My girlfriend and I are looking to buy 5-20 acres in the Couer d'Alene/Spokane area for homesteading and permaculture. We are planning a trip this March and I wanted to see if anyone with property in the area might be willing to give us a tour of their homestead so we might learn about the climate/seasons, what crops to grow, details on buying property, etc.
I'm at the beginning of my permaculture experience, but would be glad to help in any way I can. I've had 5 undeveloped acres northwest of Spokane since last spring. I've just added another parcel that will give me septic, well and electricity.
How close to civilization do you want? Do you want up and down land or flat? Trees or fields? Buildings? Utilities? Owner financing?
I'd be happy to help you find what you're looking for.
We're looking for something off-grid, probably on the Idaho side due to less regulations with forest/timber land with some flat land and some hilly land in an unincorporated area. It would be good to be 75 miles or less from CDA and Spokane. Ultimately, we would like to build our own house. It would be nice if it had some type of semi-livable dwelling on it like a trailer, but we don't want to spend too much on a dwelling since we have our own plans for building. Owner financing would be nice but not necessary. We already have an agent in CDA and there's a ton of properties on the prospect list. I ended up limiting it down by putting each one in a point system on a spreadsheet and assigning points based on characteristics like price, location, taxes, winter issues like plowing a private road, etc.
My primary reason for choosing Washington was the lack of a state income tax. Things in Idaho are cheaper, so it's a calculation to know which works best.
Well, right now we have no income in WA/ID and the idea is to slowly switch over to either a small scale permaculture farm + a work-from-home business or one of us getting a job in town as the last option. Some of the ideas I have are probably illegal from a zoning perspective, so it would be better to try them out in a place where people don't seem to care.
One thing I'm looking to do is specialize in a few high-end crops and sell at a premium price. Right now, I'm thinking about tomatoes and berries and having an orchard, but I am still doing research on local crops in the area and pricing.
Sounds like solid thinking to me. I have employment, so I'm focusing on offsetting power and grocery bills first. I'm planning to sell electricity back to the electric company this year. As I build, I'll be looking at cost-effective ways to moderate the temperature in my house.
While I do have ideas for selling things grown on my land, I recognize that the soil is very poor and I'll need to do a lot to develop it. I'm thinking 3 years for this.
Yeah, that's the big kicker of time between starting planting and harvesting. I could be looking at 2-3 years for some berries and 3-5+ years for an orchard. I've talked with a bunch of people who have done it and the best advice I've heard so far is to take it slow and not blow all of your money on one big idea.
You might check out www.palousepermaculture.com, located in the Moscow, ID area. If the environs is appealing, contact the site owner for more info. Building the Permaculture community around Moscow/Pullman (with the two universities) is a highly desirable goal.
Bill Kearns - Ritzville
Columbia Basin Permaculture
Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how human life on the planet affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.
Bill Kearns http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com
Thanks for the reference, Bill. Moscow is on our target list for properties and I will definitely contact the owner. It's good to know there's already some permaculture "infrastructure" in the area. We're postponing our Idaho trip for a few weeks so we can go to the permies event in San Diego, so it looks like we'll be visiting in the end of March.
Seriously Rick? Seriously? You might as well just read this tiny ad:
Paul Wheaton's Permaculture Products and Paraphenalia