An excerpt from the novel Homestead by Melinda Moustakis Note: This edited excerpt from Chapter 1, “Pioneer Peak, June 1956” is taken from the novel Homestead, with permission of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers. Copyright ©2023 by Melinda Moustakis. God made the trees and men make the kindling, they say. One hundred and fifty acres of white spruce and paper birch, alder, aspen, cottonwood, and willow—spears of evergreen pointed at the sky, and the pale and peeling bark, and the leaves of every branch—all for the taking if the acres are proved. Fell the trees and clear twenty acres of land to seed a crop, raise a cabin with nails and timber, and weather the seasons. This is the way to earn and own the deed. Lawrence stands where the cabin will stand, the marsh and muskeg easing miles toward the marine inlet of Knik Arm, and beyond,…