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Friday, August 31, 2012

Knock on Wood

I LOVE trees and have always been fascinated by their different varieties.  I delight in being enveloped by them during walks through the woods.  It's as if a sudden peaceful force sort of replaces any prior wonder men go hunting.  

Imagine living in Nome (North Western Alaska) where there are no trees; just wide open tundra. It is too cold for most living things (including plants) to survive, therefore, usually only dwarf evergreen trees can survive. There is a frozen layer underneath the soil called permafrost which does now allow the growth of tree roots related to temperature. Therefore, there are very few trees anywhere near Nome.

So, if there are no trees in Nome, what do Nomeites burn in their stoves to keep themselves toasty warm in the harsh winter months? They burn driftwood that is found aplenty on the West Beach there.  Turns out that the way the Arctic currents flow allows for the many trees that are washed away from Russian forests to eventually drift into the shores of Nome and other areas of North West Alaska.

Mom, Dad and Tommy spent some time yesterday collecting driftwood of their own to stockpile and use when it becomes necessary.  They've installed a small wood burning stove in the container now, and will be ready for the below freezing temperatures that Fall will bring.

Last August was beautiful dredging weather in Nome.  This year has been a rainy bust!  Seems when the rain finally clears enough, the waves are still up around 5 ft in the dredging zones of the Bering Sea.    Those same furious waves that predictably serve up driftwood to the Nomeites, also wreak havoc on the gold dredgers.  Has yet to be a win win.


  1. Suggestion for your Nome family - point Tommy et al to this url:

    Buy the parts, ship to Nome and assemble then collect the wood fuel off the beach and run through a chipper - sure beats $6/gallon fuel - payback in one year likely.

    Best wishes,

    1. Then again if you choose not to use a GEKgasifier with a genset you are probably many dollars ahead to use a sealed wood stove with a good draft control for home heating.

      Best wishes,

    2. Doug,

      Sorry for delay..interesting and innovative idea. But, no time (or extra money) for it. Perhaps when there aren't 100 things already to do, it might make sense. Appreciate the response.

      Wendy (: