SUTTON -- Ed and Val Musial built their house nearly a quarter mile from the Matanuska River in 1959.

Today, just 6 feet of sidewalk and sod separate the Musials' back door from the riverbank.

A once-grassy backyard leading to trees ends in an abrupt bluff over roiling gray water; chunks of land litter the cobbles below. The septic tank fell in last summer.

The view out a window over the kitchen sink is all moving water.

"We built this thing ourselves, every damn bit of it," said 87-year-old Val Musial. "And it was hard work. We lived in the basement for 17 years because Ed doesn't believe in debt."

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