How We’re Moving Forward After A Year Of Setbacks: Our Goals for 2019


2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I’m going to come right out and say it: 2018 was pretty much the worst year of our lives.

I’m not complaining, and I’m still very grateful for all of the good things I have in my life: A sweet, kind, smart, beautiful daughter; A hard-working, devoted husband; A beautiful new home that provides us with warmth and a roof over our heads; Family and friends who we love and who love us in return; The ability to pursue passions like homesteading and creating and building a career as a writer, and of course so much more.

But if I’m being brutally honest, 2018 was a rollercoaster with some of the lowest lows we have ever experienced (and we’ve been through some shit, pardon my French).

Topping the list for us this year was when we lost our son at 24 weeks gestation. Then we lost another baby at 8 weeks (just days after our first son was due). And finally, my husband lost his job 10 days before Christmas which really put the cherry on top.

The year started well enough, with all the hope that new years naturally bring.

At the turn of 2018, I was dedicated to focusing on making my own health and wellbeing a priority, and I made a resolution to cultivate peace in all that I did throughout the year.

While I can honestly say that getting into a mindset of peace and calm really did help me get through the many challenges we’ve faced this year, I found it almost impossible to really take care of myself and my family the way I had intended to last January. Life just seemed to take every opportunity to knock us down this year, and so my strategy by the end of the year has turned to one of survival; To do whatever we need to do to push forward and live to see another day.

But that’s just the thing: We’re still here. We still have air in our lungs and every day, every minute, every second we are given the gift of a fresh start and another chance to get things right. So that’s what we’re going to do this year. But first, let me tell you my story.

 

It All Started Last January

Just a few weeks into the new year we found out I was pregnant. We were elated! We’d been trying to get pregnant again ever since our daughter was born and were so excited to be adding to our family and giving her a sibling. But something seemed wrong from the very beginning.

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

To start, I had horrible morning sickness with our son, which I didn’t experience with our daughter. I was overly emotional and I was worried from day one that something would go wrong. I also got really sick about 5 different times with everything imaginable between January and April, thanks in part to working full time as a teacher during that period.

In the end, I had a chest cough that was so relentless and so awful in April that I ended separating some of my ribs from my spine from coughing so hard. It was the worst physical pain I have ever experienced, hands down. Worse than childbirth.

So my midwife ordered me onto sick leave from work so that I could recover and keep myself and our baby healthy, and I had to go for multiple sessions with a chiropractor to realign my back. I was almost 5 months pregnant at this time.

Meanwhile we were also in the process of buying and renovating our first home, and money was flying out of our pockets left, right and centre, so when I had to pay back half of my paycheque that I had already earned and been paid out from the last month I worked because I had to leave before the end of the school year, well let’s just say that’s where our money troubles started to snowball.

But money wasn’t our focus at that moment in time, because while all of this was happening, I was on my way for my 19-week ultrasound and was just focused on the baby growing in my belly and excited to find out the gender. We were really hoping for a boy!

But things took a turn for the worse very quickly after that ultrasound in May.

I got a call from my midwife letting me know that our baby’s legs were crossed so we were unable to determine the gender. Worse than that, she said the ultrasound technician couldn’t get a clear view of all four limbs, and while it could be nothing, it could also be something quite serious.

I went in for blood tests to test for genetic abnormalities the same day and then I sat home biting my nails while I waited for the results.

Finally I got a phone call from my midwife letting me know that all my blood tests came back normal. I was relieved to say the least, but I asked for another ultrasound anyway because I still wanted to know the gender.

Luckily I did get another ultrasound done, because we quickly learned that our baby was missing a large chunk of his lower spine and back and this had affected all of his development in the lower half all of his body, resulting in clubbed feet and complete paralyzation below the waist.

The perinatal specialist we saw couldn’t even diagnose our little one because he said that he had never seen a case quite like ours in his 30+ years working in the field. He did, however, make sure we knew very clearly what we were up against. There was no good outcome from this point forward, and after many, many tears and phone calls to family and friends, we decided the best, most compassionate thing to do was to terminate the pregnancy and spare our child a lifetime of physical and emotional pain and suffering.

I gave birth to our stillborn son on June 15. We named him Phoenix Rain: Phoenix to rise from the ashes and rain for the sadness that washed over us when we lost him.

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

Read More: On Losing A Child – A Birth Story About Love, Loss & A Heartbreaking Choice

I was sure at this time that we had endured the worst that 2018 had to throw at us, but the challenges only continued from there.

As we worked to convert our garage at our new home into a laneway house to rent out to help out with the mortgage (a condition of our mortgage, which was now eating up the better part of our single income), we were met with red tape and thousands of dollars of extra expenses at every turn.

The building was literally one centimetre too close to the edge of the property which cost us extra to sort out and have it resurveyed. And we were literally one minute too far from the fire department, which is now going to cost us a few thousand dollars extra to re-side the building in fireproof siding.

These are just two of many examples, but let’s just say that we still haven’t finished that laneway house and we are way over budget because of doing it the legal way and getting all the right permits (which we’ve quickly learned is why most people around here build illegally if they’re not planing on selling). But we’re still determined to do it the right way, so here we are.

 

Related: Home & Garden Tour 2018: Our 1/4-Acre Rancher

 

Then, back in early September, we got the happy news that we were pregnant again! I felt in my heart that it was meant to be, and I even convinced myself that Phoenix was truly an angel who had been holding space for this new baby until it was ready to be conceived.

All somehow felt right with the world again, and we pushed forward with a positive attitude despite the trying year we had had up until then. Until…

In early October, four days after Phoenix was due, I miscarried and lost that baby too.

I took the miscarriage pretty hard after having already lost a baby just months before. So my husband encouraged me to go for counselling. After all, his work insurance plan covered it.

I found a counselling service that sounded great. They incorporated yoga and meditation into their counselling, and this seemed like just what I needed. And while it was great while it lasted, I was shocked when, after making it very clear multiple times that I needed a receipt to submit to insurance (which was guaranteed on their website), my counsellor turned out to not be registered and I was now on the hook for $400 worth of counselling fees that I couldn’t afford.

After a week of fighting and getting all of my legal documents in a row, the owner admitted their fault and refunded our money. It was a struggle, but I was happy to finally get a win after experiencing so much loss and financial headaches throughout this year.

And then, the next day, my husband went off to work in the morning as he usually did and returned home just 45 minutes later with news that he had been let go.

A new manager had started at the hardware store where he worked in October and had already let a number of people go. Still, we were shocked and dismayed that he was being let go just 10 days before Christmas with no other reason from the manager other than that he is “going in a different direction.”

Ryan managed three departments at the store and brought in over a million dollars for the company in the last year alone. He had started in one department and was promoted to managing all three (flooring, kitchens and appliances) about a year ago. He also received a good raise when that happened which is what allowed me to stay home with my daughter after our son died and work on building my blog and -hopefully someday soon- my business. So being let go for seemingly no reason right before what was already a difficult Christmas was definitely a shock, and being given only two weeks of severance pay means that as of yesterday (Dec. 28) we have no more steady income coming in.

Luckily, thanks to his vacation pay, we have a few thousand dollars to help us get by until the end of February if we are extremely careful and don’t stray from our very strict budget at all, but needless to say we are ending 2018 on a stressful note and we are definitely ready for this year to be over.

 

All Dark Clouds Have A Silver Lining

As hard as this past year has been though, and as terrifyingly uncertain as our future seems right now, we are hopeful and excited and, most importantly, more determined than ever to make 2019 the year that we rise above the hardships and achieve all of our goals.

Because if this year has taught me anything, it’s that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I actually have a quote written on my whiteboard in my office. I can’t remember who said it, but it says that “storms make trees take deeper roots.” I have it written in big, bold writing to remind myself to stand tall and grounded, well-rooted but also flexible like a tree in a storm. And if we can just make it through, the storm will eventually pass.

 

Related: Thoughts On the Seasons Of Life

 

I’ve also been visualizing wave after wave headed straight for me, and then I dive under the water as the waves barrel over top of me, the way surfers do when they’re trying to get past the surf. This, some focused breathing and remembering my original resolution to cultivate peace in 2018 has really been helping me to keep going even when all seems hopeless. I know that if I just keep pushing forward, even when I’m exhausted and want to give up, eventually I’ll be able to relax in calmer waters. Things will start to get easier, eventually. They just have to if we work hard enough, right? Isn’t that the American dream we all believe in?

But right now we’re in the storm, and there seem to be rogue waves heading straight for us every time we pop up long enough to catch our breath. And so we have a choice to make: Keep fighting or give up and drown.

On the bright side, all of the challenges we’ve faced together have actually brought Ryan and I closer together, and they’ve forced us to become stronger and more resourceful and self-reliant because we’ve had to be.

I’m also more grateful than ever for our daughter and for our close family and friends who have been there to support us (because we all need love and community, especially during hard times).

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

And finally, I’m grateful for for all of the good things in our life, including all of the food and provisions we put up earlier in the year that are helping to carry us through hard times. In fact, in some ways I feel like I’ve been preparing for this exact situation we’ve found ourselves in, and I’m so thankful now more than ever that we do things like grow and put up food to last us into the winter, or to sit on our shelves for emergencies just like this. It certainly helps to ease the financial burden when you’ve got a well-stocked pantry!

And, at the end of the day, I know that despite everything else, sticking together as a family is the most important thing.

That being said, I am determined to keep a roof -this roof- over our heads this year if it’s the last thing we do. We’ve worked too hard to get this home and to turn it into a beautiful space. It’s been our sanctuary through all of the turmoil and quite honestly, I’ll be damned if we don’t hold onto it with everything we’ve got.

 

Where We Go From Here

The misfortunes of 2018 have lit a fire under our butts that is going to make us unstoppable in 2019, because now our backs are against a wall and we have no choice but to rise above it all. Well, I guess we could lay down and give up…

I could quit writing and blogging about homesteading (something that has yet to pay a full-time income, but that motivates me to get up and work hard every single day because I LOVE what I’m doing). I could go back to my underpaid, under-appreciated teacher job or back to waitressing at a local bar to make ends meet.

Ryan could find a mediocre job in our little town that helps us pay the bills (nothing that compares to what he was doing is even available at the moment).

I could go forward fearing future pregnancies and continuing to put my own health and wellbeing on the back burner as I continue to go through my days anxious, exhausted, gaining weight and feeling more and more uncomfortable as the stress and overwhelm continues to mount.

And then we could lose our jobs again and any sense of security we had left would be gone once more.

But no. Not this time. We are more determined than ever to hit the ground running in 2019, and to push forward no matter what life throws at us. We want more than ever to become as self-sufficient as possible, and that means we want to earn our own way through life through doing work that truly inspires us and that we can’t get fired, laid off or put on sick leave from, because we’ve both decided to go into business for ourselves.

Isn’t that the strange truth? Back in the day, you got a job working for someone else because there was more security in that than there was working for yourself. Today it seems the opposite is true in many cases.

So one of our big, HUGE goals for 2019 is to forge ahead with our own businesses. I’ve always loved writing and have dreamed of writing books since I was a little girl, so I’ve decided there’s no better time than now to grab that dream and go for it. I’ve already got a plan for my first ebook and will be going hard to get it together over the next month or so. I’ve scheduled time every single day to work on it, because I owe it to myself to see that goal through.

And I want to build this little blog into a full-time income-earning business. I did the numbers yesterday, and I lost about $1,500 building and running this blog last year. But I’m going into my third year now and I feel momentum picking up. Yes, this year will be different. This is the year I make this little blog of mine help to pay our bills, because I simply won’t accept the alternative. Not when this is what I feel called so deeply to do.

I know in my heart that I was called to write. Why? I’m not completely sure of that yet. But I know I was gifted with this ability so that I could use it for good, and I’m going to do that any way that I can. Even if it’s just sharing recipes and helping others to learn new skills and hoping that maybe someday someone else will benefit from the wisdom I’m able to share about the big life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

As for Ryan, he’s felt under-appreciated working for other people for a long time, and this is finally the push he needed to go out on his own. He’s already got a business plan to start a handyman service (something he’s wanted to do for years), and with the skill set and natural talent he has in his hands, the tools in his work shed and the business know-how from years working as a manager in the building industry, he has all the right stuff to make it work.

Still, it’s terrifying to be without an income while we push forward with our dreams with no guarantee we’ll make enough to cover our mortgage payments by the time our savings run out. But the upside to weathering the storms that we have is that we know we are strong and have what it takes to make our dreams come true if we just dig in and stay laser focused. And to trust our journey, because I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason, and that this is but a chapter in the story of our lives.

That being said, I decided to make some other HUGE goals for 2019, because this is the year we go big or go home!

 

Other Goals for 2019

Aside from writing a book, turning my humble little blog into a full time business, getting through the hard times and keeping up with our mortgage payments AND paying off all of our non-mortgage debt by December 2019, aside from all those lofty, perhaps even overambitious goals, I have also made a goal of losing 50 pounds and getting back down to my pre-baby weight.

I’ve struggled with my weight ever since our first daughter was born, but the pregnancies, losses and stress of 2018 really did a number on how I feel in my own skin. I’m tired, overweight and some days, quite honestly, I feel like I’m 100 years old. I can definitely see and feel the toll that the last few years (2018 in particular) have taken on my physical body, and since I’m determined not to allow life’s misfortunes to rob me of my spirit, I’ve decided I’m not going to let them rob me of my health either.

 

Related: Cultivating Peace & Other New Year’s Resolutions

 

As you probably know, I’m a huge advocate of eating real, whole, healthy, from-scratch organic foods, so I can’t exactly cut out many processed foods (although I’m not perfect and I do grab a burger or a processed freezer meal here and there). But I do have a weak spot for dairy, sugar and carbs that I need to get in check this coming year.

My focus when it comes to food is to choose more fruits and veggies and less breads, sweets and creamy sauces. Of course, with our financial situation, I also need to keep our grocery bill to a minimum, so I’ll be focusing on frugal but healthy meals heading into the new year (with a few little indulgences here and there;)

Fitness is where the real changes need to be made. I haven’t committed to a regular fitness routine since I was seeing a personal trainer and was in the best shape ever before we got married over 4 years ago. Life got busy immediately after we tied the knot and blocking out time every week to exercise ceased to be a priority.

But I know that it’s important now more than ever to get back into shape and work hard to shed fat, gain muscle and strengthen my mind and body through the discipline of scheduled workouts and sticking to a healthy eating plan. Not only is this the year that we’ve decided we are going to crush our goals no matter what, but with so little security in our lives and no extended health insurance through an employer anymore, the last thing we need is to get sick or injure. That could be the nail in our coffin! So it’s important to stay on top of our health right now.

As we forge ahead, determined to make our own way and to continue down the path of self-sufficiency, I recognize that taking full responsibility for my own health and fitness is perhaps the most important thing I can do to become more self-reliant and better able to care for my family. That and creating a source of income out of a business I’ve had the privilege to build with my own hands from the ground up; One that I can never get let go from because I am my own boss. Ha!

And that’s what I say to life. Ha! You thought you had us. You knocked us to our knees more than once this year alone, and you may very well knock us down again. But every time we get knocked down, we will get back up again and work even harder.

That famous quote from Rocky keeps playing over and over again in my head:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

This is the year we will win. This is the year we redefine what it means to be self-sufficient in today’s world. This is the year we create a life we love on our own terms. This is the year that we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! 

Yes, we have lofty, terrifyingly huge goals for 2019. But as one blogger I follow often says, “if your goals don’t scare you, they’re probably not big enough.”

I hope that this is the year that you set big scary goals for yourself too. I hope that, if nothing else, my words have inspired you to get up and commit to keep moving forward, no matter how hard you get hit, no matter how many times you get knocked down.

This is the year we get up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward no matter what. Because that’s how winning is done.

Will you join me?

What are your goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. Maybe we even have similar goals! Drop me a note in the comments to let me know what you’re working towards in 2019.

Wishing you health, wealth and new beginnings,

I'm a modern homesteader on a mission to transform our house into a safe, sustainable, self-reliant sanctuary and to help you create, grow and live a good life by transforming your house into a thriving homestead too!

 

 

 

 


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8 Comments

  1. Danni

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve just found your site (via EBA) and am really loving it.

    This post especially really hit home for me. I’ve lost 2 of my own and know the pain that brings and 2019 for us was just as painful as that, albeit in different ways. The big takeout for me was knowing that although it’s hard, keeping optimistic and looking after ourselves (especially as women and mothers) is vitally important to our own well-being, as well as that of the families we support. I actually just summed that up when talking about our last (and not very fabulous 2019 year).

    If you are interested it would be great if you had a chance to check it out here: http://www.thedailyauthentic.com/why-you-need-to-be-the-most-important-person-in-your-life/

    I truly hope your 2020 year brings you and your family every success (and also for me!).

    Looking forward to learning more from you!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Danni,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your babies:( I agree though: attitude is everything. We can’t control everything or choose everything that happens to us, but we can choose how to react and how to move forward.

      All the best for 2020. I’ll definitely check out your blog:)

      Anna

      Reply
  2. Angharad

    Awe girl, I’m so sorry for your families loss. Sending you love & best of luck for this years goals from New Zealand. Angharad xx

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks Angharad,,

      We’re just going through a rough patch. I know things will get better soon (I hope!) It can be difficult and disheartening when you work really hard and still it seems that everything falls apart. But I believe with all my being that everything happens for a reason and I have faith that things will all work out and then we’ll look back at this time in our lives and actually be thankful for what came out of it.

      All the best,
      Anna

      Reply
  3. Jane Allan

    Anna you and Ryan really had a horrid 2018. I am praying that 2019 is so much better for you.
    I understand how the miscarriage can bring you down. You were carrying a little life and then you’re not. You weren’t showing that you were pregnant and many people just dont understand your grief. You didn’t have anything to hold to grieve over. I have never had to make the decision you made for little Pheonix but I have had miscarriages. I was able to get pregnant very easily but I found it hard to keep the baby. I know the trepidation that you feel when you first get pregnant again. I wish you a wonderful pregnancy in 2019, with a precious child waiting to be welcomed by a Mummy, Daddy and big sister, who will love it completely.

    May 2019 bring you joy and happiness. May it bring you success in your business goal and endeavours. Much love to you all.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I’m some ways, the miscarriage was even harder than losing our son before. At least when we lost him we had lots of support and family and nurses and doctors around. When I miscarried I was all alone aside from my husband, who came home from work just as it was happening. It has been a trying year to say the least, but I know that this too shall pass.

      To a better 2019 for all of us. It’s time.

      Anna

      Reply
  4. Jess

    As usual, your post hits close to home.
    My heart breaks for you, Ana, but it also sings your praises. You are strong and resilient.
    Our goals this year are to save save save. My husband, too, wants to go into business for himself, however, we have the luxury of planning for it. We are also working to grow our food production in our yard. Pending we don’t have any bonkers medical issues this year (last years was breaking up a feral cat fight with my dogs which sent me to the hospital for rabies treatment, resulting in close to 3k in medical bills.) We will be putting in shade beds, fruit trees, and a Pizza Garden for my little guy. I’ll also be getting a rhubarb plant from a friend so I can drown myself in rhubarb-a-que sauce 😉 and just in general being more self sufficient and budget conscious.
    My personal goals are to focus more on myself. I’ve struggled with anxiety since Jack was born(right around the time your little girl was born) and I struggle to love myself. I’ve gained so much weight and it just keeps going. Makes it hard.
    I’d also like to re-learn to sew! And maybe crochet…but I’ve been saying that for the last 2 years so….
    Happy new year ana! Good riddance to 2018!
    Xox
    Jess

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Awe, thanks Jess. You know, I actually feel that the crappy things that happen to us in life are actually blessings. They’re the things that force us to learn and grow and show ourselves what we’re made of. I’m actually really truly grateful for everything we’ve been through because I believe with all of my being that it’s part of a bigger story that’s just not finished yet. We still get to decide how it ends.
      That is so awesome that you’ve got such ambitious goals for the new year! I always say that if you shoot for the moon, even if you kiss you’ll land among the stars.
      Set the bar high. It’s definitely not easy (especially with young children and debt and extra weight… I know all about all of those things). But it is possible. And that’s all that matters.
      All the best for 2019.
      Anna

      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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When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

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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:)

(Continued in comments…)
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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

One of the ways we make sure our chickens are taken care of is by letting them free range during the day, but making sure they’re locked up and safe from predators at night. But who wants to be up at the crack of dawn to open the coop, or wake up to a bloodbath because you forgot to close the coop the night before?

(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!

This chicken door from @chickcozy_ is so easy to install and use too, and right now you can get one for a steal during their Black Friday sale!

Save over $40 off an automatic chicken door, plus use my coupon code for an ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT!

Don’t forget to check out their chicken coop heaters too, which are also on sale right now:)

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for the perfect gift for the chicken lover who has everything (which might also be yourself;) the @chickcozy_ automatic chicken door is one Christmas gift that won’t soon be forgotten!

Comment “Chicken” below for more info and to get my exclusive coupon code! 🐓

#chicken #chickens #chickendoor #chickcozyautodoor #chickcozy #chickensofinstagram #chickensofig #chickenlover #homesteadlife
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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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There are so many reasons to grow your own food at home:

💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
🍴 Healthier than conventionally grown food
🔑 increases your overall food security
🫙 Gives you an abundance to preserve and share

But perhaps the number one reason is because it just tastes better!

Not only does food taste better when it’s freshly picked or allowed to ripen on the vine, there’s something about putting in the work to grow something from a tiny seed and then getting to see it on your dinner plate that just makes it so much more satisfying than anything you’ll ever buy from the store.

Plus, having to wait all year for fresh tomatoes or strawberries or zucchinis to be in season makes that short period when they’re available just that much more exciting!

With the world spinning out of control and food prices continuing to rise, it’s no wonder more people are taking an interest in learning to grow their own food at home. But that also means changing our relationship with food and learning to appreciate the work that goes into producing it and the natural seasonality of organically grown fruits and vegetables.

(It also means learning to preserve it so you can make the most of it and enjoy homegrown food all year long).

In my online membership program, The Society of Self-Reliance, you’ll learn how to grow your own food, from seed to harvest, as well as how to preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor all year long!

You’ll also learn how to grow and craft your own herbal medicine, detox your home, become your own handyman, and so much more (because self-reliance is about more than just the food that we eat… But that’s a pretty good place to start!)

The doors to the Society are now open for a limited time only. Click the link in my profile or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#foodsecurity #homegrownfood #homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homegrownfoodjusttastesbetter
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If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

When I first launched this online membership program last year, my goal was to create a one-stop resource where members could go to learn and practice every aspect of self-reliance, as well as a space to connect with other like-minded people pursuing the same goal. And that’s exactly what you’ll get when you join!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn inside the Society:

🌱 Food Security and Self-Sufficiency: Learn the art of growing and preserving your own food, ensuring you and your loved ones have access to nutritious meals year-round.

🌿 Natural Living and Herbal Medicine Mastery: Discover the secrets to creating a low-tox home and and to growing, making and using herbal remedies to support your family’s health, naturally.

🔨 Essential Life Skills: Learn essential life skills like time management, effective goal setting and practical DIY skills to become more self-sufficient.

As a member, you’ll enjoy:

📚 Monthly Video Lessons: Gain access to our ever-growing library of video lessons, with fresh content added each month.

📞 Live Group Coaching Calls: Participate in our monthly live group coaching calls, where we deep dive into a different self-reliance topic every month, and do live demonstrations and Q&A’s.

🏡 Private Community: Join our private community forum where you can ask questions, share your progress, and connect with like-minded individuals.

I only open the doors to The Society once or twice each year, but right now, for one week only, you can become a member for just $20/month (or $200/year).

In today’s world, self-reliance is no longer a luxury, a “cute hobby,” it’s a necessity. Join us inside The Society of Self-Reliance and empower yourself with the skills you need to thrive in the new world!

Link in profile or visit thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#selfreliance #selfreliant #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #sustainableliving #modernhomesteading #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

(Continued in comments…)
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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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#houseandhomestead
#momentsofcalm
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#simplepleasuresoflife
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