the countdown to our forever farm

our dream farm

We found our forever farm!!

After 3+ loooooong months we finally sold the house last week. I can finally stop worrying about that. Now a whole new kind of anxiety is setting in.

We move on September 29, which gives me a whopping 2 weeks to pack! Ack!

I am being uncharacteristically anal about the whole thing – colour coding boxes and labelling like a mad woman. Box by box our little place in East Van is slowly transforming from a home into just a house again.

It’s bittersweet, but I’m glad. It will make it easier to say goodbye.

The farm definitely falls into the diamond in the rough category.

farmhouse garden and barn

The farmhouse was built in 1892, which likely makes it one of the oldest homes in this part of Canada. Thankfully the character of the home hasn’t been abused; it retains many of the original features and feels like a turn of the century farmhouse.

Unlike other places in Canada, like Southern Ontario where my hubby is from, century-old farmhouses are a rarity here. We feel so blessed to have had this one find us, and so close to the city at that.

There is a 40′ x 50′ barn with a double hay mow, multiple pens and a greenhouse on the south side.

EVERYWHERE there are blackberries run amok. It will take a herd of goats and a small army of sows to root them out, I’m sure.

However, under the brambles there are sour cherries, hundred year old apple trees, hazelnuts, grapes, roses, magnolia . . .

There is a tiny crick running through it, leading to a perfect spot for a future pond, shaded by willows and more hazelnuts. There is a gravel road for bikes and pickup hockey games, a sunny south-facing patio. There are fenced pastures with soil that springs back with every step, full of dandelions. There is a deep well full of sweet sweet water. A small meadow in a tiny birch forest, perfect for picnics. The huge vegetable garden is drenched in sun. Buried beneath the weeds I spotted rhubarb and rich soil.

It is going to be a lot of work. A LOT of work.

We have a season of serious pruning ahead of us, followed by four or five years of the same. Nearly every woody plant in sight needs a major renovation. The hazelnuts have grown into huge thickets, the apple trees with knuckles like gnarled old men.

As for the farmhouse . . .

All I can say is thank goodness my husband is a builder. Jeff specializes in heritage restorations in the city, and our window company will be able to have perfect wood replicas of the windows made to modern energy standards. We are lucky that we can look at this tired, well-loved and worn home and see it for what it can be again.

century farmhouse interior

It is teeny-tiny – only 1300 square feet. (I think that’s probably generous.) The front half of the house is original, one and a half stories and has two “big” rooms down and three bedrooms up. The back half of the house is an addition, from perhaps the 30’s, and contains an open room with the furnace, kitchen and bathroom. There is a covered porch on the north side and a weird little drop down on the south where another porch used to be. It is strange and quirky and bears the fingerprints of 120 years of families.

I love it.

I feel so blessed knowing we are going to be able to breathe new life into this beautiful old home, and do so properly. We are going to start on the master bedroom and chip away from there. Little by little, we’ll get there.

I have so much to learn about being a farm girl. Farm insurance, farm tax status, all the regulations surrounding livestock and selling food, the practical issues that come with living on a well and septic system, the long drives, the colder winters . . . All these things are both daunting and exhilarating.

I can’t wait to get to know beautiful, historic Fort Langley, get some chickens busy in the fields and watch my son settle into the best kind of childhood I can imagine for him; one full of fresh air, wide open spaces, good food, hard work and plenty of trees to climb.

Time to get packing!

14 thoughts on “the countdown to our forever farm

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hey Stacey! Followed you back from Anna’s (new; ) kitchen sink overflowing with corn… Congratulations from Southeastern/Central Ontario on acquiring your dream farm! (To quote my Mom, “It’s as cute as a bug’s ear!”) and here’s hoping you have as many wonderful adventures as my family did while resuscitating their century farm and btw (I can tell you: ) you’re right, about what an amazing childhood it was!! It sounds like you’ve got some great bones to work with there (and I’ve definitely got “farm envy”; ) One thing though… Just make sure to take lots of “before and after” photos, ’cause it’ll help (when you’re feeling overwhelmed) to remind you just how far you’ve come . Cheers, D.

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      Good tip about the pics! I’ve made the hubby promise to do it one room at a time this go around – we’ve done floor-by-floor renos before it was WAY to crazy. I figure this way we’ll have little senses of accomplishment as we go.

      You’re so lucky to be in Southern Ontario! Whereabouts are you? My hubby grew up in the Trent Hills area – Campbellford / Hastings. SO many gorgeous farms there, for a fraction of what they cost out here. We seriously considered moving, but decided against leaving our construction company behind.

      Beekeepers Daughter? Do you keep bees now? That will be a new adventure for us – would love any tips if you have ’em!

      I’m going to track the renos on a new blog : You’ll be able to see the pics there. Thanks again!

      1. Deb Weyrich-Cody

        Hi again Stacey, Oh. My. God. Read your reply and got goosebumps all over… Send me an email and well “talk” more, ‘k?

  2. oceannah

    Oh Stacey, the enthusiasm is saturating this post!! HURRAY 🙂 I’m so happy that you sold the Van house. Maybe another wee one for your son to romp the fields and forests with? I look forward to the farms transformation under the care of your family. Congratulations!

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      LOL – Yes we’re hoping number two will come along once the stress of the move subsides. We’re super excited. Still can’t believe we found such an old house in this neck of the woods. I figured I’d have to make do with some monstrosity from the 80’s. Hehe. I’m mildly terrified, but it will be fun. I’ve started a new blog to record the transformation of the farm

  3. Rob Mahan

    Hi Stacey!

    Wow, congratulations on the sale of your house. Reading about your Forever Farm and a move date at the end of the month makes me really happy for you and your family. I know there’s lots of work ahead, but you’ll take great joy in making your Foreverland a homestead all your own.

    All the best,

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      Thanks Rob. It was a long go selling the house, but its all going to be worth it. And you’re right – it will be a lot of work, but a labour of love. (remind me of that when I’m up to my elbows in it!) Hehe.

  4. Pingback: homestead wishlist | This Old Homestead

  5. Pingback: so long, farewell . . . it’s moving day! | The Slow Foods Mama

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