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 #homesteadingIt’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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REAL FOOD
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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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What’s your favourite food preservation method??

For Angi Schneider of @schneiderpeeps, the answer is pressure canning, hands-down.

The fact is, there are many ways to preserve food, and each of them has its place and serves its purpose. But the only preservation method that allows you to preserve full meals that are ready to eat straight out of the jar is pressure canning.

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To read the full interview and/or to check out Angi’s new cookbook (which includes some seriously drool-worthy canning recipes like Chicken Marsala, Beef Street Tacos, Maple Ginger Glazed Carrots and French Onion Soup), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe and get your first issue free!

For a limited time, you can also become a member and get full access to our entire library of issues for just $7.99/year. Link in bio to get all the goods:)

Seriously though… What’s your favourite food preservation method and why? (There are no wrong answers!)

Let me know in the comments below!👇
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For the past week or so, I’ve been sharing a new morning routine I've been committing to...

It's the simple act of lighting a candle to start each day.

In this age of unnatural blue light emanating from our screens, fluorescent and even LED lighting from overhead lights and lamps, it can be quite a shock to the system to go from sleeping in complete darkness to flipping on the bright lights and checking email on your smartphone first thing in the a.m.

By simply lighting a candle and allowing your eyes a minute or two to adjust before turning on the lights or checking a screen, you have the power to create a much calmer and more peaceful start to your day, and that has lasting effects that can and will stay with you all day long.

I know I’m not the only one who can benefit from this simple but powerful morning ritual, so I decided to start a challenge to encourage others to do the same.

If you'd like to participate, grab a candle and a pack of matches (or a lighter) and commit to lighting a candle to start your day for as many days as you can during the month of October.

Every time you share a photo of your candle/morning ritual on Instagram posts or stories and tag me @thehouseandhomestead and use the hashtag #candlelitmorning, you'll be entered to win a naturally-scented candle of your choice from Plant Therapy!

This being said, I know that good quality candles aren't exactly cheap, but you can save a tone of money by learning how to make your own!

If you're interested in learning how to make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils at home, I'm currently offering my DIY Scented Soy Candles Masterclass for FREE as part of the Handmade Holiday Giveaway, hosted by my friend and fellow Vancouver Islander Diana Bouchard of @wanderinghoofranch

Other limited-time freebies include:

* Exclusive homestead holiday recipes
* Free knitting and crochet patterns
* Free homemade cocktail mixers course
* Cute printable gift tags and more!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out everything that's included in the Handmade Holiday Giveaway.

And don't forget to join in the #candlelitmorning challenge right here on Instagram!
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But then again, sometimes a photo speaks for itself:)

This weekend reminded me how important it is to be present, both with ourselves and with the ones we love. This weekend I was reminded of what I’m truly grateful for. 🧡

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Drop a ❤️ below 👇 if you can relate!

A professional teacher turned homeschooling mom of two, Allyson Speake was spinning her wheels trying to keep up with her family’s fast-paced modern lifestyle until she made the intentional decision to slow down and quit her job as a teacher to stay home and educate her children at home. Nowadays she helps others do the same!

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In the interview, Allyson shares that “on average three-year-olds can identify 100 different brand logos, and that increases to 300-400 by age 10.” If that’s not reason enough to turn off the TV and get outside, I don’t know what is!

“Whatever children are exposed to, they are able to soak it up like sponges, but they aren’t getting that exposure to nature,” she says.

Catch the full interview in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Subscribe for free to read your first issue free or become a member to get this issue plus access to our entire library of past issues for just $7.99/year!

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🛠 “Even the simplest tools can empower people to do great things.”
- Biz Stone

The other day I asked you what the most valuable asset is on your homestead, and I shared that mine is my dear husband @thehumblehandyman

Everyone who knows him knows he can build and repair just about anything. It’s a true talent, but he’s also spent years learning and sharpening his skills.

But talent and skills are only half of the equation; You’ve gotta have the right tools for the job!

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Which of these tools do you already have?

Which ones are next on your list to invest in??

What are your go-to tools to use around your house and homestead??? (Duct tape totally counts 😉)

Let me know in the comments below! 👇

#toolsofthetrade #toolkit #diy #handyman
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🪓 What’s the most valuable asset on your homestead?

For me, it’s this guy right here.

He was only away for two weeks, but that’s all the time it took for me to realize how much he brings to the table, and how valuable it is to have a live-in handyman on a homestead!

When our burner crapped out on our stove in the middle of a canning project last week, I had no idea how to fix it and was ready to buy a brand new stove, but luckily Ryan came home with all of his tools just a couple days later and fixed it for a fraction of the cost of buying a new stove.

When we were getting chickens, he built our chicken coop. When I wanted to put in new garden beds, he built them. Deck? Done! Firewood? Chopped! Bathroom? Remodelled! Car broken down? Fixed! (Did I mention he’s a trained mechanic too?)

If you don’t have your own handyman at home though, you can still learn the skills you need to become more self-sufficient when it comes to tackling new building projects and repairing and maintaining things at home.

I’m thrilled to announce that @thehumblehandyman now has his own regular feature in each issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, where he’ll share simple steps you can take to increase your self-sufficiency by learning how to DIY all sorts of projects around your house and homestead.

In his debut feature, he shares 5 simple steps you can take this fall to help you prepare your house and homestead for the coming winter, all of which could save you time, money and effort during the season of rest.

Check out the full article in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, available now!

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But our obsession with pumpkin spice speaks to something much deeper than the flavour itself. (Let’s be honest, pumpkin spice ramen noodles sound gag-worthy).

The reason we tend to love pumpkin spice so much is because it triggers feelings of comfort and nostalgia; Memories of days spent with family at the pumpkin patch or around the Thanksgiving table. In short, pumpkin spice triggers our emotions as much as it tantalizes our taste buds.

But let’s be real, pumpkin spice Pringles ain’t it.

If you’re feeling all the fall vibes and craving a little pumpkin spice in your life right now, stick to the tried and true pumpkin spice latte, but ditch the expensive (and highly processed) commercial PSLs and make your own pumpkin spice syrup (with real pumpkin!) at home for a fraction of the cost! Keep it on hand to add to your coffees, teas and steamed milk beverages all Autumn long.

It’s super easy to make and will put pumpkin spice macaroni squarely in its place (and keep it there!)

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab the recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

#pumpkinspice #psl #pumpkinspicelatte #fallvibes #fromscratch
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I’ve been feeling pulled to slow down and retreat into my home lately; To turn off the news and social media and focus on the tangible things like lighting the wood stove, preserving the mountains of food still coming out of the garden, and slowly stirring a pot of soup as it cooks on the stovetop.

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I know I’m not the only one feeling pulled toward hearth and home. This is a heavy time for all of us. No one person is meant to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders, but I've heard from so many people lately who say that's exactly how they've been feeling.

If you read my post from a few days ago, you know I’ve been feeling like that too, but luckily, I've learned how to soothe my soul in difficult times.

And so that's what I've been doing lately...

I've been focusing on the tangible things that I can control, like cooking meals and preserving food.

I've been lingering a little longer in the morning, taking time to sit by the river or sip my coffee in front of the wood stove before hurrying on with my day.

And I've been making a conscious effort to turn off the noise of the outside world and give my family and my own emotional health my full attention.

If you've also been feeling that pull to turn off all of the noise and immerse yourself in more nourishing, productive activities, I want to tell you about a collection of resources that will help you do just that.

The Simple Living Collective’s Autumn Issue includes seasonal guides, tutorials, e-books, recipes and more to help you slow down and reconnect with what matters this season.

* Learn how to forage for healing herbs and how to make your own natural medicine

* Find new ways to celebrate old traditions, and create new seasonal traditions with your family

* Discover new seasonal recipes and crafts to do on your own or with your kids

And much more.

If this sounds like it’s exactly what you're in need of right now, check out the Simple Living Collective and get the Autumn Issue for just $25. But this issue is only available until tomorrow, so don't wait…

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab it now before it disappears 🍁
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I laid in bed the other night and couldn’t sleep.

I know that probably doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, especially considering the collective stress we’ve all been through over the past year and a half. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me.

I used to have really bad anxiety, and I made a conscious effort to learn how to manage it in (mostly) healthy, natural ways. I practice a lot of gratitude every day, and overall I’ve learned to deal with stress, anxiety and negative thoughts pretty well.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all. Aside from dealing with personal issues like our ongoing infertility/pregnancy loss journey and the every day stresses we all face, the bigger things have been feeling bigger and heavier lately; The mandates, the politics, the pushback, the arguments and attacks online, the divisiveness, and the seemingly never-ending pandemic that every single one of us is still dealing with in some capacity.

I’ve been seeing more and more calls to “choose a side.” I’ve witnessed my own close friends on both sides of the debate hurling insults at each other, defending their ground, and refusing to listen to each other’s valid points and concerns.

I’ve even witnessed a widening crack in the homesteading community, despite the fact that so many of our core values and beliefs align and are unique to us.

Despite the division, I would still argue that ALL of us have much more in common than not, and to see the divide continuing to deepen has started to get under my skin lately.

(Continued in comments…)
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