Episode 16

Published on:

18th Jan 2024

Farming & Parenting in Manitoba with April McKean

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In this conversation, April McKean shares her experience of living and farming in Manitoba, Canada. She discusses her farming background, the benefits of living close to family, and the decision to become a stay-at-home parent. April also highlights the differences between Canadian and American maternity leave policies and the challenges of childcare in rural areas. She talks about the isolation of being a new parent and the physical and mental changes that come with parenthood. April shares her struggles and successes in raising her kids on the farm and discusses the communication and challenges of farming with family. Lastly, she talks about her business, Little Farmhands, which provides farm-themed toys and products for children. In this conversation, April, the owner of Little Farm Hands, discusses the design of their popular swaddles and blankets, which feature realistic farm-themed prints. She also shares the challenges of running an online business in a rural area, including gaining customer trust and dealing with high shipping rates. April talks about expanding to the US market and her future goals, such as partnering with small retailers and introducing new prints. The conversation also touches on fun topics like dominating a category at the county fair and the frustrations of poorly written crochet patterns. April concludes by sharing where listeners can find Little Farm Hands online.

Website: https://littlefarmhands.ca/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_littlefarmhands

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlefarmhands/


  • Living close to family can provide a support system and make family events more convenient.
  • Maternity leave policies vary between countries, with Canada offering a year of leave and the US offering less.
  • Rural areas often face challenges in accessing affordable and available childcare.
  • Parenthood brings physical and mental changes, and it's important to prioritize self-care and make decisions that work best for you and your family.
  • Raising kids on a farm provides unique opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Open communication and understanding are key to working through challenges when farming with family.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Location
  • 01:00 April's Farming and Family Background
  • 03:40 Benefits of Living Close to Family
  • 06:10 Decision to Become a Stay-at-Home Parent
  • 09:08 Canadian Maternity Leave
  • 10:23 Challenges of Childcare in the US
  • 12:29 Isolation as a New Parent in a Rural Area
  • 16:21 Transition to Parenthood and Physical Changes
  • 19:34 Struggles and Decisions in Parenting
  • 25:48 Raising Kids on the Farm
  • 27:51 Challenges and Communication in Farming with Family
  • 33:32 Little Farmhands Business
  • 37:40 Market Gap for Farm Toys
  • 39:55 Product Design and Popular Swaddles
  • 42:10 Challenges of Running an Online Business in a Rural Area
  • 45:01 Expanding to the US Market
  • 46:02 Future Goals and New Products
  • 51:51 County Fair Dominance: Baking and Karaoke
  • 53:40 Cuss and Discuss: Poorly Written Patterns
  • 55:19 Cuss and Discuss: Kids and Eating Food
  • 57:28 Cuss and Discuss: Neglecting Personal Care
  • 59:05 Where to Find Little Farm Hands Online

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About the Podcast

Barnyard Language
Real talk about running farms and raising families.
Real talk about running farms and raising families. Whether your farm is a raised bed in your backyard or 10,000 acres and whether your family is in the planning stages or you've got 12 kids, we're glad you found us!

No sales, no religious conversion, no drama. Just honest talk from two mamas who know what it's like when everyone is telling you to just get all your meals delivered and do all your shopping online, but your internet is too slow and you've got cows to feed.

About your host

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Caithlin Palmer