Thursday, March 8, 2012

20 Acre Homestead: The Lay of the Land

So I thought I'd just give some details on our property. As I mentioned earlier we are very fortunate to own just over twenty acres in Sanders county, Montana. In the early 50s my Grandfather moved his family to western Montana to work on the Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids dams. I believe he originally purchased 200 acres. He sold off 40 acres and then sold the remaining 160 acres to my Dad in the early 60s. My Dad sold 40 acres to his sister in the early 70s and then about 15 years ago he deeded 20 acres to each of us kids - there are five of us, keeping 20 acres himself where he and my Mom live. What a blessing to have this beautiful property! One of my sisters has started construction on a home on her property but the rest of the plots us kids own are undeveloped.

The lay of the land

The picture above is a Google Earth image of our property. My younger brother owns the parcel to the north of me and my older brother owns the one to the south. On the east, across the county road, is a cousin who owns several hundred acres and to the west is US Forest Service land for several miles. It's a pretty ideal situation.

The property is a slight to moderate slope up to the Forest Service line and is pretty heavily treed. It was last thinned in 1991 so it's probably due for another thinning. You'll notice from the image that the property is bisected by an old logging road. That's actually a nice little trail and access road to cut through all of the adjoining parcels.

Twenty acres is not a huge tract of land but keep in mind one acre is just slightly smaller than a football field. So a chunk of land the size of twenty football fields is plenty of elbow room for one family, I think.


There is ample wildlife on the place. In fact the area is teeming with whitetail deer. It's rare to walk the property and not see deer. I've also seen elk and black bear and have seen a cougar once. I haven't seen coyotes on the place during the day but I hear them at night all the time.


My parents actually get their water from a spring that originates up the mountainside. However that spring already supplies my folks, my cousin across the road and another neighbor with their primary water source. We will likely need to drill.

Selecting the homesite

I have a few ideas of where our home will be but we haven't decided for sure. Realistically it will likely be at least four or five years until we actually build the house. In the nearer term, however, our plan is to build a small cabin to use for weekend getaways. You'll hear much more about that in the next few posts.

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