Alaska: The Last Frontier welcomed back the Kilcher family to the Discovery Channel, and started off the season showing fans just what happens when one doesn’t prepare properly for the Alaskan winter.
Season Two of Alaska: The Last Frontier showed viewers a side of Alaskan living last night that one doesn’t often see in the rash of Alaska-based shows now so prominently placed across the airwaves. Atz Lee, the son of Kilcher family patriarch Atz Sr., is, well, a procrastinator at best, a bit lazy at worst. And, his failure to get out and do what needs to be done in the short summer reprieve has harsh ramifications during the winter months, as Atz Lee admitted during the season premiere last night:
“Much as I’d like to think that I am a pretty dependable person and whatnot, one of my weaker qualities would have to be [I] just find myself not being prepared.”
Not Being Prepared, Reaping the Rewards
One does not want to be out cutting frozen trees for firewood when the snow is knee-deep, that’s for sure. But, less than that, one certainly does not want to be out trying to hunt in knee-deep snow, when the large game is smartly scarce, and small game is available but, well, small—it takes a lot of it to feed one person, much less a family. Drilling through four feet of ice with a hand-auger to do some (unsuccessful) ice fishing isn’t a great option. And, Atz Lee certainly is not going to feed his family by bartering what he does have if last night’s attempt is any indication of his skills in deal-making. Visiting a neighbor and taking the last package of flounder from the freezer, Atz Lee traded down to a pigeon—very small and not enough for dinner for him and his wife. His view on the trade was interesting:
“You don’t always necessarily get what you want when you’re bartering, but it’s kind of disrespectful to say, ‘No, I’m not into that, no thanks.’”
You’ll probably never see Atz Lee on Barter Kings (AETV).
Atz Lee’s wife, Jane, is from Alaska, but did not grow up living the subsistence lifestyle. She was actually a commercial fisherwoman in Homer, Alaska, a skill that has been important to the family’s winter food chest. Given that she did not grow up with this lifestyle—she admits that she lived in a home with five bathrooms, as opposed to her current life, where they have an outhouse—she is very patient, and, as she said, tries not to be a “Negative Nancy.” But, a few more of those pigeon meals and days out on the ice trying to catch fish to make up for her husband’s failures in the hunting department, not to mention a few more times being sent up to the roof of the hunting cabin to shovel off snow, the frustration that is apparent on her face may just begin to boil over—a reality check that just might be a positive when it comes to motivating her husband into making better preparations for the winter season.
Of course, the rest of the Kilcher family is not going to sit by and let Atz Lee's family starve. But, they will probably be strongly encouraging him to do more in the way of preparation before next winter. We’ll find out as this season of Alaska: The Last Frontier progresses.
Alaska: The Last Frontier airs on Tuesday nights on the Discovery Channel at 9/8c.
Image: Discovery Channel