Sheepherder wagon community exists in Idaho

Posted: 07/22/13 EDT

Sheepherding may seem like a relic of the past, but a little community along Idaho's Salmon River is preserving the historic lifestyle with a modern spin. The 21st century residents of sheep wagons don't actually tend to sheep, instead living in the small homes for their convenience, efficiency, and coziness.

Renee Silvus, a massage therapist, commissioned her sheep wagon from Kim and Kathy Vader, wagon craftsmen who have made the wagon community possible by refitting the 12-ft. by 7-ft. structures into livable structures. "The interior of the sheep wagon is elegant," Silvus says. "The Vaders have designed a little kitchen as well." Though some may doubt her lifestyle choice, Silvus plans to retire in her simple home, which is heated by a wood-burning stove. The wagon also lacks electric power, a full-sized toilet, Internet, and a shower. Still, the lack of modern conveniences are not a big deal for Silvus, who still enjoys her queen-sized bed, solar-powered lamps, and a window that offers incredible views.

Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many sheepherders lived alone in horse-drawn sheep wagons. "When they went out on the range, the sheepherders had to have a place to stay," Kathy Vader says. "Usually a herder is all by himself out there." Today in the small town of McCall, Idaho, people choose to live this simple life together.