You can't keep up with Homer's reality-star Kilchers

Chicago freelance writer Layton Ehmke spent the summer with the Kilcher clan near Homer with an eye toward explaining the seriousness behind the "exotic and unnecessary, and fun" homesteading lifestyle presented in the Discovery Channel reality show about the Kilchers, "Alaska: The Last Frontier."

The Kilchers were notorious before the TV cameras found them—thought of as a feral clan of slightly brilliant, slightly insane, self-actuating pioneers. They are a rich sourdough—an acquired taste. They are a delight to some, amusing to all—especially to themselves. They’re the all-terrain vehicle of people, which they’ve had to become because they live beyond the western-most point of the western-most road in the North American highway system, past the very last post office and the last grocery store. They homesteaded there in the 1940s where the spruce forest swells down to the beach and to the view of blue and white glaciers beyond the bay. The homesteading didn’t exactly stop, which is why they’re on TV hunting for dinner and collecting timber from the forest and coal from the beach to heat their homes. It’s the kind of life that keeps them bushy and wiry. It’s rough, which is the way they like it. As they see it, an easy life just isn’t as interesting.

Yes, it's the Kilcher family from which the singing superstar Jewel hails. Read more at Outside Online: Not dying in Alaska