We’ve Moved from the City to the Country!
For those of you who have been following me already, you may have noticed that my blog name has changed from Simple Life in the City, to Creekside Simplicity. That’s because my fiancé and I each sold our houses in town, and bought a house together in the country! I obviously had to re-name my blog, as Simple Life in the City didn’t really make sense any more.
We LOVED the convenience of living in town – the walkability, having neighbours close by to chat with, and being 2 minutes from the grocery store and hardware store. Homesteading in the city was also a great way to get our feet wet. We learned SO many skills on our little 1/8 acre lot – you truly can practise a ton of self-sufficiency skills no matter where you are.
(You can read my blog post about that here: New Beginnings)
However, my soul was craving more. I wanted a little more freedom in terms of what things we could do to live more self-sufficiently. Our city prohibited chickens – so we couldn’t even have a few chickens for eggs. While we were able to grow a ton of fresh veggies to feed our family, we didn’t have enough space to grow enough food for preserving, so we still used the farmer’s market for bulk purchases. In short, we were ready to expand our level of self-sufficiency.
I was also craving more peace and quiet. Less hustle and bustle, more nature. More room for us to spread out (especially as the kids were getting older), and we also wanted more space for our dog to run around. My fiancé wanted a garage and workshop, which neither of our houses in town had space for.
After much patience and searching, we finally found our dream home. It was 2.5 acres, bordered by a year-round creek, and just outside a small village. And only a 20 minute drive to the city, so we had the best of both worlds!
We didn’t put in an offer right away, as it was priced higher than what we had budgeted. After they reduced the price three times, we jumped in and put in an offer – and we got it! We had a 30 day close, and let me tell you – those were the LONGEST 30 days. We couldn’t wait to get here and dig in (literally) on some projects.
We’ve been here for a month now, and THAT month has FLOWN by! Now that we are somewhat settled in, I finally have some time to sit down and write a post about it.
I struggled with choosing a new name – I knew I wanted to retain some aspect of simple living/simplicity in the name. I didn’t want to use the word ‘homestead’, as the things I am passionate about expand beyond homesteading – I love all things simple living. Given that we are surrounded by a creek, I decided to go with ‘Creekside Simplicity’ – it’s short and sweet, and hopefully describes what we are all about!
New Homestead Property Tour!
I thought I would give you a quick tour of our property, and show you some of the plans we have. We have already done quite a bit, but there is plenty more to do!
Down by the Creek (AKA – ‘The Beach’).
To start with, here is the creek that inspired the new blog name. It winds all the way around the property, and is what makes it feel so secluded, in spite of being close to a main road. When we are in our back yard, it feels like we have our own private oasis.
Back of the House
When sitting down by the creek, if you look up, you will see the back of our house. From the front, the house just looks like a small bungalow – but from the back, it has a lovely walk-out basement, which makes it feel so much more spacious and open! Plus we have a fantastic view of the back yard, no matter which level we’re on. We feel so blessed!!
You can see that there is a hill to climb up to get from the creek to the yard. While it’s unlikely that the creek would ever flood (it’s spring-fed), it does get higher in the early spring, so it gives us some peace of mind that it would never encroach on our house.
When you climb up the hill, just to the left you’ll see the garden area. These two raised beds were already here – they just needed to be cleaned out and planted (they had tons of weeds and even some shrubs planted in them – I’ll do a post on the garden clean-out later!).
Since the raised beds were already here, the plan is to just keep adding raised beds further back until we have as many as we would want or need. This photo was taken in the morning, but by afternoon, that area has full sun. We will likely need to enclose it as well, as the bunnies seem to enjoy munching on my freshly grown veggies!
Beyond the garden area, there are two full-sized apple trees. We have no idea what kind of apples they are, but we’ll find out soon! They are loaded with little apples. We’re not sure yet how to keep them from getting wormy without using any kind of pesticides (which we are not willing to use), so I’ll have to look up some organic methods for apple trees – if you have any suggestions, let me know!
Compost and Chickens
Just beyond the apple trees (and under this mess of brush and overgrowth) is a large, wooden compost bin – we will eventually get it cleaned up and have lots of space for composting. We want to keep the compost area close to the garden area, so this is perfect.
Behind that, we are hoping to add a gardening shed, as well as our chicken coop.
To the right of the apple trees, is this huge black walnut tree. (this view faces toward the road, at the side of the property). We’re hoping to add more fruit and nut trees in the area, and work on developing an orchard.
You can see that we had lots of tree trimming to do – there were several limbs and branches that were dead and needed to come down. Not to mention, having so many low-hanging branches made lawn mowing difficult. All cleaned up now, and looking much better!
Medicinal & Tea Garden
Coming back toward the house now, there is a garden to the left of the workshop doors. This area already had some medicinal herbs growing (like mother wort, and bee balm), so I’m going to turn this into our medicinal & tea garden area. I’m so excited to begin growing our own medicinal herbs.
Covered Porch and Laundry
Looking at the back of the house, here is our basement walk-out. I love that it’s under the deck above, as it gives us a shady spot to hang out when it’s hot and sunny.
The laundry room is just inside the patio doors, so we can hang laundry on the drying rack and keep it sheltered from the rain. We’ll soon be installing a proper clothes line, so we can stop using the dryer, and get back to hanging our laundry – especially during the warm months!
At some point we hope to screen this area in, to have a bug-free sitting area. 🙂
Looking toward the garden area, you can see there is some clean up that needs to be done. The brush there is from the tree-trimming we did – this is what we felt was burnable, so we will just burn that. The rest (what’s in the trailer) will get hauled off to leaf and yard waste. Then this area will get scraped down and we’ll add some top soil and grass seed.
This was where the previous owners did a lot of their burning, but we would prefer to do it elsewhere, rather than so close to the house. It’s also a bit of an eye sore when looking out from the deck or patio.
Bees and Butterflies
This garden area has tons of beauty in it, but just needs some love to bring it back to life. A friend of ours gifted us with that beautiful piece of driftwood, and Cash (my fiancé) made the bird feeder. The driftwood gives the birds a perfect place to land before going to the feeder, and the chipmunks love climbing up it as well! It’s so sweet to sit out in the mornings and watch them.
This garden area also attracts TONS of bees and butterflies – so I want to add more wild flowers to keep them happy.
Now for the final, and most exciting part! When we first came to look at this home, there was an area off to the side, that we weren’t sure if it was a separate lot, or if it was part of the property (this was actually a factor in our decision to purchase the property). There was a tree line dividing the two lots, as well as a fence and a gate across the front. The creek ran along side it, so we were hoping that it was included, but we were doubtful, as it looked so separate.
It turned out, that it was originally a separate lot, but one of the previous owners had purchased it – so when we purchased the home, both lots were included! This area is such a HUGE gift – it’s almost an acre, and there is so much we could do with it.
This photo is taken facing the road, so the creek is on the right hand side. You can’t see it because of all the trees, but it’s there.
We haven’t quite figured out what to do with it, but the possibilities are endless. 🙂
Included on this lot, is the area we refer to as ‘the campground’. It’s a nice open area that is also pretty secluded, as it’s surrounded by trees. We have a fire pit set up, and one day hope to add a camper, or better yet – a cabin. So we can camp on our very own property.
That concludes the property tour of our new homestead!
My original plan was to do this as soon as we moved in, so you could see the true ‘before’, and then follow along as we made changes. However, we all know what happens with the best-laid plans! The past month has truly been a whirlwind, between getting unpacked and settled in, as well as tackling outside projects.
However, I hope to take you along as we go now, so you can follow along on our progress, and also to serve as a diary of sorts for us to look back on.
We have big plans for this beautiful space, and we are so excited, and so grateful to be able to call this our home. Even after a month, I still have to pinch myself, as I feel like I am dreaming. It’s so much more than we could have ever imagined – and with some hard work, we can make it even more beautiful.
You can watch the video of our homestead property tour on YouTube: