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Procrastination leaves Atz Lee's family hungry on Alaska: The Last Frontier

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Preparation for the winter months is not the area to slack in when one lives in Alaska: The Final Frontier.

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.

Stay tuned.

Alaska: The Last Frontier airs on Tuesday nights on the Discovery Channel at 9/8c.

Image: Discovery Channel


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I missed the first season but I just heard good things about it. It's right that you don’t always get what you want when you’re bartering, but you have to barter step by step. As a member of I got familiar with the 'barter rules' and 'how to barter' and in the end I always got what I wanted.

Yes, the first season was good, but very short; I guess they were just testing the waters. Keep an eye out for the reruns, as I am sure they will be running them (they actually ran them as a lead-in to the new show yesterday, but I'm sure they will run them again, as they promote the show). I'm not sure how many episodes that this season will have; more, I hope, because it is a good family show. As for bartering, it can be a great tool, if one is good at it; Atz Lee, I think, could use a coach in that area.

Submitted by cynthia (not verified) on
I the whole first season and enjoyed it very much! I really do have a lot of respect for the people who live in Alaska and have to deal with the long, cold, dark winters and hunt for the food they need. They show us that we who live in the Lower 48 are REALLY SPOILED!!! We complain if we have to go to the supermarket when it is cold outside but AT LEAST WE HAVE A SUPERMARKET TO GO TO! What I really do like about the Kilcher family is that they show us that people who live in Alaska, especially in areas that are off the grid really HELP EACH OTHER OUT, THEY LOOK OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER. EVERYONE IS LIKE A BIG FAMILY. IT'S RARE THAT YOU SEE THAT HERE BECAUSE EVERYONE IS SO WRAPPED UP IN THEIR OWN LIVES THAT NO ONE WANTS TO GO OUT OF THEIR WAY FOR ANYONE ANYMORE! SO TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN ALASKA-YOU SHOW US A WAY OF LIFE THAT DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE AND THAT IS A SHAME! TRY TO STAY POSITIVE AND STAY TOGETHER ALWAYS. BE PREPARED FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!

Submitted by Rebecca (not verified) on
I watch this show because Eivan is so HOT!.... WOW!!.....And smart too!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Get a clue people! I live down the street from these morons. We have grocery stores. Where do you think they get the gas for their tractors and chainsaws??? At the gas station. They are about as much off the grid as bill gates. This is all fake television crap. Fly up, stay at one of the many hotels, est at a restaurant, and drive out to watch the show live... Or turn off your tv and stop believing all the fake crap. Sheesh.

Submitted by Alaska Resident (not verified) on
Thanks Get real for telling it like it is. I watched this show the other night for the first time, what a ridiculous bunch of clueless fools. Too bad modern TV has turned into such drivel full of lies and misrepresentations. Wow.

Submitted by Steve (not verified) on
If you had watched the entire show, you would have realized that that is the way their grandfather raised them. To be self sufficient and not have to rely on the things we down here can't live without (or so we think). They have 3 months of summer to get the cattle up in the field, canning, hunting, so when winter does hit it's not going to kill them. I admire them with a passion.

Submitted by north face jackets (not verified) on
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