2018 Home & Garden Tour Part 2: Our ¼-Acre Rancher


This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseIf you’ve been following us along for a while, you probably already know that we recently moved from our original house and homestead to our brand spankin’ new one! It’s super exciting for us because this is the first house we’ve actually bought and owned. And it’s also the first place Ryan and I have ever lived together that was completely empty when we moved in.

In the past we’ve always rented places that were full of furniture and other people’s items. Our last house (which I take you on a tour of here) was a 100-year-old farmhouse that had never been home to anyone outside of the family who originally built it. Built in 1914, it was passed down through the generations and accumulated literal tons of stuff over the decades: heavy old vintage furniture and decor pieces, old books and magazines and tools and Mason jars and all sorts of other things already filled the house when we moved in 3 years ago.

Before that, we lived in our suburban condo on the outskirts of Vancouver: a condo that we rented from my family when my grandmother moved out and into a home. And so that house, too, was already full of dining room sets and buffets, desks and side tables, clocks and dressers and bags and bags of stuff my grandma had seemingly bought, stored away and forgot about. (Plus a massive jewelry box full of Shopping Channel jewelry… I’m sure I’m not the only one with a grandma who had one of those;)

And before that we lived in Australia together, first on our friends’ couch, then in a tent, then in a more permanent tent on a concrete slab, then in a cockroach-infested double wide trailer, and finally in an old Victorian rooming house with about 4 or 5 other people.

Oh, and did I mention that we used to live in Vancouver where a basic single family home on a tiny plot of land costs upwards of a million dollars?

So ya, we were pretty stoked to get this place! Houses are still not cheap where we live, but they’re much cheaper than the city. And we’re making it work by converting our garage into a coach house to rent out.

 

The Grand Tour

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This was the original photo on the listing for this house. See that big ol’ fenced garden in the front? It was love at first sight:)

The entire process, from making an offer on the house to actually moving in, took roughly 6 or 7 months. And we still have a lot of work to do on the place (right now the push is on to get the coach house done and get a renter in before Christmas). But we managed to renovate the interior from top to bottom, luckily because Ryan works as a manager for a building supply store and is incredibly handy, so we were able to renovate for about a quarter of the price it would normally cost.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This is the garage we’re converting into a coach house. It will serve as a rental suite to help us supplement our mortgage payments. As homesteaders, we’re always thinking about how our property can help provide for us!

The land itself needs some work. But that’s gonna need to wait until spring. The bones are good though, and although we are moving from a one-acre property to a ¼-acre plot of land, our new, smaller space actually has a lot more garden potential than the last place which was mostly lawn (which we didn’t exactly have the authority to tear up).

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

A view of the backyard. A greenhouse adds to the ample outdoor garden space at the front of the house.

The garden space was a huge selling point for us -especially for me- when we were looking at places. There’s a massive fenced garden in the front of the house where we get the most sun (and the most deer, hence the fencing).

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

There’s also a big established greenhouse with a giant raised bed in the backyard, plus lots of spaces around the house and property where we plan to grow our herbs, rhubarb, berries, flowers and other things of that nature.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

We’ve got three huge rhubarb plants already as well as blackberries, red currants and a few different types of herbs. Plus an established hazelnut tree that we just recently discovered!

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

We also have a tool shed -which is an absolute necessity for Ryan- a lean-to which will act as our garden/potting shed and space outback to build another shed to house our seasonal items like outdoor cushions, summer toys, sleds and wagons.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

Beside the tool shed, Ryan built a rabbit pen for our pet rabbit, whom we may or may not breed for meat rabbits in the future, depending on various factors.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This big boy’s our pet though. We adopted him from a shelter that took him in when he was abandoned in a cage outside of the hospital in our old hometown. I have a slight(ly intense) Alice in Wonderland obsession, so when I saw a giant white rabbit up for adoption a few years ago, I just had to.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

We also have two lovely indoor kitties. And one day when we have our forever property, we’ll have lots of barn cats and I will eventually become a crazy cat, chicken, goat, rabbit and duck lady. But for now I’m just going to work on our gardens on this little ¼-acre plot:)

Now for the inside of the house…

 

Come On In!

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

The house is a 3-bedroom rancher, not much bigger than the condo where we lived in the city. This is ironic since I used to say that I loved our condo so much that if I could have picked it up and put it on a piece of land in the country, I would have happily lived there for years to come.

We also have a two-year-old daughter, Evelyn, and did have another baby on the way. Phoenix was due to be born just a couple weeks from now, but we lost him back in June. It’s been hard to look at the third bedroom knowing it was meant for him. One day it will belong to another little babe that we’ll welcome into our lives when the time is right. 

But my point to bringing up our children, is that I absolutely love that it’s a small rancher because I don’t have to put up baby gates or worry about stairs, and it takes way less time to clean up the kid-made mess at the end of the day.

So just like the gardens, the bones of the house itself were just what we were looking for. Basically, we lucked out big time. Oh ya, and the best part is that it’s on a cul-de-sac at the end of a no-thru road that backs onto a forest. Our old place was right on the busiest highway between the two nearest towns, so we are beyond grateful to be enjoying the peace and quiet at our new place.

But not everything was awesome right from the get-go. The interior needed some serious work to get it to where we wanted it to be. 

We took out a bathroom, removed part of a wall, re-floored and re-painted the entire place, redid the kitchen from top to bottom, shiplapped the master bedroom, built a custom built-in theatre system in our living room and took out the massive fireplace that took up what felt like ¼ of the living room (we’ll soon be putting in a wood stove I scored for FREE off of a local buy and sell page!) 

Here are some before and after photos of the inside…

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

The kitchen was one of the nicest areas of the house. The doors and cabinets were solid pine and the general layout of the kitchen was great for folks like me who do a lot of cooking, preserving and prep work in the kitchen. The skylight, sliding glass door and window over the kitchen sink make this a naturally bright space in the house.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseIn the end we decided to overhaul the kitchen and dining room anyway. We went with all white cabinets and countertops, white subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and a new stainless steel farm sink, replaced the light fixtures and painted the walls a subtle sage green colour.This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseThis is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseThis is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

As I write this, Ryan is installing the hardware on our cabinets: black rod iron handles to match our black rod iron look faucet (which looks amazing with our farm sink if I do say so myself;)

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

I’m so excited to finally have a window over the kitchen sink! I spend enough time here doing dishes that a window is a major bonus, and one I’ve never had before. It’s the simple things in life:)

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseThe fireplace that was here was large and intrusive. It took up a good portion of the already small living room. This was one of the first things to go when we bought the place. We have yet to put in our new wood stove, but I can’t wait to heat our house with wood this winter!

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseRyan built this floor-to-ceiling built-in home entertainment unit for us. The corner beside it is where that old fireplace was. The tile and wood stove is going in soon!This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseThis space apparently used to be a garage that the previous owners had closed in. It was total bonus space, but it was pretty segregated from the rest of the house and would have just ended up being a magnet for storage and clutter. So we opened up the wall between this room and the living room and turned it into an office for me. Now I have an awesome space to work on my blog without interruption!This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

Lol. Just kidding. It’s just one more space for my child to drive me crazy while I’m trying to get work done:)

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseYou can see the doorway we cut to connect the living room to the new office space in the background. There’s much more of a flow in the house now that the rooms aren’t so cut off from each other.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouseAfter doing laundry in a spidery basement for the past 3 years (and sharing a laundry room before that) I was over-the-moon about having an actual laundry room in this house. I figured I might even enjoy doing laundry now!

So far that has not proven to be true. But I do enjoy it a heck of a lot more than I used to.

That extra bathroom in the corner though? That had to go. We only need one bathroom, but we have definitely learned we need more storage space. So we pulled out that bathroom and put in storage shelves and a laundry sink. This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse
It’s a bit of a mess at the moment. But it’s a great place to store all of my canning jars as well as our canners and dehydrator.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

The bedrooms are pretty basic. This first pic is of the master bedroom, and trust me, there was nothing special about it! But we made it more inviting by redoing the floors, painting the walls dark grey, installing white shiplap on the back wall and putting in soft mood lighting. Ryan says it’s like a cozy cave now. I agree:)

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

Yes, that’s my child watching Peppa Pig in our bed while I take photos. Otherwise said photos would have just been picture of toys spread all over the house. All the mamas out there, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

This bedroom (which is now Evelyn’s room) had perhaps the ugliest carpet I have ever seen. But we took care of that too:)This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

There is literally always a tea party happening in here.This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

There were no closet doors on any of the bedroom closets either, so we added mirrored doors to make the rooms look bigger. This last bedroom was intended for our son. It will one day fulfill its purpose as a nursery.This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

For now it’s just a spare room for storage and such.

 

Y’all Come Back Now!

This is our 1/4-acre property that we're turning into a homestead and real modern farmhouse. Come along fora home & garden tour and watch the transformation! #hometour #farmhousetour #homesteading #modernfarmhouse

So that’s pretty much the tour of the whole house (save for the bathroom, which is pretty standard too and which we never bothered renovating because we were using it to shower while living in the old house without a shower. Read more about that in Part 1 of this post).

Next year we plan to go hard on the gardens and outdoor area, but for now we’re busy with finishing touches, with getting the coach house up and running and with finishing renovations on the old place. As well as getting rid of about half of everything we own so we can fit comfortably in this house without all of the unnecessary clutter!

I’m so honoured to have had the opportunity to open my doors to you at last, and to share in the next leg of our journey with you. 

While this isn’t intended to be our forever home, it suits us just fine right now and I’m very excited to turn it into a small but mighty functioning homestead over the coming years. And I’m even more excited to share the transformation with you every step of the way.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

The House & Homestead

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

3 Comments

  1. Lynda Lu Gibb

    I have been blessed watching the changes you have experienced while living in our “back yard”.Although I am very happy for you and your family to have your first home , watching your excitement , and disappointments along the way as well, it selfishly saddens me that we won’t be on the frontlines anymore.. I hope we will be able to stay connected and I think we will.. but it just won’t be the same..Enjoy this “season’ OF YOUR LIVES..as you already have stated firsts only happen once!

    Reply
  2. Gretchen

    Anna, I am happy for your new home! Wishing you all the wonderful blessings of a home of your own.
    I am in the last weeks of a three+ year renovation/restoration of a 1910 2700 sq. ft. farmhouse. The house was originally built w/no indoor bathroom… but it did come with a three-seater outhouse ?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Oh wow! Congratulations on being almost finished! The old place we lived in also was built without indoor plumbing and they added a bathroom on later on. The brick chimney in the kitchen was the original chimney but they built an addition to accommodate the bathroom, hence why it’s now indoors. It really was a funky house, but we’re super excited to own our own place now and have total control over what we do with it:)

      Reply

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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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Fermenting adds beneficial bacteria, increases the nutritional value and adds a distinct (and acquired) flavour to foods.

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Pressure canning, on the other hand, allows you to have jars of food ready to serve and eat at a moment’s notice. It’s great to hand on hand during an emergency, but it also serves as practical, every day food that you and your family will actually eat.

Whether it’s a busy weeknight and you have no time to cook, you’ve got unexpected company or you find yourself in the middle of an emergency or power outage, having jars of healthy, homemade food –including full meals– on hand always comes in handy.

Angi and I sat down to chat about the many benefits of pressure canning, and about her brand new book Pressure Canning For Beginners And Beyond in an interview for the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine (out now).

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:)

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Let me know in the comments below!👇
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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.

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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

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

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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!

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

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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?)

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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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