2001 and Done

By , March 25, 2020

I’m sorry for the length of this post, but I need to cover a lot of information.

This day has been a long time coming. For me, perhaps, too long.

This is the 2001st post on the Zeiger Family Homestead Blog. At this point, I’m saying “2001 and done.” It has a nice alliterative ring to it (of which, as long-time readers know, I’m overly fond). I’d thought about a time milestone, such as last summer’s 10th anniversary (see This Blog Turns 10 Years Old Today) but I blew past that, and I’m unwilling to wait any longer.

This may be a hiatus, or it might be a total shut down. Only time will tell.

But, It’s likely to be permanent, and I need to explain why this is happening:

Zeiger Homestead view

Goodbye. (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

I’m stepping away from the blog for many reasons.

Primarily, I’m getting tired of opinions. “Common Sense,” a phrase that usually defends assertions that are neither common nor sense, seems highly prized these days, and too often claims to cancel out scientific thought or professional data gathering. Through social media, too many uninformed people offer too many poorly thought out opinions as ‘fact’.

I can’t change these people, I can only change myself. So, I’m going to stop offering my own opinions.

Please don’t think this is a pathetic cry for praise or other support; it’s not. This decision isn’t open for debate, or entreaty. Assume that whatever arguments you might offer for the blog’s continuance have already been raise, considered, and rejected.

I’ve always struggled with the concept of “reporting” on our off-grid, semi-remote life. I wrote about it first in 2011 (see Expressing Life Vs. Living It) having thought about it long before then. I have yet to answer the questions raised in that piece. In fact, I’m ready to stop trying to do so.

I came very close to shutting it all down in late 2016. Many of the reasons for doing that have continued, if not worsened, since then (see The Way Forward). At that time I cut back posting; now, I’m calling a complete halt.

This will improve intra-family relations. For every one of Michelle and Aly’s wonderful posts over the last years, there are dozens of “you ought to write about that for the blog!” moments that go unrecorded. Now, I can stop nagging. None of my attempts to gauge the family response to ending the blog have met with compelling arguments to continue.

Stepping away from the blog raises many questions, most of which I have not yet resolved. For instance, do I also leave Twitter and Facebook? Both have become problematic, yet I’ve had to stay with them until now to promote the blog. Removing that requirement makes maintaining a presence on either of these platforms much less necessary. Perhaps I might break free of them now?

The biggest question for me: what to do about the blog itself? What about Patreon?

trying to beat the camera timer

No more of this kind of foolishness: trying to beat the camera timer (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I’m tempted to remove all the blog posts (except for the ones linked to this post) and incorporate them into a book. But, why go to the time and effort to produce another book? The ones I have out now don’t sell enough to make me feel like I’ve done much. Over 10 years of search engine presence is not something to dismiss lightly. I may need that again one day. Although, I can’t imagine why; suffice it to say, if you have favorites, reread them now while you can.

As for Patreon, I may start a monthly update for patrons. I might even give that up since our patronage will no doubt remain limited. It’s already too late to expect a big rush to Patreon—it’s obvious that won’t happen anytime soon, and I’m not asking you to sign up now!

To all who have read the blog faithfully over the years, thank you. This includes a couple of family members, the people for whom I originally started the blog. You have kept us going, and I feel as if I’m betraying you by ending this. Still, I have to take care of myself first and foremost.

The website will remain. Hopefully, I can expand it using some of the information from the blog. I’m also keeping the email links at the bottom of those pages, if you’d like to contact us.

I will close with something I wrote back in 2010, for Michelle to post after I died:

The reason I wrote this blog is that we, all of us, have stories to tell. There’s something within each person that craves to tell others about that which has meaning for us.

Regrettably, while we all have this need, we have lost the ability to listen to others. For some reason we can no longer listen to other people, even those we care about most. Perhaps we have become so caught up in our own stories that they hold our whole attention, leaving little room for the stories of others.

I am as guilty as the rest; I have trouble listening to others. However, simply by virtue of the fact that I realize I have that problem, I think I listen more carefully than most people. In fact, much of the time I make the effort to listen rather than tell my own story. I’ve cultivated a self awareness that choked back that craving to tell my own story, so that others could tell theirs.

That, I believe, is what made this blog matter to me. In it, I could tell my stories. While perhaps not as satisfying as telling them out loud, watching my listener(s) as I spoke, it was far superior in other ways. Namely, no one can interrupt a blog post. While I’m writing it, I am speaking, and in my imagination, I have the wholly undivided attention of my audience.

What really happens with the blog is far different, I’m sure. I have ways of tracking visitors to the site, but what do these monitors really tell me? There’s no way of knowing if people clicked on the links to my blog posts to read them, or to Spam my comment section. There’s little real indication, other than reader comments, of whether or not anyone read, understood, or appreciated the posts. Maybe it never really mattered whether anyone read them at all. What mattered was that for a brief moment, in my own mind at least, someone listened to my stories.

So, to you my reader, I say, thanks for listening.

27 Responses to “2001 and Done”

  1. Eva Hensley says:

    Mark,
    I found your blog several years ago when I was craving to know more about Alaska after the military transferred my friends to Alaska. You have done a great job giving this Midwestern insight into daily life in Alaska. I understand your decision to end the blog. I own a small business (gift and flower shop). My husband wants me to blog about the business was but I’ve always resisted starting one. Why? Because people are too opinionated and they do not listen. I hope one positive thing that might come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that life has thrown a “pause and reset” button. Maybe we’ll learn to listen more and talk less. I feel Michelle, Aly and you have become friends. Thank you all for sharing your life and stories. I have enjoyed them immensely. Take care dear friends!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thank you, Eva. We will miss you, too!

  3. Virginia White says:

    Hey, Mark. I will miss your blog, but I can certainly understand your reasoning. It’s frustrating when you say something you feel and receive some “you should have” in response.
    I just lost my best friend last week, two weeks after celebrating her 90th birthday. It was bingo day, and I almost didn’t go to the party. I’m so glad I went, so I could see her happy once more.
    Good luck in your future endeavors, and may the rest of your life be outstanding!!
    Virginia

  4. Jane Dehoog says:

    I’m so sorry to learn you are calling it quits on the blog. I’ve enjoyed experiencing life in Alaska through your writings. I wrote you once. Unfortunately, your response told me that you misperceive what I was saying (or I didn’t explain myself very well) and were a bit peeved in your response. This happens, I should have corrected, but instead I let it go and did not respond. I still maintained loyalty and enjoyment of your writings. I now realize I should have supported you by buying your books. I’m sorry. So now, go forth in life and embrace your family with your full attention and no deadlines. Thank you for giving those like me enjoyment of your blog. Hugs, Jane

  5. John and Mary says:

    You and your family have been an inspiration to us and a portrait of independence and personal fortitude in “making it happen”. We are blessed for the two times we visited Haines and came over to the homestead for a shared afternoon. I tell this story to many of my friends and we are thankful for your friendship, even over the years we have not been up there!
    Be true to yourself and enjoy “The Good Life” (as in the Hellen and Scott Nearing) – we hope to keep in contact over the coming years as best we can.
    Thanks for all the memories (and terrific stories of your homestead).
    All the best,
    John and Mary

  6. Sherry says:

    Awwwwwww….I’m going to miss your posts! Your blog is one of the few that I read consistently. I have rarely commented on the posts, but that’s because I didn’t want to insert myself into your story. I can truly say that with all the things going on in our state right now (Alaska), your blog was a bright spot where I could go to see you and your family living an authentic life. Take care and I’m going to leave the bookmark for this blog on my browser, in the high hopes that as I check back now and then, I might one day see that you’ve started the blog up again.

  7. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thank you for your faith in us, Sherry!

  8. Mark Zeiger says:

    John and Mary, I won’t lie–thinking of you made this decision particularly hard. We want to continue the rewarding friendship we’ve forged with you! We think of you far more than we connect with you. The blog may have made me complacent about this.

  9. Mark Zeiger says:

    Virginia, we’re sorry for your loss! And, of course, you and Lloyd are in our thoughts daily as we watch Russ’s progress. You have made this decision particularly hard for us, although I suspect maintaining the blog has made me a bit complacent about communicating properly! Hopefully, that will now change.

  10. Mark Zeiger says:

    Jane, please forgive my peevishness! I’ve replied off site, but I wanted to make sure your message posted, if only to show that I’m not as perfect as I think I am.

    Ironically, one of my “happy” thoughts about this decision was that I could finally become the grumpy old codger I long to be. I may have to rethink that now!

  11. Judy A says:

    Oh no! OMG! This can’t be happening???
    I found your blog a few years ago and have always enjoyed reading your posts and sending my two-cents worth. Our connection seemed to be your former residence in the State of California – Northern California/San Francisco Bay Area – to be exact. I would have enjoyed one more chat, especially in this uncertain and fearful Corona 19 atmosphere. Living here in San Mateo – one of six counties that are trying to slow-the-curve, I had hoped to share insights. But, instead I’m wishing you and your family peace, good health, and understanding of the opinions of others.

  12. Aleya says:

    I am a homesteader and off-gridder in interior Alaska. Honestly, there are not too many places to go to get information from those who are living like us……

    But I understand completely! We are drawn to this life for many reasons, and solitude is one of them.

  13. Mark Zeiger says:

    Judy, you are one of the faithful readers who have kept us going for so long! We are not entirely gone; remember the email links on the web page! Always good to chat with you, especially during the current catastrophe.

  14. Mark Zeiger says:

    Aleya, I’m sorry to remove a resource! Thanks for your understanding, and please remember, we can always be reached via the email links on the webpage!

  15. Angela says:

    I will certainly miss your blog but I do understand your reasons. I found your blog several years ago and yours is one of the few that I have constantly read over the years. Thank you for all the great homestead tips, sharing your family life and your wicked sense of humor which I enjoy. 🙂 I will definitely be reading your old posts again. Perhaps in time you could share an annual update with us faithful readers and who knows by that time my husband and I may have finally realized our dream and made it to Alaska. Wishing you,Michelle, and Aly much peace and joy!

  16. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thank you Angela, an annual update might be a good idea. If you do make it to Alaska, please let us know through the email links!

  17. Angie says:

    Mark, you say “Goodbye, I’m leaving” and it turns out to be your most popular post!

    I’m not sure how I would take that if I were you.

  18. Mark Zeiger says:

    I know, right? Hopefully, I’ve made it clear in the post that this is NOT merely a cry for attention, as it appears to be . . . .

  19. Ekij says:

    Mark,
    A friend introduced me to your blog about 5 years ago and I’ve been following your more recent posts since that time and also started at the beginning and have been working my way towards where I joined. I would be sorry to lose the remainder of the posts I’ve not read yet. I’ve enjoyed vicariously your hermit lifestyle. You live the dream of many of us and I appreciate the time you’ve spent over the last 11 years to share it with us. Thank you. I’ve commented in the past how blogging produces a sort of asymmetric friendship where your readers come to think of you as a friend but of-course you barely know us. Goodbye my friend, you will be missed.

  20. Mark Zeiger says:

    Ekij, thanks for your kind words, and for your patronage! You are one of the readers who made this decision hard for us! As for catching up, don’t worry, I don’t seem to be hurrying along on the process of removing the posts just yet. I’m having too much fun not writing to get to work on it, apparently!

  21. Sherry says:

    Glad to see your blog is still up!

  22. Lori says:

    hi mark, i’m a regular reader over the years although my style is to catch up on a couple months’ post at once. 🙂 i just wanted to say that i truly enjoyed your blog and was so sorry to check in today and find that you’d decided to call it quits – although i do understand (completely) your reasons. i have walked that path myself. i want to echo the request above that you consider doing annual updates; i would love to keep up. 🙂 best of luck in the years to come!

  23. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Lori! I’m really enjoying not keeping this up, but who knows, maybe an annual check in? We’ll see.

  24. Robbie says:

    Mark, I’ve been reading your blog off and on for years – thank you so much for sharing your life with us. You have a wonderful one, and it’s been informative and delightful. Thanks again, best wishes.

  25. Sherry says:

    Great to see the blog is still up. Just think of all the Covid-19 posts you could write. 🙂

  26. Mark Zeiger says:

    Sherry, that’s funny! Part of what helped me shut this down was the realization that about all I could think about was Covid-19. I didn’t want to become tedious.

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