About the Homestead

Shepherdess, retro-housewife, mother, seamstress ... but labels can be deceiving. I also play the sax, butcher chickens and sing in the church choir. My sheep keep me in wool; my children keep me in reality; and my husband keeps me in cappuccino.

The Willow Homestead was established in 2001 when my husband, Hank, and I found the perfect 20 acres in Pasturelands, Wisconsin.  We've been renovating the house, cleaning out the pastures (well, okay, the sheep do that part) and mending the outbuildings ever since.  Yep, we plan to live here 'til we die.

Hank and I have been told to sell tickets to our "museum" of a home.  It was built in the early 1900s, and we've decorated it in a 1940s farmhouse style with wonderful hand-me-down and thrifted furniture.  Admittedly, ticket sales may generate more money than selling eggs, but then I'd have to dust much more often.  Hank and I are just doing what makes us happy, living a life of vintage simplicity, right down to the 1947 Frigidaire and rotary wall mount telephone.  

Hank is a hotrodder, and we still own the 1950 Chevy that he bought 18 years ago while we were dating.  But I also own a 1950 Ford, and my husband was gracious enough to spray pink metalflake on the roof for me (yay!).  One of my winter projects is to sew up a matching pink interior.

When I'm not taking care of the house, I can be found in my sewing room.  I sew because I love creating something fun but useful (hot pads, clothespin bags, cowgirl costumes).  Also, I’ve become very picky. I rarely buy clothes off the rack. I’ve come to appreciate a dress with darts that line up where they’re supposed to and pants that curve properly over the hip (my hip, not the standardized 5’8” girl’s hip). I tend to perfect a pattern and duplicate it in every fabric and print possible. Case in point, I have two pair of wide-leg pants, two pair of cigarette pants and three pairs of shorts all using the same basic pattern.  And yes, I sew it all on that 1947 Singer I inherited from my grandmother.

A good part of my days are spent in the barnyard, taking care of our flock of Shetland sheep.  I have 12 ewes and two rams, just enough to keep my spinning wheel turning and meat in the freezer.  Being a shepherdess is pretty glamorous, you know.  Of course I get to haul lots of hay (which we cut, rake, bale and put up) and lots of water (which is loads of fun in the winter when it has a 2-inch layer of ice on top). I shovel a lot of used hay (if you know what I mean) and deal with a lot of used wool (which is actually the fun part).  Our Shetlands are a small-bodied breed but big on fiber. Hank is my General Laborer, doing all the shearing and hoof-trimming, and I am the General Cuddlerer (is that a word?), handling all the newborn lambs and passing out the treats with a good dose of affection. In short, the sheep like me better.

Currently we also have a chicken coop of 12 layers, and butcher a batch of broilers every other year (phew, this is our year off!).  We also have three geese that wander in the pasture harassing the ewes.  Our dog, Bosley, keeps an eye on things around here (mostly the six cats that wander from the house to the barn).  And our newest addition, Misty the horse, is my daughter's pride and joy.

Life is happy and busy at the Willow Homestead.  I am so grateful to be able to stay home, raise our two children in the country, and pursue the things that I love.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit.  You're welcome any time!


  1. I would love to see your home. I love vintage clothing, furniture, and appliances. I have a 70's Harvest Gold Maytag washer, a vintage KitchenAid dishwasher the front is Harvest Gold, and the sides and back are ugh Almond. I also collect IBM typewriters, and vintage vacuum cleaners, I have 3 Kirbys 3 Electroluxs.

  2. I have read your blog for a while. I am so glad I finally read about your home. It looks like wonderful place to live. I know I would love to live there.

  3. So happy to find you. Love the vintage look. How great that you can stay home and tend the farm. We share my husbands family farm with 2 of his siblings and our greatest wish is to live there one day.

    You must be a talented seamstress, love the military sweater! I also have my grandmother's Featherweight, bought for her by my grandfather as a engagement present. I will definitely keep watching to see what's up.

  4. Ok, I feel stupid not finding your name somewhere in your blog. But I love your blog & your sheep, vintage cars & how you repurpose everything.
    have a great day.
    Tucson, Az


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