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Old 02-28-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,328 posts, read 12,156,808 times
Reputation: 2595

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I don't remember there ever being a big fire up in that area, but from realtor photos the higher/steeper stretches look rather overgrown and ripe for burnin', so if one starts it would be tough to put out. I think more'n likely it would be allowed to burn itself out, as about all you can do with such rough ground is throw water out of a helicopter (I suppose they could scoop off the Missouri; here they scoop off the city sewage treatment plant!) and frankly once a wildfire gets really going, that's pizzing into the wind.

Anyway, that being the case, if you're up in the trees or even dense sagebrush, I'd strongly advise cutting back the trees and clearing ALL the underbrush (healthy western forests do NOT have a lot of underbrush, so this is just good management anyway) -- to at least 100 feet from your house, further if you can manage it. And have the rural fire marshal (or whoever handles such stuff) come and inspect it afterward, as he may have advice about what more needs to be cut back so you have defensible space, especially if you're on a slope or in a draw that will pull a fire uphill. Defensible space saves a LOT more houses in wildfire areas than all the firefighters in the world could ever do.

Recommended reading for anyone who lives in a forested area (gone from The Missoulian's site, but archive.org still has it, unfortunately without most of the photos):
Big Burn of 1910
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:39 PM
 
22 posts, read 161,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
The soil in the Horseshoe Hills is not very good -- but you can probably improve it enough for decent gardening. Doubtless there are neighbours who would be happy to have you haul away their horse manure. But you'll still need some sort of mulch. The best thing is deciduous leaves -- elm leaves are best but pretty well extinct east of the Rockies, but ash leaves are good too, and it only takes a year or so to turn into good soil. Hie yourself to town in the fall and volunteer to sweep up leaves in the parks (I doubt anyone will care if you clean up the parks without asking!) and from people's yards who don't need them... a couple good truckloads should suffice. Let them dry, then crush them and rototill them in. Rinse and repeat every fall.

There must be some sort of school with some school spirit up toward Toston -- a couple years ago they did a big "crop circle" with a school logo. I don't recall what it was, tho I do remember it was upsidedown (the top pointed south).

BTW on Google maps real estate I count at least 33 properties for sale right now, just in Pizzy Pines. About half down on the flat, and about half up in the rocks to the east. Turn on "Terrain view" for a shock. And it rather understates how rugged it is!

What I want to know is how they got a double-wide trailer way up there in the rocks!
I didn't see the double wide on the google maps but that sounds like quite a feat. Thank you for all the mulching ideas. I have been reading BHM for many years and you reminded me of some of the ideas for improving soil.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:41 PM
 
22 posts, read 161,495 times
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Originally Posted by grizneedsanewhome View Post
Sell now ! Clarkston residents are in cohoots with the Gallatin County Commisionars office to pave a 14 mile stretch of road at a cost of $4.7 million ESTIMATED. Who does this benefit, those 200 property owners who live there year round. Who do they want to pay for it, all 1000 plus property owners, including the recreational property owners, many of whom rarely visit their property. That's almost $400per year in taxes, per parcel, each year for the next 20 plus years. I'm selling my acreage to the highest bidder next week.
I have heard of that but to be honest it is still a much cheaper option than where we live now. I would imagine it would improve the travel time and lessen wear on the truck too.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kingster View Post
I've lived in Three Forks for 22 of my 43 years (I lived in other areas of MT for 21 years). I moved back to TF about 3 years ago. If it were me I wouldn't live in Clarkston (Ponderosa Pines) even if I was paid to do it. Too dry, arid and remote. There is only one reliable road in and it will tear your vehicle apart very quickly. Be prepared to go through vehicles on a regular basis and probably more repair bills than your used to (as far as a car goes). I'd advise getting a well built 4 wheel drive ie: Ford or Chevy pick up, 1/2 ton would work but 3/4 would be better.

There is a back road that does go to Toston but don't even think about it with a car. A high clearance vehicle is mandatory for that road, thats when it's dry, preferably 4x4. Probably looking at mid-May before it would be dry enough to get through easily. There is a rickety (and I mean rickety) wooden bridge that goes over Sixteen Mile Creek. I've been over it many times recently and it makes me nervous everytime. Once your over the bridge the only way to go is to Toston over a large hill that I don't even want to think about when covered with snow and ice. So that's why I say one reliable road in and out.

There is a volunteer fire dept. there but if there was a large wildland fire (and it's been very dry here for years, something along the lines of a 10 or so year drought) that road is your only way out. Depending on your location, it sounds like it's away from the main "subdivision" there isn't any power. Might be a good idea to look at some solar and wind options. I know one resident there that has played with those options. A generator would be a very good idea also. Keep a non-perishable food supply stocked which is always a good idea anyway but a real world necessity especially in the winter.

The road to get to I-90 is roughly 16 miles, further if you live farther up past the main subdivision. Once your at I-90, Three Forks is 5 miles to the West and Manhattan is 5 miles to the East. Both have grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations. Bozeman is 20 miles East of Manhattan and probably where you would do most of your shopping in bulk. Most kids in go to school in Three Forks, if not home schooled, I believe the TF school bus runs there (at least it used to).

It's a definatley different style of living and can be done. I know a lot of people that do, just not something that I would care to do. I've been there many many times and have many friends who live and have lived there. There are a lot better places to look to buy land in my opinion that are also a lot prettier. Have you looked in the Madison Valley area? Harrison/Pony maybe or over by Ennis? That is a beautiful area and a lot easier to get to a main highway.

If you give Clarkston a shot, good luck and maybe I'll run into you in TF sometime.

P.S. There is a restaurant in Manhattan that is absolutely incredible, Sir Scotts Osasis. But make a reservation or you won't get a seat (don't believe the urban legend about Ted and Jane trying to eat there. It's a good story but not true).
Thank you for the road advice. We do have a larger 4X4 my husband bought after visiting the property. We already have some solar panels and are planning on buying a wind turbine. We will have a generator and already have staple foods in 5 gallon buckets. I know it will be hard and there will be some issues but I really feel like I have to try it. I hope I run into you in TF. I will be the red head with too many kids. LOL. I will have to check out that restaurant. I don't expect to "get to town" more than once a week or less but I do love a good meal.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:50 PM
 
22 posts, read 161,495 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
I don't remember there ever being a big fire up in that area, but from realtor photos the higher/steeper stretches look rather overgrown and ripe for burnin', so if one starts it would be tough to put out. I think more'n likely it would be allowed to burn itself out, as about all you can do with such rough ground is throw water out of a helicopter (I suppose they could scoop off the Missouri; here they scoop off the city sewage treatment plant!) and frankly once a wildfire gets really going, that's pizzing into the wind.

Anyway, that being the case, if you're up in the trees or even dense sagebrush, I'd strongly advise cutting back the trees and clearing ALL the underbrush (healthy western forests do NOT have a lot of underbrush, so this is just good management anyway) -- to at least 100 feet from your house, further if you can manage it. And have the rural fire marshal (or whoever handles such stuff) come and inspect it afterward, as he may have advice about what more needs to be cut back so you have defensible space, especially if you're on a slope or in a draw that will pull a fire uphill. Defensible space saves a LOT more houses in wildfire areas than all the firefighters in the world could ever do.

Recommended reading for anyone who lives in a forested area (gone from The Missoulian's site, but archive.org still has it, unfortunately without most of the photos):
Big Burn of 1910
I will definitely have to do that. I know we plan on a couple goats so they may help with the brush some. Thank you for all your great advice.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,328 posts, read 12,156,808 times
Reputation: 2595
Some people use their cleared timber to build a log cabin. Of course I don't know if your place has enough useful timber, but it's a thought. At the very least it would be future firewood.

Goats are helpful for brush control, just remember they will also break down fences and eat your garden. They will even climb into and bust up small trees (I know, I lost two trees to my neighbour's goats last summer). Sometimes they'll even chew on your house! And you might lose one now and again to local predators, but such is life. -- Hair sheep (which don't need shearing) work just as good as goats for brush control, and they're good eatin' too, tho they're super-flighty and dumb as rocks.

Here's how hardy goats are: someone I know used to live in Saudi Arabia (he is a wildlife biologist with a PhD). He says there are a lot of feral goats outside the cities, where absolutely NOTHING grows, and the goats apparently live entirely on the newspaper that blows around downwind of the city. Well, newspaper is cellulose, so goats can utilize it... now there's a new recycling notion; feed old newspaper to your goats. Probably would biodegrade the paper a whole lot better, and into useful fertilizer at that, than composting it would (newspaper does not readily rot, in fact in a landfill it can stay intact for decades).
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:30 PM
 
22 posts, read 161,495 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Some people use their cleared timber to build a log cabin. Of course I don't know if your place has enough useful timber, but it's a thought. At the very least it would be future firewood.

Goats are helpful for brush control, just remember they will also break down fences and eat your garden. They will even climb into and bust up small trees (I know, I lost two trees to my neighbour's goats last summer). Sometimes they'll even chew on your house! And you might lose one now and again to local predators, but such is life. -- Hair sheep (which don't need shearing) work just as good as goats for brush control, and they're good eatin' too, tho they're super-flighty and dumb as rocks.

Here's how hardy goats are: someone I know used to live in Saudi Arabia (he is a wildlife biologist with a PhD). He says there are a lot of feral goats outside the cities, where absolutely NOTHING grows, and the goats apparently live entirely on the newspaper that blows around downwind of the city. Well, newspaper is cellulose, so goats can utilize it... now there's a new recycling notion; feed old newspaper to your goats. Probably would biodegrade the paper a whole lot better, and into useful fertilizer at that, than composting it would (newspaper does not readily rot, in fact in a landfill it can stay intact for decades).

Our covenants don't allow us to cut the trees down unfortunately. I think they are trying to regrow the timber there. My husband plans to collect felled trees though and buy a few cords a year already cut. Our neighbor has some goats and my oldest works for her so we have seen and heard some crazy goat stories. I had not heard of the newspaper thing though! I am looking forward to the challenges up there. I know it won't be easy but it has long been a dream. My husband hurt himself in Iraq and is due for a 3rd surgery so we need to find another path for our lives and this is one I want to give a go. Thank you guys for all your advice. I did listen and take heed to the warnings. Melissa
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,495,689 times
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Once you get here, Melissa, you may find another place in the area that is even easier to be than Ponderosa Pines.
I hope everything works out for you and your family.
All the best to you.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:16 PM
 
5 posts, read 20,212 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetmelissa32 View Post
Thank you for the road advice. We do have a larger 4X4 my husband bought after visiting the property. We already have some solar panels and are planning on buying a wind turbine. We will have a generator and already have staple foods in 5 gallon buckets. I know it will be hard and there will be some issues but I really feel like I have to try it. I hope I run into you in TF. I will be the red head with too many kids. LOL. I will have to check out that restaurant. I don't expect to "get to town" more than once a week or less but I do love a good meal.

Sounds like you're well on your way to being prepared! Good Luck and enjoy, the weather is starting to get better here and spring is in the air (I'm sure there's still a spring storm or two yet but they don't last long).
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:20 PM
 
22 posts, read 161,495 times
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Originally Posted by kingster View Post
Sounds like you're well on your way to being prepared! Good Luck and enjoy, the weather is starting to get better here and spring is in the air (I'm sure there's still a spring storm or two yet but they don't last long).
He was up there early last week and it was snowing a little. He was very impressed by how nice people are! He said it is truly the most beautiful place he has ever seen. He rented a 4X4 Nissan Xterra. He got a little bogged down in the mud on Broken Creek because he ignored the neighbors warning to avoid that road but he got out pretty easy. He took Pole Gulch back and said that was much better. We are overall very happy with it in Summer and now in late Winter but I am glad we have a bigger vehicle and that he had a taste of the bad roads. I think we are still planning on early Summer for the move but he is having one more surgery so we will see when that is over. Just may have to find someone to build us a small cabin now that his hand will be out of commission.
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