Posts in off-grid homesteading
We Bought Land! [An Exciting Update On Our Journey To Building An Off-Grid Homestead From Scratch, Slowly & With Cash]
 
 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith

Time moves slowly, and yet so fast.

It seems like we’ve been redesigning careers, working, saving money, and browsing properties for sale for an eternity, yet at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday that we even seriously set goals and began this journey to building an off-grid homestead from scratch.

If you follow this blog, you’ve watched as we setup completely new career paths, finally made the big move to this wilderness we love so dearly, and you know we’ve just been plugging away - working a lot and saving as much money as possible.

Now, a big step has been made in this overall process - WE BOUGHT LAND!

This is a big accomplishment and we’re so happy to finally meet and begin to get acquainted with the land we’ll build out our dream homestead on over the course of many years. Now we have a canvas for all of our imaginings to play out on and it’s such an exciting new dynamic!

I wanted to make a post here to document this pivotal moment and introduce you to our land.
In time, many more pictures will be shared, videos too I’m sure, so be sure to follow us on Instagram if you’re interested in a more intimate look into the process.

In early Spring, we’ll begin building a small cabin to live in, so this winter will be spent brainstorming, designing, and gathering materials. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to do and we’ll share what we glean with you as we go.


Welcome to our beautiful piece of the earth…

 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith

Where is it?

Situated about one hour northeast of where we currently live is an area we fell in love with earlier this year - the Okanogan Highlands.
This area is desolate and beautiful, so very peaceful and inspiring. Once you emerge into the Highlands, it feels like you’re in a dream and like you’ve gone back in time simultaneously. Some combination of golden light on rolling highlands, the vast spaciousness, old abandoned pioneer cabins tucked in the landscape like a memory, the crisp cool air, the snow-capped Cascades far in the distance… all combine to create a place that we both feel is altogether unique and distinct from anywhere else we’ve ever been.

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How much land?

We purchased 20 acres, mostly wooded, with open area at the bottom.
Aspen trees line their way down the property spilling out into a grove at the bottom, pointing to the strong possibility of water being not too far below the surface, while the majority of the property is coated in Larches, Pines, Douglas Firs, and even a few Maple varieties.
We have already found fresh scat of black bear, elk, moose, coyotes, and a single cougar (who might even live on the property in a cave we’ve yet to explore, we’ll know more once we get a trail cam set up in January).
We’re also really looking forward to exploring the geology around the property…

 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith
 
 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith

What will you do for water?

This will certainly involve a lot of trial and error.
We have a few different ideas in mind:
First - we are going to try to catch rainwater, despite the minute amounts of rainfall this area gets. We’ll see how it goes.
Second - we will likely try to dig a well if water is determined to be close enough to the surface. As mentioned above, the Aspen trees seem to be a good indicator that we do have water close to the surface.
Third - over time we will purchase cisterns, which we’ll bury, fill with water, and gravity-feed to the home and other areas as needed.
I plan to utilize permaculture strategies for growing food that create the need for less water, such as hügelkultur and other solutions.

 

What about electricity?

We plan to be off-grid, and will likely start off with just the essentials - a wood stove, oil lamps, and lots of beeswax candles.
Over time, as we save more money, we’ll begin to incorporate more substantial off-grid power systems such as wind and solar. Fortunately, our climate gets over 300 days a year of sunshine!

 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith
 

How will you work online?

One of the reasons we ended up deciding on this property is because it’s in view of a rare satellite. The way Internet works out here is usually: if you have visible line of sight to a satellite (which are usually placed on high peaks), you can probably get Internet. Otherwise, it’s doubtful.
We shouldn’t run into an issue accessing Internet once we’ve built the necessary infrastructure for a company to come out. Of course, we’ll be without power for a while as we save to afford off-grid power setups. So, there will certainly be a transition period where I may have to find other Internet solutions for a while. (Another reason I’m working hard now to establish passive income!).

 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith
 

When will you be living on the property?

Our plan is to begin building in early Spring (2019). We plan to build a small cabin - just 14x14 to begin with - which will eventually become an Airbnb one day after we finish our larger cabin.
We’re deriving inspiration from older Nordic home designs, but with modern touches (wooden cabin, painted black, big windows, large platform deck, etc.). Over time, we plan to build a sauna, several studios and work spaces, more small cabins for family to stay in… so we should end up with a proper Scandinavian village in the forest sort of feeling :)
(And you’ll be able to come stay and enjoy it yourself if you wish, thanks to the Airbnb platform).


 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith

I hope these pictures and questions answered have been enjoyable to read or inspiring in some way on your own journey.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

And if you’re interested in this sort of thing, we hope you’ll subscribe to the blog and follow the journey as we build an off-grid homestead… from scratch… slowly… with cash!

 off grid living, building off grid homestead, off grid homesteading blogs, how to build off grid cabin on a budget, our homestead journey, how to start a homestead with no money, living off the land, back to the land movement, modern homesteading in washington state, self sufficient living, how to start a homestead from scratch, wilderness living, sustainable living, build your own house, washingtons last frontier, tiffany davidson, eric smith

Until next time ~

x
Tiffany


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Welcome!


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My husband and I left the rat race and moved to the Washington wilderness to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. You can follow our journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homesteading journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany


Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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Our Favorite Cold Weather Hunting Gear [2018 - Husband & Wife]
 

Here in the Inland Northwest, nighttime lows have been in the 30’s and 40’s since early September.

These sudden low temps have been a strong reminder of what’s to come.

We’ve been hustling to get our living quarters winterized, find a 4wd vehicle, and switch out summer clothes for winter gear at our storage unit.

I say winter gear rather than winter clothes because in this climate - far colder than many parts of Alaska - once the snow falls, it doesn’t go anywhere, it just builds and builds as the season progresses. So, doing anything outdoors requires a great deal of preparation.

But sitting silent and still in such cold extreme temperatures (e.g. hunting!) is a whole other level and demands the proper apparel, otherwise you’re going to have a miserable and short-lived experience.

Personally, I don’t do much hunting at this point in life. But I do go along with my husband because I enjoy it (and seem to have a sharp eagle eye!). And nothing ruins a hunt quicker than getting cold, for either of us.

So this article is to list the hunting gear we rely on to keep us warm and alert.

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THE WINTER GEAR WE RELY ON FOR HUNTING IN A COLD CLIMATE:


FEET: Let’s start at the root of things - our feet. Many of you might agree, this can be a problem area. Even when I lived in Kentucky, which is multitudes warmer than here in northeast Washington, cold feet would push me out of the woods a lot sooner than I had anticipated.

So I’ve gotten serious about keeping my feet warm, and I cannot recommend enough these two things: heavy SmartWool socks and Arctic Sport Muck Boots. In my opinion, this is an unstoppable combination. If you’ve never worn Muck Boots, get ready to be oh so pleased - they just make all outdoor work more enjoyable.

Here I am enjoying the freezing winter days here in the north, with the warmest toastiest toes imaginable:

The Arctic Pro Hunting Muck Boot and these heavy SmartWool socks that go over the calf are the combination my husband relies on to keep his lower extremities nice and cozy, while remaining functional and mobile.


BODY: Base layer - for now we just use thermal underwear or sweatsuits as a base layer. In the future, we’ll probably invest in something better, but for now this works okay.

Where we really put focus when it comes to keeping in overall body warmth is on our main outer layer.

I have been wearing these Women’s Quilt Lined Bib Overalls (in black) for two years and I really love them. They’re great for all kinds of winter work, too. Just toss a coat over, pull your Muck Boots on, and you’re ready to go for most scenarios.

My husband oscillates between Carhartt’s Arctic Quilt Lined Biberalls with their Yukon Coat (also great for outdoors winter work) and the Sitka Incinerator Coat and Fanatic Bibs (highly reknowned in the cold weather hunting community not only for their intense warmth but also for the quiet stealthy material).


HANDS: Much the same way cold feet can ruin a hunt, so too can cold hands.

Gloves are always a little tricky because you want to have optimal function of your hands, while also figuring out how to keep them warm.

Let me introduce you to the Sitka Incinerator Flip Mitt.

Problem solved.
(And always keep some Hot Hands in your pack, just in case).


HEAD, NECK & FACE: Last, but certainly not least is keeping warm in the upper extremities. Just like feet and hands, cold ears or a frostbit nose can throw in the towel on an otherwise great day of hunting.

For this - we use balaclavas. It’s one piece that covers all three bases.

That said, some days we wear glasses and other days we wear contacts, so we need balaclavas that can fit either situation. As most of you know, many garments that cover the face can result in foggy glasses. Not good.

For glasses wearers, people whose faces don’t tend to get too cold, or people in climates that are a little more mild than ours, I recommend this super affordable all-purpose balaclava. My favorite part about is that it doesn’t get all moist from being breathed on like the fleece varieties.

Otherwise, for the same price, this heavyweight balaclava will keep you good and snug.

With such a low price, it wouldn’t hurt just to have both. We love ours and use them a lot throughout the winter for a variety of things.

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Have something to add to the list? It would help us all if you leave any further recommendations or things you can’t do without when hunting in cold weather in the comments below!

Thanks so much for reading and if you enjoy articles on topics including wilderness living, homesteading, living closer to the land, and that sort thing - please sign up for our newsletter! And if you use Instagram, connect with us!


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Welcome!


Tiffany Davidson Washington's Last Frontier

My husband and I left the rat race and moved to the Washington wilderness to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. You can follow our journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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A 2018 Gift Guide For Rugged (Yet Refined) Outdoorsmen
 

As an outdoorswoman myself, who is married to the ultimate outdoorsman and preparedness guru - I can tell you a thousand unique gifts for the outdoorsy fellow in your life. 

So let's pick out a good gift for that man in your life - friend, husband, boyfriend, father - a gift that will make him shake his head and sincerely say, "Wow!.... Thank you!"

I've made sure to include a variety of price points to fit any budget, while not skimping on value. Rest assured, these are all high-quality, top of the line, outdoors products and any avid outdoorsman would agree. You won't see any products below that we ourselves don't own and love. 

Now let's get shopping! (Isn't gift-giving fun!?)


A 2018 GIFT GUIDE FOR THE OUTDOORSMAN IN YOUR LIFE
 


 

Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers

Fjallraven pants are the pants in our household (worn on husband in photo above).

Two key points of Fjallraven pants: they are durable and great for the outdoors, and they look good! I don't think I've seen anyone not look good in Fjallraven pants come to think of it. The cut is very flattering for all body types. 

These pants are wind and water-resistant, and reinforced with Fjallraven's cornerstone G-1000 material. A true necessity for anyone who spends time adventuring in the mountains and forests.

Husband quote: "The Vidda Pro Trousers are lightweight and durable, cool in the summertime but wind-blocking for winter, perfect over a base layer when it gets cold. Lots of pockets and even a pocket inside of a pocket that's wallet-sized!
They look sharp - I can be out in the wilderness chopping firewood and building fires and then walk straight out and look presentable enough to go to dinner with my wife."

The Swedes know what they're doing when it comes to outdoors apparel. 


 

Moose Creek Flannel Shirts

If you walked up and touched Moose Creek shirts in a shop, you'd think the price tag would read somewhere between $50-$100. 

These shirts are sturdy and warm, look great on men, and very affordable. It doesn't get much better. Husband has a few of these in his wardrobe and wears the heck out of them.


 

Bushcraft Knives

You can't be a serious outdoorsman and not have a good bushcraft knife. Here are the ones we use and recommend:

Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife - Husband quote: "One of the better knives I've owned. At roughly $30, I can't imagine a better knife with such a reasonable price point. I've beat the living hell out of this knife and the only thing it's developed is character."

MoraKniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife (w/ Fire Starter & Sheath) - This is the knife I carry, recommended to me by the bushcraft community at large. Once again, the Swedes making quality outdoors gear. 

Condor Bushlore Survival Knife - The first knife I ever owned and also recommended by the bushcraft community. A solid full tang wooden handle, and a gorgeous leather sheath. Dependable and beautiful. 


 

Smartwool Hiking Socks

Very cushiony for covering lots of terrain comfortably, these mountaineering socks are a heavy winter sock. Cozy and sturdy.


 

A Good Pack

Men and their bags. 
My husband has a ton of bags tucked away and chock full of wilderness gear, outdoor necessities, and just-in-case equipment. 

A good packpack is the cornerstone of a man's outdoor equipment. The Fjallraven Rucksack, Abisko Friluft Pack, and the Ovik pack are three different sizes to choose from if you want to buy the outdoorsman in your life a good pack that he can rely on.


Any true outdoorsman is familiar with and inspired by the story of Dick Proenneke.
He documented his time spent in the remote interior of Alaska as he expertly built a log cabin by hand and explored the pristine wilderness around him.
Once or twice a month I’ll put Alone in the Wilderness Part 1 and Part 2 into my laptop and let them play as I go about my day. This is a gift he will really appreciate and cherish.

And if you want more ideas of films he might enjoy, check out: Our 6 Favorite Off-Grid & Wilderness Living Documentaries.




Olivina's Bourbon & Cedar Collection

Oh my. Is this stuff delicious! 

I bought the Bourbon & Cedar Cologne and Deodorant as a birthday gift for my husband and it has remained his signature scent to this day. 

It smells like all of the best parts of the northern boreal forest plus some spices thrown in for warmth - they really captured something with this scent. On top of it all, their products are natural and non-toxic. 


 

Muck Boots

One of the most crucial items for any person who spends a considerable amount of time outdoors - hunting, hiking, working, anything. 

If you visit this blog regularly, you'll remember how I went on and on about my Muck Boots allowing me to have a great time on the wet and muddy 6-mile hike we took on the Olympic Peninsula

You can stomp right through water, mud, snow drifts, and other obstacles without missing a beat. 

The Arctic Sport Boot is probably the best all-around option for men. We swear by them here!

Update! The Arctic Pro Sport is now available with an Arctic Grip Vibram sole - we have a pair on order right now!
The best cold weather boot is now going to have a slip-proof Vibram sole?! It doesn’t get much better.


 

Books For Outdoorsmen

Inspirational reads for when you're stuck indoors.

Browse our Bookshelf for more good book recommendations.


 

Seat covers with separate pockets including: a compass pocket, phone pocket, storage pocket, toolkit pocket, flashlight pocket, first aid pocket, and a larger storage pocket (of course, the pockets can be used as you deem best suited). Wow, that was a lot of pocket talk!
Aren’t these cool though?!



A Good Insulated Thermos

Because a man needs something durable to keep his coffee or tea in. There isn't much better than being deep in the woods and sitting down to a piping hot beverage. Stanley & Yeti are our favorite thermos' around here.


Not only are these gloves solid and reputable, they look nice too.

Cowhide and goatskin have been used for decades to keep hands warm in rough outdoor conditions. The removable wool liner allows for variation in temperature and makes drying out the gloves much easier if needed. 

More Swedish goodness!


 A Good Camp Blanket

Mostly wool with just enough cotton to make it comfortable. With the leather carrier included, this Pendleton blanket makes a fantastic gift. 


The old-fashioned camp mugs are back in style in a big way, most of them with woodsy adventure designs that make us outdoor folks giddy envisioning sipping something delicious and hot beside a campfire at night.

There are several to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with this Happy Camper mug!

 


And last, but certainly not least...

 

A Solid Axe

A trusted companion of any outdoorsman is, no doubt, his axe. From building shelters to building fires, a good axe is paramount to anyone who spends time in the woods. 

We have two trusted axes, and in our opinion - there's none better if you're serious about your axe. 

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe - with a hickory handle, a nice leather sheath, good for chopping and splitting and can even be used as a knife, I don't think many people will argue against this renown axe company. 

But we also love Wetterlings Outdoor Axe Knife - another high-quality reliable brand when it comes to axes, with a hand-forged high-carbon steel head, this axe keeps a razor sharp edge (so could double as a shaving tool in dire circumstances, heh!). 

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If you need more ideas, let us know. These are just a few cream of the crop items guaranteed to make the recipient beam with joy.
You did good :)

Until next time ~

x
Tiffany


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My husband and I left the rat race and moved to the Washington wilderness to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. You can follow our journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:


Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)



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The Bookshelf - Recommended Reading & What I'm Currently Reading
 

Books. I love them.

I love the space they call me into of slower and quieter and more attentive.

I love the settings they call me into - sitting outside as dusk creeps in, curled up on the couch with a blanket when the rest of the world is sleeping, and with coffee in the wee morning hours.

I read to learn, I read to be mesmerized, I read to expand my imagination, I read to improve my own writing, I read even to listen to the coarse sound as my fingers slide back and forth on one single page before turning it. And I read as a way to practice not getting distracted, training my mind to stay on the task at hand. 

I don't tend toward any specific genre - like many aspects of life, whimsical spontaneity is the only compass; whatever my current interests and desires pull me toward. I've spent a winter altogether enraptured in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials and I've had my mind, judgment, and compassion forever changed by Johnathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind

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Lately, my husband has been enduring an odd work schedule for a few weeks, resulting in me spending many evenings alone.

As I sat reading (and obviously getting distracted) recently, I thought that maybe some of you would be interested to browse my bookshelves. Personally, I love thumbing through other people's bookshelves - understanding what someone reads is, I think, such a great window into who a person is.

So, I figured it was only right that I create a Bookshelf here on this space. A place where I can share books I've enjoyed in the past and what I'm currently reading.

I also created it as a way to get recommendations from others - my hope is that you'll see the topics and stories I gravitate toward and be able to point me in the direction of something that might tickle my fancy. And hopefully sharing the books I enjoy will offer the same to you!

Who knows - maybe eventually a book club of sorts can form? Please let me know in the comments below if you're interested in something like that. 

Just click below to head over to the library. There's hot tea waiting, dim lighting, empty recliners, and I promise to be quiet ;) 

See you there...

x
Tiffany

 

 
 
 

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My husband and I left the rat race and moved to the Washington wilderness to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. You can follow our journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homesteading journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more

 

My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

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Status Update On Our Homestead Journey: Current Setup as of June 2018
 

One of the primary reasons for ever starting this blog was to give a more transparent look into what it takes (or at least - what it has taken us) to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. 

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So many of the off-grid homesteading blogs out there are people who are already doing it, they're on their homestead living the wonderful homestead-y life. But we, along with many of you, simply aren't to that stage yet.

We're in the very beginning of this transition, which - unless you have a lot of money - can be a lengthy process. 

We haven't built our home, we aren't growing our own food, we don't even have our own piece of land yet!

As overwhelming as those things can feel, we have to keep perspective...

What we have accomplished is:

 

  • Eric getting his CDL, allowing him to live anywhere (and increasing his value around here where the few good jobs that do come available are CDL jobs)

  • Tiffany becoming an online entrepreneur so she can work from anywhere (very important when you want to live in the middle of nowhere with no jobs available)

    Check out our comprehensive list of ideas for making a full-time income while off-grid homesteading if you haven't already. There's a lot of useful info there.

  • Saving enough money to move across the country with all of our belongings

  • Establishing a solid living arrangement in a wilderness where rentals are few and far between

 

All of the above items took 8 months to accomplish. It can seem like forever when you're in the middle of it, so you must have a clear vision of your overall plan to help you stay the course.

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Of course we're itching to have our own land (right now!), a home built on it, and be waking up each morning to work on and enjoy it, we have to remember that we are making leeway, that progress is being made day by day, and that we have already accomplished a lot designing lifestyles that allow us to live in this gorgeous wilderness which is the canvas our homestead dreams will emerge from. In due time.

So for the sake of transparency, and for those interested to see what the transition to an off-grid homestead actually looks like while it's underway, not just years down the road when everything is setup and going, here is what life looks like for us at this moment in time...


Our Current Setup In These Beginning Stages of Our Homestead Journey 

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WILDERNESS LIVING

Yes - we are living in a wilderness. And it is incredible! 

A county twice the size of Rhode Island, with not a single traffic light of any kind, and 3 people per square mile. 

No light pollution makes for the most incredible night sky, and being nestled in between the North Cascade Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east makes for superior wildlife observation (and landscape inspiration).

After waiting and waiting, we're finally here. And to be honest, right now this feels like enough. 

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FULL-TIME RV LIVING

One of the obstacles of living here is that rentals are hard to come across. I mean - very few and far between. This is probably true of most remote areas. 

The solution to this problem came through community, through established friendships. 

In the Autumn of 2016, Eric began working on a landscaping project for a man and woman who live in the area. Long story short - we all became wonderful friends, and years later here we are, on their land. It is their RV I sit typing to you in right now. 

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This was offered to us months ago, and we debated for a while about holding out for a rental. A place to put all of our belongings in, decorate as we pleased, and all of the other comforts that come along with having your own place. 

But the more we mulled this over in our head, the more reasonable and attractive their offer became. Saving money is, after all, an important part of us taking the next step to buy land. And living in the RV, with a sort of work-trade arrangement, allows us to save money that would otherwise be spent on monthly rent. 

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>>>Tangent>>>
This is one of the reasons I don't recommend rushing into a new area just because it sounds nice. There's a lot of work that needs to be done (again - unless you have a lot of money) beforehand. 

We have lived in this area on and off since 2016, which has given us time to understand it better, meet people, make connections, and so forth. 

Our current living situation came from a connection that took time to establish, as good friendships do. 

I would also caution against moving someplace remote without having solid relationships nearby, because even the most rugged individualist hermits can get flat tires (on really remote mountain roads in an area with NO cell phone reception of any kind) or acute illnesses and need support.

If you've never really been in those situations, in a truly desolate area, I don't expect you to actually internalize that there are indeed times when you will need other people. And they will need you.

I used to think - living in rural Kentucky & North Carolina - that I knew what "isolated" meant. I thought if I came upon bad times, I'd be fine - build a fire and wait it out, walk someplace, take care of myself... now I know this is romantic and unrealistic thinking.

 Until you've been someplace like this area, trust me - you don't actually grasp the words desolate or isolated. (And of course I have no idea what isolation truly means in the sense of the Alaskan bush, or the Siberian taiga, because I've yet to experience it on that level... it's all a spectrum).

These are whole new levels of personal responsibility. But even that won't always take care of you.

My point: Relationships are important for long-term stability in an area. Even a vast wilderness. 
>>>End tangent>>>

Our RV setup is cozy and we are so grateful for the opportunity to be here in this heart-home, our beloved northwest wilderness, working toward the next steps of the overall journey. 

 

A FOCUS ON MAKING AND SAVING MONEY

And while we're here in the RV, we're both working hard to grow our incomes and save as much as possible to buy land. 

I work online and spend a lot of my day on client projects, my own projects, reaching out and responding to new potential clients, and more.

Eric has been hired by local folks as well as businesses in the nearest town (population: ~1,000) for landscaping projects, which he is fulfilling before going back on the road truck driving. He hopes to find a local truck driving position that pays well, but if that doesn't happen, we're prepared for the fact that he may have to go over the road again for a while. These are all just necessary steps in the overall path to design the lifestyle we want to live. 

We were going to buy land as soon as possible, but we've now decided to chill out, slow down a little, save more, and wait for land to come available in our favorite wilderness areas, places around here that feel best to us.

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By springtime, if nothing has come available in those areas, we'll have saved even more money and will be ready to buy many acres outright. 

A note on goal-setting:
If you have long-term goals like we do without having a clearly defined budget that you actually abide by, it's likely those dreams will just remain dreams. (This is such an important topic, I'll probably write a blog post specifically about budgeting to meet your goals soon).


KEEPING AN EYE ON LAND FOR SALE IN SPECIFIC AREAS

Throughout our time in this region, we've honed in on areas we love the most, places we imagine our homestead being.

Right now, we have two primary areas within the county that we're watching. 

As we save money, we also keep an eye out for land in those areas.

The longer we're able to save, the more prepared we'll be when that land does become available.

This is definitely an exercise in patience and restraint since we're itching to have our own land and  to start building.

Sometimes getting to the next step can make a person impulsive, then in hindsight the action wasn't really the best idea and didn't produce the greatest outcome. Being a naturally impulsive and spontaneous person, I've had to learn through a lot of trial and error that sometimes just being still and not making a move is actually the best move. 

Ah life, you teacher ;)


WORKING ON PROJECTS

So while we save money and explore the wilderness and work hard, we also find time for fun projects!

Some of these projects contribute to our future and others are just for sheer pleasure. 

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There isn't much I can think of that is more enjoyable than being inside our little RV home, way out here in the middle of nowhere, as the blue light of dusk overlays the landscape, and taking a book or an embroidery outside, sitting in the chair, listening to birds settle in for the night, watching deer graze, the pink alpenglow lingering at the tops of the mountains across the horizon, and the sound of wind moving through the heavy evergreen forests. 

A few nights ago, we both sat outside reading at just this time of day. Before coming in, we did a lovely little mindfulness exercise by being quiet and really feeling the wind on our skin and the sounds of everything, all bringing us into the present moment. It felt so soothing to the mind that we sat there much longer, in silence, so long that we both observed the brightest star in the sky disappear behind a tree as the earth turned...

How fortunate we are, even now - no land of our own, no home of our own, uncertain about many things - but together, here in a place we love so much, allowing ourselves to take the path less traveled and to go deeper and deeper into existence. 

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Thanks so much for reading! We have a lot planned in the months to come, so we'd love if you'd subscribe to the blog to follow along on this journey and all of the things we'll be getting into out here. 

Please leave a comment letting us know what brought you here - homesteading? Wilderness living? Or something else? We'd love for you to feel this blog is a conversation, not a monologue. So, please, say hello :)

Talk with you soon,

x Tiffany

 

Welcome!


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This is a space to share glimpses into daily life here in the Washington wilderness - full of nesting & nomading, & forging deeper relationships to self, to old ways, & to the natural world.

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

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How To Make A Full-Time Income From Your Off-Grid Homestead: A Comprehensive List of Ideas
 

I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who would love to move to the wilderness (or someplace rural) to live a slower life, more connected to the natural world, but ONE thing prevents them from making the leap.  One thing.

You can read articles about the hardiest breeds of chicken, how to grow food, and how to install off-grid solar power all day long, but there is a fundamental step that precedes all of this homestead knowledge, something you have to figure out first...
 

How to make money from your off-grid homestead?
 

Homesteading requires money, particularly in the beginning stages.

Honestly, the startup is the hardest part. 

One you've been on your homestead for some time, a snowball effect will probably start to happen and you'll find more and more ways to generate cash as you get systems established on your property. 

The real struggle most people have is transitioning from a modern 9-5 setup with reliable income to a remote area that offers very few jobs, and the jobs that are available typically pay less in rural areas. 

But, I have good news: solutions do exist! You don't have to be confined to the rat race for the rest of your life.

 (Thank goodness, right!?)

With proper planning, you can absolutely make a legitimate income from your off-grid homestead. 

I've developed a comprehensive list of ideas for off-grid homestead income. They primarily fit into two categories: local and online. 

The strategy you employ is up to your own wits - maybe you jump on one single idea and really give it your all, or maybe you weave together two or three ideas in order to secure a full-time income capable of supporting your homestead dreams.

The ideas below are real; I've seen them work for other individuals and families, which means they can work for you if you play your cards right.

And remember, if you're serious about wanting to live the off-grid homestead life, the sooner you can begin establishing these income streams, the sooner you'll be on your land. So let's get started!


LOCAL INCOME IDEAS IN A RURAL AREA

 

  • BUILD A RENTAL PROPERTY ON YOUR LAND

    This can be a bed and breakfast style Inn or a stand alone cabin. You don't have to get fancy! Airbnb's most popular listing last year was a treehouse with no bathroom and no running water.

  • DEVELOP A CSA

    CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.They work like this: You, the producer, will determine what you can offer in your CSA package. Maybe it'll contain so many pounds of organic produce, a jar of honey, a dozen free-range eggs, sauerkraut, butter, herbs... whatever it is you're producing on your homestead.

    Do the math to figure out how many members you can sustain and at what kind of intervals -- one box a week per member, one box bi-weekly? -- whatever the terms are, you and your buyers will agree and they'll sign up for your CSA!

    There are people in America making six figures from this type of setup!

    If this is appealing to you, you'll definitely want to read The Market Gardener.

 
  • BECOME A HUNTING GUIDE

    If you're an experienced hunter and you live in an area with the right kind of demand, you can become a hunting guide.

    If this sounds appealing, but you aren't an experienced hunter, you can start learning now and within a year have a lot of experience under your belt. Guide schools are available, too.

    In Western America or the far Northeast, this can be especially lucrative as hunters travel from all over to hunt big game like bears, moose, and elk.

    Do a Google search for "hunting guide jobs" to learn more about which areas have the highest demand.

    (This is how Erik Salitan from the TV show Life Below Zero made his income in the far north Alaskan bush).

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  • PLOW SNOW

    If you plan to homestead in an area with significant winters, snow plowing is very in demand. We know this first-hand.

    Investing in a snow plow for the front of your truck makes you instantly valuable.

    This is an excellent way to make money in the depths of winter in a rural remote area.

  • LEASE PART OF YOUR LAND

    The two ways I've seen this done that have worked are to lease land for hunters to hunt on and for people to graze their animals on for a season.

    But there are more ideas too, like offering space for campers to camp or farmers to grow crops.

  • SELL AT A FARMERS MARKET

    Once you start producing goods from your land, take the weekly haul to the farmer's market!

    Pro tip: You can make even more money if you sell value-added products like sauerkraut, kimchi, baked goods, and other homemade goodies.

    Friends of mine used to make a decent income from their delicious kimchi which they sold out of every Saturday at the local farmer's market.

    Again, read The Market Gardener. Trust me. And read about my gardening method, which produces a TON of organic veggies in any climate.

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  • BECOME A TRAPPER

    Running a trapline is still a way of life in many parts of the US and Canada.

    Marty & Tom from the TV show Mountain Men both trap as a means to support their families while living in the deep wilderness.

    Google "how to become a fur trapper" to start learning the steps you need to take.

  • OFFER A SERVICE LOCALLY

    If you have experience with a rural skill like landscaping, fence installation and repair, or irrigation system installation and maintenance, why not start a local business?

    My husband Eric has a lot of professional landscaping experience, for example, and in the area we live there was only one other landscaper in the county (a county twice the size of Rhode Island) and she was looking to retire. So Eric saw an opportunity and jumped on it! Now he has local businesses in town and even real estate companies calling on him to complete projects for them this summer.

    This is one lucrative stream of our diversified income living in the middle of nowhere!

  • SELL FIREWOOD

    This is something else Eric has done in the past.

    We love to go explore the beautiful wilderness we live in, so we started taking along a chainsaw and coming back with a truckload of firewood! In our area, this sells for a couple of hundred dollars, plus we got to enjoy a day together while getting exercise in the beautiful wilderness.

  • START SEEDS & SELL VEGETABLE STARTS

    Think about it: a seed costs a few pennies, and a vegetable start costs anywhere from $2-$4. Turning a few pennies into a few dollars sounds pretty smart to me.

    It doesn't just have to be veggies, you could start hard to grow perennials for increased retail value or even fruit trees.

    If this interests you, definitely check out my post detailing the most productive way to grow food because every single seed I started in my hoophouses using that growing method turned into a healthy veggie producing plant!

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  • START A NURSERY

    Take growing veggie starts further and begin your own plant nursery!

    I'm a little biased because this is something I want to do in the future, but hear me out.

    Greenhouses and hoophouses can be very cheap to build. Combine that with the cheap cost of seeds, build your own soil, catch your own water, and you've got a profitable business with relatively low startup costs.

    Not to mention - what a dream! Being a plant nurturer, from your own property, as your "job!" Pfft. Yes please. I used to operate two commercial greenhouses and it was the most pleasurable work.

    If this sounds like an attractive route to you, you'll want to read So You Want To Start A Nursery.

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  • RENT OUT VALUABLE EQUIPMENT

    If you have valuable equipment, consider renting it out to local residents. 

    This could include anything from chainsaws to excavators. 
     

  • ROAD MAINTENANCE

    Again, if you have the right equipment, grading roads is a great way to make money in a rural area where many roads are not paved. 
     

  • BECOME A WILD GAME PROCESSOR

    Rather than butcher the animal and package it themselves, many hunters will take their kill to a local wild game processor.

    If you're already familiar with butchering wild game, great! If not, this is definitely a skill that can be learned. 

    Another big benefit to this sort of work is that many hunters aren't interested in certain parts of the animal so this would give you access to furs and bones which have plenty of potential to be crafted into valuable items. 
     

  • MASTER A CRAFT

    Maybe you have a homestead skill that you're just naturally drawn to - knitting, making honey, growing vegetables, woodworking, making sauerkraut, baking, horseshoeing, making goat milk products, etc. 

    Go full force into it! Get so good at that craft that people can't help but take notice. 

    Someone who comes to mind right away is Mark from Honey Grove, who started baking bread casually many years ago, began selling it at the local farmer's market, and eventually his breads were so loved and in such high demand that he opened a brick and mortar. 

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  • INVEST IN A SAWMILL AND MILL LUMBER

    It's a big upfront cost, but with a huge payoff over time.

    Not only does a sawmill enable you to mill lumber to build a home and other infrastructure around your own property, but it's endlessly valuable to everyone in your community. Especially if there isn't a good lumber yard in the vicinity.

    (Eustace Conway from Mountain Men milled lumber for cash).

  • TEACH CLASSES & HOST WORKSHOPS

    As a homesteader, you probably have a lot of skills that others want to learn. Why not offer classes on your property or at a local venue?

    Go even more in-depth and offer workshops! Most workshops last a few days so you could host a workshop over the weekend and make several thousand dollars depending on how well you market yourself.

    What you offer is up to you and your skill set, but some ideas are: how to build a chicken tractor, how to grow a no-till garden, bushcraft and survival skills, how to tan hides, how to sew your own parka from a raw fur, and so on.

  • HAUL FREIGHT

    Truck driving isn't exactly on the homestead, BUT it's a great way to be able to live anywhere while having a reliable income.

    The down side is that you might spend a lot of time away from home (unless you secure a local driving position), but the up side is that usually you get several days to a week off at a time.

    CDL schools cost several thousand dollars, but if you don't have the cash upfront you can go to a company-sponsored program and all of the costs will be covered upfront and paid back from small deductions off your paycheck over time. Google "company sponsored CDL trucking school" to find out more.

    A CDL license is a great thing to have if you live in a rural area.

 

MAKE MONEY ONLINE FROM YOUR HOMESTEAD

Making money online is a great route for anyone who wants to live in the middle of nowhere and work from home(stead). 

In fact, this notion is gaining such momentum that a new phrase has been coined: digital peasant.

A digital peasant is someone who combines old-fashioned skills and lifestyles with modern technology. 

I first heard the term used by Steve Maxwell, who makes a full-time income from home while doing things he loves on his homestead. 

If you're a casual internet user but don't have in-depth computer skills, that's ok! 

These things can be taught. Trust me. I more than quadrupled my income from one month to the next by self-educating and "skilling up!" (I'll have to write in detail about that sometime if anyone is interested?). 

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Here are some online income ideas for you to start thinking about, researching, and perhaps learning:

  • FREELANCE WRITING

    Freelance writers can make a great income online.

    If you are experienced in a certain topic - writing recipes, online gaming, finance, travel, photography, yoga, etc. - start writing articles and building a portfolio.

    From there, you can connect with clients on freelance forums throughout the Web.

    The key is to pick a specific niche and excel within it.

    Jorden Makelle was a helpful mentor for me when I began freelance writing years ago, check out her YouTube channel to start learning about freelance writing as a business.

  • GRAPHIC DESIGN

    Maybe you're already experienced in graphic design - great! If not, but it does sound appealing, simply download Adobe Illustrator, hop on YouTube to watch tutorials, and start working on projects.

    This is the best way I've found to learn.

    Google "freelance graphic design business" and learn about how others have made a full-time income this way from home.

  • WEB DESIGN

    Have you ever designed a website from scratch or using Wordpress or Squarespace platforms?

    Websites are in high demand nowadays; every business needs a website to compete in the online marketplace and get noticed.

    I started building a website for my health writing portfolio back in 2016 when I was working full-time at a greenhouse all day (very hot, sweaty, and tiring work). I loved designing using the Squarespace platform. For some reason, it didn't click until more than a year later that I had way more fun designing my freelance writing site than I did actually writing content for people!

    From there, I delved deep into teaching myself web design and SEO and I've never looked back. I still learn every day to increase my skill sets and be able to offer more value to my clients.

    If anyone is interested, maybe I should write a step by step of exactly how I made this career happen because it is what allows me to work from anywhere (so long as there's WiFi) which has enhanced my quality of life more than I could ever explain and made my off-grid homesteading goals a reality!

  • START AN ONLINE DROPSHIPPING BUSINESS

    A dropshipping business basically means you set up an online storefront (Shopify is good for this) and instead of investing a lot upfront to purchase inventory, you purchase the product and get it automatically shipped to your customer after they have made the purchase on your site.

    Does that make sense?

    So, essentially, you work with a dropshipping supplier like Alibaba or Aliexpress, linking from their site to your storefront. You market the products in a creative way on your site, retail the products at whatever price you decide on, and when someone makes a purchase on your site, you fulfill their order paying the lower wholesale cost to your supplier and keeping what is left over as your profit. From there, your supplier ships the product to the customer - "dropshipping."

    In my first month of trying this business model, I had 6 sales and I didn't even know how to market and use SEO back then!

    I learned about this method from Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Work Week, which I highly recommend if you're wanting to escape the rat race.

 
  • BLOGGING

    You can make a full-time income blogging and work from home(stead) by starting a blog and gaining a following.

    This blog can be about anything - homesteading, parenting, food, travel, specific lifestyles, and so on. The more specific you get, though, the more success you're likely to have. Niche is the name of the game in most online endeavors!

    Set up a Squarespace or Wordpress site, or hire someone to do it for you, and start creating content. Market your content through social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and use SEO strategically to build a following.

    Once you have an audience, you can make income from affiliate links, ads, and by selling digital products (or other creative ideas you come up with!).

    Many homesteaders that I know have taken this route in order to work from anywhere.

  • SELL YOUR ARTWORKS OR CRAFTS ONLINE

    Last but not least, if you're an artist (painter, sculptor, woodworker, photographer, etc.), you could set up an online store using a platform like Shopify or Etsy and sell your products online!

    This allows you to tap into a global marketplace, rather than just relying on your local community to make purchases.

    Someone who comes to mind right away is the painter Rima Staines, whose blog I've followed since 2009. She built a home from a horsebox and was able to travel around Scotland and England by selling her prints at festivals and maintaining an online storefront.


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This is a long list of options, but I'm sure there are many more! Please share any ideas you have in the comments, and if you have any questions at all - feel free to ask! I'm happy to share what knowledge I have on the topic. 

I'll leave you with this: Start now

Though the beginnings of any big endeavor can seem clumsy and overwhelming, you must begin.

Think of it this way: one year from today, you could look back and think: "Wow, I did it! I learned ____ and made ____ happen!" OR will you be in the same scenario as you are right now, wishing you had a way to live the life you dream of living? 

Without sounding like a motivational coach, I want to tell you personally that you can make something out of anything listed here. If you commit to teaching yourself and learning all you can on the topic, in one year who knows what your life could look like... 

I hope this had been at least a little bit helpful. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop in and I hope you'll come back often. 

x- Tiffany

 

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My husband and I left the rat race and moved to the Washington wilderness to build an off-grid homestead from scratch. You can follow our journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

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Water Solutions For Off-Grid Raw Land Living In The Inland Northwest

Lately, as we look at land listings and internalize more and more that, "Woah! We're actually going to do this! We're going to buy raw land in an untamed wilderness with no utilities on it and build our homestead from absolute scratch...!" obviously this leaves some problems to solve. 

After building road access onto the property, the next thing that comes to mind is water - the stuff of life!

It's a big deal. And an even bigger deal than I'm accustomed to dealing with having homesteaded twice before in the wet and humid climates of Kentucky & North Carolina. Now, it's the Inland Northwest! There's wolves, cougars, bears, and perhaps most deadly of all: very very dry summers. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website and share our journey with you of creating an off-grid homestead from scratch.

 

WHERE IS THE INLAND NORTHWEST?

The Inland Northwest is a more specific region within the Pacific Northwest. 

The Pacific Northwest brings thoughts to mind of lush, green, wet rainforests, intense jagged snow-capped mountains, and pristine coastline. But once you cross over the Cascade Mountains, going east, you enter a different climate altogether, and if you've never driven over the Cascades and experienced that dramatic change in landscape, it's hard to understand just by reading about it. 

You're literally driving through the mountains with waterfalls everywhere, turquoise rivers and lakes, and almost mammalian looking moss-covered Douglas Firs. Yes, it's mesmerizing. The Pacific Northwest is a truly beautiful place. (But! It's expensive to homestead, and it's full of people - residents and tourists alike. And the winter months are so gray and dreary, my body actually started yearning for sunlight in a way I had never felt before when I was living there). 

Back to what I was saying, though. So you're driving through this idyllic terrain, heading east. As you finally crest the highest point of the North Cascades and start to descend, things are going to begin looking - and feeling! - different. The air is drier, there is less lushness, forest floors covered in pine needles, evidence of past wildfires, fewer people, more of a sub-alpine feel. Even the political climate changes. 

Here is a map highlighting the specific areas of the Pacific Northwest that qualify, more specifically, as the Inland Northwest:

Eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana make up the Inland Northwest.

My personal opinion is that this is some of the best land possible for those truly seeking to live remotely while not sacrificing surrounding natural beauty. The Inland Northwest, though not the lush Pacific Northwest, is such a beautiful and wild part of the country. 

The summers are very dry, though. Last July, August, and the first half of September, it only rained once or twice (and only for a few minutes) in eastern Washington. Wildfires were roaring all around and smoke filled the air most of the summer. While I appreciate the uniqueness of each season, summer is my least favorite season in the Inland Northwest.

Spring, Fall, and Winter are glorious beyond measure, though! 

These months without rain must be given thought if you plan to live sustainably off-grid with no access to municipalities, responsible for your own water needs and any animals you want to have on your property (cows, pigs, goats, chickens, dogs, etc.).

Another consideration is that a lot of the Inland Northwest terrain is made up of highlands. The area we live in is referred to as the Columbia Highlands, within the Okanogan Highlands. These are literally: high lands. And this heightened elevation means that groundwater is further away than what those of you living closer to sea level or in wet regions have grown accustomed to. 

All this said, we might find a piece of property that we love that's also within our budget that has water on it! But, I don't expect to.

So, after some research and thought, we've devised our own water solution. Here's the route we'll probably take.

 

OFF-GRID WATER SOLUTION IN A DRIER CLIMATE


Step 1: We'll haul water in the very beginning

Once we purchase raw land, there are a few projects we'll need to knock out first before we start on long-term water storage. Access, for example.

As we go to the property to work on these projects, we'll haul water with us. 

When we were living in Arizona, we'd make weekly journeys to this beautiful pine forest where a clean spring flowed to fill up our water jugs. We used Reliance Aqua-Tainers and have grown to collect many over the years because they've proven themselves to be so sturdy and reliable. The water jugs I've gotten from health food stores over the years have been prone to developing leaks over time as I carry them to and fro and they inevitably bump up against things. So we'll buy a few more of these Aqua-Tainers and fill them to take out to the property to drink and to cook and clean with. They're even designed to be stackable and save space. If you're into prepping, survivalism, or off-grid living, I can't recommend these enough. 
 

 


Step 2: Buy a Berkey water filter & set up a rainwater catchment system

Most rainwater catchment systems rely on roofs to direct rainwater into the rainwater barrel. 

Since these water solutions are likely going to be built before the home, we'll likely build small shelters around the property in ideal locations. Very simple structures with poles and slanted metal roofs that can be used to put firewood under, the aforementioned Aqua-Tainer jugs and so on.

I'm talking really simple roof structure, similar to this:

 
 

 

Then we'll purchase rain barrels and probably set up about three barrels at each structure. I won't go into the details of how to build a rain water catchment system because those articles are all over the internet already, but I will share our exact design and set up when the time comes (hopefully this year!). 

Finding high-quality barrels is important since this is water to be ingested. Many people buy secondhand food-grade barrels trusting that nothing toxic or otherwise questionable has ever been in them. But we'll probably invest in these 55-gallon rain barrels from Emergency Essentials, knowing that they're new and have excellent reviews. 

 

We'll put this water through the king of off-grid water filtration: Berkey filters! These are nice stainless steel in-home water filters and we'll use this on the property as we build. You can put water collected from the landscape through a Berkey water system and make it safe and drinkable. These setups are an absolute necessity for off-gridders. 

 

 

The rain barrel systems aren't a long-term solution for us, though, due to the dry summers and the very cold and long winters. We can catch rainwater from roughly May - October, we can use that rainwater as it's caught, but ideally we need to be routing it someplace more sustainable and long-term reliable. Enter Step 3.


Step 3: Install a below ground cistern tank

This is an essential step for having a reliable source of water on our property. You can install above ground or below ground cisterns on your property; below ground is ideal for our long freezing Inland Northwest winters. 

You can fill these cisterns with water hauled in, rainwater, or water from a well. We'll route the rainwater that we catch above ground during the warmer wetter season into this below ground cistern to be stored and used as needed, like the water system in any home. 

How we're going to pump the water from the cistern up to the ground or into the home to be used will take more brainstorming as the time approaches. But, to avoid using energy to pump water, we're already thinking about how to position the cistern at a higher elevation than where our home will be and where our animals will be kept. This way, we can just use gravity to move water from the cistern to the faucets. 


Step 4: Dig a pond, then dig another pond

A wonderful way to keep animals and livestock hydrated is to dig a few ponds around the property. This will be another part of our water security. Ponds don't require any piping or use of energy and the animals can even take a dip during the hot dry summers to enhance their quality of life. 

You can put down a pond liner or look into using pigs to seal a pond. 

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Maybe in the future we'll dig a well like most people in our area use.

After having been on the land a while, we'll be able to accurately assess if it's necessary and how much quality it would add to our lives; this will determine if the expense is worth it. 

But here's our plan to begin with and - I think - some great solutions for folks who are purchasing raw land and starting from scratch with no utilities, especially in a drier climate like the Inland Northwest. 

If you have more ideas or tips, please post them in the comments! We should find out how well this plan works in the months to come ~ so stay posted ;)

First Steps: What We're Doing NOW to Create an Off-Grid Homestead in the Wilderness

I come across so many inspiring off-grid homesteading blogs and quickly become captivated by all of the projects going on, photos of people living out their days surrounded by nature, with their handmade houses and huge vegetable harvests, and it's all so inspiring... but that's not where we are right now. Not yet. 

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This blog could sit quietly until we get to Washington, find land, begin projects, and so on ... or I could just start writing now and provide insight into the process. 

The transition itself is such a foundational aspect, after all, and I think a lot of people are curious when they see these happy earth-loving families living beautiful wholesome lives out in the middle of nowhere... how are they doing it? What did the beginning look like? How do they make money living in the middle of nowhere?

As much as we both yearn every single day to be in our beloved Washington wilderness, we realize that this is the process! We're in it! These are steps that have to happen to make this work. 

Here are some things we're working on at the moment to help us make the move to the wilderness to begin our off-grid homestead.

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Eric is completing his CDL training

One of the reasons we're in Wisconsin right now is because Eric found a reputable school here to get his CDL and a fantastic company to begin driver training with. He spent Feb-March in school and has now moved on to on-the-road training. 

We never see one another during this stage and it's emotionally difficult, but he is making great money and learning a lot and this will open up a lot more job opportunities for him later on that align with our off-grid remote lifestyle. 

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I am working and building my portfolio

For those of you who don't know, I taught myself web design & SEO last year as a way to make money working from home. In a remote area like we'll be living in, this is really important since there aren't many jobs available. 

I'm happy to report that my business is going well and I have steady work. Each day, once I'm finished with work for my clients, I dedicate time to teaching myself more and more useful skills as well as sending out proposals to potential clients to ensure that the ball keeps rolling. 

Taking this route and teaching myself these skills was one of the best choices I've ever made and I LOVE the freedom of being a "digital nomad" who can make money from anywhere there's WiFi. 

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Browsing land listings

Browsing land listings in this area is something I've been doing since 2013! It's crazy to think about. 

I keep an eye out on land listings in the area, in case something wonderful that fits our budget comes along. 

To be very honest, I have my eye on a piece of land right now. Of course, we aren't there to see it but it's 10 remote acres with high meadows, forest, and exquisite views. It's within our budget and only 2.5 miles from our friends, in an area we already know we love. So my interest has been piqued and I've even gone so far as to print out photos of the place and set them over here on my nightstand :)

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Debating selling everything or moving everything

This is something new I'm pondering - should we move all of our things or sell everything?

The move everything side of me says: You have a lot of interesting belongings, take them. You've paid for a storage unit for all of these months, do you want it to be for nothing? If you get a rental home, you're going to want furniture and things to make the house feel cozy.

Then the sell everything side of me says: It's going to cost $2,500 to haul everything (Uhaul + car hauler + fuel), Tiffany! That's money that isn't going toward your long-term goals at all. It isn't going toward an asset, therefore, it's money lost. Be smart! Sell everything, keep the money, and invest in new things once you get there and better understand what your living situation is going to be like. You might not be able to accommodate a king size memory foam mattress anyway!!

I don't know the answer, but it's a topic we're chewing on. 


Seek out a rental or buy land right away and dive in?

This is another new development since the plan thus far has been: get to Washington, put all belongings into storage, stay in our friend's RV until we find a cabin to rent. Then find land and slowly start building our off-grid homestead as time and resources allow.

Now suddenly I'm getting hit with: Why don't we prioritize land? Why not buy land ASAP, stay in our friend's RV while we build a small cabin on our land and start to implement off-grid water systems, off-grid power, sort out WiFi and so on. 

This would be doing it the real, off-grid, rugged way. We'd essentially be stepping onto a piece of remote land with zero power, zero water, zero WiFi, zero living quarters. 

We talked about this tonight and both feel drawn to roughing it, to going to the property as time allows and working on projects, camping while we're there, hauling in water, and so on. I've never lived without electricity. At a homestead in North Carolina, I did have to haul water from the creek, and I didn't really have sound internet or a modern toilet... but there was power. 

We'll have to talk to our friends and give it some more thought before we put money down and decide on this route. 

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Saving Money

On the topic of putting money down, another focus of ours at this point is saving money. We created a strict budget to abide by and are putting back as much as possible right now.

We sacrificed the comfort of having our own place and opted to spend time with family before moving across the country away from everyone. If you have goals to fulfill and are willing to compromise to make them happen, I definitely recommend doing this to cut down on rent costs. I make sure to clean the house and help out in every way possible to create balance.


Deciding if we should sell the car or not

Our current vehicle is a 2wd vehicle. This will NOT fly in northeastern Washington State where most of the roads are unpaved mountain roads and the 6-month long winter measures snowfall in feet, not inches.

It's inevitable - we will not be keeping this vehicle (which is sad - I love Honda Elements for their spaciousness, low fuel cost, and reliability) but should we sell it before or after the move? 

We need a 4wd vehicle with towing and hauling ability to live where we want to live and do the things we want to do, so it's another thing on our minds to sort out. 

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So that's where we are right now! I hope it's helpful to someone out there to read about these beginning steps. The primary thought behi