Because I live in the great state of Alaska, I’m used to paying more for almost everything. Heating fuel up here can run the average household over $500 a month, and the grocery bill can be twice as much. Although most of us who live up here find that the extra expense is worth it, we are always happy when spring comes around because it will give our wallets a rest from the beating they’ve been taking throughout the long winter. Here are just three of my favorite things about spring that my wallet also appreciates:
Although grocery prices in the more populated parts of Alaska really aren’t much worse than that of their lower 48 counterparts, those of us who choose not to live in cities frequently pay three times as much for basic food items. That’s why I spend a significant amount of time during the spring, summer and fall fishing. I vacuum seal and freeze the majority of what I catch, but it often isn’t enough to last throughout the long winters, so I’m usually forced to pay grocery store prices at some point during the latter part of winter.
Make no mistake, though — having a freezer full of fish certainly takes the sting out of grocery shopping. It’s healthier than protein sources that are commonly available in the grocery store aisles. Fishing in Alaska is also good exercise, and I tend to need to shed a few pounds every spring due living a relatively inactive lifestyle during the winter.
Warmer Weather Means Relief from High Heating Bills
By the time winter is finally over in Alaska, I’m always happy to turn off the furnace and leave it off for several months. If it gets cold during summer evenings, I just put a few pieces of wood into the wood stove and enjoy a nice fire. Although I try to burn wood whenever possible, it’s hard to keep a consistent indoor temperature using wood alone. I really enjoy the relief I experience during the late spring and summer from high monthly heating bills.
Growing a Vegetable Garden
Anyone who has ever eaten the produce bought in a rural Alaskan store will tell you that the reason they grow their own vegetable gardens is so that they can have good-tasting produce for at least part of the year. Most fruits and vegetables available for sale in Alaskan grocery stores are old and stale. Fortunately, vegetables grow very well in most parts of the state due to the long hours of sunlight. I grow a garden every year and enjoy fresh vegetables on a regular basis during the summer and early fall. When I have enough, I can some of them for use during the winter. Another benefit to living in Alaska is the abundance of wild berries available in virtually every part of the state. I go out and bring home buckets full of them as often as I can, and on good years, I’m able to vacuum seal and freeze a substantial amount.