The Willard HomesteadThe Homestead, the Emporium and simple living on our funny farm.

  • Sheep, coming soon to our homestead!

    We’ve been on our new, our FINAL, homestead now for a couple of weeks and things are going well. We’ve (mostly Graydon and the three youngest) have been working hard outside getting things ready for the arrival of Shaylah’s sheep! It’s been a dream of hers for a very long time to have her own sheep.

  • Cats

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    Patches. My quiet companion this morning at 5:30 am.

    We’ve had her since birth. She is Alesia’s cat, Alesia was there with Patches’ mother when Patches was born almost 15 years ago. Alesia was just 7 at the time, & now Alesia is almost 22. Patches has been on a raw food diet for a good part of her life and has never had a need to visit a vet for any ailments.

    She became an indoor only cat when she was 9 or 10 because she would occasionally get lost. The last time it happened she was gone for weeks and came home weighing 5.5 pounds. She’s normally 10-12!

    I like Patches, but I’m not a real cat person. I’m much more a dog lover.

    There are barn cats on the property here, but they are completely feral, and that bothers me. I want to be able to catch them and see what their health is like. I caught one on camera once, and it looks healthy but I’d still like to be sure.

    Barn Kitty

    Barn Kitty

    So pretty with those bright orange eyes. They say calico’s are always girls, that’s what I’ve heard. So I expect this would be a girl. I’m really surprised we’ve found no kittens! Shaylah has been trying to catch the barn cats, with no luck so far. Not even with tempting food!

    I would have preferred to bring in at least one barn cat ourselves that’s friendly, but now I’m not sure it’d be a good idea if we can’t catch the others to check their health first! I wouldn’t want to spread anything from current cats, to new cats.

    On the prairie, barn cats are a definite must with any feed around! Mice are abundant, and I’ve heard rats can be too. Right now our barn is still in clean up mode as we prepare for sheep arriving this week but once they are here, we’ll need to stay on top of any unwanted visitors (rodents)!

  • I can finally let go of a dream, happily!

    So remember, when you shop at Homestead Emporium, YOU are
    making our ultimate family dream a reality. YOU have helped, and
    continue to help, our family live on this wonderful homestead of
    ours. My NEW dream home. The dream home that won’t cost me an arm
    and a leg for the rest of my life! You help us get by every day,
    YOU even help with our adoption! For that, as I’ve said before, and
    I’ll say it again, we are very thankful!

  • Making the most of my day

    My husband works shift work, 12 hour days. Either 6am-6pm or 6pm-6am. This means bed times around here can be quite varied, depending on which shift he’s on.

    This week it’s 6am-6pm.

    I think I may like this shift best. I usually try to get up early as well, to make the most of my day. Most of my life I’ve been a night owl, but for the past number of years I haven’t enjoyed it. I like the quiet of being the first one up, having a cup of coffee, in the stillness of the early morning. I enjoy reading, and writing in my prayer journal during this time.

    Last night I must of been tired because I fell sleep at 10pm. Not usual at all! That was great, but waking at 3:15 because my body and brain seem to think if I’ve had 5-6 hours if sleep, I’m good.

    I counted ‘sheep’ til just before 4:00 until the birds began to chirp outside my window and finally gave in, and got up!

    By 5am I was enjoying my second cup of coffee.

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    By 6:00 I woke Julia since she likes to get up early too. She fed the horses and we both had breakfast and then we headed out for a bike ride.

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    We came home and had a smoothie and I made a pot of home brewed ice tea with stinging nettle and lemon grass. I hope to be offering teas in the shop soon.

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    We were finished school by 11:00.

    I had a bath, made dinner, and helped Elsa bake a belated birthday cake for Graydon (dad/hubby).

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    We had lunch and then I spent the afternoon until 5:55 working in the sewing room. By then it was time for dinner and cake.

    Now it’s 8pm and I am ready for bed! It’s been a productive day!

  • On the homestead this morning.

    On the homestead this morning.

    Horses were fed.

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    Dogs walked…some cheated.

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    So difficult to resist the hard working farm dog.

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    Other dogs helped with hay. Or figured it was time for a nap in the hay. Yea, that’s right. That’s what the hay is there for.

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    Last but not least. Frogs were found. Shaylah is truly home now.

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  • Walk with me. Dusk by iPhone.

    Walk with me, via my iPhone, at dusk on the new homestead.

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    I was looking for Elsa and Shaylah. It was starting to get dark! One thing about a farm. You don’t see your kids much!

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    Picture this barn, new tin roof and fresh red paint. One day.

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    This may become the hog house. It’s stronger then it looks.

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    There’s our horses. One day this will all be fixed up fencing. One thing at a time.

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    Looking back at the barn as I continue on my way to find my kids.

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    I’ll head down the path behind the barn towards the fields. I can hear voices in the distance.

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    There’s Shaylah.

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    And there’s Elsa, and Scout, and Levi, and Bentley.

    Now we’ll walk all the way back to the front of the property to show you some more.

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    To the north down the road.

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    To the south.

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    And back to our cozy little home again, hiding amidst the trees.

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  • Lessons on the Homestead

    Today was rather interesting at times. I thought I’d share a couple of glimpses of life on the new homestead.

    Some parts may not be for the slightly squeamish.

    The morning was pretty normal. Since this was the first day we didn’t have to go back to the old house, it was a rather laid back morning other then getting ready for the social worker homestudy visit. It’s hubby’s first day back at work since last week. He works 12 hour shifts so he has more days off then one who works 8 hour shifts. It so happened he was off for our entire move. He’s on nights this time.

    We spent the morning trying to find our bedroom floor amidst boxes. We did quite well and can mostly get around now. This bedroom is quite a bit smaller, so we had to give up our armoire. My sewing room will benefit from that loss.

    We received a call that the social worker wouldn’t be able to make it after all because she was snowed in. All around us they had lots of snow, but we had none! We were actually happy to postpone the visit, since this week has been SO busy.

    In the meantime I arranged for hubby to pick up a dresser someone local was giving away. Elsa needed a dresser.

    Everyone on the local yard sale site knows I’m always looking out for meats for our dogs too. Recycling at its finest in action! Using up people’s freezer odds and ends! Especially now that we have barn cats too. They came with the barn.

    The person giving away the dresser said she had a bag of stuff from her freezer for our dogs too. Awesome!

    After hubby got home we brought in the dresser. Then I decided to unwrap the meat and use it in the next batch of dog food. I unwrapped the first package and nearly jumped out of my skin when it unravelled to reveal something… FLUFFY

    I screamed, like a little school girl! I was expecting to see meat, not something fluffy. lol

    It was actually feathers, what looked to be half a bird of some sort. I have always said we feed our animals all sorts of game, and we do! They’ve had moose, deer, elk, wild boar, duck, goose, and of course beef, pork, chicken and turkey! If its good meat, they’ve eaten it!

    Birds with feathers still on them though? I’m not yet country girl enough, homesteader enough, to know how to deal with that!
    Soooo… I had the bright idea of leaving this frozen bird, and the few more frozen birds I found in other packages, for the many barn cats. But where?

    I didn’t want the mess in the barn…
    So we thought and thought and I told the kids to put it in a spot we’ve seen the cats wandering, not too far from the barn, yet far enough to not lure other animals TO the barn…

    And we went on with our day. Had dinner, said goodbye to my hubby, cleaned up after dinner, did some more unpacking and then got ready for bed.

    Once it got dark, Joshua (19 year old son) came in and said there’s a pack of coyotes near the Quonset.

    Yup. Sure enough, they found the birds.

    Doh!

    Lesson learned today!

    Do NOT entice the coyotes!
    And do NOT open packages of meat expecting to see only meat.
    And be VERY thankful for the wonderfully well trained German Shepard we have!
    I know it’s just a few if MANY lessons we’ll be learning along the way.

  • Living in the land of boxes…

    We’re living in the land of boxes right now. We still have our rental home so we’ve been spending so much time cleaning there, taking down fences, moving every last thing, and fixing any last little holes, paint touch ups, ect. that we’ve had barely any time to unpack.

    I’m trying real hard not to feel panicked about this. We have our first adoption homestudy HERE at our new homestead, in just 2 days.

    Yikes…breath…

    At the moment I’m making a batch of elderberry syrup while the kids are still sleeping because although I can’t find the cutlery… I HAVE found all my elderberry syrup ingredients.

    Good thing too. I’ve been fighting off something all weekend.

    Randomly I walked by a box and found my StressPlex vitamins. Not packed with my other vitamins, which I haven’t located, JUST the StressPlex. Hmmm… A sign perhaps? I think I’ll take one with my elderberry.

    The previous owners of this homestead gave us a housewarming gift.

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    Inside they wrote:

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    We had an offer in on their place almost two years ago but since our home in BC didn’t sell, the offer expired. They knew how long we had waited and we had developed a friendship along the way.

    When we moved into the rental home, we were sure we were finally home for good, but again, our home in BC still hasn’t sold and the owners wanted to sell, not rent to own, so we were stuck again. We had NO clue what we would do.

    We kept an eye on this place, but didn’t dare put in an offer with our place still not sold. Then our friends approached us about buying it, for us. We would ‘own’ it, but since we couldn’t get another mortgage until our BC home sells, they would take care of that part so we’d FINALLY, TRULY, be home. For good!

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    We feel so VERY blessed by our friends.

    We’ve been blessed by many friends this weekend. We had a total of 28 people here at our home the day we moved in, with one family feeding 22 of us, right here in our new home! They brought enough food for two meals, drinks, cutlery, napkins even! And it was all farm raised foods too! I love living in farm country!

    Friends have helped us pack, move, and clean our rental home. It’s been overwhelming! I can’t wait to settle in and start paying it forward right back to all if them! It was a true “Welcome Home”.

    There’s lots of work to be done here on the homestead. We’ve moved from a new-ish 3600 square foot home with huge kitchen and baths, to an older 2400 square foot bungalow that desperately needs bathroom updates, and one day some other renos. But if you know us, you know we’re good at that and in no time, this homestead will be everything anyone could ever want.

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    For now, it’s more then we could have ever hoped for, and all that we have ever dreamed of!

    My elderberry syrup is done, and the kids are up, so it’s time to go finish cleaning at the rental home and take one last long hot bath in the HUGE jacuzzi tub! I’ll share more photos of the house once it’s no longer full of boxes!

  • Moving…we should be experts by now!

    Just two more sleeps, and we are FINALLY home!

    Home, on our new (to us) homestead.

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    As the day draws closer, quickly, there are many emotions.
    This is it, FINALLY it!

    We are finally moving to a home, a homestead, here on the prairies of Saskatchewan that we can finally call our home. No longer ‘renters’.

    There’s excitement over our new adventure. The more I learn about the property the more excited I become. We will have a real barn. I’ve always loved old barns. In highschool art class, old barns were my very favourite subject to draw. I still have my favourite drawing of the view inside an old barn. I will need to find it. I’m quite positive it looks a lot like OUR barn.

    Then there’s a bit of ‘fear’. Not true fear, I’m not ‘scared‘. It’s difficult to explain, mixed along with SO much excitement! But the reality is, our home back in BC is still not sold. That means we now will own TWO homes. As wonderful as that may sound… It’s not wonderful. It’s very difficult, burdensome, and while that hobby farm sits empty with no one to love it, it’s financially and emotionally draining.

    It dampens our extreme excitement to FINALLY be going home!

    And that makes me sad. I don’t want to feel burdened, emotionally or physically drained, at the most pivotal moment of this entire Long Way Home journey our family has been on.

    I want to bask in the contentment I feel in my heart now that we know where home is.

    I want to ponder the absolute wonder and self sacrifice of friends stepping in to put the mortgage in their name until our other home does sell, so we could finally have a permanent home!

    I want to sit in awe and amazement that in all our times of wondering how we would ever find ‘home’ after being told we would have to move for a THIRD time in one year, in our wildest imaginations we never could have dreamed we would end up at the very homestead we had an offer in on almost two years earlier.

    So, as scary as it is, to be financially responsible for TWO hobby farms now, thousands of miles apart from one another, in our awe and amazement of where we are headed we must swallow hard, dig our heels in deep, and make that final sprint towards that finish line.

    We can finally see it now.

  • Dyeing. This is work?

    CONTEST CLOSED:
    The amount of dyes I used for the 10 colorways was 29! No one guessed 29, but there was one guess that was closest, so the winner is:

    30.

    Congratulations Lynne! Email me at homesteademporium@gmail.com for a coupon code, or simply shop without a coupon code and email me afterwards for a 20% OFF refund!

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    One of the things I absolutely LOVE about my job is that I am able to combine my love of art & all things color, with creating an income.

    We try our best to teach our children to not just love what they do, but to do what they love! The best way to teach it, is to live it out ourselves!

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    One of my favorite parts of creating here at Homestead Emporium is to take a completely blank piece of fabric like this…

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    And turn it into something full of color!

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    It always takes great patience to wait and see how the finished fabric looks!

    Now let’s have some fun!

    While dyeing today, I dyed 15 pieces of fabric, in ten unique ‘colorways’, meaning ten different variations of colors mixed together.

    Here’s a little guessing game for anyone who would like a chance to win a 20% OFF coupon for Homestead Emporium!

    Leave your best guess in the comments as to how many different dye colors I used to create the ten colorways.

    I’ll give you a hint. It was between 1 and 50 dye colors!

    *I will choose one winner who either guessed correctly, or came the closest. If more then one person guesses correctly, I will use random.org to pick a winner from those correct answers. Contest closes in two days! I will announce a winner before Friday’s stocking!