Thursday, January 18, 2018

Q&A session?

A reader just posted the following:

Patrice, this is off subject but would you ever consider a post that just answers questions? We are about to head up to Idaho for our fourth time in as many months and planning a move. But as you wrote that you were driving a 2k car, we are completely ignorant as to what vehicle we need in Northern Idaho. I was assuming a heavy 4 wheel drive but it doesn't sound like that is what you drive. Many other people probably have questions also. Thanks.

Hmmm. This might be an interesting idea. Does anyone have questions they'd like me to answer, to the best of my ability? (I reserve the right not the answer anything I don't want to, LOL. You can't have our bank account number, for example.)

To answer this gentleman's question: We live 1.5 miles off-road, meaning we can easily get snowed in during wintry weather (until some hardworking neighbors team up to plow everyone out). We've always used smallish vehicles that are high-clearance, four-wheel drive, and hatchback (the better for loading chicken feed or wood). Until it died, we had a Hundai Tucson that was the toughest little beast you ever saw. Armed with studded tires and chains, it handled all kinds of hairy road conditions. That said, we also know when to stay home.

While a beefy pickup truck has its uses -- and we have one -- it's impractical for day-to-day driving. My auto preference is for a high-clearance vehicle as opposed to, say, a low-slung sedan. We currently have two inexpensive vehicles, both costing $2000 from used-car lots: a Hundai Santa Fe (technically Younger Daughter's vehicle) and a 2000 Dodge Durango.

Hope this helps.


  1. Thanks for this. Here is my question. I've been wanting to buy some Jersey Giant chickens for a while now. When I saw you got them I was thrilled. Could you tell me how they are doing? How do they deal with Idaho winters, their temper, how many eggs. Are they overall a healthy chicken? Would love some feedback on that. Thanks!

  2. Wow that was a fast answer! Thank you for your time. I can't wait to see what other questions get asked!

  3. 40 + years living in the northeast Kingdom of Vermont..mostly dirt roads long windy steep driveway..we have used Subaru's almost exclusively... AWD and pretty much handles anything..8" of good ground clearance..I have gone through snow as high as 3' and made's the car of the Kingdom..

  4. What's your favorite meal to make and why? Favorite dessert to make? Favorite thing to can? What item couldn't you live without? How hard is it keeping a bull for breeding? Have you ever tried AI with your cows?

  5. I'd love to hear more about cooking/baking with your wood cookstove. Successes/failures? Thanks, Melissa in the U.P.

  6. Driving in the winter: It's more about the driver than the vehicle. Growing up when Californians were invading Idaho, I can't count the number of times I've passed a big fancy four-wheel drive vehicle upside down in the ditch with all four tires still spinning.

    Learn how to drive in the snow. Take a class if possible. Four-wheel drive does NOT mean four-wheel stop. My wife says that driving in the winter is like piloting a boat - nothing happens immediately, and you have to plan your moves well in advance of them actually occurring.

    The best advice I can give is this - SLOW DOWN. Your tires can do amazing things, but you can ask them to do too much. Give yourself time to recover from any mistakes. And never, ever assume that the other people on the road know what they are doing.

  7. I loved your book Bear Poop And Applesauce but felt left hanging at the end. Will you ever write another book about your move to Idaho?