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

  • 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.


    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.


    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.

    Inside they wrote:


    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!


    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.


    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.


    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?

    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:


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


    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!


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


    And turn it into something full of color!


    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 to pick a winner from those correct answers. Contest closes in two days! I will announce a winner before Friday’s stocking!

  • Home sweet Homestead.

    Home sweet Homestead. That’s where we spent our afternoon today.

  • Finally… need I say more?

    I shared on Facebook last night that we have a ‘final’ home to got to, finally! There’s lots of excitement at our house now! Shaylah began packing right away. Julia is dreaming of the REAL barn we will finally have. I’m trying to decide what color to paint my sewing room, which actually has a window (my studio now, does not) AND which vegetables to plant! The guys are planning out the use of space in their huge shop!

    The home we are moving to has a lot less land and less square footage then the house we are renting now, but it has dreams, and hopes for OUR future, with roots to dig in and grow. Finally!

    Our hobby farm on Vancouver Island hasn’t sold, so we will still have the added financial burden of paying two homes until it does, but the fact that friends would feel God urging them to step in and help us out by literally buying the home we put an offer in on 1.5 years ago, FOR us, while we continue to wait… this has all just blown our family away.

    Our friends want to remain anonymous, and we will respect that. They feel God is the one who has blessed us, and surely He has!! We praise Him for bringing forward help so that our family can FINALLY be HOME!!

    But… at the same time, they have also truly blessed us. They have blessed us more then words can possibly express!

    We finally get to go home!

    I think my mom said it best:

    Finally there will be peace on the prairies. Bless the Lord.


  • DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

    DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

  • Waiting to go home


    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!


  • We did it! We survived… and thrived!


    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!

    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!

  • Honey garlic meatballs


    I promised a photo and recipe for honey garlic meatballs.


    I believe this came out of a magazine years and years ago and I can not remember which one. I feel bad not being able to give credit where credit is due…

    I have made this recipe so many times that I don’t really follow it, I use no measuring utensils, and just throw it all together as I go, tasting along the way.

    It always turns out the same…DELICIOUS!