Our Country Home
After having dreamed of moving to the country since I was a child visiting my aunt and uncle's farm, we took the leap in 2015 and bought a home in the country. Inspired by the ideals of homesteading and permaculture we set up our property as a small working farm. Lots has changed since we first saw the property and the changes continue.
Built in 1864, the property was soon subdivided into a 50 acre plot. William Cheeves owned the property at this time and it has had many owners since. Throughout these ownership changes the home has been able to retain many of its original features. Typical of farm homes, the house has undergone many additions. A recent discovery made while installing outdoor lighting revealed that the home was most likely a two room stone building. Two more rooms were then added followed by a second storey addition. Later a kitchen and large bedroom addition above were added. This was all completed by 1874. Since then a summer kitchen has been added in the early part of the 20th century. In the 1990s a large garage was added and we added a four season sunroom off the kitchen where a porch had existed at one time but later removed. Throughout the home you can see evidence of these changes. The home has been upgraded with new plumbing, wiring, windows, heating, and doors.
John Muir was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, philosopher, botanist, zoologist, glaciologist, and an early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in America. He co-founded The Sierra Club, a prominent American conservation organization. He has been described as a patron saint of 20th century American environmental activity. Muir travelled throughout North America and even to Howick County in 1874 where he stayed at our home and painted a watercolour as a thank you for the hospitality he received.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul". John Muir
The barn that belonged to the property was originally behind the home and had been used by a neighbouring farmer until a few years before we moved in. it has since been torn down. We have found field stone remnants of its foundation and have incorporated them into the pond design.
As soon as we moved in we began construction of a small barn consisting of three stalls and a tack room which we are using as a farm shop. The barn is set up as a horse barn but works well for housing our goats and assorted animals. There is also a large hayloft accommodating 200 bales of hay and of course our cat.
The outdoor spaces have been completely renovated since we moved in. The barn is the most noticeable addition reflecting the change back to a small working farm. We have installed many perennial gardens, a large vegetable garden, small orchard, fenced pastures, animal housing, and seating areas.
Welcome to our home.
We were fortunate to find a home where many major issues had been corrected but we went through every inch of the home inside and out to complete renovations, restoration, and required updates. Everything from mortar repair, new windows, doors, flooring, wallpaper removal, new paint, cabinetry, and more was completed. Heritage paint colours were used throughout the home. Lighting fixtures were replaced with school house and barn style fixtures. Bi-fold doors and other doors were replaced with salvaged materials. Other construction projects also used materials found on the property or reclaimed materials. Our goal was to create a comfortable farmhouse that accommodates modern day living.