When “Homestead Rescue” airs on the Discovery Channel today, Interior Alaskans may see a familiar face or two.
Michelle and Tyler Hartley, longtime residents of Healy and then Afognak Island, now live at a homestead in Sterling, on the Kenai Peninsula.
The show “Homestead Rescue” features Alaskans Marty, Matt and Misty Raney, who use their building, farming and hunting expertise to help people who strive to live off the grid. Michelle Hartley ran into Marty Raney over breakfast one morning in Soldotna.
“I was waiting for the college to open,” she recalled. “I was writing an essay on homesteading.”
When she got up to leave, she noticed Marty Raney sitting at the table behind her and she struck up a conversation.
“We got to talking,” she said. “He asked me what brought me to the peninsula and I said that I was trying to build self-sustainably while living a homesteader lifestyle. He asked about the history of our place and us. We talked for about an hour.”
After many more conversations and interviews and then personal visits by production experts, the Hartleys were selected to appear on the show “Homestead Rescue.”
The help they received at their homestead, as a result of being on the show, proved invaluable.
“They helped me build an 8-foot fence around my garden,” Hartley said. “I built a 4-foot one and the moose ate everything.”
She also built a high tunnel greenhouse, which collapsed under the first snow. The Raneys helped her build a new greenhouse.
“Some of my biggest challenges are because Tyler works away from home,” she said. Her husband is a heavy equipment mechanic.
“They built a huge shop in hopes that he could work from home within the next two years,” she said.
It is rumored, she added, to be the biggest building project they have ever done on the show.
The crew also fixed drainage around the cabin and rebuilt the chimney that Hartley’s step-father started working on before he died.
For Hartley, being on “Homestead Rescue” accomplished two big goals. It helped to preserve her step-father’s legacy, for one thing.
“This was his dream,” she said. “He loved Alaska and this life.”
Secondly, it accomplished projects that had long been on her list.
“I can’t do it on my own,” she said. “Everything I accomplish takes three to four failed attempts first. I could pursue this dream with a lot less struggle if Tyler were home and able to help me.”
With the construction of a garage of him to work in, that just might happen in the near future.
The show airs at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST today. Hartley said it will air on her dish network at 4 p.m. So best to check out your personal system for the correct time.
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at email@example.com. Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.