Two Homesteaders Collaborate On Weather, Part 1

| 2/12/2014 9:30:00 AM

When mountain homesteading remotely the weather tends to be a major player in your lifestyle with its ever present changes and has to be considered a major factor in the life of a mountain homesteader. The following is a collaborative effort by Ed Essex and Bruce McElmurray who both homestead in the mountains but with several states between them. They both answered eight questions on how weather effects their lives.

Ed's houseEd and Laurie Essex

Ed and Laurie Essex moved to the Okanogan Highlands in Eastern Washington State while in their late fifties. Their 40 acre homestead consists of half open space with green grass and sage brush and the other half forested with pine, fir, and tamarack trees. The elevation is 4,200 feet. Their three-mile-long access road to the property is dirt and includes a 1000-foot vertical climb. The nearest small town is 20 miles away and anything larger with more services is 50 miles from the homestead.

They currently have 2 horses, 3 Angora goats, 11 chickens, 2 cats, and an Anatolian Shepherd livestock guardian dog. They spend their time maintaining the property, wood cutting, taking care of animals, gardening and they both work at their website business: or

The homestead consists of a 1,400 square-foot home, a 1,300 square-foot barn, and a few smaller outbuildings including the chicken coop. They are completely off grid. They utilize a septic system, water comes from a 300-foot deep well, and power is solar with a backup generator.

Bruce and Carol McElmurrayMcElmurray

Bruce and Carol live in S. Colorado near the small town of Ft. Garland. They moved to their mountain location on 11 acres, 9,750 feet in elevation, in 1997. Their property is heavily wooded with two springs that that flow all year long. They live within a gated/covenant community of land owners and as such are not allowed to have live stock or fowl. It would be risky trying to maintain those animals anyway with the wild animals such as bear, coyotes, bobcat, lynx, wolves and mountain lions presence.

They live in their 900 square-foot cabin and have a woodshed and detached garage. They heat our cabin with a Yotul wood stove and a small space heater. they are on the grid for electricity and have a 215’ deep well that provides them pure and tasty drinking water. The association of land owners does dirt road maintenance and snow removal and we have over 4,500 acres set aside for recreation. Both Bruce and Carol are retired but work harder at being retired than when they held salaried jobs. They live in their cabin with their three German Shepherd Dogs, Bozwell, Sarah and Echo.

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