My Country Farmhouse – Campbellford Farmers Market

Every Saturday and Wednesday morning in the little town of Campbellford, Ontario there is a farmers market.  Not a big one – but a little one which offers some local product right from the area.

Fresh Meat – What could be better than fresh meat.  Pork, Beef, Lamb and chicken locally raised and ready for you to take home and enjoy that night.

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And for after dinner, baked goods. Homemade treats that are so tasty. Butter tarts, pies, scones, cookies and so much more.  And because they are not store bought your only worry will be how much butter went in to them?

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And to treat your pups there is a dog treat booth that also fundraises for local rescue organizations.  Your dog gets a homemade treat and you help other dogs in need.

What would a farmers market be with out veggies and fruits. Picked right from the garden (in some cases that very morning).  No pesticides on most (always ask the seller) so you can enjoy a clean meal.  Nothing tastes better than fresh food from the garden.  I can still remember eating the green beans right out of my grandfathers garden as a child.

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Beautiful plant stands are set up with herbs, perennials and annuals to choose from. Some offer already made bouquets for a more low maintenance approach.  Instead of buying from big box stores try buying local to support the flower farmers 🙂

And for the more artistic shoppers, some beautiful pottery, wood carvings and homemade soaps.  One of a kind.

To top off the little farmers market there is usually a new musician entertaining the crowds. Walk around, sip some home brewed coffee from the truck and do a little shopping.  And if you’re still in the mood to shop check out the Collection Co. antique store that hosts the little market.  They always have lovely items at incredible prices.

Happy shopping!

 

My Country Farmhouse – Master Bedroom Walk-in Closet

The master bedroom has a pretty large closet. I visualized it as a walk-in closet before I even owned the house.  It only had one clothing rod that ran the width of the closet which meant the space was under-utilized.  I peeled off the floral wall paper, plastered, sanded and painted it in the same colour remaining from the dining room.  My budget – under $100.

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On the left hand side I hung double rods, one high and one low.  I used the same steel pipe system that you can see through out the house.  And on the right I put in shelving.  I went to Lowes with the measurements, picked the wood and had them cut it all to size.

When I got home all I had to do was install the shelving.  This took about half an hour to complete.  I moved the mirror that was hanging on the front of the door (facing the bedroom) and moved it to the centre of the closet.

And now I have a girly well utilized walk-in closet with tons of storage for only $60.  The only thing left to do is add a light fixture.

🙂

My Country Farmhouse – So you want to buy a house

At some point we dream about owning a home.  Making it a reality is possible but you have to work for it (in most cases).  I had followed the Real estate market for more than 5 years before I purchased my house (good chance it was closer to 10).  I learned what CMHC is, home insurance, interest rates and what you need before even considering buying a house. And now it’s getting harder to just go out and buy one.

An ideal situation is being debt free, having exceptional credit and a 20%+ down-payment on the house of your dreams.  But that’s not always the case.  Banks will look at all of those things before considering you for a mortgage. Also, they look. at your monthly bank statements (what’s going in each month) some financial corporations ask for a letter of employment, income tax forms, and pay stubs to ensure you’re a safe bet.

Did you know that when you go online to get PRE APPROVED it means absolutely nothing.  Until you’ve found the house and put in an offer you cannot get approved for a mortgage, so that house you’re looking to buy can fall through based on financing. You have to work with the bank or a broker to see what the actual amount of your mortgage can be. There are SO MANY THINGS to remember.

Set a budget and shop within in.  How much can you actually afford to spend each month and still afford to put food on the table? There are costs to owning a house you may not consider – maintenance and upkeep, insurance, gas, hydro, water and sewage bills and land taxes.  And the things that you probably cannot live without – cable, internet, cell phone, food, gas, car insurance etc..

Before I purchased my house I looked at my last two years of tax returns.  I subtracted what I needed to survive (rent, food, gas, insurance etc..) and looked at what was remaining. How much could I afford to own a house out of the city? What’s the difference between a $100,000 mortgage and a $200,000 mortgage? After crunching numbers and accounting for interest rates I knew my price range to be comfortable was between $150,000 and $175,000. So that’s what I looked at.

When you find the house that is ‘the one’ you’ll have to consider the following:

  • ask the realtor for a few comparable listings that have sold in the area (what did they sell for and do those houses compare to this house?) you do not want to over pay
  • unless you have cash to pay the entire house off you will likely have to get a mortgage approved so you will need a ‘condition of financing’ for a week or more to secure the deal
  • you will likely want a home inspection and that costs from $300 – $500 and is also a ‘condition’ before sealing the deal
  • you will need a lawyer and you will pay lawyer fees. In my case $1500 – $1800 if all goes smoothly
  • you have to arrange for house insurance and they will ask you many questions. So know how close the fire department and fire hydrant are in proximity to the house

If you are a first time home buyer in Ontario you do not have to pay Land Transfer taxes up to $2500.  And as a home buyer you do not have to worry about realtor fees, that is up to the seller of the house (up to 5% of the purchase price ie: purchase price of $175,000 x 5% = $8750).

Some places require that you pay for a Land Survey.  This is a process of staking out property lines for exact measurements.  This can cost approximately $1200 – $1500+ and might be required by a bank or financial institution before getting the house approved for a mortgage.  If you share a driveway for instance with your neighbour and you do not have written proof that there is a property line that you are both aware of and agree to being shared it may become a red flag by the financial institution and they will request the survey.

I would suggest before you go out shopping for a house to try and save $2500 – $4000 just to get started.  Try not to use your downpayment as you will then increase the amount of interest you will end up paying later on.

Owning a house means paying property taxes. The cost of those taxes is based on many things; location, property size, amenities (are you on municipal water and sewer or well and septic) etc.. You can pay them monthly with your mortgage payments or lump sum yearly.  It is totally up to you.  But you will have to pay more upfront.  They take additional payments to ensure you have a reserve when you first purchase the house.  So yet again another additional cost.  Property taxes also come with a homes assessment of value and this will stay the same for 4 years until a new assessment is required. So if you pay $2100 starting 2016 you will pay that until 2020.

Other things that you may consider to have in a purchase agreement as a condition may be closing date, appliances/furniture, proof of septic / well maintenance.  If there is a fireplace you will be required to get a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) inspection report prior to getting the insurance approved that will also be an additional cost at the buyers expense.

As you can see from above, buying a house will take time.  It will cost a little more than you probably expected up front but within a few months it will all straighten itself out.  Other things that you will have to remember to do a week before your closing date is to call the hydro and or gas company to have the account changed to your name.  If you have rental equipment (furnace, water heater/softener) you will want to change those accounts over.  And if you are moving to a small town like myself, you may have to set up a post office box to receive your mail.

Remember to change you drivers license to your new address (you may end up saving money this way).  Many companies offer direct deposit and you can essentially live free of paying bills monthly and wasting stamps since it all comes out on it’s own.  THIS IS THE BEST!  I send out one cheque quarterly for my water tank rental and the rest is done automatically.  I just go over my paperless invoice to ensure that it all looks correct.  If you notice any issues you can call the company right away.

So you want to buy a house… I think you now have the basic knowledge to go out and do it.  Good Luck!

 

 

 

— I am not certified in buying a house. I am a first time home owner and everything above is what I had to go through before getting approved to buy my house and to get done before my closing date. It may vary for the property you want to buy but these are all things you will want to consider —

 

 

 

 

 

My Country Farmhouse – Decluttering your home

Not every one can live in a house that looks like it’s fresh out of a magazine.  A clean, organized, clutter free house is one of the most important things in my life.  And although I have no children, it is almost impossible to do with them. When I see  items I have not used in my home for months or even years (rare to find that in my house) I get rid of it.  You can sell or trade just about any item nowadays.

I guess you can say the television show Hoarders really freaked me out the first time I watched it.  Although I’ve never hoarded, I did have many items accumulating from years and years of just living. Unused gifts, CDs, clothing that didn’t fit, shoes that were worn out, old purses, costume jewelry, over-expired canned goods and condiments.

When I looked around the apartment I was shocked by how much ‘stuff’ I had accumulated and decided that it was time to go through room by room and tidy up my life. And it was the BEST thing I’ve ever done.  I began in the bedroom – old clothing, purses and shoes followed by costumes jewelry, and old bed linens.  All items were donated to family who went through and kept what fit or they had use for and the rest went to charity.  Some of the clothing still had tags on them.

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The livingroom was next. It doesn’t seem like you would have much in the living room but somehow each drawer had things in them that I would never use.  Old coin rollers, CD cases, old technology (cell phones), stacks of magazines and in the storage ottomans dog clothes to small or big for Chaya and old Christmas decorations.  It all had to go. Why was I keeping it?

The kitchen had old pots and pans, stained towels, old dishes and cutlery, mis-matched glasses, tupperware with no top or matching bottom.  A toaster oven I hadn’t used in 6 years stored away taking up valuable cupboard space. Old pot planters, candle containers with no more wax and assorted vases I’ve never used.

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Once each room was complete I held a garage sale and sold the items I could.  And at the end of the day the rest was donated.  I must have cleared 2 or 3 large garbage bags out of the bedroom, 4 large boxes from the kitchen and a couple boxes from the living room.  Once everything was out of the apartment it seemed cleaner and stress free. I have more room in my drawers and cupboards for the things that are important to me. And when I get a new item an old one has to go.  I practice this at both of my places. This way both places are tidy and need minimal cleaning of clutter. Each item has its space and I know that I use everything I own.

If you’re not sure what is important to you, look around at the items and see if you use it every day, weekly or once a month.  If something doesn’t fall in to one of those  categories maybe you should consider letting it go.  Why are you holding on to that object? Some have memories and I’m not saying throw them out, just pick what’s most important and ask yourself “do I need this ___________ or is the memory of the person who gave it to me enough?”

Just because some one gave you something doesn’t mean they want you to keep it for ever.  Maybe it’s something that will only look good for a few months or a couple years.  If something is broken beyond repair – cut it lose.  Keep what makes you happy, really that is all that matters.

🙂

 

 

My Country Farmhouse – May 2018 Nature

I was fortunate enough to have the month of May off from working.  I took full advantage of this time and headed to my house to prepare for the warmer weather.  After the wind storm it was obvious that several trees would have to come down for safety reasons.  I said good-bye to my dying birch tree, locust and spruce tree.  When the locust tree came down I realized just how much sun it actually prevented from getting to my gardens.  And soon enough I will be making a beautiful circular garden at the front of my yard where the spruce was.

With such warm weather I’ve had wildlife visiting all day long.  I can sit and watch birds, rabbits and the frogs in my pond.  I’ve introduced fresh fruit in to the garden for the orioles and a hummingbird feeder (which I didn’t think would be a success as we had none the previous year).  I’ve also added a solar panel fountain to the pond to circulate the water.

Unfortunately the tent caterpillars are out in full force.  They’ve nested in most of my trees (including my apple trees). Hopefully the damage will be minimal.  They are a pretty insect but a huge nuisance as there are thousands of them.

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In a short amount of time my gardens were full of vibrant colours. The apple trees blossomed and soon dropped the petals. Every day there are new plants and flowers coming out.

And in spring the babies are born. Goats, sheep, horses, cows, geese alpacas and so many more.  I don’t actually think there is anything cuter than a baby of any species.

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And finally when you have a chihuahua who’s most favorite hobby is to sun bathe you make the time to sit outside for hours on end to soak of the rays together.

I hope you are all enjoying the weather where ever you are. Happy Spring!

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My Country Farmhouse – The Sentimental

At some point or another we inherit items from loved ones. Some times these items are new and some times these items are old.  Some are heirlooms that are passed down through the years or from generation to generation. Some have significant meaning and some times you get some things you probably didn’t expect and may not know what to do with.

Here are some of my favorite items I’ve inherited or collected over the years that I have on display:

1 – Black and white family photos – These pictures tell a story of your history even though they may not be of you. They tell of a time you may not have gotten to experience but in some way you are tied to. Old cars, carriage rides with bottles of wine, your parents as children, aunts and cousins.

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2 – Love letters between my great grandmother and great grandfather from the 1930s/40s – What is more beautiful than reading a letter written by your great grandmother telling her fiancé what she wants duck at their upcoming wedding? Nothing, it is priceless.  Words like “Dearest” or “Love yours truly” meant with such meaning. Knowing that these letters travelled for miles to get to each other.

 

 

3 – Great grandmother’s  poodle brooch and clutch – Seeing what they wore in fashion is always fun.  I also have a long skirt and nurses outfit she wore.

 

 

4 – Oil painting by my Nana (borrowed) – this painting was done by my Nana with a little help from her teacher.  She won a painting contest with this piece.  I have it up on my living room wall for now however, it does belong to my mom and when she’s ready to hang it up I will have to give it back. But for now I get to enjoy looking at it. Also, I love birds!

 

 

5 – 64 piece Crown Ducal Florentine dish set which belonged to my great grandmother & china cabinet that belongs to my uncle David (borrowed) – The dish set was a gift for my great grandmothers wedding. It is absolutely beautiful and shows its age well.  I use the set for special occasions (Christmas and Thanksgiving). The cabinet it is in belonged to my Uncles grandmother. He had left the piece in the care of my mother as he lives pretty far away.  When he saw how pretty the set looked in it he offered to let me continue borrowing it until he says he wants it back to be handed down to his kids.  A very thoughtful gesture.

 

 

6 – Flatware set given to me by my friend Judy-Lynn – The set belonged to Judy -Lynns step mother. She was so generous and gifted it to me knowing my love for older items.  I use everything I have in my house.

 

7 – Teddy made by my grandmother 34 years ago – My mothers best friend made this little brown bear for me as a gift at my moms baby shower.  I’ve kept it as it is truly the first gift I would have gotten.

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8 – 1800’s shell purse (a birthday gift from my mother) – This dainty shell purse is beautiful. Hand crafted with a latch and handle. It has little dividers in it as well.  I mean what did they put in to this teeny tiny purse?

 

9 – Old medical bottles – I really only have a few of these. I really enjoy reading the back of the bottles which lists the side effects and some are pretty terrifying.  All you can do is laugh at them.

 

10 – 1800’s Diamond ring – I bought this ring at the Pickering Roadshow Antiques several years ago.  It is one of the nicest pieces of jewelry I’ve seen and own.  I love the history knowing that at some point in over 100 years this may have been a wedding ring.

 

 

11- My collection of vintage clutches – my most unique being west German silver and crystal, three Whiting & Davis mesh clutches in silver and gold and a Morris Moskowitz crystal and silk clutch. And three have the original change purse or mirrors in them. (Pictures do not do any of them justice)

 

 

My Country Farmhouse – Homemade Dog Bed DIY

Making a dog bed doesn’t have to be complicated.  I drew the outline of what I wanted the bed to look like, took measurements and headed out for the supplies.

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Tools needed

  • Measuring tape
  • Screws
  • L brackets (1″)
  • Drill with bits
  • Staple gun
  • Paint roller and tray
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors

The measurements will depend on the size of your dog of course. I was lucky enough to get the cut offs from Lowes at no cost. I simply paid a dollar per cut to get the sizes I needed to make the bed. So roughly $5.00.

I purchased paint and a roller at about $10.00. Laid out a piece of plastic and painted the wood before assembling.

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At Fabricland I purchased some patterned cotton fabric. I got a meter which was more than enough for her tiny bed and the two pillows.  I also purchased a waterproof material and some cotton batting to make the bed comfy. In total the material cost $25.00. Using a staple gun I covered the base of the bed.

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I then assembled all the pieces with L brackets and Screws. I sewed the two pillows by hand.

And voila!  A homemade dog bed that keeps Chaya off the floor.

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