Why I Homestead


Why I HomesteadWelcome to The House & Homestead! I’m writing the first post since we went live, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about who I am and why I’ve chosen this path in life.

It’s hard to pin down the exact moment when I knew I wanted to pursue a homesteading lifestyle. What I do know is it’s been a passion that has been evolving in me for quite some time. 

Maybe it was the fondness and respect that I gained for the environment and the outdoors as a young child; Springtime in the garden and summers spent camping under starry skies made me love “playing” in the dirt and living close to the land.

Or maybe it was my time spent travelling the world… Seeing how other people in other cultures still live in rhythm with nature, grow and prepare all of their own food and live frugally and sustainably made me both long to plant my own roots somewhere and inspired me to take what I learned and apply it at home.

It could have begun when I went to visit some dear friends out on the tiny island they were living on at the time. I felt so at home among the bountiful nature and the slow-going, friendly little community that I knew I needed to escape the rat race and pursue a simpler life.

There have been many pivotal moments in my life that have played a role in getting me to where I am today. Either way, I’m here now and I truly feel like it has been the right decision for me. 

 

Homesteader Values

Homesteading lines up with my core values and makes me feel as if I’m living the way nature intended. When I lived in the city, I felt as if I was swimming upstream the whole time, fighting the natural flow to get where I needed to go. I went through prolonged periods of anxiety and depression, sickness and stress, and just generally felt as if I was living a life that wasn’t meant for me. 

The noise and business and stress of city-life just wan’t for me. I know some people that love the fast pace and bright lights, but I am at my best when it is quiet and calm and people are scarce. Rural living appealed to both me and my husband, so we decided to leave the city and the condo we lived in and pursue this lifestyle out in the country, just close enough to the nearest town but far enough away from the rush of modern life.

Cherry PickingI also care deeply about the earth— about being a good steward of the land and being conscious of our impact on the planet. I want to know where my food is coming from, what’s in it, how it was produced, what sort of life it lived and who is profiting from it. And, like most people, I care for my family more than anything else. 

I want to make sure that we are prepared to take care of ourselves if the proverbial “shit hits the fan” in this crazy world. I want to feed my family healthy, organic foods grown in our garden or from our local farms. And I want us to live as good a life as possible without going into debt to pay for it.

As a parent, I want to instil good values and work ethic in my children. I want them to grow up with the same respect for nature as I did. I want them to be self-sufficient, hard-working human beings with the skills and knowledge they need to provide for themselves and their own families one day. 

Homesteading provides the type of lifestyle that makes all of these things possible. It allows us to produce the things that we consume and lessens our impact on the planet while ensuring we have the skills and resources we need to survive and thrive in an often hostile and volatile world. It offers some protection from the instability and chaos that seems to be happening around us more and more. And it helps to ground us; Allows us the space to breathe and to be in the flow even while most of mankind continues its never-ending struggle to conquer and control the natural world.

 

Living in Harmony with Nature

I love living with the seasons. In the spring I get excited to plant my seeds and watch them sprout into tiny seedlings which will grow into the food that will nourish us. I love sitting outside and enjoying the birdsong and the buzz of insects all around. Everything is living again. When I hear the frogs croaking and the daffodils are in bloom, I know that warmer days are just ahead. 

Summertime as a homesteader is busy; Much busier than the lazy days I used to enjoy. We’re busy watering, weeding, harvesting, preserving and preparing for colder, leaner times. Our days are lived outside in the summer, our evenings spent around a fire. We picnic and hike and camp and live without shoes. We put in long days of hard work and wash tons of dirt off of our hands and feet, but it feels good. Then, when we start to hear the crickets at night, we know that the final days of summer have arrived and fall is coming soon. This is my favourite time of year. 

In the Garden

My husband, Ryan, in the garden last summer. We grew spinach, broccoli and onions in this bed.

Fall is the time of bounty, when we enjoy all of the fruits of our labour. The smell of fresh baking wafts through our house and we gather with family and friends. It’s also still a very busy time as we finish getting everything canned and preserved and our shelves stocked up for the winter months. We harvest the last of our garden and plant our garlic before the first frost sets in. Then we prepare our beds for a long winter sleep.

Then comes winter. Winter starts off busy with seasonal celebrations front and centre. It is a time of feasting and merriment. A time when I spend most of my day in the kitchen, cooking, baking and preparing homemade Christmas gifts for family and friends. After Christmas, the slow winter months are the perfect time for reading, crocheting, bread-making, slow-cooking and enjoying the warmth of the hearth on cold snowy nights. 

I’ve started to get into the the flow of living with the seasons since we moved away from the city and began living a more rural, homesteader lifestyle. I’ve begun to notice the nuances of each time of year that I never noticed before. 

Now I’m aware of the frogs and the daffodils and the crickets and the first frost, both because I live closely with them and also because they matter to me. They tell me when I need to plant my seeds, transplant my seedlings, harvest the last of my tomatoes and prepare my garden beds for the cold. I’m learning to listen to nature and to trust it, because it’s right more often than we are, despite what we want to believe.

 

Homesteading is A Lifestyle Choice

I homestead for many reasons. In short, it’s a lifestyle that allows me to provide for myself and my family. We live a more natural, sustainable life and produce our own food and goods so that we know what’s in them and are less reliant. It gives us independence, freedom and security and has allowed us to escape the stress and pressure of the modern western lifestyle. Most importantly, homesteading allows me to live a life that’s true to who I am and what I believe.

Broccoli

One of the first heads of broccoli I successfully grew.

It truly is a simpler life, but it is by no means easier. It’s hard work and long days, dirty hands and sweaty foreheads. It’s sore muscles and cuts and bruises, little money and no frills. But it’s exhilarating, challenging and rewarding beyond belief. 

 

An Adventure at Home

Homesteading is an adventure that begins and ends with home. And it is by far the best adventure I’ve ever been on. It’s made better because my family is on it with me. It allows us to spend quality time together that we might never have been able to enjoy had we not pursued this crazy dream.

So if you’re wondering if homesteading is right for you, think about where you feel your best. What are you doing? Are you someone who is energized by bright lights and city skylines, crowds of people and traffic noises and the high-paying, corporate corner-office job? If so, I’m not sure homesteading is right for you. But if you long for a simpler, quieter, more self-sufficient life out in the country, this might just be something you want to consider. 

And you don’t have to live rurally to be a homesteader. You can pursue this lifestyle in the city or the suburbs or wherever you are. It comes down to the values that you hold dear. For most homesteaders, those values include faith, family, freedom, security, independence, hard work, good food and a welcoming home to all who pass through. For us, home truly is where the heart is. It’s where we nourish our bodies and souls, and where we live the way nature intended us to live: happy, healthy and in harmony with the land that gives us life.

 

The House & Homestead


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Wow, go you. Hope you have figured out your fireworms. Glad to have met you through FB.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      You too! The community you find living this sort of lifestyle is amazing too! Glad to be able to connect with wonderful people who share common values and goals from all over the continent (and the world) through the magic of social media and the Internet!

      Reply
  2. Lynda Lu Gibb

    Love watching this happen in our own back yard!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Love having you guys around for guidance and support!

      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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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:)
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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??
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#homesteadpantrychallenge #pantrygoals #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity
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🌱 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??
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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.

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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.
 
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To a new year and a fresh start 🥂
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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.

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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!
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Merry Christmas friends!

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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 ❤️
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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:)
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#homemade #fromscratch #christmasrecipes #cranberrysauce #delicious
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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!
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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 https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-body-butter/ to get the full recipe and “whip up” a batch today;)
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#bodybutter #naturalbeauty #naturalliving #skindeep #homemade #handmade #naturalskincare
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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:)
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