We took the plunge, packed up the house, the dogs (Henry & Toby) & the fish (Lucky), and made the move from the rugged red rocks of Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon, AZ to the lush, beautiful and sometimes extreme climate of the Panhandle of North Idaho
(Mountain) Lions and Wolves and Bears, oh my! …lol— Yes, we followed our own little Yellow Brick Road.
This post is a long time coming… we moved here during the dead of winter, driving a rented 26′ moving truck 1300 miles through snow, rain, fog, and a lot of road construction, THREE times during the winter of 2018. We caravanned on one trip with the Jeep pulling the RPod following the moving truck. (Who does that, right?!? THREE trucks, and a total of six times back and forth across the mountainous stretch between our old life and our new. We certainly won’t win any awards for efficiency on this move.)
How did all this happen?
Steve and I had been dreaming for years of finding our own little plot of land where we could build a homestead of our own, growing our own food, becoming self sufficient, and living out our dream! We literally scoured the Real Estate websites searching for a few acres with good access to water, mountains, growing space, and a house we could live in without having to obtain a mortgage, so our budget was severely limited. We found a lot of “almost-maybe’s” and made several trips to Colorado, the White Mountains of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and searched online throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We printed out listings and chased down leads all over the western states, but for one reason or another we didn’t find a property that we could “take action” on and put down our cash.
We kept moving our search North, and finally started homestead-hunting in the Northern Panhandle of Idaho, along with parts of Montana that ran along that border. We loved the fresh air, the abundance of lakes and streams for fishing, kayaking, and boating, the beautiful snowcapped peaks on the mountains covered with dense forests and filled to the brim with wildlife. THIS was where we wanted to be, but trying to find a home while on a budget from 1300 miles away was quite the challenge.
But, in a twist of fate that would change our lives almost overnight, our prayers for God’s guidance in our journey were answered through a simple conversation with a man who had recently purchased a home in our neighborhood in Oak Creek Canyon. I knew he had been living in Eastern Washington, so asked him what he knew about the Idaho Panhandle. I had lots and lots of questions, and he patiently answered them and enthusiastically embraced our dream, giving us a lot of insight into the two counties we were looking closely at and offering his thoughts on each. He asked us what we were looking for, and I told him what we wanted “in a perfect world”, recognizing that we would be incredibly lucky if we EVER found even close to what we wanted in the price range we were set on. He asked me various questions, particularly the “why’s” of what we wanted, but we didn’t discuss the price range we were looking in. We ended our conversation with a whole new bond as new neighbors.
A couple of weeks later, I received a call from my newest neighbor, with a proposition. What I didn’t know in our earlier conversations was that he owned a home on 5 acres alongside a lake in the Idaho Panhandle! He was in the middle of remodeling it when his life changed and lost interest in finishing it. In it’s current condition, it was not sellable through conventional methods, however, he shared that rather than finishing it, he would love to sell it to us for what he said he had into it, and be done. My heart sank as it sounded like it could be almost exactly what we were looking for, but I feared he would want much more than we could afford.
After a lot of discussion, I asked him outright what he was asking. I almost cried, it was EXACTLY our number! We were shocked, excited, and in a complete whirlwind we hopped on a plane to go see the property and meet with him a short two weeks later. It was honestly a little overwhelming… okay, VERY overwhelming, as it truly DID need a LOT of work, but the opportunity was there and we were prayed-up, ready and willing! Our dream of a mortgage-free homesteader life was about to come true!
Fast forward to today. We had a VERY hard winter of extreme weather in Northern Arizona along with all the way up to Idaho on each of our trips, in November, December, and March. We spent our first winter in Idaho enjoying the incredible beauty of the snow and cold nights by the fire. We had a lot of obstacles to overcome, including getting the kitchen appliances hooked up so we could cook, getting the well pressure tank and hot water heater replaced so we could have hot and cold running water (the first 4 days we were without!), fixing the truck and snowplow we purchased along with the house so we could move the five feet of snow that was rapidly piling up, and chopping firewood to enjoy the natural warmth of the fireplace (yes we do have a furnace, two actually, one wood and one propane, but we really fell in love with the fireplace by the big windows that overlook the meadow). It was a wonderful first winter, and we look forward to sharing many, many more.
We look forward to filling this blog with tidbits from our life as we strive, struggle, and laugh our way through this crazy journey we’re on. We’ll do our best to share what we learn as we go. There are a LOT of homesteader websites out there, Bloggers, Vloggers, Tubers, etc. We hope you’ll find it enjoyable as you get to know us better virtually, and hope you’ll find what we put out there of value. We’ll share our triumphs and failures, as well as tips, tricks, recipes, bonuses, and blunders as we stumble our way forward in our new life. Whether you’re headed down a similar path, or just intrigued by a topic or two, we promise to keep it honest, raw, and real. Let’s grow a little more each day and enjoy this journey together!
~ Sara & Steve Eagle’s Dell Farm