Category Archives: The Homestead

  • Waiting to go home

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    And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

    Thinking hard on this as I fight what must be a slight ‘anxiety’ attack this morning about this whole moving again thing.

    GOD brought us here. The way Graydon (dh) landed his job, right when we needed it most, how it all came together was nothing WE did or could do. Both our eldest kids landed good jobs right away here! Our church family in our new community has proven over and over again that we are richly blessed to be here through their help and support.

    So this time, with this move, I am expecting GOD to provide us with a home. Right here! One we can afford, either through rent to own or through our home in BC finally selling! I am asking that this time it be a home we can OWN, where we can dig in real roots! A home where I can finally plant a garden, and the kids can feel settled. Where they can have chickens again, and Shaylah can have her sheep.

    Going through all this, you can’t help but wonder if you’re on the wrong path somehow, we question and discuss this all the time as a family! We don’t ‘waver’, we simply continue to seek God’s direction. We have not closed our ears to hear any direction God points us in. We know also, that others wonder, and question, if we’ve got it all wrong. If we’re on the wrong path. It’s confusing, why all these moves etc.? No one has any way of knowing. We only rest in the facts that God knows, and so far each move has brought us to a better place. We’ve spent the last 8 months enjoying a beautiful huge home, with good landlords.

    The first place we rented here on the prairies taught us, and our children, how to deal with persons who say they are one thing, yet prove to be something quite different! The kids learned, by watching us, how to confront lies, false testimony, and to stand up for yourself.

    The home we’ve been in these last 8 months may not be home for good, but we’ve had a rest after a very difficult start with the first rental. We have been able to rest, to enjoy, to live, to meet others, to learn about our community. We’ve had peace being in this home. It was shorter lived then we had hoped, but it’s been good. We needed the rest.

    We have remained faithful and have not wavered from our faith in Him. We don’t ‘expect’ because we feel we deserve it, we are asking God to provide a ‘final’ home this time because we know He is faithful, much more so then we are.

    I don’t know if God will give us a home here, to buy, to keep. I can only hope. But hope is what I will do!

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  • We did it! We survived… and thrived!

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    You know what I realized this morning as I reflected on this pretty March day outside my kitchen window?

    We made it, we did it! Our family survived paying TWO homes through an entire winter, along with high heating costs, utilities, upkeep, etc. halfway across the country!

    We didn’t do it alone, it wasn’t just my husband and I. Our children helped tremendously by working hard when needed, and being by our side!

    But it doesn’t stop there! Support from family, friends, church family, and even our great customers!

    We made it, we did it, with help from
    ALL of you!

    Spring is coming. We have no idea what will happen from here, if our property in BC will sell, where ‘home’ will finally be…

    Yet… knowing that we’ve made it through the worst part, through the winter months, and we didn’t just survive, but we thrived!

    thrive:
    verb: thrived, throve, thrived, thriv·en, thriv·ing.
    1. to prosper; be fortunate or successful.

    Yup! That’d be our family!

    Knowing we made it, makes it that much easier to keep on keeping on!

  • A post totally not suited for Feb. 14th

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    I let Scout, our German Shepard, in a minute ago and as usual, when she strolled past me she gave my dangling hand a big, wet, slobbery lick. She enjoys giving kisses. Don’t bend over to tie up your shoes with her around, she’ll lick your head, or if she can find a way, better yet, she will lick your face!

    Big dogs have big tongues!
    With so much talk of kisses, maybe this post is suitable for Valentine’s Day after all?

    That’s not what her slobbery kiss reminded me of this morning though.

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    It reminded me of an article I read recently disputing feeding dogs raw.
    In the article it mentioned how unsanitary and unsafe it is for a dog to eat raw, then lick their humans. I didn’t think much about that. We’ve been feeding raw for 14 years now, and not a single one of us 7 have gotten sick from a dog kiss. We have 6 dogs now. All of which have spent most of their winter days and nights in the house due to the prairie cold. We can’t really avoid slobbery kisses around here!

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    But as Scout came in this morning, after spending an hour or so outside busily chewing away on fresh buffalo bones, and then came in and gave me that big wet kiss on the hand… I remembered that article and it suddenly dawned on me how silly that argument had been.

    Does the author have dogs?
    If so… do they know how their dogs stay clean? Especially in… certain…’regions’ of their bodies?

    Last I heard, fecal matter isn’t so sanitary. lol

    But who could resist kisses from the overflow of cuteness around here!

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  • On the homestead today.

    I don’t like to use iphone photos all that often for blog posts, but it seems lately I just don’t get to the pc all that often and when I do, it’s for work! So it’s either share iphone photos, or none at all, and then I miss blogging.

    So here you go, a blog post about today with just iphone photos. *gasp*
    I think I may live through this, hopefully you will too.

    I always see a lot of “I hate Monday’s” on my fb feed, but personally, I like Monday’s. It’s like a mini-me of a new year, only it’s a new week! Every Monday we have a chance to do even more, and be even better, then the week before. Yay! A new beginning, every 7 days. In reality, every day is a new beginning, even more reason to celebrate Mondays!

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    I was in the mood to be productive while we did school today. Since the girls are older, once we get our innitial read-alouds done and recap what we’re learning, a lot of their schooling is simply me guiding them, and them working on their lessons without much assistance from me. This is the main reason why no matter how big a house we live in, I always end up right back at the dinning table doing school! That way I can get things done in the kitchen, while still being nearby if they need my help.

    I started out by putting ingredients in the breadmaker for French Bread. I’ve never made it before and a good friend shared her recipe with me last week.

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    This is the view out our dinning-room window while we school.

    Next I put a pot on the stove to make some Elderberry Syrup!
    Over Christmas just about everyone around here got sick, however, I had been taking an elderberry lozenge every day and I never came down with anything. Anything elderberry is EXPENSIVE though, so I was thrilled when a local good friend of mine brought in dried elderberries for her new online shop! Delia’s Pantry!

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    The syrup turned out real nice! I used the recipe linked above.
    I finally have use for my old milk bottles. One day… I’ll have fresh milk in these things!

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    While that was simmering on the stove, I got dinner ready. Bean Slop.
    What a horrible name right?
    However, it’s a recipe I’ve been making for years since my eldest were just little and everyone loves it. We even took it to a potluck at church once and everyone said they loved our ‘chilli’. It’s not actually chilli, but we weren’t going to tell them it’s actually “Bean Slop”. lol

    Basically it’s a pound of bacon, two pounds of ground beef (ours is grass fed beef, nothing like it, hopefully this year the bacon will be home grown again too), 3 large cans of beans, some brown sugar, and some ketchup. Once the bacon and ground beef are cooked, I just throw it all together in the crock pot and let it simmer all day. I thought the French Bread would be great for dipping. It was!

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    While I cooked, Julia helped Elsa when needed. This youngest girl of mine has the patience of a saint.

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    Shaylah & Julia have been learning sign language, so they wanted me to snap a couple of photos of them talking to one another. A video would have been better. 😉

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    They love that they can talk to one another during school time, without speaking a word.

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    The last thing I made today was some more lemon honey. I can’t seem to find the original link I shared the first time I made this, and I don’t really follow a ‘recipe’ anymore. I just cut up lemons, and throw them in a glass jar with honey. I love this stuff. We finished off the last batch within a few months. I think I had made 4 jars. It’s so good just with hot water, forget the tea! Here’s a link similar to the one I originally used: http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.ca/2009/10/lemon-honey-tea-base.html

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    Once school was finished and my hubby was up (he’s working 6pm to 6am this week) it was time to get ready for an early dinner before he had to go to work again. Then it was time to head back down to the sewing studio for some ‘real’ work!

    Oh, and to really top it off, right now my son is over at Delia’s place helping her husband with a buffalo they were given by a local farmer. It’s being used for their dogs, and they are sharing it with us. Just last Friday, I was grinding deer meat given to us by another, again for the dogs. These are all meats that would normally be ‘wasted’, yet we’re able to feed our dogs a top quality raw diet this way, virtually for free, even if it can be a lot of extra work at times. It’s so worth it.

    I’m beginning to feel like a ‘real’ homesteader lately.
    Maybe I should sew us up some bonnets for all us girls before spring! Some gingham dresses too, and maybe some petticoats…

  • “we’re livin’ the story”

    How come you don’t tell stories anymore?
    Well, because we’re livin’ the story.

  • Living the glamorous life!

    This Jan. 1st I shared on Facebook that I was going to start walking, outside, every day! I asked if anyone would like to join me. Some did, hopefully more still will!

    So far we’ve walked outside for 30 mins every day.

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    First day we walked the field, next day to the lake down the road and hubby joined us.

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    Yesterday we started down the road towards the lake and soon turned around to the shelter of our treed yard. It was WINDY!

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    Today however, we opted out of a walk in favour of something more glamorous.

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    We scooped ‘poopsicles’ instead. I think the hour and a half of poopsicle scooping we did was probably the equivalent to a few hours of walking! Phew!

    Farm kids work hard, and no, it’s actually not glamorous, but it comes with benefits of extra fun!

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    Lots of extra fun!

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    And when we were all done, the horses were thankful.

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    And we went in for some well deserved hot chocolate!

  • Small Business Big Wishes

    My wish for HomesteadEmporium.com is to grow!

    We are a family business run by myself, Pieternella (Peggy) with each of our 7 family members helping wherever possible!

  • Elsa & Serafina

    Life is lessons, one after another, some good, some bad. We take each one as it comes, the best way we know how.

  • How to turn 1 chicken into 3 meals for your large family, plus 2 lunches for your hubby.

    This is a quick and ‘dirty’ post!
    I say quick & ‘dirty’ because I’m posting it from my phone, and using phone photos. Probably a big ‘no-no’ among real food bloggers but I’m not a ‘real’ food blogger!

    Too often I don’t share tips, tricks, or daily goings on at the homestead because I just don’t always have time to snap great photos, edit, upload, and write a big long post! So I’m going to start doing more ‘quick & dirty’ posts from now on!

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    Every Tuesday my four girls have Taekwondo. It’s right around our usual dinner time! I like them to eat a little dinner before they go, but not a full meal or they will get cramps. Then by the time they get home at 7:20, they need a real meal so… I decided that Tuesdays would be Homemade Soup Tuesdays. This way they can have half a bowl before they go, and a full meal of soup with some bread, biscuits, or buns when they get home! Works great!

    Right now we have an abundance of whole chickens in our freezer, often I’ll start with one of those. Today I realized that, like me when I first began making soups, maybe others don’t know what to do with a whole chicken! So I snapped some photos along the way because this way, is SUPER easy! And super frugal!

    However, you do need to be ok with handling cooked chicken. With your bare hands.

    First I start out in the am by simply putting a whole frozen chicken into a BIG pot of water, enough water to cover the chicken. Some might put spices in now but I give the scraps to our dogs & cats, so I hold off on adding anything. Nothing goes to waste this way!

    I bring it to a boil and cook it hard for a while, about 30 mins or so. Then turn it down to medium heat for about another 1.5 hours or so, leaving the lid on. I’m aiming for a real good broth out of the chicken.
    (You can also transfer it to the crockpot if you don’t want to leave it on the stove top.)

    Once the chicken is well cooked and I’ve got a flavorful water left, I pull the whole chicken out of the pot of water, being careful not to let it break into a million bone-y bits!

    I set the chicken aside on a platter to cool down.

    Then I start to turn my water/soup base that’s left in the pot, into a real soup.

    Today I added a large can of diced tomatoes, some baby carrots, left over peas from last nights dinner, chopped celery, onion, and spices such as poultry spices and anything else that sounds good. I also added a cup of barley. Last week I added noodles. Next time I’ll add wild rice.

    If I feel there’s not enough flavor, I also add a little chicken soup stock. Since I make such a huge pot of soup, the flavor from one chicken doesn’t always seem to be enough otherwise.

    This is my soup before adding the chicken meat.

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    I turn my pot on medium-medium high and bring it back to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then I turn it down to low.

    It’s time to get my hands dirty and tear apart the whole chicken! Yes, I use my hands. It’s the fastest and best way to get the job done well.

    First I remove all the skin and set it aside for our dogs & cats. Boiled chicken skin is slimy and gross. You get get over it after a few times.

    Then I remove obvious bones.

    Next, I pull off the nice white meat, the chicken breasts ect. and set them on one dish for another meal.

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    Then I separate the garbage meat, from the meat suitable for my soup. Anything slimy, an unappetizing color, or just not pleasant looking goes onto the scrap dish.

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    Yuck to me, but a special treat for the pets!

    This next plate full is what will go into the soup.

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    Some of the dark meat on top is close to being for the pets, but it just made the grade.

    All I have left now is the empty carcass!

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    My two helpers get to clean up the juices and bits left on the plate!
    (Never the chicken bones though, raw chicken bones yes, cooked chicken bones NO.)

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    And the good stuff goes into the pot for two meals worth of soup for the whole family, and one lunch for hubby to take to work. Sometimes some of the kids will have it for their lunch too.

    The white meat I set had aside earlier is then divided up, some for another meal, and some for two chicken sandwiches for hubby’s lunch!

    For the full family meal, one of us will either make chicken quesidilla, chicken wraps, chicken sandwiches, or any other chicken dish we can come up with! One of the kids will usually make the next meal from the left overs, since it’s so easy now that the meat for that meal has already been cooked!

    And that’s how I turn one small whole chicken into 3 full family meals and at least a couple of lunches for this family of seven!

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    I know this post isn’t pretty, but hopefully it’s practical for anyone just learning how to make the most out of a chicken!

  • Great list on homeschooling, by a public school educator.

    Such a mixed blessing it is, the good, and the bad, but that pretty much sums up homeschooling! That also pretty much sums up parenting! It`s the hardest thing we can do, yet the most rewarding as well!