For our honeymoon we decided to travel with our one year old daughter to northern Idaho and northern Montana, in order to get a feel for the people, climate, and the land. Our hopes and dreams are to have our homestead away from large cities, plenty of wells, and Mountains are a must. We both immediately fell in love with Columbia Falls, Montana, it felt like home instantly. The valley has rich soil, the people are kind and sincere, the mountains hug you like the ones out here in Utah, and its next to Glacier National Park!
Our initial thoughts on starting a homestead began with how do we come up with the start up money? Well Montana currently has a grant/loan program for families trying to start a farm who have never been in the farm industry before. Amazing right? So we first need to be Montana residents before we can apply for the grants/loans.
Our future homestead will be between 10-20 acres with a well and rich soil. The main focus will be sustainability. We hope to use the land to its maximum potential using various methods:
- Beekeeping for honey and beeswax
- Goat & sheep herding for milk, wool, butter, & cheese; and natural pest/weed control
- Chickens for eggs, meat, and natural pest/weed control
- Organic hops for home and local craft brewing
- Organically grown produce
- Greenhouses for year round vegetables and future CSA capabilities
- Fruit orchard and nut trees
- Homemade goods from our organic produce/beeswax
- Bed & Breakfast with focus on organic farming and natural healing
- Efficient composting for healthy soil (healthy soil = healthy plants)
- Using solar panels, wind mills, wood, etc to power and heat home/farm
The only other big decisions we have now is 1) do we live in a trailer OR rent a house while we start? 2) when do we move? 3) how soon can we fix our current house and sell it? 4) obtaining jobs in Montana
- Having a one year old means she gets into every little thing, which makes us weary of living in a trailer. She could wake up in the middle of the night and turn on stoves. That is scary! This thought has made renting a house seem like the winner, a little more costly but safer with a child.
- We hope to move to Montana in the Spring of 2016. Marcus is seasonally working at Park City-Canyons resort. We can spend one last winter riding Utah snow before heading north for hopefully better snow.
- We are planning on fixing up with house starting January and putting it on the market in February. This is our first time selling a house and its frightening! Some days I think about the list of what we need to do in order for us to achieve our dream of living on our homestead and its overwhelming. Then I just have to focus on that moment and positive thoughts for the future.
- I am a licensed massage therapist and I currently work full time for my own business Aspens Healing Arts. I will be applying for spa jobs and working with Chiropractors starting in February. Marcus has managed restaurants and bars, he is also a certified cicerone with his deep and thorough beer knowledge. Needless to say he should be able to find a great place to work as well. We are trying to figure out a way to make sure we can pay ourselves for spring and summer on our homestead to create income and build our farm.
“A journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step”
- Lao Tzu