2018 Home & Garden Tour Part 1: The OG


This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteadingI love to create things. Like food. You may have noticed that by now. But I love to create other things as well.

I’ve always loved to write; To craft stories with my words. And to take photos of beautiful things. Things that I create. Things that grow wild. Everyday things that are made beautiful through a camera lens when composed in just such a way under the right lighting. 

After all, the combination of my love for creating all of the above was how this blog first came to be!

Yes, I love to create things that make the world just a little more comforting and beautiful and nourishing, for the mind, body and soul. And that includes creating a comfy, cozy, beautiful home.

In fact, when I first started writing this blog, I thought I would write more about creating a sanctuary at home. Because I’m sure I’m not the only homesteader who, uh, spends most of her time at home, amiright??? So, in my opinion, it should be a beautiful space where we feel good and where family and friends are welcome to kick off their shoes and join us at our table.

And also because, for me, that’s part of the appeal of homesteading: That unbeatable down-home comfort you get from a place that’s warm and welcoming while also serving up good, wholesome, nourishing food that’s grown, prepared or preserved right there on the property. There’s something safe and secure about a cozy, warm home that also produces enough to be at least somewhat self-sufficient. It gives me the warm fuzzies. Am I the only one?

But I haven’t written much about that since I started this blog over a year ago. Ya know why? Because I struggled to create this type of space in our old house. And quite honestly, I was a bit ashamed of it!

In theory, it was a charming house that was perfect for us when we first moved from the city 3 years ago. A 100+ year-old farmhouse on an acre of land (plus more shared with the neighbours across the yard). It was the perfect house for us to learn many of the skills and lessons we needed to learn over the past few years, both homesteading-related and otherwise.

But it came with many challenges too.

This Old House

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

The view from the front: Drywall makes its seemingly permanent home on the front porch. Plants brown where the sun beats down all day without reprieve and a bucket (originally intended for weeding the front garden bed) sits on the front walkway where it was left midway through weeding two months ago. A noisy, busy highway runs by the front of the house which makes this mama shy away from much activity in the front of the house.

After laying vacant for years, the property had succumbed to many weeds and pests that we always struggled to manage. And the house itself, while full of character and incredibly charming in its own right, was still old. And drafty. And full of decades-old carpets and curtains and wallpaper and furniture that was all due for a good cleaning (or a complete renovation).

To be fair, that’s what we were doing there: renovating. Ryan and I were blessed by friends who own the house by being allowed to live there in exchange for doing work on the place and keeping it from being taken over by rats (which we almost achieved). 

And while we both kept the house running, Ryan worked on remodelling the upstairs while we were there. So we were also living in a construction zone. All. The. Time.

There have literally been baseboards sitting on our stairs there for the past, oh, probably 2 years. And drywall and tools on the front porch which we never used. Oh, and we haven’t had a shower there since February (it’s now September) because the beautiful old cast iron tub got pulled out to be refinished and we still haven’t finished the upstairs shower for various reasons. (If you’re wondering, yes, we still found ways to bathe while living there!)

Another thing we really battled with was the lack of storage. Being a 100-year-old house, there was only actually one closet in the whole house when we moved in. Because, ya know, people didn’t have as much crap 100 years ago. 

But it turns out that we do have a lot of crap (that we are now trying to purge as we transition to our new house). And we had nowhere to store it. So we improvised and put shelves in the hallway and turned the sunroom into the storage locker/recycling depot/fridge and freezer area, since the old kitchen also wasn’t built to accommodate a fridge since they didn’t exist yet.

And so we faced the ongoing battle of trying to organize, shuffle and live amongst the clutter. And yes, it gave me major anxiety at times.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

Looking into our old kitchen: Exposed pipes run up the back wall to the upstairs bathroom. The wall has been unfinished since we removed cabinets and countertops to accommodate the new plumbing. On the left, the hose from the dishwasher we rigged up runs into the sink to discard the water and a makeshift countertop sits atop the dishwasher we added to the kitchen. The cabinets are all open and utensils all hang from the walls. And the countertops were always cluttered, even when they’re clean!

But despite some of the storage issues and having no space for a fridge, the kitchen was still my very favourite space in the house. After all, it’s where I spent the vast majority of my time. And so it’s the one inside area that I did end up photographing.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading
This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteadingI loved the kitschy wallpaper, the cozy breakfast nook, the open cabinetry and even the half burnt-out christmas lights we put up the first Christmas that we lived there and never took down…

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading
This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteadingBut I especially loved the pantry.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

Because while 100-year-old houses have no need for refrigerators, they absolutely must have pantry space. We were delighted to find the large, under-the-stairs pantry hidden behind the fridge that was there (before we opened up the pantry and moved the fridge to the sunroom), and realized it hadn’t been opened in roughly 3 decades before we arrived!

We knew this because we found magazines from the 1980’s and the owner confirmed that was most likely the last time it was opened for use.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

The pantry was, by far, the thing that was hardest to leave behind. 

But the rest, while charming in nature, was cluttered and unfinished and impossible to keep clean, no matter how many hours I put into it each day.

So I never wanted to really open my home to the world. I never wanted to photograph it because just getting it in order to photograph could sometimes take hours. It was just that kind of place.

Why I Finally Decided to Open My Doors

I think it’s important that I share this house with you… “The OG,” as I call it, because it will forever be the original House & Homestead. In fact, you might have even noticed that the logo for my website is this exact house. Maybe I’ll change the logo someday, or maybe I won’t. But this will always be where the journey really began.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

It’s also where we first started gardening, and where we’ve had every success and failure  as gardeners and homesteaders so far. 

This year our garden has definitely been more of a failure than a success with us moving and not having time to dedicate to it in the summer months. The weeds have taken over. The plants are mostly dead or dying. And volunteer squashes, tomato plants and other seedlings have sprouted everywhere. Our little garden has, in essence, re-wilded itself. And like with just about every other space on the property, we just haven’t had the time to invest in keeping up with it all.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

So we’ve accepted it for what it is and let nature take its course, still grateful to have cucumbers and beets and onions and herbs and the odd tomato still clinging to the dying, neglected vines. 

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

Over at the greenhouse, we’ve lost our battle with the weeds. While the horsetail isn’t nearly as bad as it has been, the blackberry bushes we cut back last year have wrapped their thorny brambles around the little greenhouse like something out of a Disney princess movie.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

The little wooden walkway has gone back to the land and the Queen Anne’s Lace has grown up inside the greenhouse and now bows over the squash plants that I planted too late, alongside the lettuce I’ve let go to seed. Sigh.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

Elsewhere on the property, the perennial fruit trees and vines are doing fairly well. But they’re in need of some TLC too. The grape vine is decades old and has grown right up into the tree beside it, so now you need an orchard ladder to harvest the grapes.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

And the apple tree; Let me tell you about this big ol’ Gravenstein apple tree…

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

This baby is roughly as old as the house itself, so somewhere around 100 years. It stood for 100 years without incident! And then, two winters ago while we were living there, we had one of the heaviest snowfalls we’d ever seen in this area, and the weight of the snowpack destroyed the two largest branches of the tree.

 

So the owners had the gaping hole in the tree that was left behind filled with concrete. This summer it rebounded and gave us apples once again, though not nearly as many as it did the first year we were there. Indeed, it seemed like it was just something else that went into disrepair while we were living there.

And yet there is much to be grateful for everywhere. Even the looming shadow of the old, broken apple tree on the drought-stricken grass at the end of summer is a thing of beauty not to be taken for granted.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

One of the shining stars of living on this property: The view of the huge backyard we shared with our neighbours. (Technically it belongs to them, but they took their fence down years ago when the original owners lived there. They’ve been friends of the family for over 40 years!)

The House That Made Us Who We Are

Yes, this house was a challenge. A beautiful challenge that was meant to be. And while I always wanted to create a beautiful space here, I felt like I was just never able to get it to that place. And I never wanted to open my doors up completely and share the clutter and the mess and the weeds with the world because I felt it reflected poorly on me.

But I realize now that it is beautiful in spite, or maybe even because of this. Despite some of the hardships we faced in this house, it inspired me to create more than I ever thought I was actually capable of. It’s where I learned to garden, to can and preserve, to make candles and body products and herbal remedies from things grown right on our property. It’s where I learned how to create a blog where I could share my stories and recipes and love of homesteading with the world through words and photographs. It’s where we created our family, which continues to grow.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

 

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

And although I’m so, so happy to be in our new place (our first house that we actually own!), there will always be a special place in my heart for this old house; The house where we gardened and cooked and preserved and created; Where we battled weeds and drafty walls and constant clutter and never enough storage space; Where we lived and learned and laughed and loved and lost.

Yes, in spite of all this, or perhaps because of it, this house will forever be the house where it all began. It will always be the original House & Homestead; The place that shaped us into the people -the family- we’ve become. And that makes every pile of clutter and patch of weeds totally worth it in the end.

This is the house we began homesteading in. This is where we learned many valuable skills and hard life lessons. This, is the OG. Come along for a home & garden tour! #hometour #homeandgardentour #farmhousetour #homesteading

Oh, and I think it makes for some pretty beautiful photos, if I do say so myself;)

 

Click here to read Part 2 of this post: Our ¼-Acre Rancher.

The House & Homestead


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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The weather this summer has been as unpredictable as 2020 itself. The cool, grey, wet start to the summer meant that our sun-loving crops got a slow start in the garden, and that’s led to an unprecedented number of green tomatoes at the end of the season.

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September is such an odd time of year. It’s the time of year when we tend to find ourselves with a foot in two worlds: A transition season, if you will.⁣

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I just love Ginny’s approach to homeschooling and if you’re anything like me, I think you will too. You can check out her full post by clicking the link in my bio or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homeschooling-on-the-homestead/

It’s also Ginny's first time guest posting so be sure to leave a comment while you’re there and let us know what school looks like for your family this year.⁣

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
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I’ve been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately. Between balancing work and the garden and all of the canning and preserving tasks this time of year, I’ve already got enough on my plate. Add a string of social commitments, back-to-school and extracurricular activities, and I’m definitely feeling the pressure, as I usually do this time of year.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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But lump on a pandemic, worsening political tensions, division and civil unrest, intensifying environmental disasters (we’re currently socked in with smoke from the California wildfires), and it all just becomes too much to bear some days.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I know I’m far from the only one who’s feeling this way. And yet, we all have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going even when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and burnt out. Even when the present is frightening and the future is uncertain.⁣

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You can check out my list of 10 tips for managing stress and overwhelm on the homestead (and in life!) by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and then clicking the link to the full blog post at the top.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You can also grab my free time management planner by clicking the link in my bio and then clicking on “Free Resource Library,” (find it under “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency Resources” in the library).⁣⁣⁣
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No matter what you’re struggling with right now, I hope some of these tips help keep you navigate these extra stressful times and stay focused and moving forward with your to-do list, as well as with your big goals and dreams. But most of all, I hope it reminds you that if you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to read more.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Late summer is truly the time of abundance (and by far the busiest time of year for us).⁣⁣⁣
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We’ve got so much food that’s ripe for the picking in our own garden, plus baskets full of produce that we purchase locally when it’s in season and preserve for the winter.⁣⁣⁣
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Between harvesting and preserving (and trying my best to document it all for you along the way), there’s little time for much else in August.⁣⁣⁣
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We’re busy sweating in the garden and the kitchen, working around the clock to preserve all of the fruits (and vegetables) of summer so that come winter we hunker down and relax knowing we’ve got a pantry full of food to sustain us.⁣⁣⁣
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While there have been more times than I like to admit when I’ve asked myself why we do this when we could be at the beach or floating down the river like everyone else, come winter I am ALWAYS grateful for the time and energy we invested in the spring, summer and fall to grow and preserve all of the food that lines our pantry shelves.⁣⁣⁣
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With everything that 2020 has brought so far (and more uncertainty to come), this year I’m feeling grateful even in the thick of it; Even while I’m sweating and pulling late night canning sessions and constantly scraping dirt out from under my nails. This year it’s more apparent than ever how much growing and preserving our own food is worth the time and effort that it takes.⁣⁣⁣
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It’s another grey, rainy day here in the Comox Valley: The kind of day when all you wanna do is cuddle up with a good book, a cozy blanket and a warm cat on your lap!⁣

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Luckily we did just come off a stretch of sunny days that the garden really needed, and that we really needed too! We spent the past week camping, at the beach and almost totally unplugged which was so, so needed. Now we’re back home, and while I know there is food that needs being preserved, weeds that need being pulled, computer work that needs being done and laundry that needs being folded (see the laundry pile photo bombing my cat in the pic above), all I really want to do today is just rest and relax. ⁣

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And if you have a cat, invite him or her onto your lap for a while. If your cat’s as heavy as mine, you’ll have no choice but to relax because you won’t be able to move your legs;)
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For the past month or so I’ve been working hard “behind the scenes” on my very first home canning course, and I’m super pumped to announce that the doors to the 𝐘𝐞𝐬, 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐀𝐍! home canning course are officially open!⁣⁣⁣
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If you've ever canned before, you probably know the indescribable feeling of standing back and staring at your jars of home-canned food. There's just something so satisfying about it; something comforting and so rewarding about knowing that no matter what's happening in this crazy world, you're able to feed your family delicious, nutritious food that you prepared and put up with your own two hands.⁣⁣⁣
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I want EVERYONE to experience that feeling, now more than ever.⁣⁣⁣
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That’s why I knew this was the year I had to pass on all of the food preservation knowledge and canning skills that I've picked up over the past 5 that's helped me go from ZERO jars of food ever canned to HUNDREDS of home-canned jars of food on my pantry shelves each year.⁣⁣⁣
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Over the course of 4 modules, I'll teach you everything you need to know to get started canning your own food at home SAFELY and easily so that come winter, you can won't need to rely as heavily on the grocery store. Instead, you can go grocery shopping from your very own food store in your pantry!⁣⁣⁣
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Whether you've never canned before or you've done a little but are ready to take it to the next level, the 𝐘𝐞𝐬, 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐀𝐍! Home Canning Course was designed for you.⁣⁣⁣
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So if you're ready to get started canning up all of the abundance of summer before who knows what hits us in the winter, click the link in my bio or go to https://seed-to-soil-school.teachable.com/p/yes-you-can/ to enroll or learn more!⁣⁣⁣
No matter what lies ahead, there's one thing we know for sure: winter is coming, and you can't go wrong with a pantry full of home-canned food.
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#canning #preserving #homecanning
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🥒 Well, it only took 4 days but all 50 lbs. of cucumbers have been turned into pickles and canned for the winter.⁣

25 jars of dills, 17 jars of sweet pickles and 3 jars of mustard pickles for something a little different!⁣

In truth, this will probably last us two years, which means I won’t have to make pickles next year and instead can focus on preserving something else! We also gift pickles at Christmas and for random hostess/housewarming gifts and to trade with our neighbours (I traded our neighbour a jar of pickles, a jar of strawberry jam and a dozen eggs for some cherries and beef jerky the other day!)⁣

In so many ways, canning is like currency; Like insurance for the future. Tuck a little away now and you’ll have food to eat, gifts to give and something tangible to trade in the future.⁣

If you want to learn how to can and preserve food so that you can put a little (or a lot!) away now for the future, click the link in my bio and get your name on the waitlist for my brand new home canning course, launching in just a couple days!⁣

Waitlist members will get access to exclusive advance enrolment and be eligible for my bonus video lesson and eBook on How to Make Herbal Infusions At Home, so you can preserve your herbs for food and medicine too!⁣

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to save your spot and make this the year you stock your pantry to the hilt with homemade, home-canned, maybe even homegrown food!⁣
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#canning #preserving #preservetheharvest #yesyouCAN
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