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

  • 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.

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  • DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

    DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

  • 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!

  • Honey garlic meatballs

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    I promised a photo and recipe for honey garlic meatballs.

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    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!

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  • Strength, to have or not to have…

    It’s Friday March 1st 2013.

    On Monday, the home we are renting, in which we had hoped would be our final home, will be back up for sale.

    Over the past week since receiving the news, I’ve been fighting a battle within myself. I’m going to be brutally honest, and bare my soul for the ‘world’ to see and hope that none of you hold my thoughts against me.

    This was really difficult news. As those of you who have been readers of my blog, my friends, and my family know, after Graydon and I lived thousands of miles apart while he worked here, and our five kids and I stayed in BC trying to sell our home there. After way too many months apart, the kids and I finally made the move out here too. That was last April. We arrived in Saskatchewan April 17 2012.

    We had such high hopes that we were well on our way to being FINALLY home.

    Well I won’t go into all the details since then but it would seem even after two moves, we are STILL no closer to being FINALLY home then we were last April 17th. Here we are, once again, almost a year later in a home that’s for sale and no idea of what our future holds.

    I told Graydon last night (this is the brutal honesty part…don’t hate me) that the thought of living through house showings, in a rental home, has hit me so hard that I feel like throwing up, running away from home, smoking a thousand cigarettes (no, I don’t smoke, but did for years) and maybe even getting drunk just for the heck of it. Just to try and escape the distraught, and anger, and even the fear, that I feel right now over the uncertainty of our future.

    However… thankfully, I try real hard not to listen to the anxious thoughts that flit through my head.

    Instead, I texted a good friend who I knew would understand and she said she would be praying for me. I knew Graydon would be praying for me. I knew our church family has been praying very hard for our family.

    And I fought tears.

    I fought tears for hours as I ate dinner with my family, as I worked, as I packaged orders, edited product photos, and replied to emails. As I spent some time with the kids before bed, and as I said goodnight to each one.

    And I finally let those tears flow as I tried to go to sleep in the half empty bed while Graydon was working his 12 hour night shift.

    Life doesn’t stop because I’m having a bad day. Or even a bad year it seems.

    And with that thought, I can’t even rightly call it a bad year.

    Yes, life has been very uncertain, but bad? No. We’ve grown, we’ve lived, we’ve loved, and we’ve all matured.

    Our hearts are tender, and feeling a little bruised at the moment, but I know we are stronger too.

    The other day I read about Ann Voskamp who witnessed her little sister’s death as a toddler, and how she struggled all her growing up years to find joy.

    I seek joy. I believe we WILL find what we seek in life. If we seek negativity or anger, we’ll find that too. So I strive to seek joy, and peace.

    I seek scriptures to find my peace.

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    Isaiah 41:10 has been a favorite scripture of mine since I was married to a man who was an alcoholic, but then became a new man. A new husband. My living, breathing, daily example of what God can do within us when we allow Him to, when we ask Him to.

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    To help me find my peace, and my joy, I decided to take Ann Voskamp’s advice and write out a 1000 things to be thankful for, right now, in my life.

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    It’s going to take me a while to get to 1000, but it’s a start.

    I’m thankful others like Ann Voskamp are willing to share about their hard times so I can cling to their stories during our hard times.

    This is why I share my story too. In hopes it may help someone, somewhere, some how. In the mean time, sharing helps me.

  • 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.