North Idaho / Bonner County / homesteading info ? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Requesting insights into homesteading in the areas around Pend Oreille Lake and River. Topics: growing season length / alternative energy / how the climate affects things, ie./ raising dairy goats & laying hens / beekeeping / cistern use / ground frost depth / your experience is appreciated. we're currently homesteading in Tennessee and will be making a move soon.

-- peter goubeaud (, February 24, 2001


Hello, I live in bonner county and raise goats. Generally we are doing well to get about 100 days of frost free growing season. My alpines do well even when the temps drop to -15-20 . I do not heat the barn, even when the does kid in February. In my experience, Nubians do not do quite as well here as the Alpines. They tend to get get nose colds, maybe because of the large roman nose which is good for tropical climates. But there are those who raise nubians successfully here. We have solar power with a generator for backup. What else would you like to know?

-- Rebekah (, February 25, 2001.

Hi Peter,

My husband I and I moved to Bonner County in 1992. We lived north of Sandpoint for about 8 years and raised nubians, chickens, ducks, and beautiful gardens. It was hard at first, learning how to garden in the northern climate, as we don't have many growing days, but we did it. I prefer the nubians over all others for many reasons. They do very well here, but we used heat lamps during kidding. We never bred before the end of December so we knew, under normal conditions the weather wouldn't be too cold when the babys came. We now live south of Sandpoint. The climate here can change within just few miles and we have found out the hard way after losing all of our garden to frost this last summer. The ground varies a lot here too. The place we are at now has lots of rocks (boulders!) that have given us quite a challenge. This is beautiful country, but it comes with a lot of challenges. We were from a southern climate so we have had to learn to work with the differnt seasons. We have only about 90 growing days, if we are lucky. Some years we get frost in August and couldn't get the garden planted until the middle of June. The second summer we were here it rained all summer long. I only had to water the garden once. We don't have alternative energy, as much as we would like to. The cost is just too high for us. We had our power put in about 4 months ago. A lot of people here haul their water. When we first moved here, the price of land was really great but that has all changed and the property taxes just keep getting higher and the permits are getting unreasonable. But it is still one of the very few places that you can still feel fairly free. I hope I have been of help. Good luck to you.

-- Andy (, February 25, 2001.

Hi, Peter, Rebekah and Andy! I, too live north of Sandpoint pretty far up in the mountains. We moved here about 3 years ago and absolutely LOVE IT! I don't really know about where your living now but there's not much pavement once you leave the main roads (very dusty in summer). I agree that it was difficult for us to learn to grow different things for this climate; it's challenging. Where we are, the soil is fairly good but tends towards very sandy in some places. We have raised chickens with excellent success. In winter, we didn't use a heat lamp and the roosters suffered some blackening of their combs - but they lived and thrived. The only problem we had was that we let them free-range and the coyotes took most of them! As for ground frost depth, I just happened to be researching this as we are planning to put down a foundation as soon as the ground thaws. The book I read said that it's around 33-36". Please feel free to email me if I can give you anymore info on this beautful part of the country!

-- Lisa (, March 02, 2001.

thank's to all who've responded . . . the info is appreciated. any more input is welcome. P.T.L.

-- peter goubeaud (, March 05, 2001.

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