2019 Spring Home and Garden Tour


Saturday night. I’m enjoying a cup of homegrown chamomile tea and a piece of my daughter’s leftover Easter chocolate. The scent of fresh-cut lilacs wafts through the house, mingling with the lavender, lemon and rosemary essential oils I’ve got going in the diffuser, and the rhubarb I’ve got drying in the dehydrator.

Jars of dandelions and pine tips are filling up on my countertop, the rabbits are eating fresh greens every day from the abundance of weeds that are everywhere right now, and our garden is just about ready to take off. Ah yes, this is spring.

We’ve had a lot going on around our little homestead-in-the-making this spring, and I must admit I’ve been totally neglecting this blog because there’s been so much that I’ve needed to devote attention to lately. 

First of all, after a year of hard work and bad fortune, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve finally finished the coach house we’ve been building and will have a renter joining us on our property in just a couple days. My dear husband converted the garage that was here when we bought our place into a fully functioning tiny home, and although it took more time, money and red tape than I ever thought possible, we did it and we now have a separate legal suite on our property, which is great news for our finances and for our overall goal of self-sufficiency.

Part of our vision for our homestead is for it to be as self-sustaining as possible. Of course, this involves the usual things like producing our own food and personal items, but it also means being able to earn an income off of our land. We’re now doing that in part by renting out a piece of that land. So this is another step forward when it comes to our self-sufficiency and sustainability goals.

We also finally got our garden put in. In just over a week we’ve took a garden space that had been neglected for over a decade and turned it into a flourishing vegetable garden that is already full of seedlings and getting fuller every day. 

Needless to say, we’ve been a little busy. But it’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish on this property in just over a year. So I figured now would be a great time to open up our door (and our garden gate) once more and invite you in for a little spring home and garden tour!

2019 Spring Home & Garden Tour

Last year I invited you into our home for the first time. We had just moved in and had pretty much transformed the interior of the house. You can check out the original post here to see before and after pics.

I was going to wait until the one-year anniversary of that post to write a follow-up, but we’re at such a milestone right now that it seemed crazy not to share with you what we’ve been up to (and why I haven’t written quite as much as I’d have liked to lately).

So come in, won’t you? Grab a drink and stay for a while. Follow me on a little tour of our house and homestead in the making. I hope it inspires you to continue making your house a homestead too, wherever you are:)

Come in, come in!!!

Interior living room photo

Our front door opens directly into our living room, which opens to our dining room and kitchen, so as soon as you cross the threshold, you’re in the heart of our home. I wasn’t sure that I’d like this at first, and we had planned on building a pony wall in between the door and where the couch is, but in the end I’m glad we didn’t. One of my favourite things about this little house is how open and inviting it is. 

Spring living room and wood stove

The wood stove lays dormant in the spring and summer. But there’s no better time for a princess tea party!

I don’t talk much about our actual living space on this blog because the focus is primarily on the usual homesteady stuff like growing vegetables and using herbs and making things from scratch. But I believe making a welcoming, comfortable home is just as much a part of homesteading as growing an abundant garden.

Vases of lilacs and bluebells on a shelf

Let’s face it, homesteaders tend to spend most of their time, um, at home. We tend to value our home lives and want to make it a place that nourishes our families’ minds, bodies and souls. One way we can do that is to make our environment, both inside and outside the home, a place that comforts, soothes and inspires.

Sleeping cat

While the living room is a cozy place to chill out in the warm spring sunshine, the kitchen is where the real magic happens…

Modern homestead kitchen

Because the kitchen is the true heart of the home for any homesteader. Even if you don’t have a garden, chances are you have a kitchen, and there is really no limit to what you can create from scratch in just about any kitchen.

Modern homestead kitchen

Whether in our current house, our old rental or our city condo, one common thread is that in the spring, jars of all kinds begin to pile up on the countertop. Jars of dried herbs and dandelion buds. Jars of kombucha and sourdough starter. And the very first Mason jars of home preserved food mark the beginning of canning season.

Mason jars of rhubarb juice on the counter

Rhubarb juice is the very first thing I’ve canned so far this year. Click here to get the recipe.

I want our home to be my favourite place to be, because I spend about 90 per cent of my time here. I want to want to be here, and I want my family to enjoy being here as much as I do.

Dining room

I want our home to foster curiosity, creativity and play for our daughter, whether she’s outside catching butterflies or inside playing tea party with her dolls. 

Doll tea partyI want it to be a space where we want to live and enjoy each other’s company and the bounty that our land and home provides, even if that does mean the kitchen sink usually looks like this on the best of days…

Dirty dishes in the sinkBut that’s okay, because it’s just another sign of the life that exists here on our little homestead:)

Let’s head outside…

Spring tulips

Our backyard is like a little piece of paradise. While it does get a lot of sun throughout the day, it’s nice and shaded, which is already a blessing in the record-breaking spring heat that we’ve this year. I know it will be my favourite refuge to go and chill out and enjoy a cocktail during the intense heat of the summer.

Outdoor seating area

Like every other space on this property, we have big plans for our backyard. Eventually we want to move the overgrown rhododendron bush, build a deck (those little stones are not fun for bare feet!), re-seed the grass, pull out the poisonous laurel tree in the back corner and build a playhouse for our daughter. Oh ya, and mow the lawn one of these days… (Can you see those dandelions that have gone to seed in the background??)

But for now, I love it just the way it is <3

Bumblebee on a rhododendron flowers
Smelling the flowers

Cat peeking through the tall grassBehind our sitting area is our rabbit pen.

Rabbit pen

While I would love to have some meat animals one day, these rabbits are our pets. We adopted our male rabbit (whom we simply call “Bunny”) years ago from a rescue who found him dumped in a cage in front of the hospital. I’ve always had a mild obsession with Alice in Wonderland, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a large white rabbit to our family!

We let our rabbits “free range” in the spring when the weather gets nice.

We got him a girlfriend for Christmas and they totally love each other and snuggle all the time. We named her Jessica Rabbit… Because she’s fancy.

Spring bunnies in their penAround the corner is our greenhouse, a small backyard garden bed with a rhubarb plant and our sugar snap peas and a planter box full of garlic. 

Inside the greenhouse

SeedlingsPeas & rhubarb
Homegrown garlic patchOh, and our homemade rain barrel, which has been working like a charm! 

Homemade rain barrel

Learn how to make your own homemade rain barrel out of a few simple and inexpensive materials.

Onto the front of the house…

The large driveway in front of our house is home to the garage-turned-coach-house that I mentioned earlier on. This is what it looked like before…

Garage before being remodelledAnd this is what it looks like now…

Coach house in the driveway

Come take a tour before our renter moves in!Coach house kitchen

We were very intentional with how we designed this small, 365 square foot space. Because we were converting a garage, we had to work with the foundation we had. But in the end, I think we really made the most of it!

Coach house kitchen

We wanted it to feel as big and bright as possible, so we went with finishes like white shiplap and a tongue and groove pine ceiling that helps lengthen the room.

Coach house hallway

Luckily I have an incredibly handy husband who can build just about anything, so we were able to get this done for a fraction of what it would have cost us if we had to hire people to do all the work. 

This rental unit is a huge asset to us and our property, and will help bring us one step closer to self-sufficiency by creating a source of income from our property.

Coach house bathroom

Serious props to my hubby Ryan for taking on this project and seeing every detail through to the end. Having a skilled handyman around is another huge asset, and I am grateful every day for mine<3

And finally, the garden!

We were really lucky when we bought this place that it already had a large fenced garden area in the front of the house where we get the most sun. However, the garden had been left to go wild for more than a decade, and so we had our work cut out for us this spring as we scrambled to turn this area into a functioning garden space before our hundreds of seedlings burst out of their tiny pots.

This is what it looked like when we started…

Overgrown garden

Beautiful, in a very “Secret Garden” sort of way, but totally not usable.  

Of course, we’ve had big dreams for this space since day one. Our ultimate goal is to build raised beds to ward off the aggressive horsetail weeds that grow wildly in our area. 

But that will have to wait, because this year the priority was just getting our plants in the ground. And I’m proud to say that in jut over a week, we turned that crazy, overgrown space into a fully functioning garden space.

Spring vegetable garden We created a few simple in-ground rows for our annuals, our perennials (raspberries, blueberries and asparagus) will go in around the front, and we’ll have a pumpkin patch in the far corner. 

Spring vegetable garden

We tore out everything from this space to make way for the garden beds, including about 5 tonnes of rocks and mini boulders, another huge and unkempt rhododendron bush, an invasive blackberry vine and a rhubarb plant so massive that its roots looked like tree roots and and it looked like it had been around since the days of the dinosaurs. Luckily we’ve got two more rhubarb plants on our property.

Red currant bush

We did leave the red currant bush. Last year we were too busy and it was so overgrown I could barely get to the currents to pick them. But this year I intend to make some jelly or cordial with the berries. I’ve never used currants before, so feel free to drop your favourite currant recipes in the comments!

We’ll also be putting in a medicinal/pollinator flower garden, a nice sitting area and a new 3-bin composter soon. But for now, I’m happy to sit on an old, wobbly, driftwood bench, listen to the birdsong and marvel at my perfect row of broccoli on a warm spring evening in the garden.

Glass of wine on the garden benchFor me, this is pure bliss.

There’s no place like home

Home provides for us in so many ways. It is the shelter that keeps us safe, warm and comforted, the garden and kitchen that keeps us fed and well, and the space where we live, love, laugh, cry and take our stand in this crazy world.

Creating a home (and certainly a homestead) requires work every single day. You really do get out what you put in. But over the past year, we’ve proven to ourselves that the effort we’ve put in each day really does add up, and the harder you work, the faster you reap the rewards.

Not only have we managed to turn this house into a small but very functional homestead in a single year, but the process of doing so has helped us to further develop the grit, determination and resourcefulness that it takes to live this lifestyle we’re so passionate about. And it’s proven that when you have a dream AND you make a plan to actually achieve that dream AND you take consistent action in the direction of that dream, then nothing can stop you.

That’s what we did. And now that we can look back and see how far we’ve come, I know for a fact that we’ll be able to make all of our dreams a reality. 

And we’ll do it all from the best place on Earth: home.

Because personally, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Elderberry syrup has gained popularity in recent years as a natural but powerful herbal remedy, particularly for treating colds and flu. After all,...

read more

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a total sucker for pumpkin spice. Call me #basic, but it’s the truth. In fact, I’m all about everything fall:...

read more

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 YouTube.com/thehouseandhomestead for all the latest videos:)
...

I’ve wanted to learn how to forage for wild mushrooms for years but have always either missed the season, been too busy or just couldn’t find anyone to take me out and show me the ropes. (Mushroom hunters are known for being a little tight-lipped about sharing their spots;)

Well, today I finally got out with a guide and found my very first Chanterelle all by myself!!

This sort of thing might seem like no big deal to most people, but for those of us with an insatiable appetite for learning new skills, it’s a milestone moment.

There’s still an endless list of skills I want to learn and projects I want to tackle. The thing I love most about the homesteading lifestyle is that there is literally always something new to learn!

I don’t expect to ever learn all the things I want to learn, but I know that even when I’m in the latter season of my life, I’ll still have an insatiable appetite to keep learning until it’s my time to leave this Earth.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much land or experience you have. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner (who’s not afraid to get your hands dirty), then you have what it takes to be a homesteader too;)

Super pumped for tonight’s dinner of wild mushroom risotto and a celebratory glass of Chardonnay :)

What skill(s) do you want to learn next?
.
.
.
#wildmushrooms #mushrooms #chanterelles #foraging #wildfood #wildfoodlove
...

It’s November, and that means we’re about to head into cold and flu season (hello, some of us are already there 🙋🏻‍♀️)

Add in a global pandemic, and we could be in for a rough ride these next few months 🦠

I spent some time the other day whipping up a few homemade herbal remedies that we’ll be relying on all winter long to help boost our immunity and keep our whole family as healthy as possible. I thought you might like to join me in my kitchen as I show you how easy it is to make your own herbal medicine at home, and talk more about how we stay healthy the all-natural way (and how you can too!

More specifically, I’ll be showing you how to make your own elderberry syrup, rose hip syrup and fire cider with simple ingredients and directions that anyone can recreate. (Seriously, no special skills are required to become your own live-in natural medicine pharmacist;)

Head on over and click the link in my profile or go to https://youtu.be/Rli1LqxHbg8 to check out the full video and start stocking your natural home medicine cabinet before it’s too late!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
...

I remember the distinct taste of the cherry-flavoured medicine I used to take when I got sick as a kid. I also remember the weird chemical aftertaste it left in my mouth (because the “natural” cherry flavour is really just added to cough syrups to mask the taste of the synthetic drugs they contain.)

Contrast that with the smooth, natural flavour of homemade elderberry syrup, made with organic elderberries, fresh ginger, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and raw honey, and the difference is like night and day! I would even put this stuff on my pancakes (and technically I could). That’s definitely a no-no for the cherry-flavoured pharmaceuticals.

But not only does homemade elderberry syrup taste better than the OTC (over-the-counter) stuff, it WORKS just as well to relieve cold and flu symptoms too! Actually, it might even work better!!

This is because, if used regularly, elderberry syrup can help you to stay healthy by building up your immunity and warding off illness in the first place, and if you do get sick, the antiviral, anti microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties in this elderberry syrup recipe will help you feel better and support faster healing rather than just relieving symptoms.

Oh, and by making your own elderberry syrup at home instead of buying it by the bottle at your local health food store, you’ll also save yourself a buttload of money. (And that also helps to relieve a little suffering;)

To learn how to make your own all-natural elderberry syrup at home, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-elderberry-syrup-recipe/ to get the full recipe!

P.S. It’s stupidly easy to make too, so no special skills are required to make your own batch;)
...

Just a reminder, there are only a few hours left to get your free Wellness Sampler Set from @planttherapy essential oils, which includes my very favourite Germ Fighter blend plus two more must-have oils to keep on hand this cold and flu season.

All you have to do is purchase the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle by midnight tonight and you’ll not only get almost 95% off the entire bundle, you’ll also get this set of three 10ml. essential oils (a $22.95 value) completely free! (Just pay shipping).

Head over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to learn more and get your bundle and your FREE Wellness Sampler Set now!

(Seriously, do it. You’ll be glad you did;)
...

If there was ever a year to be more diligent about taking care of ourselves and our families during the winter months, this would probably be that year.

That's why my focus right now (and every year around this time) is on stocking my home medicine cabinet with germ-fighting essential oils and herbal remedies of all kinds. And it’s why I’ve been encouraging you to do the same!

But in order to use herbs and essential oils safely and effectively, you need to know HOW to use them safely and effectively.

As with anything, you can find a lot of free info online, but how much of that information can you really trust? Wouldn't it be even better to have your own little library of reliable natural remedies right at your fingertips - especially one that's been created and curated by trusted aromatherapists and herbalists?

Well look no further, because the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle is back due to popular demand for the 5th year in a row!

Here's a quick breakdown of what's included in this year's bundle:

—> 17 eBooks with recipes for simple herbal remedies for cold and flu season, herbal teas for winter health, making your own spa products, DIY herbal gifts for men, essential oil DIYs for the home and much more.

—> 12 eCourses on how to make your own herbal preparations, use echinacea to ward off colds and flu during the winter months, create your own healthy, herbal sweets, increase your energy the all-natural way and more!

—> 6 printables and workbooks to help you plan your own herb garden, organize your essential oils, deepen your herbal knowledge and, you guessed it, more, more, more!

Best of all, you can get all 35 resources (valued at over $650) for just $37! But only for the next five days. After that this bundle goes back into the vault until next year.

If you wanna get your hands on this amazing library of resources, head on over to my profile and click the link in my bio to check it out.

Plus, if you order your bundle by tomorrow night, you’ll also get a free set of three essential oils from @planttherapy (the only brand of essential oils I use in our home).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get yours or learn more!
...

Lest we forget.

Democracy is fragile. We must never become complacent or take it for granted.

Remembering all those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom today.
...

🌿 It’s no big news that we’re headed into what could be a particularly bad cold and flu season this year.

Between COVID cases going up along with our stress levels about everything that 2020 has brought with it, we would all be wise to practice a little more self care right now, which includes getting our stress levels under control, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, getting adequate sleep and boosting our immunity and overall health naturally.

To help with this, we turn to herbs and essential oils in addition to practicing a healthy, natural lifestyle. And you’ll often find me on here encouraging you to do the same.

Natural medicine, when used correctly, helps to support all of the organs and functions of our body so that we are less susceptible to sickness and disease should it get in our bodies. While it can be used for acute conditions, it’s best when used preventatively, so if you haven’t yet, now is the time to start whipping up some homemade herbal remedies to start using before we get too deep into the season, and to have on hand if and when illness strikes.

My affiliate partners @ultimate_bundles put together an eBook with 54 herbal (and oily) recipes that you can easily make at home to help boost immunity, treat illness, promote sleep and relaxation, improve complexion and keep dangerous synthetic chemicals out of your home and body.

It’s totally free to grab it right now but it’s only available for free until tonight at midnight.

👉 Grab your copy by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead.

And if you’re also looking for some new essential oils to add to your home apothecary, remember to use coupon code HOME15 on your next @planttherapy order to get 15% off your entire order (only until the end of November).

Take care of yourselves and stay well everybody! ❤️
.
.
.
#herbalmedicine #selfcare #naturalmedicine #herbs #aromatherapy #allnatural
...

Only a few hours left to get your hands on all the freebies on offer at the Handmade Holiday Gift Mall, including my full video tutorial on how to make your own scented soy wax candles (always a hit at Christmas time:)

Plus, for a limited time only, use code HOME15 at planttherapy.com to get 15% off your order of essential oils to use in your homemade candles!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to get your hands on all the goodies now!
...

My heart is so full right now. I’m sitting here crying happy tears as I watch history unfold. Such a breath of fresh air after the past four years.

I’m feeling hopeful for the future of our planet, our people and democracy all around the world for the first time in a long time.

Feeling so proud to call America my neighbour tonight. There’s still a very long road ahead to heal the deep divides and wounds of the past, but I’m confident we have what it takes to turn this ship around and ensure a long and prosperous future together. All of us.

Now let’s all get to work and get those borders open again soon!

Congratulations USA!!! 🇨🇦❤️🇺🇸
...

As we come closer to wrapping up the year that was 2020, I've started to reflect on the lessons I've learned. I distilled it down to 6 humbling life lessons that 2020 has taught me or reinforced in my life about gardening, homesteading and life, and I'm sharing them with you today in hopes that they might help you put this year in perspective too:

—> Lesson #1: We cannot control everything (and that's okay)
—> Lesson #2: Always diversify (crops, income streams, skills, etc.)
—> Lesson #3: Be grateful for the good (we cannot have the good without the bad)
—> Lesson #4: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst (stay positive but be realistic)
—> Lesson #5: Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow (seek to find the lessons)
—> Lesson #6: There's always next year (one ending is just another beginning)

Join me for a heart-to-heart in the garden as I take one major disappointment (tossing a box of homegrown tomatoes in the compost) and make the best of it by using it as a catalyst to reflect on the year and the growing season and find the lessons and meaning behind it all.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to watch the full video or go to https://youtu.be/XnnbsAqrd5A and let me know what hardships or disappointments YOU'VE overcome and what lessons you've learned this year in the comments.

Remember, we’re all in this together 🖤
.
.
.
#2020 #lifelessons #nosuchthingasfailure
...

When I first made up my mind to pursue homesteading and started growing my own food, I had no idea where this path would lead me. All I knew was I was unhappy where I was in the city and in life, and I had to make a radical change for my own physical and mental well-being. Homesteading, gardening and this lifestyle of greater self-sufficiency and sustainability called to me; It lit a fire and a passion in me and gave me purpose and meaning, and the more I explored it, the more convinced I became that this was the path I was meant to be on.

Less than a decade later and not only am I still on this path with more enthusiasm in my heart and fire in my belly than ever before, but it’s also led me to connect with so many other amazing homesteaders, gardeners and people who are just as passionate about this lifestyle as I am.

This morning my humble little Instagram account was featured on @humanswhogrowfood which features amazing people growing food all over this beautiful planet. To be able to think of myself as a peer among these greats is beyond my wildest dreams when I first started out as a city girl with zero gardening or homesteading experience. It’s a testament to how far I’ve come, but also to the whole world of beautiful souls out there working to put more homegrown food on tables all across the globe.

Today, with everything going on in the world, I’m feeling reflective, honoured and humbled to be a part of such an amazing community of people. Thank you to each and every one of you! The world may be messed up, but we’re alright.

Also, go follow @humanswhogrowfood if you’re in need of a little faith in humanity right now. So many amazing people out there growing food and doing wonderful things! 💚
.
.
.
#humanswhogrowfood #peoplewhogrowfood #homesteadersofinstagram #growfoodnotlawns #homegrown #gardenersofinstagram
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs