The Last Frontier

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Turkey Bomber

(Side Note: Our generator is running today to power the washer, so I'm taking advantage of it to write a few posts. Below this one is a post about wash day at the creek during the summer. For those of you who don't know, our inverter died, and we can only have electricity when the generator is running. Since we have to charter a plane to fly gas out here, it make for very expensive internet time. So, until we get another one next time I go into town in a month or so, I won't be able to post much.)

I know that Thanksgiving is long gone, but since this is a blog about life in the Alaska bush, and since I wasn’t able to blog during Thanksgiving, I thought I’d write about it now. First, I’ll give you a little background, and then you’ll understand the title of this post. (Pictures at the end) 

We live way off the road system. The only way to get into town is by chartering a small plane, and then it has to land on the lake about ¾ mile from our cabin. Thanksgiving comes during the midst of freeze-up, which is when the lake is beginning to get a layer of ice, but it’s not yet strong enough to support a plane.  Our lake is deep and has lots of warm springs, so it’s later than most in freezing up. Since most lakes in the area begin freezing around mid-October, and ours doesn’t usually have safe ice until around early to mid December, there’s about a 6 – 8 week span in there when we can’t get a plane to make a shopping trip or get mail even if we wanted to.  

We also live way off the power grid. I must either can or make jerky with all of our meat, except when we get fresh meat during the winter when the temperatures are consistently well below freezing, which is usually from the middle of November until sometime in March. No electricity to run a freezer. A propane freezer, and the propane to run it are out of our range. This means that there’s no way for us to have a turkey or any fresh meat for Thanksgiving.

Nevertheless, this year, like all the other years since we moved to the bush, The Turkey Bomber made our Thanksgiving dinner complete. There’s a wonderful man and his wife who live on the road system about 50 miles or so from us. Each year, a few days before Thanksgiving, they purchase about 40 large, frozen turkeys. He loads them into his little bush plane, flies around this part of Alaska, and airdrops turkeys to families like ours who would not otherwise be able to have turkey for Thanksgiving. He’s known around here as The Turkey Bomber. What a blessing he and his family have been to ours.

The first picture was taken as he made his run over the lake and was about to toss the turkey out the door of his plane. This year the weather prevented him from flying until the day after Thanksgiving, but it was still a fun day for us. Chuck drove the snow machine with Zeke riding up front with him. Jed and I rode to the lake in the sled pulled behind the snow machine. The boys sledded down the steep hill while we waited for the “turkey bomb”. He dropped it right beside a hole in the ice. Chuck walked out with a sled to fetch the turkey. The ice was about 4” thick --- fine for walking, but not for a plane to land.  We tied the sled to the snow machine sled and came home. Part way home, the boys wanted to walk and pull the turkey themselves with their little sled. It was a fun day for all of us.

Flying in low to 

drop the turkey
Flying low, getting ready to drop the turkey out of the plane.

Fetching the turkey
Chuck pulled the sled out onto the lake to fetch the turkey.
The lake ice wasn't thick enough for a plane to land, but
there was enough for people to walk on it.

Bring home the turkey
The boys watched as Chuck got the turkey to the bank of the lake.

 Wish I could adjust the picture sizes better. The one below is beautiful, but when I make it the next size larger, it's huge and runs off the page.

mountains were beautiful - Mt. Foraker and Mt. McKinley
Alpinglow on Mt. Foraker and Mt. McKinley was beautiful as
we were leaving the lake to head home.

Our dog chasing us in the 

Our dog loves to chase us. Chuck and Jed were riding on the
snow machine, I took this picture as Zeke and I were
being pulled in the sled behind the snow machine.


  1. That is so cool. How do you know when the turkey is coming? Your life is so amazing.

  2. That is so kind and thoughtful of the Turkey Bomber! Is it possible for you to post a typical weekly menu for winter so that we can get an idea of what you do eat this time of the year? That would be very interesting. Also, could you write about how you came to live in the wilderness and why you chose to live as you do? How do you make your list for when you go to town? What kinds of things do you buy? I hope I am not being too nosy. I am very interested in how you live. I have always wanted to live a more simple life. What about church? How do you keep up relationships with others?
    Blessings to you.

  3. Oh wow Jenny, this is great. What a blessing these people are to your family. How exciting!

  4. He usually buzzes our house (flies over really low) a few times, and then drops it in the yard. This year he called and asked if we thought the turkey would break through the lake ice, and told us when to expect him. There are so many trees, and our house, caches, shop, woodshed and outhouse that he worries about dropping it through a roof, so he prefers the lake when there's ice.

  5. Wow Jenn. You've given me a lot to think about. Maybe I'll do a post with your questions, and then answer it. Feel free to email or call me anytime! :) I'd love to chat and get to know you better.

  6. Oh thats neat!! I just dont know how you do it though!! Hope you get what you need soon!

  7. I'm with Jenn lol. Life in Alaska has always fascinated me and my DH would love to live there. He is a mountain man to the bone. Your pictures are amazing too. Blessings! ~ Nikki

  8. Hi, Jenny,

    I used to have you on my friends list on HSB and missed it when you had to 'leave' for a while. Very delightful to see you're back--your blog is beautiful! I've moved over, too, and am enjoying reconnecting with some former HSBers.

    I would sure concur with Jenn4Him and her questions. It's great hearing about a more simple way of life. Maybe deep down we've all dreamed of living like you are!

    Thanks for sharing your life with us. :-)

  9. HI Wendy! Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you found me again. I loved your beautiful picture on your new blog. So inviting.

  10. I read "Consent of the Governed" and "Rural Revolution" blogs daily, and I am excited to be reading your blog too.

  11. Thank you very much for adding my blog to that wonderful list. Those are great blogs, aren't they! Thank you for visiting, and I hope you'll come back.
    Best wishes,


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