The Principles of Permaculture: How to Make Permaculture Work For You

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Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.Permaculture. It’s been a buzz word in the garden world for a while now, but what exactly does it mean?

I’ve been curious about permaculture for a while now, but I’ve struggled to understand how permaculture really works in the garden. To be fair, it’s a simple enough philosophy, but one with many complex layers, principles and interpretations. In other words, it’s not easily explained.

That being said, I’m going to do my best to break it down in a way that most people can understand and apply. To help me do that, I turned to my friend Jesse Bowen who has studied permaculture in depth and applied it to his own thriving garden. 

Jesse first became interested in permaculture when he began researching eco building and natural homes. 

“I originally started thinking about all this permaculture stuff after I was researching eco building and I wanted to build cob homes. My friend had built a straw bale house with posts and beams and a green roof and all of that seemed interesting to me, so I wanted to learn about that. But they were always talking about permaculture at the same time as eco building,” said Jesse.

As he began to discover how closely related eco building and permaculture were, Jesse decided to enroll in an online permaculture design course. As he studied the principles from start to finish, he began implementing his new found knowledge on his own property and now has a thriving, largely self-sustaining garden to show for it.


So, what is permaculture?

“Permaculture is about getting the most amount of function and benefit for the least amount of work.” – Jesse Bowen

Permaculture comes from the root words ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture.’ This rightly suggests that permaculture has a lot to do with developing agricultural systems that, once established, continue to regenerate and produce year after year without having to replant or needing a lot of tending to. In essence, it’s the practice of setting up a farm, garden and/or homestead that is by and large self-sustaining once the initial work of setting it up is done.

This is appealing for many reasons, not the least of which is that traditional gardens, quite frankly, take a lot of work to maintain. Imagine planting your garden once and then rarely worrying about weeding, watering or resowing seeds, and yet still getting a massive harvest at the end of each season. This is sort of what permaculture aims to do. 

While annuals do very much have a place in permaculture, the more perennials you can plant and relationships you can create between your plants (and animals), the less work it will be for you in the long run.

Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.

Jesse Bowen shows off the stairs he built out of old tires. One of the principles of permaculture is to “produce no waste,” which means repurposing old things to create something new like Jesse’s done here.

“[Permaculture] is about getting the most amount of function and benefit for the least amount of work,” Jesse explained. 

I think of it like this: I’m a teacher, and as a teacher, I know that in order to make the whole year run smoothly, it’s incredibly important to establish systems, routines and expectations up front during the first few weeks of school. This is when students learn what is expected of them, what behaviour is acceptable and how to transition from one activity to another easily without wasting time. 

Once these systems and routines are established, they become habit and students start following them automatically. The teacher does not need to spend any more time on this stuff and can instead concentrate on academics and other teaching-related duties. However, if the teacher does not take the time to establish clear routines and expectations up front (and remain consistent), the whole year will be a struggle just trying to get students to behave, pay attention and do their work.

In the same way, permaculture is all about establishing intentional, clear systems up front, in and around one’s garden, homestead, property and even the larger community. These systems should be set up with the intention that once they are established, they will be self-sustaining so the gardener/homesteader can focus on other things like expanding the garden, adding new livestock or learning new skills instead of constantly struggling to keep up with maintaining what’s already there.

But what does that look like? 


How do you establish a self-sustaining garden? Where should you begin?

“The first step is observation. That’s where you start,” said Jesse.

“Then if you’re just patient, and you look at something and try to understand what it is or what it wants or what it needs, then you can work with nature and just try to do it the easy way.” 

This could mean observing where the sun hits your property at different times of day. What areas of your property get better drainage? What areas are hotter or cooler than others? Which native plant species are already growing on your property and where are they growing? What is the soil like? Discovering, creating and utilizing microclimates is a big part of permaculture. 


What’s a microclimate?

A microclimate, in short, is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a small space on your property that has it’s own climate within the much larger climate or gardening zone that you live in. So for example, you might have one area on your property that gets direct sun all day, and another that stays shaded most of the day.

You might also have a hilly area that gets very good drainage and stays fairly dry, as well as a water feature such as a pond or a creek. Maybe the area close to the pond has sandier soil while the soil in another part of your property is more loamy. Each of these areas has its very own microclimate within the larger climate of where you live, and different plants will do better in different microclimates depending on what they need to survive and thrive.

If you can, take the time to just observe your property for a full year (4 seasons) before planting anything. By taking the time to observe and take notes on what grows and happens naturally on your property at each time of year, you’ll be better equipped to make smart decisions about where to plant what in your garden when it comes time.

Permaculture is all about working with nature, not against it. So it makes sense that, through observation, you can learn what your area already provides naturally and you can begin to harness that energy to help create a thriving garden instead of working against it and struggling to keep a garden alive.

So for example, if you are looking to grow plants that do best in a cooler, wetter climate, you would plant those plants in an area of your property that remains moist and shaded throughout much of the day instead of planting them in direct sunlight and then struggling to keep them watered every day. Likewise, if you are growing something like tomatoes that need full sun, you would plant them in the area that gets the most direct sunlight, not next to the large trees that shade out the sun for half the day. 

Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.

A greenhouse is just one way to create a warm microclimate on your property.

You can also create your own microclimates, which we will talk about a bit further down. Using a greenhouse is one popular way to create a warm microclimate on your property.


The ethics, principles and design of permaculture

While we often think of permaculture as being directly related to agriculture, it is actually more of a design concept than an agrarian one. 

Permaculture design can be applied to everything from our gardens to our homes to our communities and even ourselves. It’s all based on a code of ethics that can be applied to everything we do and how we do it.


Permaculture is based on 3 main ethical standards: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share

Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.

Earth Care is all about making sure that our actions improve (or at least maintain) the earth and the natural environment. So for example, when it comes to gardening that means we are using organic methods to make the land more productive and diverse and steering clear of herbicides, pesticides and GMOs.

In the home, Earth Care could mean using natural cleaning products and practicing good habits like turning lights and taps off when we’re not using them. In the community Earth Care could mean walking or cycling instead of driving or picking up litter.

People Care is all about making sure the needs of the people around us are met in sustainable, self-sufficient ways. Feeding ourselves, our families and our community members with the food that we grow is one way of caring for people, but it is certainly not the only way.

Fair Share is all about taking only our fair share. In other words, take only what you need from nature and allow renewable resources time to regenerate. Cut down on consumption and waste as much as possible and harness the power of natural energy from sun, wind, rain and biomass instead of relying on the grid to support all of your activities.


The 12 principles of permaculture

One of the founders of modern permaculture, David Holmgren came up with 12 key principles of permaculture that fit within the realm of the 3 main ethics discussed above. These 12 principles are sort of like the 12 steps of permaculture: If you do each one of them in order, you will succeed at setting up a permaculture system on your property and in your life.

Without going into too much detail, the 12 steps are as follows:

1. Observe and Interact with Nature 

Observe the land and the systems that are already functioning naturally to help you decide how to make these natural systems work for you.

2. Catch and Store Energy 

Collect natural forms of energy when and where they are available to use when needed (ie. collect rainwater in the wet months for irrigation in the dry months, chop wood in the summer to heat your home in the winter, etc.)

3. Obtain a Yield

All plants (and most animals) should serve a purpose on a homestead. Try not to plant purely ornamental plants or to have animals that are just pets (although pets are wonderful!). Instead, plant plants that will produce a yield of something you can eat or use in some way (like herbs or flowers for medicine or trees for wood). And keep livestock for food, or if you do have pets, perhaps they can do double duty. For example, we have a pet rabbit but we use his waste as manure. Perhaps you have dogs that could help herd other livestock or cats who could control the rodent population.

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4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback

Be conscious of what and how much you consume. Reflect on your consumption patterns and make adjustments where necessary. Always assess and reassess what is and isn’t working and make necessary adjustments.

5. Use and Value Renewable Resources 

Try to use resources that are renewable over those that aren’t (ie. using wood fuel over oil). Don’t take too much, use only your fair share and allow these resources the time to regenerate.

6. Produce No Waste

While it is difficult not to produce any waste at all, try to make use of the waste you do create (ie. use grey water to irrigate, repurpose old packaging, fix old tools, compost, etc.)

7. Design From Patterns to Details

Be intentional with the way you design your garden, homestead and property. Observe first and then design your property to take advantage of the naturally occurring systems already in place. (ie. you can create microclimates on your property where ones don’t exist by taking advantage of what already does exist. So for example, you could construct a pond at the bottom of a hill where runoff will naturally filter down and collect).

8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate

Set things up to work together and benefit each other. Companion planting is a great example. Instead of segregating crops and making them susceptible to pests and disease, planting different mutually beneficial crops together will help them to take care of each other without you having to take care of them on your own.

9. Use Small and Slow Solutions

Focus on establishing plants and systems that take time to set up and produce up front, but will produce massive yields later on. For example, fruit and nut tree trees take a long time to start producing, but once they do, they produce abundant harvests year after year with little to no input.

10. Use and Value Land Diversity 

Plant lots of different crops. Plant the same crops in different areas (microclimates) on your property. If one system fails, chances are others will succeed.

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11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Utilize as much of the space on your property as you can. The edges of your property are great for planting fruit-producing shrubs and bramble or trees for harvesting wood. Don’t neglect or overlook the far corners of your property.

12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Climate and geography can change. Our climate is currently changing on a massive scale, and this can affect small-scale changes on our properties. Or perhaps a system you set up has some unintended consequences, like maybe certain trees you planted have made the nearby soil more acidic. Find a way to adapt to the changes instead of fight them. Grow things that thrive in your new environments. Start at square one again. Observe and then design. Always work with nature, never against her.

For a more comprehensive understanding of these 12 principles of permaculture, check out David Holmgren’s book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.


Permaculture Design and Zones

So we now know about the ethics and principles that guide permaculture design, but what is permaculture design exactly? What does it look like?

Jesse explained how permaculture is based on the design of a spiral, and each part of the spiral (from the centre outward) makes up a different zone.

“[Permaculture] tries to get the most amount of function and benefit for the least amount of work. That’s why you work on a system of zones, and that’s the way you think about things in permaculture,” said Jesse.

Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.

Here Jesse stands at “Zone 0” with his wife, Virginia and their daughter Bronwyn. Your house is the first zone at the centre of your permaculture spiral on your property. From there it spirals out into other zones and keeps going out into the community and beyond.

Zone 1

“For Zone 1, you want your herbs, lettuce… you know, a little kitchen garden somewhere close. You could have pots on your deck or whatever and that’s all zone 1,” said Jesse.

Zone 2

“You’d probably put your chickens in Zone 2. You might do some animals or raised beds or other gardens you need to go work in so they’re not too far away.”

Zone 3 

“Zone 3, you might have a pasture area for sheep or goats or something, or just let it go to meadow or some natural thing that you don’t have to take care of much… Maybe a food forest.

“Food forests are kind of a permaculture word for ‘establishing things that don’t take a lot of maintenance or work together.’ Companion planting, things that come back every year or self-seed… Things like that. [This way] you can go and harvest from it but you don’t have to spend a lot of time in it. Get your fruit trees in zone 3,” he explains.

Zone 4

“Depending on how big your property is, Zone 4 might be like the back trail in the woods [around] your property. [For us] it’s the trail and the beach that’s a 5-minute walk away.”

Zone 5

“Zone 5 is probably the grocery stores and stuff in my community where I can go and get stuff.

“[Permaculture] is about [spiralling] out from your centre of what your designing for (or whom you’re designing for). Spirals are a natural system. Everything grows in spirals in nature, or at least a lot of things do.”

Zone 6, 7, 8, 9 and so on…

As is the nature of a spiral, the zones could keep going forever, and that’s sort of the point. You want to start at ground zero (Zone 0) and then work your way out. Once you’ve set up Zone 0 and then Zone 1 to work for you, then focus on designing Zone 2, 3, 4, etc.

If Zone 5 is your community, Zone 6 might be the city or region where your community lies. Zone 7 might be the state or province. Zone 8 might be the country, and so on. There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes what zones. The spiral can be applied anywhere, even to an individual person (your consciousness being Zone 0, your thinking mind being Zone 1, your physical body being Zone 2, your environment being Zone 3, etc. It’s sort of up for interpretation.


The spiral effect

Spirals are the basis of all design in permaculture because spirals are a recurring design element found in all facets of nature from flowers to forests and flora to fauna.

It all has to do with some pretty fancy mathematics involving the Phi Ratio (Golden Ratio) and the Fibonacci Sequence. As fascinating as I find all of this, it is certainly not my area of expertise, so I won’t bother trying to elaborate here. But I highly recommend doing some independent research to learn more about the mathematics of nature as it is indeed quite interesting and enlightening!

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What’s important here is that we understand that permaculture is intentionally based on the spiral design for good reason. And we can incorporate the spiral design in our own gardens. Jesse did just that with his herb spiral, which is often the first project a permaculture practitioner takes on in his garden. (A permaculture gateway drug of sorts!)

“For my herb spiral I just put in all the things that I would like to be able to pick and eat for my kitchen,” said Jesse.

“The spiral I built up so I could get different levels and everything will be pickable because it’s only a 6-foot diameter circle. So I can reach the middle from any side. And you get little different microclimates within the herb spiral because some will get more sun, some will be more protected from the wind so you can put things where they’ll be most comfortable. So you can read up on whatever you’re trying to plant and then pick the spot where it would do best.”

In this sense, the herb spiral makes perfect sense: It follows the spiral design found in nature, it creates and makes use of different microclimates, it makes things accessible, produces a yield and fits the Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share ethics model.

Find out how to apply the principles of permaculture to your own garden, homestead and life. Learn the ethics and design principles behind permaculture design and see how you can benefit from permaculture in your own backyard.

Jesse’s prized herb spiral. An herb spiral is one of the first garden projects many permaculture enthusiasts attempt. It incorporates many aspects of permaculture, including creating microclimates, easy access to a diverse yield of crops, integration and companion planting and, of course, the spiral design.

Jesse also made use of other materials he found on his property to create his spiral, which made use of natural systems already in place and cut down on his consumption and waste production.

“So this was really cheap to build. I used chopped up maplewood as the base, so I actually used Hügelkultur, which is basically rotting wood mounds that you put dirt on and then grow on. As [the wood] decomposes it’s gonna feed the plants and the pile will just keep nourishing itself with rotting wood. Because the centre’s built up higher, all the centre has the wood in it to build it up so I didn’t have to spend so much money on compost and soil and manure and stuff that I mixed and put in.

“I just had rounds [of maplewood] and I just stacked the rounds in as tightly as I could, and then I just put peat moss all over it and mulched up leaves that I had collected that were all fungus-y (which is really good because it gets a micro-biome going in the soil). Everything I planted in here did really well,” he said.

“I built [my herb spiral] out of wood that I had trimmed from a hedge next to it. It was a Laurel hedge and I was reading up on it and laurel supposedly has cyanide in it and I was a little bit worried about poisoning my plants with cyanide. But now I think it’s totally fine. It’s better to just try something than to worry about it and do nothing. If worst comes to worst at least you’ll learn something.”


Try something new

“It’s better to just try something than to worry about it and do nothing.”

At first it might seem as if permaculture is a complex and complicated design process that is vague and unspecific at the same time. Indeed, it is all of these things. But at its core it is actually quite simple: Permaculture is based on the same designs found in nature, and aims to work with nature rather than against it to create a self-sustaining garden, homestead and lifestyle that benefits both the people that depend on it and the earth and ecosystem(s) around it.

To begin practicing permaculture in your own life, start by keeping the 3 main ethics in mind and make sure that you constantly reflect and reassess to make sure your actions and your design planning adhere to these ethics. 

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From there, follow the 12 steps laid out in David Holmgren’s book. Start by observing. Think longterm and don’t rush the process.

But don’t wait forever to start either. It may seem daunting at first, but as they say, all great journeys begin with a single step. And permaculture may just be one of the most noble journeys one can embark on in our time.

At the end of the day, it can’t hurt to give it a try. Maybe permaculture won’t inform your every decision or dictate how you live every minute of your life. But maybe it will make some aspects of life just a little bit easier, better and more fruitful for you, for your family, for your community, for the planet.

As Jesse said, “it’s better to just try something than to worry about it and do nothing. If worst comes to worst at least you’ll learn something.” 

What can permaculture teach you?







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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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We’re officially halfway through the pantry challenge and we’re into the “messy middle.” This is the point in the challenge when it can start to feel like a bit of a slog, and even if you’re not doing the pantry challenge, you may still be feeling the slog as we hit the mid-January mark, so to spice things up, I’m offering a pretty massive giveaway...

A chance to win FREE ENROLLMENT into not one, but BOTH of my online courses!

That’s right! If you win, you get full access to my entire Seed to Soil organic gardening course AND my Yes, You CAN! home canning course, so you can (re) fill your pantry with healthy, delicious, homegrown and homemade food!

Plus, you’ll also get a one-year, membership-level subscription to Modern Homesteading Magazine with unlimited access to all current and past issues to help keep you motivated and inspired on your homesteading journey.


So, how to enter??

1. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram.

2. Like and save this post.

3. Tag a friend who you think would also like to enter or who would like to take their gardening/homesteading to the next level this year! (Every person you tag = another entry to win!)

4. *5 BONUS ENTRIES: Share this post to your IG Stories for an additional 5 bonus entries!


The contest is open to anybody anywhere and will run from now until Midnight PST on Monday night and the winner will be announced this Tuesday at 9am PST.

Let’s make the absolute best of 2021 in our gardens and homes, no matter what else this year brings ❤️

Well, it was no small task, but I FINALLY got everything in my pantry inventoried, organized and put away.

I wanted to share my process with you too, so if you’re interested in getting a full tour of our pantry and seeing how I organize things, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and check it out on YouTube!

P.S. I know you’re not supposed to stack canning jars as having multiple heavy rows stacked on top of each other can compromise the seal of the jars on the bottom. I avoid stacking when possible, but due to the style of our pantry I have made the conscious choice to stack one row (max) on top of the bottom and always make sure to stack jars of equal or lesser weight on top. And yes, we do have plans to add more shelves soon. Just a disclaimer since I’m sure I’ll get more comments about it;)

Also, be sure to leave a comment and let me know about any pantry organization hacks you use! I’m always looking to improve our system:)
#homesteadpantrychallenge #homesteadpantry #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity #pantrychallenge #pantrygoals

Finally got around to taking EVERYTHING out of the pantry today and now getting ready to take inventory.

When everything is buried in the pantry, it can be so easy to forget what you have. That’s why I always recommend taking everything out when starting a pantry challenge so you know exactly what you’ve got. I was feeling like we hadn’t preserved enough food this year to get us through the month, but now that I see everything, I’ve got all sorts of creative ideas for how to use up the abundance of food that we have.

I’m also finding things I didn’t know I had, seeing what I have more than enough of and finding gaps in my food storage. This is one of my favourite reasons for doing a pantry challenge: it’s an excuse to pull everything out and actually see what we’ve got so we know what we’re working with.

In order to keep everything organized, I also created printable pantry, fridge and freezer inventory sheets where I can record everything I’ve got (so it doesn’t get lost at the back of our very deep pantry again). If you wanna grab these printables, along with my weekly meal planning sheet, homestead pantry checklist, pantry substitutions chart and 31 Days of Dinner Ideas cheat sheet, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and sign up for the Homestead Pantry Challenge and I’ll send everything to your inbox:)

Alright, back at it. Wish me luck!

Have you started organizing your pantry yet??
#homesteadpantrychallenge #pantrygoals #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity

🌱 One of the things I get asked the most during the #homesteadpantrychallenge is what we do for fresh veggies. Now, I much prefer to eat seasonally, which means eating the veggies that we preserved over the summer and fall during the winter. But I do start to miss my fresh greens by the time January rolls around.

Sure, I could grow some salad greens over the winter months, but that would require a level of organization that I frankly haven’t reached yet. And quite honestly, I don’t love going out to the garden in the middle of winter due to the torrential rain, swampy mud and frigid temps we get here in the PNW. No no, I’m a little too lazy and disorganized for all that! I’d much rather plant seeds a few days before I want to harvest them and do it all from the comfort of my kitchen during the nasty weather season.

And so, I turn to microgreens to provide me and my fam with fresh greens this time of year. They’re not only packed with nutrients (said to be higher in nutrients than their full grown counterparts!), they can be grown on your countertop and are ready to harvest in just a few days!

Not to mention, they taste delicious and look beautiful! I made this cheesy pasta dish topped with broccoli microgreens for dinner and the microgreens (which are just the seedling version of the full grown plant) tasted just like broccoli. Plus, the purple and green colours take an otherwise kinda boring dish and make it pop💥

I get all of my microgreens from @trueleafmarket, one of the sponsors of this month’s pantry challenge, as well as the current issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

To enter to win your own self-watering microgreens growing kit from True Leaf Market, be sure to join in the Homestead Pantry Challenge on Instagram, and to learn more about microgreens AND score yourself a sweet 10% discount off all True Leaf products, make sure you’re subscribed to Modern Homesteading Magazine (discount code is in the magazine and in the delivery email).

If you’re not yet subscribed, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and subscribe for free!

What’s your go-to source for fresh greens in the winter??

Well, we made it. It’s hard to believe that 2020 is finally behind us, but here we are, at the dawn of a new year; A fresh page and a new chapter.

This past year has been one for the history books for sure, and it most definitely has not all been good. But it hasn’t been all bad either. Us humans have a tendency to focus on the bad. It’s a survival tool that’s hard-wired into our brains to be on the lookout for danger. So we have to make a conscious choice to see the good in bad situations; To find what we can control and cling to it in a sea of things that we cannot control and, therefore, must let go of.

But with a new year comes a symbolic chance to let those things go and to move forward with hope and determination. No matter what’s scrolled on the pages of the past, the future has yet to be written.

As we enter 2021, I encourage you to remember that those things that were out of our control last year are still out of our control this year. They always have been, and always will be. But what is in our control are our thoughts and actions; How we choose to see and react to the world and to each other.

My hope is that we can begin to leave the past behind us and choose to see the world in a new light. In the Universe there is no good and bad. Everything just is. We assign the value.

I also hope that we begin to see each other as fellow travellers on the same journey, and to treat each other with equal respect, no matter our skin colour, gender, political or religious beliefs.
Finally I hope that the trend of people taking an interest in modern homesteading and taking action toward living a more sustainable, self-sufficient life continues long after COVID is behind us. As a whole, I think this was one of the best things to come out of this past year; A bright silver lining on a dark cloud.
There’s no way to know for sure what 2021 has in store for us, but I know that if we enter into this next chapter with open minds and hearts, along with a willingness to step up and take charge of the things in life that we can control while committing to let go of the rest, well then 2021 will be a good year no matter what.
To a new year and a fresh start 🥂

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

Time for the 2021 Homestead Pantry Challenge to begin!!!

Every year in January, I like to challenge myself to eat only what I've managed to store away throughout the year and avoid the grocery store at all costs. And after the year we’ve just had, many of us are doing our best to avoid the grocery store already. Plus, with the financial impacts of lockdowns and the fragility of our global supply chain, saving a few bucks and taking steps to become more self-sufficient are top of mind for a lot of people right now.

Needless to say, a pantry challenge might be just what you need right about now to reign in your spending, put your resourcefulness, kitchen skills and creativity to the test, increase your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependence on the grocery store and on people and systems that are outside of your control.

Kicking things off with a fun pantry challenge can help you to start the new year off on the right foot and gain momentum and motivation that will help get you moving in the right direction and take control over your food supply right off the bat so that you set yourself up for success in 2021, regardless of what unexpected surprises it may bring.

This year's Homestead Pantry Challenge is even bigger and better than before too, with some exciting prizes up for grabs, including a @lodgecastiron skillet, a self-watering micro greens growing kit from @trueleafmarket and an 8-quart Duo Nova Instant Pot!!!

🥫To join in and enter to win, post photos or videos of your pantry, your meal planning, your meals, etc. during the pantry challenge and use the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge in the caption. Every post equals one entry:)

🎞 You can also post in your stories using the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge and tagging me @thehouseandhomestead for additional entries!

I'm SO pumped about this year's challenge and I really REALLY hope you'll join me!

The challenge officially begins on January 1st and runs until January 31st, but you can sign up via my link in bio @thehouseandhomestead and get all the details before we begin!

Merry Christmas friends!

While this year, and subsequently this Christmas has been anything but normal, and while we weren’t able to be with our extended families this year , I hope you’ve been able to find peace and joy this season, and to enjoy slower, more intimate moments at home with your immediate family.

Now that the big day has come and (almost) gone, it’s time to slow down, to rest deeply and recharge for the year to come. Nobody knows what 2021 will bring, but after the year that was 2020, we’ve proven to ourselves just how resilient we can be. And that is one of the greatest gifts of all. (Well, that and this accidentally inappropriate ornament we got to commemorate a year that will forever live in infamy;)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night ❤️

Cranberry sauce is a holiday tradition, but if you’ve ever had store-bought cranberry sauce out of a tin, then you probably know how unappetizing it can be.

From the “glurp” sound that it makes as it slides out of the tin and into the bowl, to the way the jelly stays formed in the shape of the tin even after it’s out, to the bland boringness of the flavour.

No offence to anyone who loves commercially canned cranberry sauce, but even if you love the store-bought stuff, then you’re definitely gonna love homemade cranberry sauce!

I know a lot of people put orange juice or orange zest in their cranberry sauce, and you can totally do that too! But I’m actually not a fan of the orange-cranberry mix, so my recipe calls for a little cinnamon and vanilla, as well as some sugar to give it a sweet spiciness that goes oh so well with Christmas dinner.

But perhaps the best part is that you’re able to can this cranberry sauce too, which means you can make a big batch this year and have enough homemade cranberry sauce on your shelves to last you multiple holiday seasons! Or you could even give some away to loved ones with whom you’re not able to spend Christmas with this year.

Whether you want to can it for later or eat it fresh or just refrigerate it until Christmas, this recipe is a must-try this holiday season.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get my full recipe plus canning instructions:)
#homemade #fromscratch #christmasrecipes #cranberrysauce #delicious

Look at that JIGGLE!!!

If you don’t make your own bone broth, this might look really weird (and kinda gross tbh), but this is actually EXACTLY what you wanna see in a homemade bone broth. This jiggly gel means this broth is super high in collagen, which comes from the bones, skin and ligaments of animals (in this case grass-fed beef cattle). It’s also the most abundant protein in the human body, and many studies have show that increasing our collagen intake can help up the collagen in our own bodies.

Collagen has so many health and beauty benefits, including healthy skin (and reduced wrinkles), shiny, healthy hair and strong bones, cartilage, joints and muscles.

I love making my own broth at home because I can pretty much guarantee a good gel and lots of collagen in each batch. Plus I make mine super frugally, with bones and veggie scraps that I save in the freezer.

I’ll be posting my recipe (and canning instructions) soon. Start saving those scraps!
#bonebroth #collagen #nourish #wholefoodnutrition #homesteadkitchen

After 9 long months of extreme hand washing and sanitizing, the last thing our skin needs right now is the harshness of winter. But winter is here my friends, and that means it’s time to give your skin a little extra TLC.

I make my own body butter every year around this time, and it’s become my favourite way to moisturize my skin during the winter months. Much like a deep conditioner works on your hair, body butter absorbs deeply into your skin to help moisturize, repair and protect it.

While lotions contain water (aqua), they also requires additional preservatives to keep them from going moldy due to the water content. But this homemade whipped body butter doesn’t have this problem because it’s made of nourishing oils and fats like shea butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil (plus beneficial essential oils for all-natural fragrance). These oils are not only all-natural and highly beneficial for your skin, they’re also easily absorbed, giving your skin a “deep conditioning” rather than just a surface moisturizing.

But the best part of all is how quick and easy this body butter is to make up in your kitchen, and what a nice gift it makes this time of year too! So you can make a jar for yourself and a few jars for the people you love:)

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to to get the full recipe and “whip up” a batch today;)
#bodybutter #naturalbeauty #naturalliving #skindeep #homemade #handmade #naturalskincare

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for my FAVOURITE THINGS!!! 🎉🎁🎄(aka. The modern homesteader’s Christmas wish list;)

I’ve rounded up all of my fave kitchen tools, books and home and body products that I use all the time and could not live without (ok, I could live without them, but I wouldn’t want to!) and I’m sharing them all with you in this week’s YouTube video!

Grab a mug of something warm (or a glass of something chilled) and come on in for a tour of all the goods!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to for all the latest videos:)

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