• Reusable Cloth Pads – Why do you make so many different styles & sizes?

    Reusable Cloth Pads – Why do you make so many different styles & sizes?

    This question is asked quite often.
    If you are new to using cloth pads, all the choices can be quite confusing. To answer the question very simply, I create so many styles & sizes, because all of us are so very different and unique!

  • Cloth Pads How To – I’ve decided to make the switch, but now what?

    I’ve decided to make the switch, but now what?

    I am asked this question VERY often because making that first step into the wonderful world of reusable cloth pads can be very confusing! I’ve written this article in hopes of helping you make those first steps. If you have more questions, or would prefer to discuss your needs specifically, I’m here to help.

  • Why should someone use cloth pads?

    This is the question I’ve asked a few times on my FB & IG pages.

    I thought I’d share the answers here on the blog because there’s close to 100 comments!
    If you ever wondered why anyone would want to make the switch to cloth pads, here’s a whole bunch of answers from those who did indeed make that switch!

    Some answers are short, other answers are more detailed. If you’ve been curious about making the switch but just aren’t quite sure, perhaps these comments can help you decide for yourself.
    And then once you’ve decided it’s worth a try, send me an email at HomesteadEmporium(AT)gmail.com so we can discuss exactly what pads would work best for your own personal needs!

    After over 18 years of creating and shipping cloth pads around the world, believe me, there’s no ‘too much information’ questions or comments when chatting with me. I’m here to help you make that first step, and to make it a successful one!


    It’s comfortable and they’re super absorbent and soft and you can get cool patterns and different fabrics and sizes and they’re just so much better.

    Latex free = rash free

    Yes! ^^^^what she said….no rashes!

    I LOVE my mama cloth.

    I noticed with cloth pads my periods were lighter and my cramping majorly decreased. With having PCOS and speaking with my doctor they agreed it was from the switch away from all the harsh chemicals put into disposables

    Less cramps BY FAR! It’s incredible.

    Never run out

    Health, comfort, safety, responsibility

    No itchy or sweaty feeling

    No more chafing. You never need to make an emergency run to the store.

    For the environment because I have light flow for days. I still use disposable during heavy flow times. But after that I use cloths.

    If you have sensitive skin it’s a GAME CHANGER. I’ll never go back to anything other than cloth.

    Better for the environment, and very comfy. Easy to wash. Saves you money.

    Yes! All of these!


    They don’t really reek too much 

    Gentle on the yaya

    My cycle doesn’t kill me like it used to (lighter flow, almost no cramps anymore, consistent flow, and sometimes shorter week)

    In the beginning I bought them to be more eco friendly. But now, I cramp more with store bought. And my ph doesn’t get out of balance with my reusable pads. I’ll never go back if I can help it.

    definitely comfortable. after many years of using cloth pads, in time of emergency and disposable ones are available, you will realise how it scratches your skin.

    Savings, no chemicals and you have the cutest patterns available.

    More comfortable, healthy economical and eco-friendly. No more hot, sweaty, smelly crotch; no more adhesive pulling out hairs; no more gross trash can full of waste; no more buying bulky, wasteful chemical junk. Plus, they’re cute and soothingly comfy on my lady parts.

    Comfy on my lady bits

    Because the “regular” pads started causing ingrown hairs and heat rashes even with frequent changes.

    It’s not just saving the planet and my body. To me, using reusable menstrual products in my life is about fighting back against “the man” lol. The big companies that think it’s okay to destroy the planet, your body, your wallet to say they know what you need. To tell you they tested for what is safe when their tests have proven again and again to be incorrect and their products continue to test for pesticides and other severe toxins. Even organic brands. I’m tired of supporting the same 5-10 companies that own the whole world and the more research you do, the more disappointing it becomes to see how much they truly own and control. Reusables and cloth to me equal freedom, and often times supporting small business if you’re doing it right 🙂

    I started off with a cup, then started using cloth liners, and now I have a big stash that lasts me a whole week. 

    My reasons: I feel like I am taking back control and ownership of my body by using reusable products, especially because I make a lot of my own stash. 

    I have saved so much money, and I feel a lot less gross at that time of the month.

    I was allergic to disposable diapers and had to be cloth diapered. My teenage years were hell because I would get rashes from the pads and tampons. I was shelling out loads of cash for organic cotton. Then I watched my cousin cloth diaper the baby and it struck me that if there’s a bunch of ladies making cloth diapers on Etsy surely someone has made cloth pads. And I have never looked back. I’ve come to feel like the reusable menstrual product Jehovah witness because I tell everyone about cloth pads and cups.

    The chemicals in disposables alone can cause infertility.

    I save so much money. I have the same ones I bought in 2012/2013.

    Cloth diapering my daughters led me here! I love the sustainability and comfort. Hoping my cramps will improve, too!

    I started for many (most) of the mentioned reasons. However, my favorite…I bought your pads 9 or 10 YEARS ago. They are just now starting to have wear along the seams. They are still as absorbent as the day I got them. Talk about money saved!

    I have noticed a huge difference in my period,  as in little to no cramping. Shorter periods, more comfortable periods. Then for the environmental standpoint to how easy it is to care and clean the pads.  I never knew these were an option until I saw one of my sister in laws pads and I was like omg I have to try these and they seriously have changed my period and overall health.  

    So comfortable, along with my cup. No going back.

    So comfortable, and you get so much more adept at managing your own flow.

    I was tired of throwing money away on something that didn’t work worth a crap anyways so I did some research and when i found out about all the chemicals they release omg I was stunned I switched that day and my cycles have been better ever since and A LOT less cramping I’ll recommend cloth to anyone 🙂

    To not leave a plastic trail of our sanitary products long after we have turned to dust.  Plus I find my flow is more even.  

    Environment, price, and comfort!

    Save money in the long run, no unknown chemicals.

    They are beautiful! 

    I look forward to using them.

    No waste from disposable pads/tampons.

    Because all the cool kids are doing it

    Something in disposable pads always gave me terrible rashes. No problems with cloth!

    Much more comfortable, economical, environmental.

    To avoid toxic chemicals used to make disposable pads. Lessen the amount of plastic we use.

    I have had a vulvectomy, cloth is the only comfortable safe product for me.

    Less heavy bleeding and cramping. Also, no rashes!

    I began having itchiness/rash every cycle due to the materials and chemicals used in disposable pads, and needless to say that was extremely uncomfortable. Cloth pads solved that problem, and I also only bleed for 4-5 days now instead of 6-7.

    Reduced waste, reduced shopping, and the savings. They’re also much more comfortable.

    Latex allergy, but they’re better for the environment, way more comfortable and so much cuter!

    Shorter and less heavy periods, cheaper! Eco friendly,, comfortable, easy to use

    I have an IUD, so I don’t get proper periods, but I’ll have spotting at semi-random times. It feels so wasteful to wear a disposable liner for a few spots–cloth is much more sustainable!

    It helps Endometriosis.  Shorter less painful cycles.

    Saves money and the environment! I haven’t bought tampons or pads in years since I switched to a cup and cloth liners.

    Better for the environment, easier to use, they look pretty so you don’t feel so gross when it’s that time, can make periods shorter (it did for me by 2 days), also heard it makes some flows less but I didn’t experience that. They overall are just nicer and comfier

    I have used a lot of the same ones for 7.5 years now! I say I have saved so much money!

    My periods have lessened in heaviness, and my prolapse symptoms have seriously decreased as well since starting to use cloth.

    No nasty chemicals, personally I have experienced lighter periods, where as before when I used “conventional” pads, my periods were ridiculously heavy

    I use cloth for comfort. Disposables gave me rashes and Burns. I thought that was a normal part of period pains.

    Cloth is worth it for comfort alone

    Way way more comfortable than disposable ones.

    Comfort and cost … I have not bought pads in over 5 years

    So soft! Never buy pads again; mine have lasted 15 years so far. No chemicals. Comfy!

    cause they’re soft on your foof, yours were my favourite post partum and they were snapped up when I put them up for sale!

    Because conventional ones leak and feel like your wearing plastic. Cloth is like one small thing we can control during our period.

    They don’t have adhesive that sticks to your lady bits.

    Less chemicals next to your body. And good for the environment.

    Comfort. Environmental factor. Money savings.

    because in short: 10 day periods?? NOPE! CLOTH GAVE ME 3-4 DAYS! I just finished my period and it was barely 3 days!!!

    Reduces severe cramps!

    It’s healthier and more comfortable.

    Money saver!   Absolutely!

    Comfort, no chemicals and $

    Less skin irritations

    1. Supporting WAHM business. 
    2. Super Cute and often one offs. 
    3. Once I tried a few I was able to find out exactly what I needed shape wise. Now perfect protection. 
    4. So comfy. No chemical drag. Reduced cramping as nothing drawn out of the body.
    5. They stay in place. None of that awful misshapen squashed pads. I genuinely feel that disposable products are inferior to the point of not adequate for my needs. 
    6. You never run out. 
    7. I learned to make my own and got my ‘sew-jo’ back. I’m still a pad-a-holic though so keep buying them 
    8. Joined a lovely community. 
    9. I may be silly but I look forward to choosing my prints. I love seeing them drying. My boys love them and it’s really opened up the conversation about periods in a way that I hope will make my boys better informed allies to their girl friends / girlfriends. 
    10. I came to cloth after losing a twin then my waters early in pregnancy. To say that they saved my sanity is no exaggeration. They brought me happiness during an awful time (unable to use any tampons due to risks). My surviving twin is here but left me with a weak bladder. Having a gorgeous collection of pads I can choose from daily makes me feel confident to go out, that improves my health and quickens my recovery. 
    Yay cloth pads.
    10.a) oh and for some reason they make me feel empowered and liberated. I have become aware of the changes in my flow. I understand my body more. I also feel so much more open talking to my husband about it.

    Faaar less period cramps, they feel good, they look good, it´s fun to buy them. 🙂 Less waste.

    Oh so comfy!

    Comfort and cuteness lol

    Way more comfortable.
    Now that you’ve had a chance to read that whole long list of reasons why someone should make the switch to cloth pads, if you’re even more curious about making the switch, send me an email at HomesteadEmporium(AT)gmail.com so we can discuss exactly what pads would work best for your own personal needs!

  • Autism, ADHD and Etsy

    Autism, ADHD and Etsy

    What do autism and adhd have to do with Etsy?
    In my previous post I shared for the first time that I have autism and adhd. One big reason why I finally decided to share is because I really need to begin advocating for myself, and others like me, online. My business is online and I deal with customers from all around the world on a daily basis.

    I started my business over 17 years ago, and began selling on etsy in 2010.
    I’ve always liked what etsy stands for:

    Explore one-of-a-kind finds for one-of-a-kind people
    There’s no Etsy warehouse—just millions of people selling the things they love”

    Etsy’s newest thing is to encourage sellers to become what they call, Star Sellers. Sounds great right?
    Well I’m here to say that I don’t think so.

    I would directly tell Etsy this, I’d explain all my reasons why I don’t agree with this new program, but no matter how hard I look I just can’t find any kind of contact info for my complaint. Maybe I’m just not seeing it, but when I go to the contact button I get directed in a hundred different ways and none of those ways fit my complaint and I can’t even find a direct contact button. So I’m going to air my complaints here and then hope that some how, some one at etsy will read my complaint and consider it. Because I know I can not be alone in my thoughts regarding this.

    With Etsy’s new Star Seller plan, they’ve forgotten one important thing. Not only is etsy about one-of-a-kind finds for one-of-a-kind people, but one-of-a-kind people are the ones CREATING those finds.

    Each etsy seller is one-of-a-kind, and etsy is trying it’s darndest to fit us all into one very small box!

    If you’re an etsy seller and you have autism, or adhd, or you have both like me, or perhaps you have another learning disability, or a physical disability, or maybe you have lots of kids, or you have a full time job along with your etsy side hustle, maybe you suffer from anxiety, or perhaps you are battling a sickness, or you live rural and have to drive to the nearest town to ship package (also me!), or any other number of things that causes you to not be able to be to meet the push created by this new program.

    If you’re one of those people you’ll likely never become a Star Seller on etsy. Or even if you do, maybe you agree that it’s not a good idea for etsy to be pushing things in this direction. The direction of speed=best rather than quality is number one.

    Here’s the link to the information about becoming a Star Seller: https://www.etsy.com/starseller

    Even though I have been successfully selling on etsy for over 12 years, have shipped out over 12,000 orders and received more than 2,600 five star reviews I will likely never make the cut to be considered an etsy Star Seller and I don’t even care to because this push goes against every reason I am a handmade seller.

    However, if I am not a Star Seller, even though I’m paying the same as anyone who is, I miss out on rewards from etsy. This isn’t right.


    As a creator, and for the reasons I stated above for all of us who do not fit the regular mold, I really don’t think it’s a good idea to create a feeling like we’re being pushed to behave like machines. It leaves behind those who simply can NOT work like machines.

    Besides, that isn’t what handmade, creativity, artistry, and unique one-of-a-kind is all about.

    Is it?

    I’m very confused as to why etsy felt this was a good idea. I realize they probably didn’t considered that a system like this would be overwhelming and even punishing to some of their sellers, but I’m here to say that it is. And I’m sure I am not alone.

    So this is me letting etsy know better, so that etsy can do better.

    No matter our abilities or disabilities, each one of us are hard working individuals trying to make it in OUR business the best we are able. We deserve to be judged for the quality of our creations, for our QUALITY of customer service, and NOT for our SPEED. Why is etsy expecting it’s artists and creators to work this way?

    We are not factories or manufacturing plants.

    Leave us to be individuals who will have differing customer response times, different shipping speeds and different UNIQUE ways of customer service between each one of us and our customers!

    Be a SAFE space for sellers and trust the customers to decide for themselves with their reviews who deserves to be a STAR seller! I bet there are plenty of very unique individuals with very unique amazing creations who will never be the fastest to reply to a message or the quickest to ship an order (or to think it’s ok to add shipping costs into the price costs just to give the ‘appearance’ of free shipping… but that’s a whole other complaint for another time…) that plenty of customers might miss out ever meeting simply because they’ll never be a Star Seller according to this program.

    If you agree with my thoughts on this, please share this post and tag etsy.
    Maybe together we can bring about change and help etsy to hear our voice and get back to what’s important, one-of-a-kind finds for one-of-a-kind people CREATED BY one-of-a-kind people!

  • Adult Autism & ADHD

    Adult Autism & ADHD

    I was going to title this post as per usual, Homestead Diary February 28 2022, but today’s post is more than a daily diary post. Today’s post is not about the homestead.

    I’ve shared many times about our middle child, Elsa, who has Aspergers/Autism.
    The road that led us to finding out that Elsa has autism was a long windy road over the course of years full of side trips and rabbit trails and many bumps along the way. I won’t go any further into that, because this post isn’t about Elsa, it’s about another member of our family who has autism.

    This post is about me.

    I figured out years ago, some years after Elsa’s diagnosis, that I too likely had autism.
    Unfortunately, like adhd, autism is typically diagnosed in young boys. Girls, who grow up to become women, often don’t get diagnosed until much later in life. If they get diagnosed at all.

    This is my story.

    Growing up, no one ever suspected autism. No one even really heard of autism. I was born in 1971, a long time ago, over 51 years! Times have changed, thankfully. We know much more now, but we still don’t know enough, and that is why I have chosen to finally share my story. Elsa has always been happy to allow me to share her story, and I’ve been grateful for that, but I’ve also felt guilty each time I shared her story without sharing mine. I always made excuses as to why I shouldn’t share about me. I have a business to run, what would people think? Would they automatically have misunderstandings about me because they would just see AUTISM and no longer the business woman? Would I lose customers? Would I lose income? Would they look at me differently? Would customers shy away from purchasing from me? Would people believe me? What would friends and family think? Would I lose friends, would family disown me?

    I asked Elsa several years ago if she thought I should be as open about having autism as she is. Her response, “No, why bother, look how people treat me.”

    I knew when she said this to me, that it was actually MORE of a reason that I needed to share my secret, BUT I also knew she was right. She has put up with a lot. A lot of misunderstandings. A lot of negativity. A lot of comments… oh the comments she’s received, and that I’ve received behind her back and even right in front of her, about her being autistic, through the ignorance of people in their spoken words.

    It’s been hurtful. It’s been difficult to hear and watch and to have to constantly try to explain to others.
    Try to explain to someone that they aren’t actually understanding, when they truly believe they understand all about autism perfectly well…
    There’s been many times I’ve felt like whacking my head on a brick wall.

    When people are so sure they know it all, there’s no telling them they don’t seem to really know anything, actually. They make their assumptions about autism, and the person who has autism, and to be quite blunt and honest, at that point they typically just walk away. If not physically, you can just about see them walking away mentally. They are no long there in the conversation to converse or to learn… because they already know it all. They’ve made up their mind about what autism is and what it looks like and to them it does NOT look like Elsa, and it most certainly does NOT look like me.

    A 51 year old successful business women who has been married for over 30 years, raised five children and even homeschooled them all right through to graduation.

    Nope, that’s not what autism looks like. So how could I be autistic?

    But I am. I also have ADHD.

    It was at the appointment where I was diagnosed with adhd that I told the dr that I had not been open about being autistic except with my husband and children. I told him I wasn’t sure how others would react and that I didn’t know if I was able to deal with it. He told me that I was probably right not to tell others because most people don’t understand autism.

    Hearing him say that actually made me realize exactly why I DO need to tell others that I have autism.
    I couldn’t stop thinking about how if I don’t share, this cycle of misunderstanding is never going to end. Not that misunderstanding autism will suddenly end with me sharing, but… maybe it could end some misunderstandings in one or two people who know me?

    Maybe those one or two people will then help end the misunderstanding of autism for one or two more people? Maybe another adult with autism who’s been nervous to share will read my post and in turn decide they want to share too. Maybe then one or two people they know will better understand… and so on.

    If I desire for autism to be better understood, doesn’t it need to start right here, with me?

    And that is truly my desire.
    To help put an end to misunderstandings and misconceptions of what autism ‘looks’ like.

    Because Autism looks like me, it looks like Elsa, it most likely looks like someone else you know too. Maybe even a friend, a family member, a co-worker or a casual acquaintance.

    If you’d like to know more about adults and autism or you have autism and you want to know better how to share about it, here’s an article about sharing an adult diagnosis:

    I will likely share more soon, but for now, this post was a very big step that I have been putting off for a very very long time. It feels good to have finally written it. I have no idea how people will react, if people will change their minds about me, or my business, or about who I am as a person. I am finally at a place in my life where I’m ok with the not knowing. I guess I’m finally at a place where I am completely ok with me.

    So many times in my life I have not shared my stories, I would always think, “This isn’t just MY story to share, there are other people involved here.”

    I read a quote that said something like,
    “If we never share our story, all we will ever be is a part of someone else’s.”

    I have my own story to tell. I don’t want to just be a part of someone else’s story.

    And with that, I’m adding one of my favourite winter photos from the homestead, hitting the “publish” button and letting go of worrying about what will be once people know this part of my story.

  • Homestead Diary February 15 2022

    Homestead Diary February 15 2022

    It has been a very long and very busy day.
    I am ready for a bath and bed and it’s early yet!

    The hubs and our two daughters went to the city two hours away today so I was home alone all day. I cherish these home alone days. However, today I woke up at 4:16am! That was a bit early to start my day, but I enjoyed the quiet before everyone got up and ready to leave.

    It’s been difficult to sleep lately. Our country was just put under the Emergency Measures Act, and I won’t bother going into it, but suffice it to say, it’s been worrisome what’s happening in our country and it makes it difficult to rest.

    However, here on our homestead, life is good and life is busy and today I decided I was going to stay away from the internets and focus on home.

    I did the farm chores, visited with all the animals, made sure everyone was enjoying this warmer weather even it if was snowing lightly. I know I’m enjoying it not being -40, even if I do find it invigorating. Who needs that much invigoration?? lol

    Once done the chores, I caught up on some kitchen work. Cleared the fridge of any old foods, cut up and froze the left over roast chicken from last nights dinner. It was HUGE. Eight pounds! This was a locally raised chicken we purchased from awesome farming family friends.

    Once that was done, it was time to wash up the eggs and cook some up for the barn cats. They’ll enjoy a nice bonus feast for dinner tonight.

    Josie, my 2 pound longcoat chihuahua needed a bath and a blow dry, so I dealt with that, and brushed her teeth while I was at it. May as well get all the torturing done in one session right? Lucky for her, I didn’t need to trim her nails.

    After that, I headed to the basement to play with some COLOUR!
    Anyone who knows me knows how much I love playing with colour.
    Today I needed to get some custom order fabrics dyed. A real nice variety too.
    Pink and grey (I did two, because I wasn’t sure which grey was going to turn out the nicest with the pink), blues and greens, purples and blues, red with orange and yellow.

    Let’s see if I can add a short video here.

    I think they will all turn out great!
    Time will tell when I rinse and wash them out tomorrow.

    I took the dogs out for yet another walk after I had a bite to eat, and got in a walk for myself too. I’m needing to build my stamina back up after being sick over Christmas. Still not back up to 100%, but getting there. Being outside helps!

    Shipping time, lots of orders to package up and ship this week. It’s a great problem to have!
    I am so very blessed to be able to work from home, all the craziness of these past two years has not affected me much in that regard thankfully. In reality, it’s caused a lot of people to realize that reusable products are really great to have around, and has boosted business because of it! It’s good to be prepared for anything and everything and people are really understanding that now more than ever!

    Now it’s time to take the dogs out again, feed them their dinner and then have a nice hot soak in the tub!
    The girls will be doing the evening chores, so I’m clocking out for the day after that!

    Goodnight all!

  • Homestead Diary February 14 2022

    Homestead Diary February 14 2022

    It’s Valentine’s Day!

    My husband and I have celebrated 32 Valentine’s Days together.

    Today I thought I’d share a bit about the two of us.
    Just a short story as the day has been busy, and long, so I’m short on time!

    Just over 32 years ago, I had recently moved back to White Rock, British Columbia, Canada from spending a year in my birthplace, the Netherlands. I was 18, almost 19 at the time.
    Graydon, my husband, was currently in the Canadian Navy, he was 23, almost 24.

    A mutual friend of ours invited several of us to come for a ships tour while they were docked nearby in Vancouver. It was during that ship visit Graydon and I first met. I knew that first meeting that he was the man I would marry. It was as though a voice whispered it to me as I watched and listened to him explain all sorts of parts and workings of the ship to us during that tour.

    That first meeting was February 2nd 1990.
    By March 10th he asked me to marry him. Mid September he was finished his stint in the Navy.
    We married on September 22nd of that same year. I was 19, he was 24.

    Through the years we’ve had many ups and downs, and persevered through many trials and tribulations. We both grew in maturity, together. We raised five children, including twins, homeschooled all of them from kindergarten through to graduation in 3 different provinces, through many moves, and during a time when homeschooling wasn’t considered ‘normal’. Mind you, not much of what we’ve ever done has been ‘normal’. We do a lot of things VERY well, but ‘normal’ is not one of them!

    Just look at the business I’ve successfully run for the past 17+ years… creating reusable cloth pads and shipping them worldwide. Most wouldn’t consider that ‘normal’. lol

    All we’ve been through, everywhere we’ve been and all that we’ve done, has led us to where we are today.
    Still married and we would still choose one another today. It hasn’t always been easy, but both of us have always known that going our separate ways would never be easy either, so we may as well stick it out together, and continue working together towards a better life for ourselves, for our family.

    And that’s what we’ve done!

    We both know that neither of us is perfect, but we’re perfectly suited for one another because neither of us ever gives up. We continue to learn, to grow, and to strive to thrive in our marriage, not just survive.

    We’ve both seen a lot of ‘surviving’ marriages.
    I’m sure we all have. Seek to thrive instead. It’s a much better goal!

  • Homestead Diary February 12 2022

    Homestead Diary February 12 2022

    Cool day today, but not as cold as yesterday! Still cool enough to need a scarf.
    The big horses were all wearing a layer of snow. Did you know that if a horse has a layer of snow on their back, it’s a very good sign that they are staying warm and not loosing body heat. If they were loosing body heat through their furry coat, the snow would melt. All our horses have great coats each winter! The big horse in the right foreground is actually jet black, and here he is looking a bit like a snowman.

    Each morning when I let the miniature horses out of the barn and into their paddock, the big horses always come over to say hello. I joke that the mini horses are their entertainment. Like us with tv. They love to stand and watch everything these little horses do.

    This stray who showed up on our homestead last fall, decided it was going to be a friendly day.
    This cat is kind of weird. Some days he loves me, other days he runs away and hides from me as fast as he did when he first showed up. He can’t quite decide if he likes humans. He had made up his mind that we were NOT likeable, until I realized to win him over I was going to need to bribe him with some good stuff. I started bringing him out a bit of cream each morning. He loved that.
    So now some days he talks up a storm to me, and lets me pet him and love on him, even if I don’t have cream. Other days, he forgets that he likes people and avoids me like the plague. I’ll share a video of him from this morning on my fb page.

    Today was a good people day. Today he liked me, and apparently Levi the barn dog too.
    I’m pretty sure he changes his mind about the dog on a daily basis too.

    Here’s our pretty boy barn roosters, our bachelors. And a couple of our barn cats. The calico cat is also a stray. She’s super sweet, and a fantastic hunter. Right now she’s on the prowl keeping watch for a pure white ermine. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s an animal that is basically a mink/weasel. I think these animals are super duper cute! BUT, back in BC we had just ONE mink take out a whole bunch of our chickens. They are NOT a good animal to have around a farm.

    We’ve never had any issues with weasels since moving to this homestead 9 years ago, so when my daughters saw a tiny one in the barn last night, it was a surprise. From what they described, it had to be a baby ermine, which causes me to wonder if we have a family of them in our barn… or possibly more realistically, our farm dog found a nest some where on or near the property, brought this one to the barn and it got away from him. He was trying to get at it in the barn, but it was too fast and scurried out the door into the snow.

    I have a difficult time believing that we could have a family of these critters living in our barn alongside our barn cats. Riley, the calico, is especially good at hunting and I just don’t think she’d allow it. lol

    If my daughters could have caught the baby ermine, I know they would have… and we’d likely have a new pet.

    This is Missy, she’s currently our oldest hen, and our smallest, a bantam. She’s almost 9 years old and one of the first chickens we got when we moved onto the homestead in 2013! She was still laying eggs last summer, the smallest roosters in the photo above are her babies. Every egg of hers that I have ever incubated has hatched! She’s an amazing little hen. I really love bantam chickens, and if everyone loved small eggs, I’d have a coop full of bantams but unfortunately most prefer large eggs, so I just have a few. The very first chicken I ever had as a child was a bantam. They are super friendly and gentle, really a great chicken for small children! I’ll always have a couple so that if kids visit, I can count on having a couple of friendly hens who will obligingly be held in a child’s arms. 🙂

    I took a few videos this morning of the different animals, and I’ll share those on my fb and on my tiktok, if any of you are also on there! On fb you can find me at www.facebook.com/HomesteadEmporium and on tiktok just search for HomesteadEmporium and you’ll find me there!

  • Homestead Diary Friday February 11 2022

    Homestead Diary Friday February 11 2022

    Yesterday we had rain and temps that went up as high as 5C/41F and this morning it was so cold the ‘feels like’ temperature was -32C/-27F! Quite a drastic change overnight!

    I was sure the deck would be slick as snot when I went out to do chores but thankfully it was covered in a light coating of some sort of sleet, which made it grippy to walk on like sandpaper, rather than a skating rink. lol Slip sliding to the barn and while doing chores is never fun!

    The animals were all doing well this morning, despite the cold. When the temperature change is that drastic I almost expect to find them all shivering and the chickens sneezing. It’s those types of fluctuations that will bring on sickness. As much as I hate to say it, I prefer it just stay cold, not extreme cold, but definitely above freezing.

    When people hear that we moved from the warm climate of Vancouver Island, BC to the cold winter climates here in the prairies, they expect that we miss the warmer winters. Nope. I sure don’t at all. I actually enjoy the cold, I find it quite invigorating really. I will often go for long walks outdoors even when it’s as cold as -40C/-40F or colder. I’ve found that here in Saskatchewan, at least where we are near two large bodies of salt water, the air is perfect all year round. In BC when it was cold, it would be cold and WET. So even if it was only -10C/14F it would absolutely chill you to the BONE! No matter what you wore! Here, because the air is neither too damp or too dry, as long as I’m well dressed for the temperatures, I’m always warm. Very seldom is it that I will feel cold outside. Of course in the extreme temperatures, any bare skin will get cold, but my body as a whole really never gets cold. I don’t even wear huge winter coats while working or walking outside, just appropriate layers. Long sleeve shirt or light sweater underneath an insulated flannel barn coat. Good mittens are a must, mine are like a glove/mitten combination, the thumb and forefinger are separate so I can grab/grip etc., but the other three fingers are in a mitten shape, and the glove/mitten itself comes up well over my wrists so no cool air ever gets in up under my sleeves. I wear wool socks that my mom knit for me, along with bog boots, they are not true winter boots, but not a regular rubber boot either. My secret weapon for keeping my legs warm… is bamboo velour yoga pants. I made many pairs for myself, and these keep my legs warm all winter. No need for snow pants! As long as I’m out there moving I just don’t get cold. I often come inside sweating after finishing my chores.

    I share these details for those of you who may be new to hometeading, or may be considering homesteading, and wondering about these sorts of details of daily life. I know there are MANY people out there who are considering a move back to the land, and they are wondering if they could handle prairie winters or if they should move some place where the weather isn’t so drastically cold.

    It will depend on each person of course, but for us, we do not regret moving to the prairies for even a moment. We’ve been here almost ten years now and we still love it! Moving to land is very expensive in many places, and the warmer the area, the more expensive the land. Here in Saskatchewan, there have been MANY people moving from city/town/small properties in places like BC, Ontario, Quebec, who sold their homes for a pretty good $ there and purchased huge properties here.

    Some make it and love it like we do, but some do not.

    I personally couldn’t do it, or at least I could not do it as well as we do, without the luxuries we have like a warm home, a large heated shop for times we need to warm up animals, and even to store our tractor in to keep it warm and easily run all winter. Then there’s other very important aspects to making winter life in the prairies much easier that some may not even think about, like a very good mature shelter belt that surrounds our home and our entire farmyard. It keeps the wild prairie winds from affecting us much at all, which keeps our temperatures for us, and even for our animals, much lower when you have weather that is -38C/-36F, with windchill temperatures of -50C/-58F. When we have those temperatures here on the prairies, our very well treed shelter belt keeps our farmyard temps more towards the -33C/-36F than the ultimate extreme wind chilling cold reached in open areas. These are the types of things that can make a difference between surviving in our climate, and thriving through the winter. I will always aim for thriving, not much of a fan of just surviving.

    My doggies would agree. 🙂

  • Homestead Diary February 10 2022

    Homestead Diary February 10 2022

    Today I woke up to rain, of all things!
    We’ve had such an odd winter! More snow this year than we’ve had since the year we moved onto the homestead in 2013, when the snow was so high in April that it almost came up to our thighs in places as we walked around our property for the first time!

    We need the snow though. Last year was such a very dry year. The first drought we’ve experienced here on the homestead. It was very difficult to watch our land become so parched late last summer. All the snow we’ve received so far, and will likely receive even more in the next couple of months, will be very good for the land. Like a healing balm come spring when it all begins to melt.

    We’ve also had times of bitter bitter cold this winter, which is normal of course here on the Canadian prairies. It has been as cold as -50C/-58F overnight! The very first time it was that cold, one of our new miniature horses caught a chill and just couldn’t warm up. The girls and I brought her into our large heated shop, rubbed her down good with towels, gave her some food and water, and sat with her while she warmed up again. It only took about 1.5 hours, and she was good to go! She basically hopped, skipped and jumped back over to her mini horse mates and has been good ever since!

    It’s worrisome when one of the animals isn’t doing well. This is the ONLY thing I do not like about homesteading. As they say, when you have livestock, you have deadstock, but no one likes to think about that harsh reality of the homestead lifestyle. When in a dire situation with one of your animals, you do the very best you can to help them through it and then pray it works. Thankfully it worked wonderfully this time. She never caught a chill again!

    The times that nothing helps and I’ve lost animals, especially baby animals like a lamb, or last spring when I lost twin lambs who were both stillborn, it’s in those moments that some times I truly feel like throwing in the towel. It can be heart wrenching. But you carry on, because the other animals still need you, and some how the pain fades over time and you find yourself enjoying it all once again.

    By the time I went out to do chores after my morning coffee, the rain had stopped and it was pleasant weather for working. I take Ryker, our German Shepherd 1 year old pup, out for a walk and toss her some snow balls. She absolutely LOVES catching snow balls. She has since she was a tiny pup last winter when we first got her. Only problem is, she eats them, so she’s never learned that balls are to be brought back to us. lol So in warm months I have to have two balls on me when we play, I throw one, and she only brings it back if I have another to show her, and then throw. She drops the first ball, only to go get the second one. This snow ball thing has created a fetch issue that I just don’t know how to fix. Ha!

    Once I’ve gotten Ryker some exercise and she’s good and tired out, I head to the mini horses, to let them out of their barn stall and into their paddock. They are always ready to go, Luna, the eldest mare, is the most impatient. As I walk through the barn to their back stall she’s always pawing at the floor right at the gate, waiting for what feels like an eternity to her. Their stall is at the very back of the barn, so as soon as she hears me open up the large front door, she starts. lol

    Once I’ve scooted them all out of the barn and into their paddock, I say hello to the big horses and then it’s time to get water for everyone. In winter, (and part of fall and part of spring- basically about 6-8 months of the year lol) because a hose would freeze, we use 5 gallon buckets to carry water from the water hydrant over to the horse bucket. We have a great set up though, we built our fence so that the big water trough sits in a gap between both paddocks, with the five big horses on the one side of the fence and the three mini horses on the other side of the fence, so they all drink from one central location. That saves having to lug water to two separate troughs! It’s very handy!

    Carrying 5 gallon buckets, two at a time, is an excellent work out each morning. When we first moved here it was hard for me to do, now, I can do it fairly easily.

    Once I fill and lug 4-8 five gallon buckets full of water to the horses (it depends on how much everyone drank through the night) I feed the sheep their hay. We keep a round bale outside of their pen, and I fork the hay into their feeder by hand. The horses, on the other hand, are in two main paddocks, big horses in one, and mini’s in the other. Each paddock has a huge round bale of hay in it, so we don’t have to feed the horses by hand. Instead, about every 10 days my husband moves a round bale in with the tractor. Life before our tractor was a LOT more work. Before the tractor we had to use small square bales, and those had to be taken up to our barn loft one by one to be stored for the year, and then thrown down each time we needed them, which was many times a day! A tractor and round bales make our life MUCH easier!

    Once the sheep have their hay, I give them some oats in their grain trough. They LOVE oat feeding time. Every morning when I head into the barn they baa at me (I often baa back at them…) until I finally give them their oats. There is no way you can forget to feed the sheep their oats, they won’t let you!

    Then it’s time to bring them water, so I fill another bucket and take it to the sheep’s water bucket inside their barn stall. They have access to a huge stall inside our barn where I keep their water and where I feed them their grain, and then they can head outside to eat their hay. Having their hay outside keeps most of the mess outside. Previously when I fed them hay inside their barn stall, they would spread it all over and within no time they’d be standing on a thick deep bed of hay that they wasted! It was a royal pain in the butt to clean each time! At least outside, when they waste hay, it composts out there in the fresh air rather than becoming a foot deep block of hay and manure ‘concrete’ inside our barn!

    Once the sheep are fed I fill up another bucket with chicken feed, and a bucket of water, feed the free range roosters (the bachelors) who live in the barn, along with Dougie the female goose, and her best friend Green Bean the male duck, then head on over to the duplex chicken coop. Time to feed all of the hens, their three roosters, and the two female ducks who live with them. Collected all the eggs, 8 of them this morning, all brown ones so far.

    Head back to the barn, put everything away, say hello to Levi the barn dog who is also the very best barn dog in the world because he takes his job SO seriously, give him some belly rubs and it’s time to head back inside.

    That’s pretty much my morning barn chores each day. While there is still two of our adult daughters living here on the homestead, chores are fairly easy and only take me about 45 minutes to an hour each morning. Once baby animals arrive, or if the girls are away, or when things come up (like a chilled horse) it takes longer of course, but that was a fairly typical morning.

    And now it’s time to get ready for my day of business work. 🙂