Category Archives: Gardening & Nature

  • Spring & Baby animals, part 1

    Spring & Baby animals, part 1
    I’ll call this post baby animals, part 1, because we’ve got so many more coming yet. ūüôā
    Most mornings I try to get in a walk after my first coffee, and before my second.

  • On the topic of health… have you heard about essential oils?

    On the topic of health… have you heard about essential oils?

    I believe I’ve mentioned on the blog that I’ve become involved in DoTerra. It’s been over a year now and I’ve just been ‘puttering’ away at it, in my usual ‘slow and steady wins the race’ kind of way. When I decide to get into something, I jump in wholeheartedly, but I don’t jump into the deep end immediately. I like to wade around in the waters for a while, really get to know what I’m doing, and then I make my way¬†over into the deep end. ūüôā It’s just the way I am. I believe it’s because I always have quite a bit on my plate with raising kids, the home, homestead and home business. If I jump too quickly into the deep end, waves would splash over into every other area of my life and some areas would indeed flood.

    No one wants a flood. ūüėČ

    My journey with DoTerra has been wonderful thus far. I have been pulled out of my comfort zone and have forced myself to teach classes! Teaching is something I truly enjoy, but I spent 21 years of my life teaching my five children, and this, well this is completely different. lol Can’t say I’m great at it, but I can say I’m practicing. That’s what’s most important!

    16387943_10154053208121058_3971767848430756915_n

    All three of my youngest girls help with the classes. It’s been a great learning experience for us all.
    Hopefully the thing they’ve learned most is that even if you’re scared to try something new, just get out of your comfort zone and do it anyways. If mom can, they can!

    16387112_10154053208196058_2576398597411346338_n

    I’m quite passionate about these oils and it’s really hard for me to keep quiet sometimes when people mention different ailments, aches, pains, and most of all, struggles with certain types of emotions.
    I battle with myself all the time, because I don’t want to come off as ‘preachy’, but at the same time, I know how much essential oils have changed MY life, and I just really want that for everyone else that I come into contact with too! So it’s hard to keep quiet…

    One thing I won’t keep quiet about though, is bug repellant!

    If you live in an area, like we do, with ticks and mosquitoes and you find yourself reaching for chemical bug repellant all spring/summer/fall, do yourself a favour and learn about essential oil alternatives!

    Last year I used ONLY TerraShield as a mosquito and tick repellant. What I love most about it, is that I can even put it on my FACE! Every summer we’d go camping and I’d be doing my best to keep myself well covered up in long sleeves etc.., only spraying my clothing and wearing a hat, ¬†just so that I could spray my hat with ¬†bug spray, but the mosquitoes would STILL go after my face! It drove me bananas! Well last year I used only TerraShield and I was able to put it right on my face, my neck, and anywhere else, without getting bit! The mosquitoes would still fly near me (buggers, don’t you just HATE their buzzing) but they wouldn’t actually bite/sting me. So awesome!

    I’m hosting a FREE ONLINE facebook class on The Willard Homestead facebook page, so come on over and join in!
    The class is being held on May 9th at 7:30-9:00 est, but you are welcome to come and go as you’re able. Just be sure to click on the “Going” button so you don’t miss out!
    Feel free to invite ANYONE to join you for this class!

    PestControlEssentialOilsclass-page-001

     

  • New year rambles, goals, pigs, writing, walking and more

    It’s January 2nd, 2016, er, .. I mean, 2017 and we’ve done so much already. I’m tired just thinking about it.
    But in a good way. In a “I’ve got my list, and I’m getting things done” kind of a way.

    Speaking of lists, in the back of my prayer journal this morning I made up a list of goals I’d like to accomplish each month. I’m not real big on ‘resolutions‘, but I’m very big on goals. Not just on New Year’s day though, all the time. I actually LOVE Monday’s even, for this very reason. Monday’s are a chance to start a whole new week with a whole new set of goals!

    This year I’ve decided to break up my big goals into smaller monthly goals,¬†which are kind of like bite sized pieces. For example, I’ve been wanting to write a book for some time now. ¬†Pretty much my whole life really. The type of book I would write was never totally clear in my mind. I knew it would either be nonfiction, or some time of ‘self help’ book, as that’s simply the way my brain tends to be geared. But I wasn’t totally set on exactly what. The past while an idea kind of fell into my lap, or maybe slapped me in the face would be more accurate, so I’m running with it, and my goal is to write a new chapter each month. By the end of the year, I will have at least 13 chapters (I’ve already written the first one) and this is a very realistic goal for me. I work a lot of hours with my two home businesses (HomesteadEmporium.com and doTERRA) so I feel I need to set small bite sized goals, rather than one big goal of simply –¬†Write a Book.”

    My other goals are simple too, and designed to help me end the year off on a better, less rushed, slower pace of lifestyle than I normally tend to run at. I always AIM to live a slower paced life, but biting off more than I can chew causes a “rush hour”¬† panic much too often in my life. My whole list of monthly¬†goals are:

    1 ~ Write one chapter each month
    2 ~ Make one homemade gift each month (these will most likely all be for Christmas, I never have enough time in the fall to finish them in time for Christmas!)
    3 ~ Sew myself one article of clothing each month (I have all the fabrics, and even the patterns, sitting here just waiting for me to finally sew for me!)
    4 ~ Learn how to cook/bake/create one new food each month (so much food stuffs that I want to learn, such as yogurt (made that today!), pasta, all types of breads, fermented foods, and foods from other countries, the list goes on and on…)
    5 ~ Walk 20 times each month (this is a big one for me, even though it’s the most simple! I LOVE being outside, yet if I don’t get out first thing in the morning, I tend to procrastinate and get busy with everything else. When I’m outside here on our prairie homestead, I honestly feel rejuvenated and refreshed every time. It always makes me feel a little like Eve in the garden of Eden. We are blessed with so much greenery, space, and even fruit trees and wildlife. I love walking, and talking with God. The gorgeous vast prairie views and silence are just the icing on the cake. When I spend too much time behind the sewing machine and not enough time outside, I feel it in my whole being. I must make walks a priority!)

    And that’s it, that’s my list. Pretty simple really. I think these bite sized chunks are doable. I know they are¬†as long as I stick with them!

    15824207_10153977764206058_1876184314_o

    Below is a photo from my walk this afternoon (just 19 more walks to go this month! lol).
    It’s cold in them these here parts, I tell you!

    I do love these types of winter days though, when the skies are bright ice blue, the hoar frost is on the trees, and the snow sparkles like diamonds in the bright sunshine!

    15823727_10153977763961058_497217355_o

    Before my walk I had been wrestling deer carcass in my freezer. I had to move it from one freezer to another, and it wasn’t co-operating…
    When you have many dogs (and cats, too many cats) and you let everyone¬†know that you feed all those many dogs and cats a¬†homemade raw food diet, you tend to have people offer you all sorts of things. Carcasses (is that even spelled correctly??) being one of those things. Deer, moose, antler, even a buffalo. We’ve dealt with them all. Not to mention the beef and pork bones we get on a yearly basis as well when it’s butchering time. One day we’ll do our own butchering, but that day will have to wait until hubby and I are not both working 50-60 hours a week.

    After my walk, and before I could make it back inside, I got coerced sidetracked¬†into helping move pigs in the barn. We’re getting close to butcher time, and we’ve started breeding our sows, so it seems moving pigs from one pen to another is a weekly ordeal right now. Warmer weather would be nicer for this work, but you do what you have to do, when you have to do it. After getting coerced sidetracked from my leisurely stroll outside, into helping move pigs, I then was coerced sidetracked into pig poop scooping…

    By the time I got back into the house my legs and butt were numb… I had a numb bum…. yes, I said it. My kids will die of embarrassment now… we’ll call it payback.

    15857592_10153977764306058_1456077587_o

    Anywho…¬†here’s the yogurt I made!
    For over 20 years I’ve been wanting to make yogurt. My mom made it when we were kids, and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. I’ve tried different ways several times over the years, and never had success. The last time I tried about 18 months ago, I ended up with absolutely perfect… cottage cheese! Who knows what I did wrong each time. lol But this time, I used my brand new Instant Pot, and had success, finally! Here’s the recipe/instructions that I used:¬†http://www.homemademommy.net/2016/02/how-to-make-homemade-yogurt-instant-pot.html

    15878433_10153977764116058_1006460981_o

    One last photo from my walk. It’s almost time for bed, I can hear it calling me now…

    How about you? Have you created any goals, or resolutions, for yourself this year? I’d love to hear about them!

  • 20140305-162849.jpg

    Spring Time!

    Gardening season will soon be upon us!
    I feel the rush of spring heading towards me at full speed. So much to do, so little time!

  • 20140908-095604.jpg

    For the love of homemade soups

    When I was first married, I was quite terrified of making soup. Can you believe that?
    My husband grew up living close to both sets of grandparents. I often heard his stories of his grandmothers wonderful homemade soups, her cookies, and not to mention her pies, which I have yet to master…

  • 20150607-104238.jpg

    Planting season, part 1

    We finished planting the garden last week, so I thought I’d take a moment to write down all we’ve planted this year. To one who has no interest in gardening, this will seem long and boring. If you are learning about gardening, this may be of interest. This is just our 3rd year planting on the homestead and we are learning as we go.

  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to think about getting dirty!

    It’s that time of the year again!

    So many are saying winter is lasting too long and they can’t wait until it’s over. I say it’s going by much too fast! There’s so much to do before spring arrives!
    First and foremost on the agenda is planning and preparing for the garden!

  • 24 years, and ramblings from the homestead.

    20140922-123016.jpg

    Today is our 24th Wedding Anniversary!
    For some reason I woke up fighting grumpiness though, so I told the kids we’d have only a partial school day today and they agreed to make dinner for hubby and I too. We’re not able to get out and do anything special since he’s on 12 hour night shifts at the moment.

    20140922-123611.jpg

    We have a lot to get done, so we finished up school quickly. While I cleaned, the girls set to work on shucking our corn crop. It grew so much better this year!

    20140922-123503.jpg

    Elsa had a sweet surprise this week.

    20140922-123554.jpg

    When we first moved to our homestead late last spring, we saw an advertisement for a mama cat and some kittens. She was all black. Elsa wanted her because her black cat had died the previous fall. So we drove the 1.5 hours to go pick up her and her kittens. We would keep one kitten and our friend wanted the other two kittens.

    Elsa had Ceecee for about 3 months. We were told she had been burned by some teens as a kitten, but her fur had grown back nicely and only her tail showed any evidence of her sad story. Ceecee was a very friendly cat, and a good mom. However, she was scared of loud noises, and didn’t care much for the dogs. One night when our son lit a few small fireworks while family was visiting from the Netherlands, she got scared and ran away. We found her a few days later down the road at some grain bins.

    About a month later, July 2013, she disappeared again. We searched everywhere for her, but never found her. We were sure the coyotes must have gotten her.

    Two days ago Julia pulled me aside and said she was sure she caught a glimpse of a black cat that looked just like Ceecee, near the road by our driveway. We didn’t say anything to Elsa, because we were pretty sure there was just no way it really could have been Ceecee! She had disappeared 15 months ago! And, she really had only lived with us for a few months!

    If we told Elsa, she was sure to spend her days calling and searching, and we just didn’t want to get her hopes up.

    The next day I was filling up the sheeps water bucket when Julia called me from the horse paddock. She called, “Mom! You need to come here & see this!”

    Being the worry wort I am, I immediately started praying, “Dear God, don’t let it be a horse injury!” and headed over to see what Julia needed me to see.

    And there she was, holding Ceecee.

    Fifteen months after she left, she found her way back. Shorter frost bitten ears, and a great big pregnant belly.

    Anyone want a kitten in about 9 weeks?

    20140922-125330.jpg

    Elsa couldn’t be happier!

  • Stretching the goods!

    Last fall I purchased a tiller at a farm auction for the hefty sum of 5 whole dollars. This past spring I decided to take it for a tune up before it was time to plant the garden.

    I had been given the name and number of a gentleman that our friends recommended. So I gave him a call and brought the tiller over.

    While there, him and his wife chatted up a storm with me about everything under the sun from my SUV & the best products to use to keep it running well, to farming, tractors, gardening to kittens, making buns, lard, and more. I love talking to farmers. There’s so much to learn from them!

    While we chatted about gardening, at one point the wife asked if I had ever had banana potatoes after I mentioned wanting to grow purple Russian potatoes this year. I told her I had never heard of them before!

    She quickly went into her home and brought out a handful of little yellow-ish potatoes for me. She said to cook them for dinner so our family could give them a try.

    I looked at the handful of potatoes, and told her we are a family of 7 and knowing how much my kids love potatoes and trying new foods, would it bother her if I planted her potatoes in my garden, instead of cooking them and having them fight over the small feast? That way we would have several meals of banana potatoes instead!

    She thought that was a great idea!

    When hubby planted all our potatoes, he planted her handful of banana potatoes.

    Yesterday we dug them all up!

    20140921-114542.jpg

    Her gift of potatoes, stretched into FIVE gallons! Talk about stretching the goods!

    Sometime this week we will cook up a dish of banana potatoes and finally taste them after patiently waiting for over 6 months. I’d say that return was well worth the wait!

  • Reaping what you sow.

    20140908-095504.jpg

    I’ll be totally honest, my girls do not really enjoy weeding in the garden.

    So…when I decided as part of their school year in the spring they would each grow their own fair sized garden plot start to finish, I expected them to complain!

    20140908-095736.jpg

    Instead, they seemed excited!

    20140908-095604.jpg

    It’ll be great in many ways for all of us. This years garden was overwhelming for me, I work full time hours plus homeschool, and the homestead. This will give about a third of my garden size over to them to care for.

    20140908-095859.jpg

    In turn, they will be free to plant anything they would like, and watch it grow from seed to harvest! After that, preserving, cooking, and eating the foods they grow will also be a part of their learning process.

    I think they are excited for a few reasons, but one is that even though they don’t like weeding, they LOVE harvesting, and they realize the work really does lead to the reward.

    20140908-095958.jpg

    Even though this is our 20th homeschool year, I can honestly say I’m as excited for this upcoming year as I was on our first year!
    We’re reaping what we’ve sown, in the garden and in our schooling too.