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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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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🗞 BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not always so good at sharing all of the awesome stuff I’ve got going on in life and business here on social media. When you’re a full time homesteader, business owner, editor, mom and wife, sometimes IG falls by the wayside 😬

But I just had to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and offering anyone who would like to try out my online membership program—The Society Of Self-Reliance—the opportunity to join for just $1.

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Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

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It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

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(The answer is obviously no one… No one wants that).

Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

Using an automatic chicken door has been a GAME CHANGER for us. It’s one of those lesser known homestead tools that can make all the difference, and I’m always recommending one to anyone who keeps chickens!

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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

This decision has not come easily, but there’s a season for everything, and more and more I’m feeling called to transition out of this season and into the next in both life and business.

And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you will not be charged a renewal fee going forward, and will continue to have access to the digital library until your subscription runs out. As part of your subscription, you’re able to download and/or print each issue of you like, so that you never lose access to the hundreds of articles and vast amount of information in each issue.

Rather than subscribing, you can now purchase an all-access pass for a one-time fee of just $20, which gives you access to our entire digital library of issues.

Plus, for a limited time, when you purchase an all-access pass you’ll also get a gift certificate for a second all-access pass to gift to someone else.

I’m also still taking preorders for the print version of this special edition issue, but only for a few more weeks!

When you preorder the print issue, you’ll also get a digital copy of the special edition issue (this issue only), and will receive a print copy in the mail later this year (hopefully by Christmas so long as there are no shipping delays!)

Click the link in my profile or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to check out the latest issue, purchase an all-access pass to the digital library and/or preorder the print issue today!

Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

#modernhomesteading #homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram
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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

• Grow your own groceries
• Stock your pantry
• Create a natural home
• Get prepared
• Learn other important life skills like time management for homesteaders, goal setting and how to become your own handyman

And more!

If you’ve been feeling called to level up your self-reliance skills (because let’s be honest, we’re in for a wild ride these next few years with everything going on in the world), now is the time to heed that call.

Link in profile to enroll before midnight tonight, or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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