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

  • Early garden harvest.

    It may not exactly be the harvest I’m waiting for…


    But one thing I love about homesteading is that nothing goes to waste, not even the weeds I pick from my garden


    The chickens, ducks, and guineas love the bounty of fresh greens and dirt!


    And so do the sheep!

    And all was not lost for us humans today.


    I was able to gather a pretty decent crop of rhubarb for us too!

  • Adoption update & Info

    If you are on our Facebook page, you may have seen some of this info already but I wanted to share more complete details here on the blog about our adoption process.

    We have a tentative move in date for our ‘new’ son set for mid July. We have some work to do beforehand here on the Homestead. As you know, our family has incurred the costs of moving three times this past year, including the big move all the way to the prairies of Saskatchewan! And we are still covering all the costs of our home back in BC since moving here to be together as a family again and close to my husbands work. We are finally settled into a home where we will stay, and this is where our adoptive son will join us. We never stopped moving ahead with the adoption process through all the chaos of this past year, because we know this boy is meant to be a part of our family! We were not willing to give up! He is worth it!

    However, there is a reality we are up against now. We are short one bedroom in this home. We have the space in our family room to build an extra bedroom, but it’s going to cost a fair bit due to the work needing to be done, and to do it properly, and safely.
    We need to completely replace the current window so it can open for a fire escape, (it’s a solid pane and may need to be made bigger). A proper wall needs to be put up and we need to put in a door.

    We are at a standstill as to what we can do financially at the moment, but this work needs to be done by the time he arrives. So we need to come up with the funds quickly, to get it done in time.

    Hubby already works all the over time he can, and I work more hours than I should, often late into the night, each and every week to cover extra gas and other extra costs associated with the adoption course two hours away these past months, on top of the bills of two homes etc.. So I thought about others who adopt, and the many families my husband and I have supported, and donated to, over the years, to ease the burden of others adoption costs. I realized maybe it’s time we stop trying to do this all on our own, and reach out to say, “Hey, it’s our turn, we are almost to the end, we could use some support now.”

    I don’t share this because I feel we are owed anything in return for the support we’ve given in the past, I share this because our future son is worth swallowing our pride so we can get this done, done on time, and get it done right! I also know what a blessing it’s been over the years to know we’ve helped others! Each time we see a photo of those adopted children we’ve contributed to, it is salve to our hearts! I know some of you feel the same way, and receive joy from helping in this way.

    Which brings me to my plan to get this done. I’m having a big stocking, with some auctions including items from others who have so very graciously donated to help! The stocking will be held at our hyenacart shop on Friday, June 14th.

    I’m mainly going to focus on special things I know you, my customers, would love to see. For example, often I’m asked if I would sell my dyed fabric. I never do, but decided I’ll dye a couple of special pieces and auction them. I’m going to create some special one of a kind packages. I’d love to hear more of what you’d like to see! I love to hear from you all and do my best to try to make your wishes come true, so I thought I’d start the ideas rolling! I’d like this to benefit our soon to be son and our family, but also bless you greatly too!

    Some of you have asked if you could help by simply donating funds, and I wasn’t sure how to go about collecting from you. I had a wonderful facebook friend from our page share info about an international fundraising website we might like to use for our adoption expenses. However, after looking into this option, and researching others past fundraisers, I’ve decided against this route. I’d like to share why.

    I’ve seen others who used fundraiser sites get ‘verbally’ ripped apart by naysayers/haters. We’ve decided we are simply going to work hard to put together an awesome stocking, and if
    people would like to support directly, because they feel led to do so, we are going to trust that you will take the extra few moments of time to email me for information on how to do so at
    Or if you use PayPal, you can simply send anything you like directly to that same email address.

    Adopting, and adding a 14 year old boy to our family is emotional enough, along with the difficulties our family has been through this past year. I just don’t think we could handle ANY haters/negative comments from people who don’t take the time to get to know us, at the moment.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to adoption there are plenty of people who like to think only people with a good amount of extra money should adopt. We know the truth is, only people who care enough to share their love, their family, their homes, and their lives, should adopt. How much money we have RIGHT NOW, is relative. Our family works hard to keep on keeping on. We have made it through a lot! It’s that same determination and willingness to keep our heads up, through these hard times, that made it possible for ALL of us to even consider adding to our family. We know this added expense for renovations that we just can’t really afford at the moment is a temporary financial difficulty, and we will get the work done one way or another. Extra work never stops us from anything worthwhile, and we know this adoption is worthwhile!

    If you would like to come alongside our family and support us, we truly appreciate it!

    And in reality, you’ve been helping all along! Every dollar made from the Homestead Emporium shops has always gone directly to support our family, including this adoption process! So even if you can’t give ‘extra’ help now, if you’ve ever purchased from our shop, or if you’ve ever shared our Facebook page, our blog, or website with your friends, you have already helped and ARE a part if this process, and a part of the Homestead Emporium family.

    And as always, for this we truly thank you and we pray you will be blessed in return!

    Again, the email to use to contact us about how to help, or to support us directly through paypal is

    *If sending directly via PayPal, please label it as ‘Adoption Support’ so we can keep all of these funds separate.

    The date of the Big Surprise Stocking is set for June 14th!
    We hope to see you there and please share on Facebook ect. once we begin advertising!

    I will also continue to post updates of the adoption progress here and on our Facebook page. Since our adoptive son is a part of the foster care system, I’m unable to share proper photos of him with our family publicly but once the adoption is finalized, you can be sure we will have some family photos to share at that time!! In the meantime, I’ve put together a couple of ‘collages’ that should be safe to share. Forgive the silly Groucho mask on the one. 😉



  • Work weekend continues.

    Then we loaded them up and brought them home. Finally, all the work over the last days, and weeks, has been worth it and everyone is happily home!

  • Work weekend on the new homestead!

    This past weekend in Canada was a long weekend, and my husband happened to have the entire weekend off too! Well, off from his ‘day’ job, but certainly not off from working as we did more in this long weekend than he probably does while AT work!

    It is a real blessing to have a handy husband, and most of all, one who is willing to learn how to do just about anything in order to help his family!

  • 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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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).


    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.


    Dogs walked…some cheated.


    So difficult to resist the hard working farm dog.


    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.


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


  • Walk with me. Dusk by iPhone.

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

    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!

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

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

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

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

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

    There’s Shaylah.

    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.

    To the north down the road.

    To the south.

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