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

  • Welcoming in the new year with a contest.

    *Contest is closed, we have our winners!

    Drum roll please…
    We have our winners!

    Kayla D on January 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm said:
    Oooh, I would love a package from you. I have several pads, and two sets of nursing pads—you make FANTASTIC stuff! Your pads and nursing pads are by far superior to other brands!!

    Heather B. on January 24, 2015 at 11:20 pm said:
    I love all of your products! I have one of (or perhaps THE) first quilt and it is one of my most treasured possessions! My kids are cuddled up with it as I speak.

    Congratulations Kayla D. & Heather B.!
    Email me at homesteademporium@gmail.com to claim your prize!
    ———————————————

    This new year is a different one for us at the Homestead Emporium. This new change with the FDA regulations set on cloth pad makers, changes quite a bit for us. Our main product line worldwide has always been our pads, and especially to our customers in the USA.

    However, we want to remind everyone that we’re not just all about pads.
    And with that, we’d like to offer you a chance to win a gift from us, open to all of you, world wide, including FREE shipping! Keep reading for details below!

    A Riainbow of Light Wrap Wing Pads.

    A Riainbow of Light Wrap Wing Pads.

    Since the beginning we’ve offered everything we could think of that was unique, and created with fabrics, to help our customers to live a healthier lifestyle.

    Homestead Emporium reusable cotton balls - cosmetic pads.

    Homestead Emporium reusable cotton balls – cosmetic pads.

    Our reusable cotton balls – cosmetic pads have always been a staple for many of our customers! While they may not be quite as creative as our line of pads, they are great for every day uses too numerous to count from cleaning off make up, to cleaning wounds, and some of our customers even use them for removing nail polish. I’ve even used them myself to patch an injured eye. You can’t get much gentler then bamboo velour for cleaning your skin or to aid in the healing process of ouchies.

    Hand Dyed Bamboo Velour Rainbow Quilt.

    Hand Dyed Bamboo Velour Rainbow Quilt.

    Our hand dyed bamboo velour quilts, another favourite luxury item of our awesome customers. What could be better then snuggling in the ultimate of softness?!
    Unlike their polyester fleece counterparts, bamboo velour blankets never make you overheated, but instead, simply cozy and warm.

    Bamboo Velour Custom Quilt.

    Bamboo Velour Custom Quilt.

    I’ve been working on my own bamboo velour quilt for going on two years now. lol My children’s quilts, and customers quilts, always come first. I’m determined to finish my soon though so I can stop ‘borrowing’ the ones I made for my girls.

    Bamboo Velour Baby Quilt.

    Bamboo Velour Baby Quilt.

    Perhaps I’ll have time to make more baby size quilts now too.

    Baby booties & lil'shroom mittens.

    Baby booties & lil’shroom mittens.

    Baby booties and mitts!

    Dyeing fabrics.

    Dyeing fabrics.

    We hope to offer hand dyed fabrics very soon too, possibly at this upcoming Friday’s stocking on our hyenacart, and soon after, in our etsy shop.

    Stack of fluffy dyed goodness.

    Stack of fluffy previously dyed goodness.

    We have lots of other products I’ve been wanting to stock recently as well, but we just haven’t had enough time in a day to get it all done. Be on the look out soon for more of the following.

    Luxury Cloths

    LuxuryCloths

    Super soft tissues.

    Tissues

    Lots more nursing pads!

    nursing pads

    Pillows.

    Pillows

    VersaPads!
    Created not just to be a change pad, but to be used everywhere you’re trying to avoid big clean ups, like on your bed for night time feeds. In your toddlers bed when potty training.
    Those were the two main reasons I created the VersaPad, due to constantly changing bedding in the middle of the night, especially with our twins! Our VersaPads saved me SO much time and energy in the middle of the night!

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    And last but not least, our pacifier blankets.

    Poppetjie

    The Poppetjie.

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    Our handy little blankie that saves you countless hours searching for the all elusive night time pacifier.

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    Our cloth pads will always be our main product line, but we hope ALL our customers will continue to enjoy all the other products we’ve created just for your family, from ours.

    *To enter into our contest for a completely FREE gift package from Homestead Emporium, simply leave a comment here, AND subscribe to our blog!
    It’s easy to subscribe, simply visit our blog’s home page here: http://homesteademporium.com/blog/
    And enter your email address into our SUBSCRIBE option found near the top right corner.

    To increase your chances in winning, share our blog with your friends and come back and let us know where you shared in another comment! If we receive lots of comments, and links back, we’ll increase the odds of winning by sending out MORE gift packages to MORE winners!

    The winner(s) will receive a complimentary set of facial cloths, a small bar of homemade soap, and more!

  • This is me, not making resolutions.

    firesky

    Just last night I posted about how I don’t really make resolutions.

    However, I think our minds just can’t help but wander and ponder the topic of resolutions when the new year comes along, no matter how hard we might try not to!

    But here’s an example of why I don’t really do resolutions, no matter how much my mind may try to tell me I should do this one, or that one.

    My mind would like me to make a resolution to blog more regularly.
    However, what my mind does not realize is that it’s simply not that simple!
    It’s not as easy as just deciding, “I’m going to write more, because I really want to!”

    You see… in order for me to blog more often, I would have to figure out a way to create more hours in my day. I tend to be a painfully slow blogger… I’m not really sure why, I’m not sure if everyone is a slow blogger, or if I’m just special.

    A blog post can easily take me at LEAST an hour to put together. Quite often, if I’m blogging about a topic I need to research a little, or dig through my photos, it can easily take me 2 hours.

    So where, and how, can I just fit in 1 or 2+ hours of something extra into my daily routine?
    I’ve decided that the only way to do it would be to get up earlier then I do now.

    And thus begins my reason for not doing resolutions.

    One resolution of wanting to blog more then becomes a whole lo.oo.on.nn.ng list of even more resolutions. In order to keep a resolution to blog more, I will need to get up earlier. In order to get up earlier, I will either have to get to sleep earlier, or forfeit sleep. Since most nights I usually sleep no more then 6 or 7 hours, I’m thinking forfeiting 1 or 2 hours of that sleep may not be a great idea. I sew a lot, and cut a lot of fabric, and it wouldn’t be so wise to fall asleep at the machine or while slicing through some thick fabrics with my fingers nearby…

    *shudder*

    Now that I’ve most likely seared a horrible image into your mind (I have a wild visual imagination, I should know better),  you see why I don’t do resolutions.

    A resolution is not just ‘a’ resolution. It really seems like a pretty good set up for failure. Unless of course you’re one of those rare people who have all the time in the world to rearrange every other part of your day in order to fit in all these new resolutions.

    Nah… I didn’t think so.

    However, I’m also not one to give up on at least TRYING to attain something I feel is important to me.

    I enjoy writing. I enjoy connecting with others through my writing.
    Besides, my one word for this year is ‘fear’ (overcoming fear) and one of the fears I have is to write without readers.

    So… I guess I’m not setting myself up for a resolution in wanting to blog more, I’m just working through my one word! Yay me!

    How’s your second day of the New Year going?

  • New Years Resolutions

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions.

    Instead, each year I like to choose one word that I feel my life needs to put into focus. Last year my one word was “joy”.

    This year, before 2014 was even close to being over, I felt a nudging towards my new word for 2015. Fear.

    Actually, it’s more like two words. Overcoming Fear.

    All my life I’ve had much too many fears. It’s been sort of embedded into my daily routine. I won’t bother to share the whole list of fears I have, most of them are more ‘worries’ and not true ‘fears’ but those worries continually instill fear into me and I’ve grown rather weary of it.

    I figure if I’m not able to tackle ‘fear’ at the age of 43, soon to be 44, then I will most likely succumb to my fears the rest of my life. I’m simply not ok with that.

    The first step I took in overcoming ‘fear’ this late fall was to teach Adult Sunday School.

    That’s a big one for me. I’m an introvert extraordinaire. I enjoy conversations, one on one, possibly one on two, one on three. But to speak in front of a group of people, and not just speak, but TEACH, was a very big step for me.

    But I did it, and I survived!

    I kept reminding myself that it’s a lot like a visit to the dentist. I could sit and stew, and stress, over every detail ahead of time and freak myself out real good. Only to feel totally foolish once it was over and it wasn’t as bad as I had stressed myself out to think it would be.

    OR…

    I could simply study for the lesson I was teaching and not even allow myself to ponder on the fact that I would be speaking to a bunch of people, and everything that could possibly go wrong. Just focus on studying, learn what I needed to teach, and concentrate on how I was going to teach it.

    And that’s what I did. And I survived teaching a lesson. I taught Adult Sunday School twice actually.

    I quite enjoyed it.

    My next step to overcoming fear was to decide that this year I would participate in our church play. A speaking part even. Mind you, I only agreed to take on a very teeny tiny speaking part, but I was proud of myself regardless. I had never been in a play before (I don’t think being a part of the choir for Fiddler On the Roof many moons ago counts) so this was another big step for me.

    Again, I decided I could either fret and stress over being on stage in front of a church full of people and all the things that could go horribly wrong.

    Or…

    I could simply study my line and think about my part, and how I would pull off being an old scribe. An old man at that! I even made myself a beard out of a head of hair from a waldorf doll kit I have.

    It turned out to be fun. I got to spend a lot of extra time with our twins Shaylah and Julia who both LOVE to act, and, I got to show them that no matter how old you are, no matter how long you’ve lived with a bad habit (my fears), you are never too old to change your ways.

    And guess what?

    I survived! I think I actually did alright too.
    Enough so that I may agree to a slightly larger speaking part next year…

    So that’s me getting a jump start on overcoming fears for 2015!

    How about you? Do you have an resolutions, goals, or plans for 2015?

  • In Menstrual Pad News

    There’s been a whole lot of talk in the past month over the FDA vs. cloth pad makers news that has hit the internet. I posted about this on our facebook page, but felt I should post separately on our blog in more detail, since we’ve had a lot of people asking about it and what it means for our business.
     
    In recent news, it’s been realized that the FDA has listed cloth menstrual pads as a ‘medical device’ and there is a high yearly fee imposed on companies wanting to sell cloth menstrual pads within, and to, the USA. I’ve heard that this is not new news, however, it IS new to us, and to many other wahm (work at home mom) pad makers. 
     
    Our company is in Canada, and cloth pads are not in the ‘medical device’ category here. I never DREAMED that cloth menstrual pads would be considered a ‘medical device’ in the USA. I realize that is my own ‘fault’, and I am fine with taking that responsibility and blame for not knowing. Ignorance is not bliss. I have always admitted that I am a creator/designer first, and a business woman second, and this is where my business skills have obviously lacked.
     
    The fee is quite high, it is close to $4,000.00 US and over $4,000.00 in CDN funds YEARLY. It has been said that the fee will also be raised annually. The fee is the same for anyone deemed a small business. A business is classified small if it makes less then 100 million a year. Personally, I feel if that’s a small business classification, then perhaps they need a micro-business classification, or even a ‘home business’ classification with a limited number of employees/contract workers, etc.. But there’s so many things I could say about all this and how I feel about this law/rule, but it would take me hours to write and it would turn into a rant, so I won’t bother. I’m sure every woman who uses cloth pads already has lots they could say about all of this!
    If we decide to pay the fees to sell our cloth menstrual pads to the US 
    *(it’s important to note that we can still sell our other products to the US),
    we will need to save the funds, as we have never put our family into debt for the business and I’m not sure I want to now. Creating more debt for ourselves goes against the simple lifestyle we are trying to create for our family and the reason we have made the move halfway across country to a homestead. Our goal is to get OUT of debt! We’ve acquired enough debt the last several years between 3 moves in one year to finally see our dream realized, our own homestead, and hours spent working towards an adoption that never happened (I lost a lot of work hours during that time, our business was in the red for the first time ever, for 2013, because of it). There comes a point where we must say, enough is enough.
    Unfortunately, this means that for 2015, we are unable to sell our cloth pads to our customers in the USA.
    blogpads
    I also need to consider how this would impact pricing, for ALL our customers worldwide, and the pros and cons of it all. We do DESIRE to sell and ship our menstrual pads to the USA, but I just don’t see how it will be possible any time soon, as long as this huge fee stands in the way.
    What a small business must consider when deciding on whether or not to pay this fee, is not just the initial pay out cost that you see upfront. When we took into account just how many pads I would have to sew, how many fabric cuts our daughters would have to cut, how many listings our listings helper would have to put into the shops, and how many hours of time our packaging helper would have to spend packaging orders, and then the time I would be spending shipping those orders, NOT TO MENTION, the cost of ALL those supplies to make those menstrual pads possible… well… that adds up to more then DOUBLE the actual initial fee.
    That’s a lot of money, and that’s a lot of hours of work.
    All that time is time spent away from my other duties, as a wife, a mother, and as a homesteader.
    All those extra hours towards ONE fee, goes completely against all we are working towards as a family, and as a business. My goal as a woman has never been to become a CEO of a huge corporation. Our goal with this family business has always been to earn a second income to support our family, our homestead dreams, and to create an income for any of our children who would like to be a part of the family business. We’ve always chosen to pay good wages to all who work with us. This business has never been, nor will it ever be, a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. It’s an outlet for my (and now our children’s) creativity, in which we can all be paid a fair wage for our efforts. It’s always been about Time Well Spent and about enjoying our work.
     
    We truly appreciate our USA customers, and would never want to loose them, so we are taking this all one step at a time. Right now, most of the work is overseen by me, and all of the designing, sewing, dyeing, photography etc. is done by me. I am only one person. I am also my children’s homeschool teacher and more importantly, I am their mom. We have a homestead to run along with farm animals, and a very large garden to care for each year, and all the work that comes with that and processing our foods etc.. 

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    I love our home business, and I love the homestead lifestyle we have created! 
    Even with all it’s busyness, I wouldn’t have it any other way! It is a very peaceful ‘chaos’, this lifestyle that we live. 

    However, due to that busyness, it’s simply not possible to add that much extra work, simply to pay ONE fee, to our daily lives. Perhaps one day, as our girls grow up and take over more responsibility within the business, this will change. Elsa is almost 17, Shaylah and Julia are now 15. I’ve often shared that Julia would like to take over managing the business one day. We’ve already discussed that when that day comes, we may be able to restructure the business to pay the yearly fee. It’s a definite possibility, just not in the near future, while she is still in highschool. She graduates in just a year and a half. From there, we’ll see what happens. 
     
    This has not be an easy decision for us. It’s actually quite scary! Up to this point our US customers have been a VERY large part of our business. This income is needed by our family & our homestead. It is not a ‘hobby’. However, as stressful as it may seem right now, we are looking at making it an EXCITING time for our business, our homestead, and most of all, for our customers! Everything in life that can cause stress, can also be turned around for good, with the right attitude and perseverance. We CAN learn, and we CAN grow through difficult times and changes. We have an entire world of possibilities, and we feel our US customers will continue to shop with us for all the other products we have to offer AND all the new ideas and creations we come up with too! We’re already looking into selling our hand dyed fabrics, spending more time making our undies for women and children (along with a new pattern!), and a whole long list of possibilities that just keeps growing!
     
    That is what we plan to do with this business in 2015, keep growing. Despite this temporary set back, we WILL continue and learn along the way!
     
    On the business side of things, I’ve seen some not-so-nice general comments pointed towards wahm’s who didn’t know about all this in regards to the FDA, and that’s just not necessary. I can guarantee you that any, and ALL wahm’s who were unaware, are beating themselves up badly enough right now. They (we) need your encouragement to help decide which way to go with this big step.
     
    I could go on and on about my opinions about these fees and the category of ‘medical device’ that the USA FDA has set on cloth menstrual pads, and even their classification of ‘small business’, however, I’m not going to. I will mention that if you have opinions about these fees, don’t just talk about it. Look into what YOU can do to help change this. Since we’re not in the US, we’re limited as to what we can do. However, if you ARE in the US, ask around about what you can do! I know there is at least one petition you can sign, here:
    If you do a google search, I’m sure you can find other things that can be done to help change this. If you know of something your fellow US cloth pads users can do, feel free to share it in a comment here on our blog! Band together and make the change! 

    For those of us cloth pad users in Canada, it’s a VERY exciting time for us! 
    Have you heard of the Dragon’s Den? Surely you have! It’s one of my favourite Canadian shows!
    Cloth menstrual pads will soon be featured on the Dragon’s Den, by our fellow cloth pad maker, TreeHugger! I am SO VERY excited for Crystal and Scott, the hard working couple behind TreeHugger Cloth Pads! Jan. 28th, and the airing of their turn on the Dragon’s Den, can not come quickly enough for me! Be sure to watch, we sure will! They’ve been posting regular updates and reminders on their facebook page.
    It’s SO exciting to see cloth menstrual pads being given so much attention, and this episode is sure to bring cloth pads into a whole new light in Canada! Very exciting times for sure!
    To close, I would just like to say that we really do value you, our customers. From the US, here in Canada, and all around the world. You have ALL made us what we are today, and it’s something we are very grateful for. We’re proud of this business, and we’re proud to serve you. Without all of you, our business, and our lifestyle, wouldn’t be possible!
    Thank you!
    From the Homestead Emporium Family 

    If you’d like to hear more about our business, our homestead, and our family, be sure to stop by the blog again. We’d love to have you visit!
    Come ‘like’ our facebook page as well!
    We post updates & visit with our customers and friends often.
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  • Thought patterns, for teens (and adults!)

    If you, or someone you know, struggles with negative thought patterns, this article explains proper thinking really well. *(Link at the bottom) This is something I spend a fair amount of time talking over with all my teens. But even many adults fall into a trap with their thought patterns. This psychologist & his student have really nailed it in simple terms.

    As a Christian, I also remind all my teens to think how God’s LOVE would view what they are thinking/seeing/feeling, and ask themselves if they are believing negative ‘lies’ in their mind.

    Teens especially need to be on guard to keep themselves from believing destructive thoughts about themselves. And they ARE ‘lies’.

    I’ve shared before how one of my daughters often struggles with thoughts that she’s not pretty. This is the same daughter in the ‘Red’ costume I shared on Facebook on Halloween! If you look at her photo, you know how false that thought is! (Not that beauty is important, this is just one example I can give that is so obviously a lie.)

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    Our teens must learn to SEE the ‘lies’ so they can learn to see & think otherwise. It’s their best defender against even worse thoughts, like not being worthy to live… We’ve all been touched by suicide in our lives, some of us many times over. I know 3 personally, or their families, who committed suicide. I attempted to commit suicide myself when I was 15. The approximate age of my three youngest girls now.

    Fight for your kids (and your own) minds! Make them aware of how to win the negative battles in their minds.

    And while we’re trying to think better about ourselves, let’s do the same when ‘assessing’ others too. I see WAY too much online ‘bullying’ happening between ADULTS lately. Be kind to one another, so our children can see it in action. It seems many think its ok to rip each other apart from behind a screen. Yet we all know its destructive, and leads to hurt, sometimes… even death.

    I personally feel that speaking unkindly to (or about) others online is the equivalent of drinking and driving, and thinking no one will get hurt. We ALL know drinking & driving takes lives, and people get hurt. It’s about time we realize that speaking unkindly, bullying others, participating in tearing people apart online is just as foolish. (Even on ‘famous’ people’s Facebook pages- they ARE people- Robin Williams showed us all just how human even the highest profile celebrities are!)

    We can’t be unkind to one another, and never expect to truly hurt someone.

    We’re just FEEDING into one another’s negative thought patterns. Do we really want to continue doing that?

    Forget Positive Thinking – Try This to Curb Teen Anxiety

  • 24 years, and ramblings from the homestead.

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    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.

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    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!

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    Elsa had a sweet surprise this week.

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    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?

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

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    Instead, they seemed excited!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

  • Camping? Vacationing! Is it possible with a homestead?

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    It’s early in the morning and I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee while watching the sunrise over Fishing Lake, here in Saskatchewan, Canada.

    As a homesteading family, it can be difficult to get away on vacation. With animals that require care and feeding at least twice daily, it’s an act of organization, family co-ordination and some acts of sacrifice on the part of at least one family member each time.

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    Since we’re not a ‘real’ farm and are not earning an income from this lifestyle, it’s not possible to have a hired hand to care for things when we go away. Since we don’t have anyone else to watch the homestead, we simply take turns now that almost half the kids are adults.

    This spring, all five kids went to Bible camp while hubby worked and I stayed home to care for the animals. Then the eldest two stayed home while hubby and I took the younger three girls to Nipawin Regional Park for a couple of nights! That was a ‘working’ vacation, as we were there to camp and check out things for Alesia’s wedding as well, which was later that week.

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    A couple of weeks ago hubby took the three younger girls to the Bible camp for a long weekend. I stayed home and cared for the animals, and enjoyed a weekend of quiet, tackling jobs around the house that I don’t normally have time for.

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    This week, and next, hubby and I are camping with the youngest three kids a few days at a time. We’re staying nearer to home, and our son is caring for the animals before and after work.

    It’s not the most ideal solution, since we do miss out on camping as a whole family, but it works for us for now. My ideal would be to find someone nearby who also has animals, and would like to swap care. Maybe one day we’ll find another family to do just that!

    For now, we’ll simply enjoy our trips away, and the quiet times that come from being the one at home and in charge.

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  • Notes from the garden.

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    Some photos from parts of the garden yesterday. Lots of beets, potatoes, and tomatoes. I’m not sure how many tomato plants we planted, but you can see the first two biggest rows here and we have four more rows growing in succession. Almost all are Roma’s, for sauces etc..

    The corn, peas, beans, pumpkins and carrots are also doing well but I’m not as happy with the melons as I just can not keep ahead of the weeds in that area this year.

    I’m pretty sure my peppers are all a no-go this time. I’m just not sure starting peppers or toms from seeds will ever work for me. Most of my toms that are doing well, are ones we bought as plants. Meanwhile, I spent hours and hours of my time, energy, and electricity for heat lamps, trying to grow them from seed since March! When I think about those hours turned into hours working in my business, it doesn’t equal up. I’m also not fond of gardening ‘indoors’, so my time could be much better spent in the early spring. I believe next year I will focus that time on increasing my products in business, to stock up items for the shops, in preparation of the busy planting and summer season!

    I totally failed at getting my salad greens planted. First we had all that rain and floods, then my tiller died. After that, I couldn’t seem to get the area designated for greens cleared of ALL the weeds that popped up from all that rain, long enough to plant the seeds!

    I’ve decided I’ll plant a select few in a large antique laundry tub I have, and save the rest of the seeds for next year.

    When I wander the garden this year(amidst all the horse flies and Mosquitos we have in an OVERABUNDANCE), if I look to all the enormous amounts of veggies that are doing so well, my heart swells and I feel so totally blessed. When I attempt to tackle the weeds that have completely overtaken other parts of the garden, I feel overwhelmed, and completely defeated.

    This year has been a real mix of extreme ups and downs.

    In the garden… and in our lives.