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Hello all,
We are thinking of homesteading in eastern Washington State,
possibly around the Colville/Okanagan area but wonder about
the rainfall? Is it adequate to grow a garden? How many inches
a year would you say? What pitfalls would you say exist in the
area? Thanks for any information you can give.
Stuck in Houston (for the time being),
James Benthall
 

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Lots of folks do homestead the area, it was one of the original areas for early back-to-the-landers.

Pitfalls:

Make certain that your land contract includes all resources, including trees, minerals and water. For some reason in that area, a lot of folks found out the hard way that it is important to read a land contract. I personally know of some that built their lifestyle, only to have a logging company come in and clearcut all the trees on their property in a single day.

Bring your own work with you, there isn't enough to go around as it is.

Lose the Texas accent and get local license plates the minute you arrive.
 

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I spent about six weeks in the Coleville area two years ago looking for a place. I though bare land, not much, was expensive. Lots of places that were developed in the 70"s for sale, most were California escapies. Land within ten miles of Coleville is expensive and scarce, further out cheaper. Rainfall varies considerably around the area, wetter towards Spokane. Much cheaper right next to the Canadian border, but colder.
 

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Explorer could be describing most areas of the northwest. Expensive land, full of California escapies, varying rainfall and weather patterns, even a few miles away.
 

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PCWERK, I live in eastern Washington State, south of Spokane in the rural farming ares of the Palouse. Moved to Washington State eight years ago from northeast Flordia. Haven't regretted one day yet... To learn about this region, visit this website - http://www.tourism.wa.gov/PTG_RegionMain_R5.html

This is an area that many of immigrants from the other states won't care to settle. Not enough of the modern day conviences. You will have to drive a few miles to get to the grocery store or fill your tank with gas. If you want fast food, stay closer to the big city, because this region has a small tavern in each town and that's about it. Some have a gas station. Six to ten miles between towns.

But, this area is Heaven on earth! The people who live in this region are the best kind to know....neighborly, hardworking, and enjoy a good town social and dinner at the grange every month or so. It's a region that time and progress has forgotten.

Yes, you can homestead this area. It's more of a dry region though, but the soil is the best in the world. We get our fill of snow in the winter, but it's very tolerable, and the rain comes in the spring. Not much though, average 17 inches for a year. After May, you will see very little of the wet stuff until September. Four distinct, very pleasant seasons.

Spokane to the north and Pullman, Clarkston, and Lewiston, ID to the south are the best cities for finding employment. Cost of living is cheaper than the big cities, but, unfortunately, the salaries don't match. The way of life, the slower pace and the beautiful outdoors makes the lower paying jobs worth the stay.

Best of luck to you with your possible move!
 

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I just moved from Western Washington to Central Washington a few months ago.

The Colville area is lovely, but as someone else mentioned, jobs are hard to come by. You're pretty far away from any major city, and I don't know if it is a big attraction for tourists. Wal-Mart is the 6th largest employer with 200 people.

Here is the Colville Chamber of Commerce website. www.colville.com
Colville's elevation is 1,635 feet. The terrain is mountainous, forested by a wide variety of trees and has four distinct seasons. Growing season in the Colville area varies from 110 to 130 days. January is generally the coldest month with a median temperature of 24.5, while July is normally the warmest month with an average mean temperature of 61.3. Average number of days below 32 degrees is 38, average number of days above 90 degrees is 26. Average rainfall is about 17 inches, snowfall about 48, though our weather has been unpredictable as everywhere else

I didn't think land in Washington was all that expensive until I started seeing some other parts of the country where you can still buy 20-40 acres with a liveable house for under $100,000. That might be difficult to come by here, but you can search this real estate site to get a better idea. No, I don't work for them ;) www.windermere.com

Good luck!
 

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Bare, thanks for the tip about the trees and such over on the east end.

Dh, "might" (crossing fingers and hoping) be getting a job over in Pullman. While the land there may sound spendy, is a whole lot cheaper than here on the West side of the state, where I am now.
Taxes are also much cheaper.
Have not looked into what food costs.
The organic feed I buy for my animals is over there, so will be easy to get that at least.
If all works out, hope to find an Older Farm as far out as we can possibly go.

If it doesn't (will know on the 1st of March), back to looking into old Amish communities.

I do know in the Tonasket area, land is pretty cheap. Have a friend up there with a 160 Acre Ranch, on which she runs sheep, and cattle.
Another tip, make sure you can get water or water rights where you look. There has been a major problem with that the last few years.

Good luck James, and let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
happycat said:
I just moved from Western Washington to Central Washington a few months ago.

The Colville area is lovely, but as someone else mentioned, jobs are hard to come by. You're pretty far away from any major city, and I don't know if it is a big attraction for tourists. Wal-Mart is the 6th largest employer with 200 people.

Here is the Colville Chamber of Commerce website. www.colville.com
Colville's elevation is 1,635 feet. The terrain is mountainous, forested by a wide variety of trees and has four distinct seasons. Growing season in the Colville area varies from 110 to 130 days. January is generally the coldest month with a median temperature of 24.5, while July is normally the warmest month with an average mean temperature of 61.3. Average number of days below 32 degrees is 38, average number of days above 90 degrees is 26. Average rainfall is about 17 inches, snowfall about 48, though our weather has been unpredictable as everywhere else

I didn't think land in Washington was all that expensive until I started seeing some other parts of the country where you can still buy 20-40 acres with a liveable house for under $100,000. That might be difficult to come by here, but you can search this real estate site to get a better idea. No, I don't work for them ;) www.windermere.com

Good luck!
Thanks to all that have replied. I guess I need to get up there and look
around...I'm slightly worried about the rainfall situation. We are interested
in growing crops (various vegetables, not alfalfa and such) and feel that a
minumum of thirty inches is essential. Thanks again!
James
 

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PCWERK, the areas around the "Tri-Cities" (Richland, Kennewick & Pasco) are great for growing all kinds of crops. Though it is very arid and dry, most of the farms are all in an irrigation district. I think everything but tropical fruits are grown in the region. It gets very hot in the summer! Land prices range form affordable to higher end. Richland isn't called that for no reason!

Also, the areas around here have plenty of "sub-irrigated" land which allows a long and healthy growing season.
 

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I live in Kennewick. We have access to irrigation water but the past couple of years they have really tightened up the availabilty (dependent on what your area is zoned.) Unfortuantely the area is getting to big and busy. My grandparents settled here here in the 20's and I have been here all but 10 years hubby was in the air force. The area is nice but I want to move out and away to less hectic area. The weather here in the Tri-Cities are (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) is hot during the summer, cold but not horrible winters Though we had much more snow then usual this year. But one thing to know is can you stand the wind?? Many people can't and we get alot of it.
Denise
 
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