Living on Our Land: Week 1

Well, after planning and working our butts off for the past two years, we finally made it to our newly purchased land in Idaho! We’ve been living on our land for exactly one week now and we’re happy to report that we couldn’t be happier.

We will be writing blog posts on individual parts and milestones of this journey, but we figure that some may appreciate a “wrap up” post as well. In the early stages of this transition, so much is happening. It feels like we’ve done a month’s worth of work already but we’ve been here just 7 days! Here’s an overview of the week’s happenings and accomplishments.

The first photo we took after our arrival! Such a happy moment.
The first photo we took after our arrival! Such a happy moment.

Survived the 650 mile, 2 day drive from Oregon to Idaho.

We were hoping to make the drive in one day (we know… we’re crazy!) but we got off to a late start. We didn’t end up leaving our home in Oregon until 8:30am. Surprisingly we didn’t have any issues with our truck or towing. However, around 9pm as we were rolling into Spokane, it began to rain, one of the cats peed in his carrier, the cats were trying to get in a fight, both were yowling, Jesse and I were grumpy, so we figured it would be best to get a hotel. It was a great decision and helped us to recover a bit. We resumed the drive in the morning and made it in one piece to our land. Check out a video of the trip here to one of my favorite songs!

Assembled a temporary dwelling for our trailer.

As mentioned above, we arrived in the middle of a small rainstorm and as our trailer leaks and already has some dry rot issues, we needed to put up a dwelling right away! We settled on buying a Garage in a Box from Home Depot as opposed to building our own structure. We didn’t want to go the Home Depot route but all things considered, it seems that it would be not only the quickest solution but also the best investment.

Read about our portable RV garage here >>

Talked to the planning and zoning department about building codes.

Rumor had it that there were no building codes up here, but we wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. What better way to get things done than to talk to a human being?

We walked into the planning and zoning department for the city to ask about putting up a shelter for our trailer, building a barn, and ultimately building our house. We had it confirmed that there are indeed no building codes and we can build whatever we are comfortable building. There aren’t even any building permits, sweet! The only thing we would need is a residential placement permit and basically, that is only to establish that we would build 20’ from the property lines.

When it is time to apply for that for our primary living dwelling, all we need to do is submit a rough sketch of where our dwelling will go (using a box to represent our house will fly) and we should be set! We knew it would be simple, but not THIS simple. This was a highlight of our week.

Figure out our water and septic situation for the trailer.

We were stoked to find out that we can get about 100 gallons of water for 25 cents just a few miles down the road! Unfortunately, our travel trailer will only hold 25 gallons, but 25 cents for 25 gallons is great. We also have free septic dump.

However, we quickly realize that if we are going to get sweaty and work hard, we aren’t really fans of sponge baths or extremely short showers (20 seconds max). We already paid for a shower at the truck stop not once but twice! $10 has been spent in long, hot showers with good water pressure. We are already entertaining the idea of either getting a 400 gallon holding tank or even investing in a 3,000 gallon cistern. We really do want to have an abundance of water at our fingertips in the near future rather than waiting to drill our well.

This thing is friggin' massive! It holds 100x more water than our trailer. Yes please!
This thing is friggin’ massive! It holds 100x more water than our trailer. Yes please!

We also talked to some local septic guys to see what septic would entail from someone that deals with it daily. The state would like a permit for all septic systems (doh… must have overlooked this in our research!). The good news is that the guys did a percolation test on the property years ago and the property passed with flying colors so it looks like we should be able to put a traditional septic system in no problem. We may also aim to do this in the near future as well.

Our generator has been working awesome!

We ended up buying a small portable generator prior to the move and we’re so happy we did! We went with a Honda EU3000i Handi and couldn’t be happier with our purchase. We don’t use much power during the day, but our power usage doesn’t run the trailer battery down much. We also have been running the generator for about an hour each evening to charge our laptops, camera equipment, phone, and to top off the trailer battery. Plugging in our power tools have been a breeze. While water and septic are pain points somewhat, power is not. Score!

honda-eu300i-handi-generator

We learned that we need to think a bit about security.

We’ve talked to many folks up here so far and in one day, three different people mentioned being a victim of theft in recent history. As we do not have a secure dwelling yet, we decided to spend a few minutes thinking about how to protect ourselves from theft.

We are sure to lock up when we leave, have our storage unit in what seems to be a secure location with cameras, and think we may get some motion-activated lights for the property. We figure that lights can deter some thieves. We put up a couple no trespassing signs to deter the partiers, and someone also suggested we get signs that say “Security by Smith & Wesson” or “Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again!”. We’ll see what we come up with. Maybe we’ll settle for a sign that reads “Beware of Bengal cats!”

That’s the spirit! No joke. We had someone threaten to pull a gun on us when we were looking at a property for sale.

Secured a storage unit.

In a perfect world we would store our belongings on our land in a secure building. As we rolled in during a rainstorm on a weekend we were desperate for a place to put our stuff rather than in the dirt next to our trailer. Someone hooked us up with a storage unit on short notice but it was quite a ways out of town, it was filthy upon move in, there were some hoodlum-looking people that lived next to it, it was down a road that nobody travels down, there were no lights, there were no cameras, it didn’t seem secure in the slightest, but it worked for a few days.

We don't have much stuff but when you live in a travel trailer, everything seems like too much!
We don’t have much stuff but when you live in a travel trailer, everything seems like too much!

A few days later we were able to secure a storage unit that was in a busy part of town, had cameras, was well-lit, seemed much more secure, so even though it was $20 more a month we decided to take it. We have many valuable belongings and it just isn’t worth it to take the risk. This was a lot of moving but we feel that our stuff is in safe hands until we have room on our land for it.

Assembled a deck for our trailer.

We accomplished our first building project and build a little deck for the side of our trailer. It’s the little things that can add comfort. One pain point we had was tracking in dust into our tiny little home, so the deck has greatly reduced that. We now have a place to set an outside trash can, our shoes, kitty food, a kitty bed, and it works perfectly!

Check out the full blog post here >>

So this sums up week one in Idaho! I can’t believe we’ve been here a week already. We are loving every minute of it, energy is high, and we’re ready to move to the next steps. Even though we like to get things done, we are also trying to remember to take time to slow down and enjoy the journey rather than powering through it as quickly as possible.

Here’s to week two!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

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Comments

  1. Erik says

    Have you done a video on why you selected Idaho? What criteria did you use to select the property? Were there other properties you considered? Were there other states you also looked at? How did you come across the property? Thanks

    • says

      Hey Erik, we have a blog post on how we picked a place to settle down here: http://purelivingforlife.com/how-we-picked-a-place-to-settle-down/

      We are working on a series of in-depth criteria we used to pick a place to buy land. It will be much more thorough than the blog post above. If you haven’t already, feel free to subscribe to the blog so you can get an email notification when the post is ready.

      We were primarily look for states on the west coast as that is closest to both of our families, although we were entertaining all options! We were also interested in Montana but didn’t want to deal with TOO much snow. We also love the pacific northwest as far as looks and environment goes. We ultimately found the property ourselves on Craigslist, but are working on a post for how we picked the property as well to share all of what we did! It was a combination of visiting in-person, savaging Craigslist and using a realtor.

  2. says

    I would highly recommend solar motion security lights (very affordable online) as well as some threatening signs. And when you want to amp up security I’d add a night vision security camera that is motion activated as well, displays on a small tablet screen inside the home. I am will be getting all of the above soon myself. =)

  3. Mark says

    I have really enjoyed seeing your move and beginning to develop your homestead. I wanted to throw out a suggestion for what it’s worth. I saw you had a storage unit and that you were thinking about security. I know that money is crucial but one thing I did on my property was to purchase a good quality “shipping container”. Not only does it get you out of the storage unit in town but it also puts everything on your property where you may need it. They are very secure and weather and pest proof. I have also seen 2 of them set up parallel about 12 feet apart and a roof put on top creating a covered storage for tractors and tillers, etc. or even a shop in the middle and possibly a loft for more storage out of the weather. Good luck with everything.

  4. Mary W. says

    Why did’t you consider a shipping container for your property? You can later finishe it to get the barn look. It is water and air tight. It would be a longtime solution for storage, could be use as a workshop/storage…

  5. Stefanie says

    I love the two previous comments. I would have never thought of shipping containers. Do you guys know the approximate cost of one?

    • says

      It seems that people get them for maybe $1,000 to $1,500/piece according to what I’ve seen in various Facebook groups. There are all sorts of crazy shipping container homes on the internet (search if you get bored). Not sure how practical they are when it really comes down to it, but it’s not our first choice.

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