By Randi Somers
The Kilcher family invited the public to share some of the more challenging and enjoyable aspects of homesteading at their ranch Saturday for their Sixth Annual Homestead Games.
A potluck barbecue highlighted the afternoon when a distant cousin from the Yukon, a professional chef, cooked a big pot of chili and grilled salmon to go with the dishes brought by guests.
When Yule and Ruth Kilcher homesteaded near the head of Kachemak Bay in 1942 and gave birth to eight children, they contributed a great deal to the Homer area. In addition to their offsprings’ individual artistic and performing art contributions to the community, the Kilchers annually invite everyone to experience a bit of homestead life. Of course, in the olden days, such chores as walking down to the beach to gather coal for heat and cooking wasn’t considered fun. Running down the hill, picking up a piece of coal and running back to the start line in a competition was fun for children and adults during the games.
The Kilcher family headed up and participated in many of the games Saturday. Fire building, rope and ring race, hay bail hurdles, put your tail (a taped on nail) in a can and egg toss were among the competitions that challenged many participants. The day ended with a fish toss.
“The kids really got into that,” Homestead Museum caretaker Ann Letson said. “It started with a bucket of whole frozen salmon. You select your fish, grab it by the tail, stand at zero line and hurl as far as you can. Kids kept coming back for second and third tries. They had men’s, women and kids’ heats. Otto’s son Eivin, threw his clear through the bushes past the end of the measuring tape, over 60 feet.”
Open mic didn’t have many takers. One man playing guitar, joined by a friend with a harmonica, provided most of the entertainment.
Kilcher Museum caretaker Ann Letson is available to give tours Saturdays from noon until 8 p.m. Call 235-8713 to schedule a visit for any other time. The homestead is 10 miles East End Road and then a half mile down toward the Bay on a one-lane dirt road. Four-wheel drive is recommended during wet spells.
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