I've been looking into doing something similar in the Sandpoint area for a while now, but the job market there seems a bit tough. I've been checking the new job adds there for over a year now, but Coeur D'alene is the closest I have found anything. Even those pop up pretty infrequently, but I really don't want to be commuting that far if I can help it.
What do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking? I work in construction (management), and if I am able to find something reasonably well paying over there, it shouldn't take long for me to save up enough to either buy my own spread, or buy in with someone else who already has something established.
Right now I'm in Olympia, WA. I really wish I had discovered Sandpoint a bit sooner. I quit my last job a little over a year ago, because it just didn't seem worth it anymore to commute up to Seattle to work at a job I didn't like, to pay to rent a house in a city where I don't want to be. Unfortunately, I didn't have a plan when I quit, and hadn't figured out where I wanted to move to yet. Now that I have, my savings are pretty much gone. So that's basically my plight right now. I know for a fact that Bonner or Boundary County is where I want to be; now I just need to figure out how to get there, and how to make it a permanent situation.
Fortunately, I live incredibly simply (camper-van style), so if I can round up a job one of these days, I will certainly be on my way. If so, I will definitely give you a shout. Your ideas seem right in line with my own. My plan has always been to start with a shop too. I hear the building codes in Bonner County aren't too bad for doing the shop/dwelling combo.