In Difficult Seasons

farmer with cancer miking cow

Marissa Froese is the homestead mama at Wyndelin Farm & Guesthouse in Nova Scotia, Canada where she lives with her husband and three daughters. When Marissa took over our Instagram account, she was in the middle of treatment for breast cancer. We are humbled and extremely grateful for her unique perspective into homesteading during hardships. The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.

beans close up
homestead garden

Good morning homestead mamas! I’m Marissa Froese and I’m taking over for the next couple of days to share with you a little bit of our life at Wyndelin Farm. I, my husband Dan and our three daughters work our bit of land in Nova Scotia, Canada and I’m happy to share a glimpse of what that looks like with you.


I’m usually the main farmer full time but during this season while I go through treatment for breast cancer, Dan and our daughters have taken over most of the farming duties for the time being so I’ll be sharing a bit about what it’s like to hand over the reins of what I love. One thing that I’ve maintained throughout my treatment is milking my cow Mabel; this is my happy place and my not giving up position!

One great way to encourage kids to eat lots of vegetables is to have a garden and to get them involved the gardening! Our garden is the always open snack bar, especially for this little one. It’s usually her first stop during morning chores, to snack on a tomato or cucumber, to steal a carrot for one of the animals, and to check the watermelon jussstt in case they magically ripened overnight.


In our main garden we encourage each of the girls to choose something that they’d like to grow in their own section. They also help with the rest of the garden but it’s nice for them to take responsibility of a crop or two that they are particularly interested in (it varies from year to year. That way they can learn about the needs and habits of those particular plants, whether they need to fertilize, prune, trellis, what pests to look for, how it responds to the weather, when to harvest and even how to preserve it. Hands on learning at its finest and such a reward to share ones harvest with the family!


What are some ways that you all get your kids involved in the garden? I could use some tips on how to convince them to enjoy weeding more…

Radishes in group
Child in Garden

I’m still in the hospital but the garden still needs harvesting. The beet crop is looking splendid and the girls apparently thoroughly enjoyed harvesting them. These are cylindra beets which I’ve never grown before and they also pulled up the early wonder variety as well. I so enjoy canned beets with winter meals and our 89 year old neighbour has offered (actually insisted) to can them all for us which is incredible.


Which brings me to another homesteading point that I wanted to share. For us, building into our community has been an essential part of why we’ve been able to do our small farm. Looking out for each other and helping out where we can is vital. We’ve learned so much from other farmers and I believe they’ve learned from our way of doing things as well. And because we’ve been intentional about our community, now in a very difficult season of our lives, we’re not left alone. We’re being supported at every turn. It’s humbling and beautiful.


What does community look like in your homesteading experience? What are some ways that you build into and support your community?

Our small farm is mostly to raise food for ourselves although we do sell some meat to friends and neighbours. Being at home with our family has been a priority in our life so we’ve gotten creative about how we do that. My husband Dan is a full time photographer and he runs his business from home. I run a guesthouse in part of our house and we’ve hosted guests from all over who love the time they spend on our farm. The other work that I do is teach a online gluten-free sourdough course in partnership with @sourdoughschoolhouse. One of my students this past winter was my own sweet ten year old. If you’re gluten free, you know good bread is hard to come by and so I developed this course with all my own original recipes and how to. Cecily is tending my starter while I’m away from home and so we did a little FaceTime call together while she fed gluten free Gloria.


Thank you for letting me share a bit of our life with you. When I agreed to takeover this account for a few days, I’d imagined sharing a bit about cheese making and canning and my garden and even taking you to meet my lovely horses. However, I continue to live from my hospital bed for the next while and my friends, pivoting for the unexpected is very much part of this homesteading life. There are always difficulties along with the rewards and I’ve chosen to live a joyful life within that. It’s not easy but I’m so grateful for this life that I get to share with my husband and daughters. I hope that wherever you are and whatever stage of homesteading you are at, that each one of you has a special bit of joy right now.

Child video chat with Parent
Garden with Gate
Family in Field


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