Time to Add FAQs to the Website

By , April 13, 2011

I feel the time has come to add FAQs—”Frequently Asked Questions”—to the Zeiger Family Homestead Website. We get a lot of questions from people on a variety of topics, which I try to answer here on the blog, but I’ve never taken the trouble to organize them in order to make it easier for a first time visitor to get up to speed on what we’re doing here, other than the “Homestead Primer” on the right hand side of the page.

I’ve got some ideas of what to add to it, but I’m asking for your help. In the “comments” section below, please post any questions you might have, or think would be helpful to have answered in a site FAQ. I’ll use them to help build a new page for the site.

To make it worth your while, I intend to randomly give away free copies of my short story collection, Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska. I won’t say how many, as I want to make the odds of winning good, and proportional. In other words, if we get 10 responses, then participants should have a 1 in 10 chance of winning. If we get hundreds, then I’d like to choose randomly from sets of 20 or so, that sort of thing. Be sure to include a valid email address where the comments form asks for it (addresses won’t be posted on line) so that I can contact you for a mailing address if I draw your name.


6 Responses to “Time to Add FAQs to the Website”

  1. Roger T says:

    What are your Latitude and Longitude Coordinates for looking at your Homestead on Google Earth. My estimate is:

    59° 9’46.04″N

  2. Don says:

    Yeah, I got one question… what happened to the boat? I’ve gone back through the blog quite a way, but I don’t see where you sold it, and there’s nothing posted about it in years.

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    That’s a good question, Roger, but unfortunately, it’s one my family has asked me not to answer. They’ve never really liked the idea of people finding us on Google Earth.

    I did look up your guess coordinates, and all I can say is, “I wish!” I don’t know who labeled the clearing across the road from the beach Mud Bay, but they’re mistaken. That shore is Paradise Cove, which is extremely well named! It’s a lovely spot. We know a bunch of people who live there, and the Presbyterian Church’s Rainbow Glacier Camp is there as well.

    If it’s any consolation, you can’t see anything of the homestead on Google Earth. Everything is either hidden in shadow, or too blurry to make out any details.

    Thanks for contributing to the FAQ!


  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Don, well you should ask! It’s a sad story, but we’re still holding out for a happy ending.

    We still have our homemade sailboat, Selkie, but we haven’t put her in the water since we moved to Haines. We’ve had her parked at the harbor and in storage for the last 5 years. The longer she’s out of the water, the more repairs she needs before we can relaunch her. She’s probably seaworthy, most likely still sound, but we need to make sure of that before we take her out on Lynn Canal. I think the only time I mentioned her was when the local Department of Transportation moved her off the road illegally.

    Our two basic problems are making those checks and repairs, and figuring out how to keep her once she’s launched. The demands of the homestead take up most of our time and effort, leaving very little time for boat work. It was easy to build her in our driveway in Juneau, where I had a full on-the-grid home, garbage pick up, and stores nearby to support the project. It’s far more difficult to carry everything we need out to the storage yard, including a gas generator, then drive to the dump to dispose of epoxy containers and other waste. By the time good repair weather comes around, the fish are running, the chimney needs cleaning, life happens . . . .

    We can only anchor off our homestead beach in the best weather. No anchors will hold on our bottom in any kind of serious wind. The beach is too rocky to beach her easily. We’re mulling over all kinds of schemes for skidding her up above the tide line at some point, but have yet to find the ideal solution.

    All of these things weigh heavily on my mind. I won’t sell her. I dream of using her for the work of the homestead, and for exploring our coasts. Hopefully some day soon.

    Thanks for contributing to the FAQ!


  5. Afina Kuiper-Hinrichs says:

    Hi Mark,

    It would be interesting to know how you produce and preserve your food. You write about Michelle`s gardening plots. What do you grow? vegetables or fruit and do you can or make syrup, marmelade or dry food? And what about the fish? Do you smoke it or salt it? In the Netherlands we eat salted raw herring which is a typical treat. We celebrate “flag day” , then the first herring of the season is sold. It is a very typical sight to see Dutch people eating raw salted herring, they hold the fish by the tail and eat it like a snack, often together with raw chopped up onions. ( sounds weird, doesn`t it) Do you bake your bread or buy groceries in bulk?
    To sum it up, questions about food.



  6. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Afina,

    Good addition to the FAQ! We really need to focus more on our food. I try, but Michelle’s the leader in that aspect of homestead life. Unfortunately, she’s too busy doing to write about it.

    She has some posts on the garden, and what she’s growing there. Those are under the “Gardening/Local Plant Life” category. Also check “Food and Drink” and “Foraging.” In short, we do a lot of canning, we do make syrups and “honeys,” and Michelle makes her own marmalade.

    We’re moving toward smoking and canning fish, but usually we eat it fresh as it comes. We’re talking about canning herring this year. We’ve pickled it in the past, but aren’t real happy with the results. Mostly that had to do with the spices used–too sweet for our tastes.

    I’ve actually heard of Holland’s “flag day” from long ago, perhaps a film in elementary school? I hesitate to pass judgment on anyone’s food customs, but yes, it does sound a bit weird.

    We bake our own bread, and we do buy some groceries bulk, but mostly what we can’t grow, catch, or find, we buy from our local grocery stores.

    There’s much, much more to say on food. I need to urge Michelle to do some more writing.

    Thanks for contributing! I should be drawing for the book soon.


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