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Longtime Alaskan recounts life in wild
Alaska WEB 1
Merilee Calvin Watts recently wrote a book about her family’s adventures living in Alaska. - photo by Autumn Vetter
After more than 40 years of living with little light, Merilee Watts didn’t hesitate to paint her work room in Georgia the color of sunshine.A longtime resident of Alaska, Watts has lived in her Forsyth County home for several years, though her thoughts often drift off to the Quonset hut she loved and called home for decades.From her bright Southern house, she has detailed the snowy nights, outdoor adventures and family recipes in a book she wrote for her grown sons and then published as “Alaska Woodsmoke” in August.Watts’ tales range from enduring a month of temperatures 60-below to getting a group of bears permanently off her family’s 160-acre tract.Life in Alaska isn’t like the “lower 48” or “outside,” which Watts explained is how the locals refer to the other states.“We’re just rough and tumble,” she said. “You have your gun in your truck and you go out and pick berries and make stuff and you’re self-sufficient.“The attitude is we don’t care what you do in the lower 48, we do it here. We do it differently.