Last night on the season premiere of Life Below Zero: Winter’s Warning, we watched the Arctic residents ready themselves for winter before the freeze takes hold.
Living in remote areas, the Alaskans rely on their surrounding natural resources. For Andy and Kate, fishing for chum salmon is the most important thing they do every year—as it provides high-quality food to feed their dogs for 365 days.
Andy depends on his dogs for safe transportation, companionship, and protection. After the last stick of fish went to the dogs, Andy’s focus shifted to getting his fish wheel into the river.
The fish wheel is an automatic fishing machine that relentlessly turns, propelled by the power of the river. The motorless wheel can catch up to 500 fish per day, and is based on an ancient design brought over to North America by the Chinese during the Gold Rush of 1896.
Purchasing a year’s supply of dog food for 25 dogs and two adults would be a huge cost to take on, and relying on the fish wheel saves Andy and Kate thousands of dollars per year, all while providing a fresh and nutritious alternative to processed kibble. Andy credits the oils, fats, and protein of the fish meal to extending the life of his dogs. One of his dogs is 16, and is still as healthy as ever.
So… do you have what it takes to live like that? …Maybe not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to see if you have part of what it takes to live like that! Because let’s get real, chances are the Yukon is not in your backyard, you probably couldn’t create a fish wheel by teaching yourself, and I’m guessing you don’t have 25 Alaskan sled dogs to feed.
For the Arctic residents, complacency is not an option. Lack of preparedness means certain death. The stakes are high living on the outskirts of humanity, and for many in the lower 48, life can be pretty sedentary, pretty comfy and cozy… until now! [Cue Life Below Zero Weekly Challenges].
So, let’s tap in to the arctic mindset with a little test of good old fashioned self-reliance. Andy says, “I think people are becoming very disconnected from knowing where their food comes from, taking care of their own needs, preparing their own foods, gathering their own foods. I think that’s a very dangerous thing for people to become complacent about that.”
For our first Life Below Zero Challenge… can you make your own pet food for one month?
We recommend that you speak with your veterinarian before changing your animal’s diet, especially for a short or temporary period of time. Your pet has supplemental requirements that won’t be fulfilled with just chicken and rice, and you’ll need additional vitamins from vegetables, grains, and/or powdered pet supplements recommended by your vet.
But, knowing where your pet food is coming from and providing for them with your own hard work is something the Life Below Zero residents consider highly satisfying. No pets? Come back next week for the next Life Below Zero Challenge!
Tell us! What inspires you about the way these folks live off-grid and on their own? Think you can try giving up some of life’s little luxuries and live a sliver of the arctic lifestyle? Let us know if you are going to partake in the weekly challenges, and share your stories and experiences. We’d love to hear from you.
Don’t miss new episodes of Life Below Zero, Thursdays at 9P… and be sure to come back next week for challenge #2!