The long-time locals told us that our first winter on the off-grid homestead was the worst winter for snow accumulation and temperatures in 21+ years in our area. We posted our TOP 5 Reasons this was the best season to start our homestead but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have challenges. TWO big challenges to be exact.
#1 Living on a back road
The most inherent aspect of living on a back road is road maintenance. We knew this when we bought our property and were prepared for the fact that along the way it was going to be an issue. We had not experienced a North Idaho winter and were not entirely sure of the severity. However, as we are both raised Ohioans having experienced “Lake effect” snow storms from Lake Erie; we were confident we could handle it. Additionally, we planned our relocation by studying microclimates, therefore we knew our property was well situated in altitude and weather to our needs and capabilities. However, seams of doubt cracked open as we heard more and more horror stories of N. Idaho winters. Only time would tell and it did. While we thrived in the winter, and maintained our long drive the challenge was our road. Maintained by neighbors, we learned to plan on hunkering down on the homestead 1-2 days after each snow storm until the road was cleared or other vehicles made enough tracks that made it passable. Twice we found ourselves digging out and the first time was our fault for not following our own rules. Our solar battery/inverter died and when the replacement arrived we had to venture out when our road was not cleared. We easily dug out of the soft snow bank. The second time however, proved more challenging. When warmer weather melted a half of our accumulated snow fall, followed by a deep freeze, we found our road to be a solid sheet of ice. A neighbor in a 4 x4 got stuck and we ventured to the post office anyway. On the way home our truck couldn’t make it up an icy hill and slid backward into a snow bank.
So, what did we do?