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Hey everyone,<br><br>
We are trying to figure out where to move. We live currently in W. WA and it is expensive to live here. We want to have land and homestead and homeschool (secular). We consider ourselves liberal/progressive. We want to move somewhere cheaper, still beautiful, and most importantly somewhere we can develop strong community with others.<br><br>
Being near amenities is not as important. We want to be around people who want to develop strong relationships, not surface ones. We seem to encounter that a lot here. We would like long-lasting relationships with other families, where we can mutually depend on each other and spend time together and create real community. We don't really want to go into town and do things, we want to spend time at home working on our garden, etc, and with other families. We are wondering if we have to be really rural or remote to have this close community feeling, but we don't know.<br><br>
Also, what about gardening? We are zone 8 over here, and we wonder how hard it is to garden there. We also worry about the conservative vibe in Montana. We don't want to be the only progressive folks/AP people around.<br><br>
Any thoughts on this would be really great!! Dh is a teacher and so has some flexibility in where we can move. Ultimately we want to try to figure a way to possibly have neither of us work outside the home.<br><br>
Thanks!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lunamay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938959"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hey everyone,<br><br>
We are trying to figure out where to move. We live currently in W. WA and it is expensive to live here. We want to have land and homestead and homeschool (secular). We consider ourselves liberal/progressive. We want to move somewhere cheaper, still beautiful, and most importantly somewhere we can develop strong community with others.<br><br>
Being near amenities is not as important. We want to be around people who want to develop strong relationships, not surface ones. We seem to encounter that a lot here. We would like long-lasting relationships with other families, where we can mutually depend on each other and spend time together and create real community. We don't really want to go into town and do things, we want to spend time at home working on our garden, etc, and with other families. We are wondering if we have to be really rural or remote to have this close community feeling, but we don't know.<br><br>
Also, what about gardening? We are zone 8 over here, and we wonder how hard it is to garden there. We also worry about the conservative vibe in Montana. We don't want to be the only progressive folks/AP people around.<br><br>
Any thoughts on this would be really great!! Dh is a teacher and so has some flexibility in where we can move. Ultimately we want to try to figure a way to possibly have neither of us work outside the home.<br><br>
Thanks!!</div>
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Yes you are right, Montana is a beautiful state. There are a couple of problems I see straightaway with your quest in Montana. First of all, this is a very, very sparsely populated state. The "major" cities have about 100k people. By the way, I don't think the areas of Bozeman or Missoula are at all conservative, more progressive than many places I have lived.<br><br>
You are dealing with a rancher mentality in the country, which is you take care of your neighbors, because since there aren't many we need to help each other. This is prevalent throughout the state. ALso people mind their own business, which is why you will see a house covered in peace signs next to an NRA toting truck driver and they will get along.<br><br>
As far as homesteading, well it would be rough. The water rights alone present a big problem in certain parts. We are zone 2, 3 and 4 here. The winters are long and can be harsh, especially if you go to certain parts of the state. The weather is really different, dry east of the divide, on par with the NW rain west of the divide. It doesn't sound like the right fit maybe a smaller state, with more people would fit your needs, I am thinking midwest might be a fit, too.<br><br>
The land here is outrageously expensive if you want to be near a nice town...but cheap if you want to live in the middle of nowhere. If you research the history of Montana, you will find that it has a history of harsh climatic conditions that drove homesteaders out of the state.<br><br>
Good luck, I think Montana is the most beautiful place I have ever seen, for a rancher, maybe, or a large scale farmer...but not a homesteader, not in my estimation unless you have a significant source of outside income.<br><br>
This is what I would tell a friend by the way...I hope you find a good place. Please note I am not as familiar with west of the divide as east, which is dry. West might be a little more similar to w wash
 

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<<The "major" cities have about 100k people. By the way, I don't think the areas of Bozeman or Missoula are at all conservative, more progressive than many places I have lived.>><br><br>
Actually we have no cities technically over 100K <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Maybe in the next census <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> The state has less than 1 million people. If you consider trade area, then Missoula and Billings are probably over 100K. Missoula is very progressive I think, and Bozeman is in a way, though more conservative than MISSOULA (ooops I had said Billings...I need to be beaten with a wet noodle!!! LOL). I live in Helena which 'is' conservative, but there are plenty of pockets of non-traditional/conservative too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We have a nice non-religious hs'ing group.<br><br>
<<ALso people mind their own business, which is why you will see a house covered in peace signs next to an NRA toting truck driver and they will get along. >><br><br>
Definitely agree. Montanans are very for personal freedom, and if you take care of your own business, it doesn't matter so much your politics. You can still be a friend.<br><br>
<<The land here is outrageously expensive if you want to be near a nice town...but cheap if you want to live in the middle of nowhere. If you research the history of Montana, you will find that it has a history of harsh climatic conditions that drove homesteaders out of the state.>><br><br>
Middle of 'nowhere' is kind of relative here. You can be 40 miles from town...which might seem like a lot....but if you're 40 miles...then it probably takes only 40 mins to an hour to go that far. There is no traffic. So even if I lived 'out', I could get somewhere faster than most bigger cities or trade areas.<br><br>
We know several 'homesteaders' here who do just fine <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> IMO it's a great place for it. YES, it's harder than areas with better growing zones, and IMO the land is only outrageously expensive out west--Kalispell, Missoula, etc. Most other areas, even near town are still very reasonable compared to most places! COMPLETELY supporting yourself on a 'homestead' here would be difficult agreed, and even larger scale farming or ranching is out of the price range of most people--think about a million for a minimal start up. But, I do know several families where one parent works part-time to full-time and they do just fine as 'homesteaders'. It's a completely different lifestyle yes. And, yes, it probably is easier in another state, but there are so many other pros here for building and homesteading that I still think it's a great place to do it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
One thing I think that is really appealing here for homesteaders is that most areas have no zoning, and many don't even need building inspections. You buy the land...you build what you'd like! To get more neighbors for interaction, you would have to live nearer to town, which would increase the costs of your land and restrict what you could build potentially however.<br><br>
One of the homesteading families I'm thinking of live in an area between Helena and Great Falls. About 8 miles off the interstate down a dirt road, but it's like a different world! There is a GREAT little community there! They have a small land-owners association that they all contribute to and own several larger pieces of equipment for road maintenance and building help. But, they don't have building requirements, so there are lots of alternative buildings and some really amazing families/people living in the area. I spent a summer there and just loved it. I soo want to go back! They have a cabin build post and beam I think it's called (no foundation, but cement 'pilings') that they built and finished themselves with their seven children. They have great neighbors and it's a fun little community.<br><br>
I think your best bet is to come and drive and look around. And stop and talk to people! You'll find most Montanans are chatty and very nice! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<<The "major" cities have about 100k people. By the way, I don't think the areas of Bozeman or Missoula are at all conservative, more progressive than many places I have lived.>><br><br>
Actually we have no cities technically over 100K <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Maybe in the next census <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> The state has less than 1 million people. If you consider trade area, then Missoula and Billings are probably over 100K. Missoula is very progressive I think, and Bozeman is in a way, though more conservative than Billings. I live in Helena which 'is' conservative, but there are plenty of pockets of non-traditional/conservative too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We have a nice non-religious hs'ing group.<br><br><br><br>
Ahem, I take issue with Boze being more conservative than BILLINGS!!! are you kidding me??!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> No way. Have you been to downtown bozeman? Downtown is as funky in some ways as Berkeley, there's a house with bikes on top of it for goodness sake, our library is green built, etc. etc.<br><br>
That was cool the insight you gave on homesteading families though. I did not realize there was an active movement in that direction. Perhaps with modern civilization, people do better.<br><br>
The climate is rough here, tho they say in 15 years we will be like denver...Also I have farmers in the family so I know how hard farming your own food can be and if you add in the climate, I would not advise it without backup.<br><br>
Thanks Crunchy, I learned alot, but again, ahem, Bozeman is not Billings, it's like a gentrified Missoula in my opinion...NOT Billings!!
 

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<<Ahem, I take issue with Boze being more conservative than BILLINGS!!! are you kidding me??!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> No way. Have you been to downtown bozeman? Downtown is as funky in some ways as Berkeley, there's a house with bikes on top of it for goodness sake, our library is green built, etc. etc.>><br><br>
Ooops... I meant Missoula. Missoula is crunchier than Bozeman is what I meant to say!! Too many things running through my brain when I was typing LOL I've lived in Missoula and Bozeman. I think Missoula is more crunchy than Bozeman. Bozeman is more 'money crunchy' than Missoula.....hard to explain, but just how it felt to me when I was there. Like many of the folks w/ money in Bozeman are crunchy because it's 'cool' and it's more a lifestyle in Missoula? The house w/ bikes....that has been there forever! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> It's cool. Missoula has been crunchy for a lonnnng time and it's more of a culture there I think. Or that was my perception when I lived there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Billings....has it's pockets of crunchy...but def Bozeman and Missoula are more so hehehe<br><br>
Yes, farming for a FULL supporting lifestyle like 'old fashioned' homesteading 100% support off the land would be difficult in Montana!! But, I think today, with not a lot of people doing that a full 100% no income other than your homestead isn't realistic and one partner will likely have to work at least part-time out in 'civilization'. And the homesteading famlies we know are like this. One, dad works three 10 hr shifts in town, and the other it's mom who is the out of the home worker and she is a nurse, so works 3 - 12 hrs shifts and actually stays in town on those days since the trip back to their place is almost an hour. But, they both are living such an envious lifestyle IMO! I'd love to do it!!! But, my hubby is just too uncrunchy...I need to work on him some more LOL
 

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"Ooops... I meant Missoula. Missoula is crunchier than Bozeman is what I meant to say!! Too many things running through my brain when I was typing LOL I've lived in Missoula and Bozeman. I think Missoula is more crunchy than Bozeman. Bozeman is more 'money crunchy' than Missoula.....hard to explain, but just how it felt to me when I was there. Like many of the folks w/ money in Bozeman are crunchy because it's 'cool' and it's more a lifestyle in Missoula? The house w/ bikes....that has been there forever! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> It's cool. Missoula has been crunchy for a lonnnng time and it's more of a culture there I think. Or that was my perception when I lived there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Billings....has it's pockets of crunchy...but def Bozeman and Missoula are more so hehehe" quote<br><br>
Yup, yup...I sometimes bemoan the fact that I don't think Boze has any real bad areas, sometimes it's like living in Disneyland, I get ya on that. I think Missoula has way better stuff for kids too, like that cool downtown area park. I just wish they had our weather, now that would be nice.<br><br>
I think there's that trustafarian thing here, yup. Like, I have 2 zillion dollars so I am gonna build a green friendly development...which is cool, don't get me wrong, but different than Missoula, where it's more grassroots, I hear ya.<br><br>
I still love me my Bozeman tho, but it does suffer the cool quotient, def. Too cool for school mixed with hardcore christians, which is umm, interesting.<br><br><br>
Sorry to derail thread, thanks for all the info, Crunchy!
 

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I vote for missoula too as the crunchiest best town for AP and NFL in Montana. You can homestead your land and house that you buy, but really I can't think of any advantages we recieved by homesteading our land. We still had to purchase the land.<br><br>
Friendly Montanans? to your face maybe. I am from California initially and then the midwest, and in my opinion montanans are extremely independant self sufficient people who don't like outsiders. Most people don't ask for help and do things theirselves. The youth had a high suicide rate, we believed from the oppressive parenting resulting in wild out of control teenagers who were less worried about their personal health then if they would get caught doing something and get in trouble. So, like to drink and drive off the edge of a mountain, and get killed, what would stop them? If they thought their parents wouldn't find out, that would be the determining factor of their lifes decisions, not, if I drink and drive I will possibly get hurt.<br><br>
We were dismayed at the children who were one way in front of adults and a different way when they were on their own. I thought montana was beautiful like a rose and the people were like thorns. Almost exclusively it was an oppressive and unpleasant environment for me insomuch as when we left montana I felt as if a great weight had been lifted. And I could breathe for the first time in so long.<br><br>
Anyhoo....go any two hours in montana and you will be in a completely different culture, so my experience an hour south of butte would be completely like a different country away from other areas of the state. I treasured the times I spent in Bozeman and Missoula but since I didn't live there I can't speak to those areas and experiences in those areas may be totally different.
 
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