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Monday, January 17, 2011

Not feeling like much much of a pioneer anymore

Some of you may recall that a couple of winters ago I posted about a woman in our community who is coordinating a project in which volunteers from all over the world can knit warm hats for IDF soldiers.

Well, this woman was our host for lunch this past Shabbat... and one of the topics that came up over our delicious meal was how her project is doing.

Glad you asked. It's doing great (although she can always use more volunteer knitters!)!

Over lunch we got to talking about her project, and it turns out that one of her more interesting contributors is a woman who lives in a cabin in the remote wilderness of Northern Alaska with her husband and children.

Forget 'Northern Exposures'. These people live so far off the grid that the cozy scenes from the once-popular 'Northern Exposures' T.V. series seem like Beverly Hills by comparison.

Where they live, there are no roads, no stores... just them. A couple of times a year they charter a bush plane to bring in supplies from Anchorage. And in November when the lake beside which they live is not yet frozen enough for a plane to land on, a pilot known as 'The Turkey Bomber' flies over and drops their Thanksgiving turkey out of the plane window for them.

I'm not making this up. Don't believe me? You can go read her blog. Apparently they only have electricity when they run their gas generator... and only then can they access the Internet via satellite uplink.

In her own words:

"My husband and I are bringing up and homeschooling our boys on our remote homestead in the Alaskan bush. There are no roads to this part of the state. We charter a bush plane a couple of times a year for mail and supplies. We haul our water from a spring, cook on an antique woodburning cookstove, hunt, fish, grow a large garden, put up food, and gather wild plants for food and medicine. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in the Alaskan wilderness, then read on. It's remote. It's peaceful. Sometimes it's a hard life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

I mention this because even if you don't knit yourself, most of you know someone who does. Most of you also live within a 30 minute drive of a store that sells yarn and knitting supplies. And if not, then at least you can order yarn online and have FedEx drop it on your doorstep within a couple of days.

This lady (who isn't even Jewish!) understands what it means to be cold, and has to plan months in advance for everything she has to buy for her family's needs. Yet, she's made it a priority to knit hats for IDF soldiers to wear during the winter.

My point? Not only should you add this woman's excellent blog to your reading list... but if you knit (or know someone who does), why not follow her excellent example and knit a few hats for our young soldiers to wear under their helmets this winter?

You can download the pattern and can get more information about where to send the hats once you're done, here.

Posted by David Bogner on January 17, 2011 | Permalink


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Ok you've re-inspired me. I started knitting one for one of the soldiers about 4 years ago and at the current pace, it will be ready for his or her grandchild when they are in service. I clearly need to pump up the knitting volume and get it finished and sent!

Posted by: Yaeli | Jan 17, 2011 2:45:05 PM

Thanks, for reminding everyone of our "Chicks with Sticks" project - keep those knitting needles clacking!!

Posted by: shelley bloom | Jan 17, 2011 4:51:41 PM

Historical note: a similar initiative took place in Israel in 1948. Girls throughout the country were knitting hats to keep the soldiers warm in the winter. After the winter, they were so used to constantly knitting that they took up crocheting and began making kippot. This led to the popularity of the "kippah serugah."

Posted by: Raz | Jan 17, 2011 5:14:31 PM

OMG I AM SO BRINGING THIS TO MY KNITTING GROUP!!!! Thank so much for posting this and I'm going to put in on my Facebook page and get a big group together. Wow what a great thing!

Posted by: Leah Caruso | Jan 17, 2011 6:11:00 PM

Ok, posted it and within 2 minutes I already have 7 people interested! I'm also bringing this to our shul women's chavurah. Clearly, I'm excited about this :-)

Posted by: Leah Caruso | Jan 17, 2011 6:19:18 PM

I have just dropped her a note! Thanks for telling us about her. I wonder if Channah realised what she had done when she started knitting for the soldiers. She is now knitting ladies together from all over the planet.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Jan 17, 2011 7:19:43 PM

Thank you so much for posting this info about my blog and lifestyle of my family. Many people have emailed or commented that they found my blog from your link. I'm so glad they told me. You have a great blog and I am enjoying it very much. Channah is wonderful to do this for the IDF soldiers, and it is good to be part of this. American women used to do the same thing for soldiers during World Wars I and II.
Best wishes,

Posted by: Jenny in Alaska | Jan 18, 2011 12:37:51 AM

Sometimes I think about living like that.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 18, 2011 2:12:47 AM

I can't imagine living in such isolation. Here in the hills of the HolyLand, there are young families living in caves. Yes, seriously, near Shiloh and other places in YoSh. But they're just a cell call or shout away from civilization.

Posted by: Batya | Jan 18, 2011 6:08:05 AM

Yaeli ... It might be a tad inaccurate to say I have 're inspired' you, seeing as the first time around you got off to such a slow start. :-) Glad to hear you are back on it.

shelley bloom... You should know that the girls from 'Stitch and B*tch' are very close to my heart. :-)

Raz.. So you are blaming the whole 'dati leumi' phenomenon on a bunch of do-gooders making knitted hats?! :-)

Leah Caruso ... How did you miss this the first time around? :-) Glad to hear you got the word this time anyway. My friend Channah will be delighted at the new knitters.

Kiwi Noa ... I'm sure she appreciated it. Jenny and her family sound like really interesting people. And yes, Channah is probably tickled at the ripple affect from her little/big idea.

Jenny in Alaska... I have read through your entire archive and am now a devoted fan. Thanks for taking the time to share a glimpse of your life. Isn't it amazing the connections that the Internet makes possible?

Jack ... You mean you aren't? :-)

Batya... Keep in mind that there are a few neighbors up there... and they can contact a plane if they have an emergency. Also, Jenny is a nurse, so they have that little bit of security. Aside from the communal obligations of certain Jewish rituals, I sometimes wish I could live like that.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 18, 2011 8:38:17 AM

Thanks for this post. My wife was thrilled to learn that Acrylic is acceptable (She's allergic to wool) and is working on a hat now. And she turns out stuff quick! Especially in worsted weight.

Posted by: Rich | Jan 24, 2011 12:14:22 AM

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