Tour my brother’s British Columbia homestead

My brother Josh and I may live on completely opposite ends of the country, but we still share plenty in common despite the distance.

Coffee addiction, post dinner naps, gardening, foraging and cooking are a few things that come to mind. We can rock a plain shirt on a grouse hunting trip and we’ll never turn down a good gin and tonic. We both have three children under nine and we both have a thing for homesteading that keeps us busy on our respective properties.

I wish we could hang out more often, but at least when we do, we pick up where we left off as if no time had ever passed.

Josh & I

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Tour our urban homestead

One of my promises last June was to share more of my experiences as an urban homesteader and today I’d like to extend an invitation to take a virtual walk around our city lot.

Yes, we are indeed urban; we don’t own a ranch or sprawling acreage. We have neighbours on two sides, and a street in front of the house. We happen to border on a small maple forest that in itself, borders wetlands that will never be developed. We’re fortunate that it is so private, given that downtown Montreal is only 20 minutes away. It suits us just fine.

I was raised a country girl and Danny was a city boy. When we started a family it was important for us to blend our two backgrounds in a way that made sense for our family. In my upcoming book, I give the full story of how we began our homestead – it was an emotional journey right from the start and worth every grey hair.

You’ve already toured the kitchen, so let’s head outdoors today and meet the cats and hens. (Pst: For privacy reasons, I haven’t posted photos of the house facade from the street.)

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Meet the backyard chickens

This spring we followed a neighbour’s lead for sourcing our backyard chickens and landed ourselves with an exceedingly good looking little flock of hens.

I had brought my gardening gloves when we went to pick them up, and insisted on inspecting each one from comb to claw before placing it in our carrier. I’m sure the teenage farmhands were amused, as I checked the derriere of each hen, but I didn’t care; I was determined to bring home a healthy brood.

Urban chickens on Simple Bites

As it turns out, I couldn’t find a single thing wrong as these pullets were plump, perky and pest-free. Into the hatchback they went and soon they were scratching the grass and clover of our little urban homestead.

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Signs of spring on our urban homestead

A beautiful, balmy weekend saw the last of our snow shrink into small piles and then sink away into the ground.

Early on Easter Sunday morning, I tucked my pyjamas into my rain boots and slipped outside with my camera before the rest of the house was awake. I wanted to hunt for signs of life in a brown backyard.

I found more than I expected – and the parallels between my discoveries and the holiday did not escape my attention. It’s been a long, cold winter. These signs of spring are a resurrected earth rejoicing.

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A homestead tour and an interview with Aimée

Spring is gradually edging out signs of winter on our little property, but it isn’t pretty.

The remaining snow lies about in grey icy heaps, a far cry from the pristine powder that fell for so many months. Rain has left pools of sludge in patches where the snow has melted and various unwanted items (like the butt ends from our New Year’s Eve fireworks) are revealing themselves in the mud.

I’m impatient for greenery, which is why Faith’s article over on the Kitchn was such a fun reminder of all that is to come in a few short weeks. The executive editor of one of the most popular food sites on the web dropped in for brunch last fall and I gave her a little tour of the homestead.

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