entry on them (and Xtra tuffs). I will have to explore your blog a little more. I see Aly, like my Rob and Clarena, has grown up into a lovely person. Please give a hug to Michelle (especially if she remembers me) and she can give one to you from me.
    Hugs and smiles,
    Me.

  49. Mark Zeiger says:

    Melissa!

    I have actually seen you in Juneau once or twice, but your whole attention was focused on a rather handsome young man. I didn’t want to intrude at that particular moment . . . .

    You have found us, we all do remember you fondly, and hope to see you again soon. I guess next time I’ll just go ahead and interrupt!

  50. Michelle says:

    Hello!!
    We are thinking of moving to Alaska within the next few years. We would love to visit a working homestead to “Be Sure” it is what we expect it will be. Do you know of any places like this we might be able to help work and learn a few things next summer? No vacation, Real life living 🙂

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