My SO and I have spent some time in Eastern Washington before. Mainly Spokane and the Okanagan. We loved the area and are hoping to move there (we currently live in TX but are not from here). I don't want to bash anyone's state or home town but Texas is not personally for us. We really miss Washington.
I would love to hear from people living in the area. Pros, cons? Likes, dislikes? I know they'll all be different for everyone. I'd love to learn more about the different areas and the community there.
I'm really eager to make a plan for us to be able to move up there. Obviously we would need to figure out a job. We have a young son so we can't just pack the car and move. It'll take a bit more planning and saving.
The ultimate hope is to get a house with some land. We're hoping for at least 2-3 acres for... around $130,000 or so. The ultimate pipe dream would be to make a living off of the property (which obviously then we would rethink and get a property with a few more acres than just the several for ourselves)
We are very determined to live on some land even if it's just a small amount for ourselves. We've read about opportunities to stay on someone else's property and have thought about things like that where you have an "alternate" way to being on some land... but it's kind of hard putting all your faith and future in the hands of someone else when you have a child.
I read a lot so I've looked into all sorts of revenue aspects for a property. It's just intimidating when you're trying to make sure you don't ever put your child in a rough situation because of your life choice. For example, I honestly think the dairying life (although full of it's own hardships) would be a nice way of life... but I've read plenty of people complain about their wages and living. I also know dairy has infrastructure, permits, etc, etc so it's not something you just jump into lightly. It's a whole lifestyle. Merely one of the things I've thought about.
Anyways, I don't want to leave a wall of text or ramble too much. Just wanted to say hello and maybe see if there's any friends or resources to be made in the Washington area! Or of course friends and knowledge from elsewhere as well haha
I was born and raised in the Spokane area - just north in Deer Park WA. I'm living in Western WA now but most of my life was spent in Eastern WA. I love the open feel of the landscape in the Spokane area and I love the ponderosa pine forests. I grew up hiking through those forests and exploring mountain lakes and rivers. The dry high desert is great and I much prefer that over humid areas. All in all it was a great area to live and I do miss it.
My wife and I are both from Eastern WA but we ended up in Western WA in part to there being a lot more jobs. But if you want to live off the land that is not as much of a problem. I would say I don't miss the smoke filled sky's that are common during the summer forest fire season in Eastern WA. I do miss the snowy winters but it is nice being able to have a winter garden without a greenhouse but I really miss the bright sunny winter days. It tends to be wet and grey over here. Eastern WA gets the extremes - cold winters and hot summers. But the growing season is a bit short. This can make it a challenge to grow certain crops but it can work. Water retention would be a big help over there since it is so dry in the summer and could help avoid having fire issues on your land.
All in all I really like Eastern WA - I plan on taking some trips back to visit. The extremes in temp and short growing season can be a bit of a challenge but you can work around that. Dealing with the dry fire season is no fun but if you are careful you should be able to plan for that.
Do you want to work with nature to grow your own food and build a natural life? Check out Wild Homesteading's thread on permies to get started.
Some things to consider, check into what the pros and cons are for different counties each have good and bad. For example Ferry Co has an off grid system through the PUD. Where they will come set up an off grid system for you, and you rent to own it. Once you pay it off it is yours. But the bad part is property taxes tend to be a bit higher in Ferry Co.
Something else to look at is access, a lot of the roads in the northern part of the region east west can close in the winter due to snow. The main routes of north and south though stay open. Also look at potential flood problems and bridges that might get washed out when looking at access.
I would highly suggest spending time on http://www.desertlakerealty.com/ looking at properties. If your not already. Just to get a general idea of prices, areas, what to sells and what doesn't, etc... The best deals will almost always be for sale by owner stuff, but if your coming out of state that can be a struggle. I was in Western WA, and the 6 hr drive from Seattle to Tonnasket didn't make for great land searching.
Something to note, if you don't like "hippies" you might want to know Tonnasket has a couple festivals every year that bring in a lot of them. A spring one and a fall one. Or if you do like "hippies" then this might be something positive for the region.
*edit to add this paragraph ( I had forgotten to mention it last night)
Something to note about the Spokane area, a lot of the white supremacists who had been in Idaho moved over to the Spokane area about a decade ago when one of their top leaders went to prison. This sort of drove them out of Idaho, but they just kind of congregated in Spokane instead which had already had a bit of a white supremacist presence since the 80's to gather around. You might have heard about the Martian Luther King parade pipe bombing incident in 2011? Thankfully the authorities spotted the device and disarmed it before it went off. This sort of info though is worth noting as it can impact you and where you get property. These folks might not be the best neighbors, and might eventually have some sort of stand off or conflict with the government.
A lot of what you deal with in TX is similar in Eastern WA. Lots of ranchers, and cowboys. Water is highly important. Grazing of course comes up, needing to fence your property to keep the cows out. etc...
One of the major Orchard companies in the Okanogan recently shut down from what I hear from my neighbors. As well as I heard today that most of the gravel companies have shut down. So sounds like there is a bit of a job crunch happening for a lot of folks in the county.
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)