Tuesday, December 31, 2019
If you know me well, you know I am NOT a night person. Either is my husband. I am rarely up past 10pm. And past midnight? Outside of being forced to when traveling, I'm pretty sure I haven't been up past midnight by choice in yearsssss.
But my kids want to "celebrate" New Years. So we decided a few years back to buy some sparkling grape juice and watch the "ball drop" in Dubai and London. This happens hours before the midnight deadline here in the USA which is much more reasonable for an old fogie like me to watch.
Now it's 8pm on December 31. And I'm off to sleep. It's "New Years Day" somewhere -- which is good enough for me.
at 7:05 PM
Sunday, December 29, 2019
|Abigail and cousin Peyton|
|A very fun game cousin Rob introduced us to! Click here to purchase it and help us earn money for Because of Isaac.|
|We had a bonfire. This is Grace and cousin Ethan.|
|Aunt Danielle snuggling with Aunt Danielle|
|With both girls|
|Katie bought all of us an ugly sweater. We took a picture with everyone! Ray's was my favorite.|
|John and I. John's tie plays a song.|
|Two of my favorite girls|
|Two more of my favorite girls|
|Daddy and daughter|
|Aunt Danielle with Grace and her own two daughters: Peyton and Cami|
|It's 74 degrees here. Normally I'd be sad it was that warm in December but with all these people here, being able to be outside has been a GODSEND! I love this picture of Abigail moving the sheep.|
|Cousin Nate with Ritter|
|With both dogs|
Saturday, December 28, 2019
The church that John’s parents attend is right around the corner from our house. It is very small — just a few dozen older folks that have grown up and raised their children there ... children who have now moved away.
The piano player has to rotate between two churches so she is only there half the month. They asked Isaac if he would work on some hymns so he could play weeks when the piano player isn’t there. They gave him a hymn book, and he’s been working with his piano teacher.
Seeing this brings me such joy. I pray the Lord uses this boy’s innate musical talents for HIS glory. Isaac has musicians on his birth father’s side of the family and his birth mother Bri is a great lover of music as well. You can tell this is something he was born with, and I pray it blesses others!!
Thursday, December 26, 2019
The first time that all ten Kitsteiner cousins have EVER been together in one place at one time.
|A silly picture|
|A fun picture this morning of Abigail and little Peyton|
at 2:02 PM
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Our last Christmas in Kentucky. I wasn't blogging then but found some pictures in my scrapbook and have scanned them. Here they are. Our niece Grace was just three months old this Christmas.
This was in pre-blog days. This would have also been the first year we lived in Rochester, Minnesota. I think I wrote our first family Christmas card that year, but I can't find it anywhere. Here is a picture of us though in the snow of Minnesota that year.
We still lived in Minnesota this year, but like every year that we had been married, we made it home to South Florida for Christmas. Here is my Christmas letter from that year. (I think you'll be able to click on it to make it better and read it?)
We continued to spend each and every Christmas in South Florida with both of our families.
And here is my Christmas letter from that year:
And here is the photo I included with our Christmas letter:
Here are some pictures of another Christmas spent in South Florida. Once again, we managed to get away from the snow for Christmas and a WEDDING! The biggest news of that holiday season was my brother's wedding. He and the awesome AD wed just a few days after Christmas! Here is a picture of AD and I at her bachelorette party:
Pretty sure I did a Christmas letter that year, but I can't find it!
Christmas of 2007, we were anxiously awaiting Isaac's birth the following year. We spent the holiday in South Florida with both of our families. Here are some pictures of the Kitsteiner extravaganza. Here I am with a half-way-through-her-pregnancy Bri.
Christmas 2008 was our first Christmas as parents. Isaac was nearing 8 months old, and I was within a month of going into labor with Sidge. Here was our Christmas card from that year:
Because I was so very pregnant, this was the first year, ever, that JB and I did not spend Christmas with our family in South Florida. Instead, my parents joined us up at Eglin AFB. Here are some pictures from our Christmas morning. And here are some pictures of our Christmas evening spent with the Dooley family.
Here was the Christmas letter for 2009 -- Christmas with TWO little boys:
Christmas was spent at our home on Eglin AFB, FL. We were so blessed that year to be joined by Grandparents from Michigan. Unfortunately, the boys were both nursing double ear infections so that part wasn't good. But having them there with us at the holiday was wonderful. Here is a link to some Christmas snaps from that wonderful time with my parents and grandparents.
2010 was our first Christmas out of the USA. We were in Turkey for the holiday. Here was our 2010 Christmas card attempts:
We spent Christmas of 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey with our friends the Yerringtons and Stebbins. Here was a picture we managed to snap of the five children in attendance (Sidge, Isaac, Rowan, William, and Noah):
One of my favorite Christmas moments EVER took place in Istanbul during that trip. We were in a country that did not celebrate Christmas, but we found a Catholic church that we could attend mass at. After we left the church, we found a group of Christian turks playing Christmas music outside and passing out Bibles. Check out the video here.
Christmas 2011 was spent in Turkey again. Christmas Eve we made cookies for Santa and put them out for Santa. It remains one of my funniest motherhood moments ever. You have to watch the video and keep your eye on Sidge during the entire thing:
It was a very bitter sweet year that year. We were spending the holiday far away from family in a country that didn't even celebrate Christmas. In addition, our wonderful Veronica, who had spent 10 months in our home, was preparing to head back to America in just a few days:
We had a wonderful Christmas in Turkey with our friends Dan and Angelica (and her family from Spain who were in visiting) as well as Shane and Linda and Patty & Yamil:
But our Christmas card that year did not go well at all:
On Christmas Eve 2012, we were returning from Rochester, Minnesota where I just had a little Hannah transferred to my womb. I was obviously pregnant but had no idea! It was the first Christmas Day that we had spent with our family in South Florida since 2007. What a great time of celebration. We even managed a picture with the entire Huisman side of the family which included five kids under five! No small feat!
Azores, Portugal (we lived in the Azores, Portugal)
Spring Hill, TN (we lived here for one year)
First farm Christmas (Home forever!)
Second farm Christmas (Home forever!)
Last year's Christmas was a hard one. We had had a family member leave and there was lots of grief. But it was beautiful and wonderful to have 8 of the 10 cousins together.
at 9:07 AM
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Three years ago, my son, Sidge was riding his scooter, when a freak accident tore the gums off his top teeth and broke numerous teeth. If you are not squeamish, you can watch a video my husband took after it happened to get advice from a friend of his who was an oral surgeon and dentist. I warn you, it is GRAPHIC and hard to watch.
My husband tried to get another oral surgeon to do the procedure. But it was a Sunday in a small town, and he couldn't find anyone to do it. In the end, he opted to do the procedure himself. We left our other kiddos with friends who were in town, and drove up to the Emergency room with our seven-year-old trying to be calm.
On the way I said to JB, "So you are going to put him under, right?"
The answer was, "Not if I can help it."
I begged him to please put him under. I couldn't bear to watch my little guy have this work done to his mouth while he was awake. But John was determined. "Wendi, anesthesia is no joke. You don't do it if you don't have to."
My wonderful husband then proceeded to put my son's mouth back together while he was awake.
Today I stumbled upon THIS article: 18-year old ends up in a vegetative state after breast surgery goes horribly wrong.
People. Listen. Surgery is NOT a joke. Things can and WILL go wrong. I have lost two people in my life to death after very routine surgeries. If you can avoid it, avoid it. I have had five stomach surgeries that were unavoidable. However, if something is elective, leave it ELECTIVE and elect out. No plastic surgery is worth death. Breasts are not worth your life!!! In this case, they are blaming the doctors, but the fact is, bad things happen through no one's fault. It's about the fact that surgery is dangerous!!! Some of these parents are actually paying for these elective surgeries designed simply to improve a physical part of your body.
I have had many people I love have cosmetic surgery. Please know I am not judging you. You are totally entitled to make this decision. But please know the risks and understand that having you around is way more important!
at 1:49 PM
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Our farm has been having WWOOFers staying with us. These are individuals who volunteer their time on our farm in exchange for room and board. They stay on the second floor of our garage/barn in their own room. Upstairs is also another bedroom for our personal guests. There is a shared half-finished living room and kitchen as well as a full bathroom downstairs.
They help us on the farm for approximately 25-30 hours a week. Each WWOOFer is here for different reasons. Some are here to simply experience American culture. Others are interested in permaculture and/or organic farming and want to see if it is a good fit for them. They might be thinking of possibly buying their own farm someday.
Interested in WWOOFing with us? Please click here for more information.
#1 Dan (August-November 2015).
Dan was from Illinois. He had just graduated from college and was seeing how permaculture might fit into what he wanted to do. Dan actually stayed with us for four months. Hannah had a huge crush on him and made us laugh so hard one day when she pulled up a chair and sat down right in front of where he was working. When we asked her what she was doing, she said, "Oh. I'm just watching Mr. Dan work." Dan was also famous for how much food he could ingest! It was seriously a sight to behold. Dan helped us get our broiler chicken "business" off the ground. We stay in touch with Dan and are so excited to see where life takes him.
Review of our farm from Dan:
"The most important thing you can know about Bauernhof Kitsteiner is this: these are some of the nicest and best human beings you will ever meet. More specifically, John's knowledge of permaculture is truly vast and will be a valuable resource while you WWOOF at the Bauernhof, but even more valuable is his willingness and enthusiasm to share this with you in a theory and in practice. John's father, a master carpenter and all around handyman, has an equally vast amount to teach you about the practical construction skills necessary to actually carry out the permaculture projects around the farm and the same enthusiasm to share this knowledge. Wendi and John's mother will teach you everything else you need to know about life on the farm, from cooking, to cleaning, to so many other things you wouldn't even think of that are absolutely essential. John and Wendi do expect the utmost respect for their property, their Christian faith, and most importantly their children, no exceptions. Ultimately, WWOOFing here will leave you with not only an experience that will make you a better farmer, it will make you a better person. I couldn't think more highly of them."
#2 Daniel (April 2016)
Daniel had done a ton of different things including owning his own paint business and teaching chess. He was from Arizona. Daniel was actually basically traveling all around the USA out of his car and wanted to stay in one place for awhile. Daniel was incredibly efficient at getting the animals done, did not like the cold weather, and was really good at catching snapping turtles. He taught Abigail how to play chess and really improved both of the boys' game. Such a diverse guy!
Review of our farm from Daniel:
"Only 200 words? I'm going to have to choose my words wisely. Awesome farm, Breathtaking sunsets, Chilly mornings, Dirty work, Excellent fishing, Fantastic meals, Green pastures, Huge forest, Inky mushrooms, Jolly Neighbor, Knowledgeable Johns, Lasting memories, Mean turtles, New opportunities, Optimistic plans, Positive vibes, Quaky ducks, Rainy days, Smart kids, Tall parents, Unpleasant stink bugs, Valuable lessons, Warmhearted Christians, Xerarch me, Yellow flowers, Zebra?"
#3 Jordan (May 2016)
Jordan spent the first half of his life in Paris and the second of his life in Quebec. He loved the outdoors and nature and just wanted to travel around the USA and experience our country. Jordan was still learning English but was doing a great job. He really wanted to experience all aspects of our culture. He made Isaac an awesome birthday present, did different projects with the kids, and even cooked for us! He also found a huge guinea egg nest and an awesome video for us when he left. Jordan was so much fun, and he and our family was really sad when he left.
Review of our farm from Jordan:
"I was curious about the Bauernhof Kitsteiner farm I was expecting to meet a family who's living in a beautiful area and had new and differents ways to think and live to share for woofers like me. And I was right, what a pleasure for me to learn in a such great and beautiful place where animals really seems to be happy in a place where taking care of the land is the most important. But I never expected to feel for a moment that I was a part of your family. Your kids have no ideas the chance they have to grow up with parents like you guys and I was really sad to leave you at the end. Thank you for all the love you gave me and I can't wait to see you again. :)""
#4 Emily (June 2016)
Emily was from New Zealand and was spending a year at the University of Idaho on a very prestigious scholarship! She was a geography and geology major which really made Isaac happy. She cooked us an amazing New Zealand dessert and took some great photos of our farm. We introduced her to Dairy Queen blizzards and the art of sarcasm. She also helped us map our woods, and really jumped into all aspects of our culture. She was incredibly sweet and just a pleasure to have here at The Bauernhof Kitsteiner.
Review of our farm from Emily:
"I absolutely loved my time here! As a 19 year old first time wwoofer, I felt very comfortable and welcome, and I found the work interesting, full of variety and stress-free. The Kitsteiners could not have been better hosts, they were friendly and included me in family activities, also taking me to the nearby town to experience what the area had to offer culturally. When I first arrived, I had very unexpectedly bad hayfever allergies, but they were very understanding and caring and encouraged me to rest when they could tell I was unwell. The rest of the family is lovely, the children love to talk and play games and the grandparents have a great sense of humour. This farm would suit almost any type of wwoofer, whether you are interested in permaculture, animal care, or anything else in between. I leave this farm with some great memories, having worked on a great farm with some great people, and I would do it all over again if I could :)"
#5 Eliza (June and July 2016)
Eliza currently lives in North Carolina with her long-term boyfriend, but they are looking to purchase a farm in the Pacific Northwest. She was spending the year WWOOFing to get some ideas and insight before purchasing a farm. Eliza was our oldest WWOOFer yet at 30 and she already a PhD in microbiology and immunology. I really enjoyed spending time with someone a little closer to my age! She and Isaac LOVED playing Piano Maestro together, and she did some planting in our flower beds. We look forward to staying in touch with Eliza.
Review of our farm from Eliza:
"I came to the scenic Bauernhof to study permaculture after reading John's excellent blog at tcpermaculture.com. I had a fantastic time here; not only did I learn a lot about practicality and application of permaculture on a homestead, I also thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the entire family. The majority of chores entails taking care of their animals and only takes a couple hours a day. However, there's a ton of other things you can do on the farm and they are always open to new ideas. I got to plant garden beds and trees along their swale, hunt for mushrooms in the forest, and herd the sheepies to new pastures. John is the strong silent type and you have to catch him when he's not busy (which is rare.) He is knowledgeable in many fields and will take the time to share with you if you are interested. Wendi, aka supermom, is always fun, friendly, and amazingly honest. The kids are awesome (assuming you catch Miss sassy-Hannah on a good day) and they will entertain you for hours. Things to beware of: ticks, blackberry thorns, poison ivy, hills, and Gramp's biting sarcasm. Trust me, it's worth it!"
#6 Deborah (left) (July 2016)
I decided to try a few younger WWOOFers. I was a little nervous about using anyone under 18 but was in a jam and had a very busy two week period that needed filling. Deborah is an almost 16 year old who is a part of our homeschool co-op. We had about a two week gap here at the farm with no WWOOFer and with broiler chickens, new layer chickens, and new turkeys around and my in-laws headed out of town, we really thought it would help to fill the void. I put a message on my homeschool board, and Deborah was able to fill the need. She did a a fantastic job and was eager to do things and do things right. She is very outgoing and boisterous and brought great creativity and personality to our farm. She was also one of the cleaner WWOOFers. We ask all of our WWOOFers to clean their room upon departure, but Deborah actually kept the upstairs apartment clean while she was here and had it very clean when Maggie (pictured at right) came in and overlapped with her for a few days.
Review of our farm from Deborah:
To read Deborah's perspective, please click here.
#7 Maggie (July 2016)
Maggie is a soon to be high school senior. She is homeschooled, and we share an aunt and uncle. My Aunt Janet is married to her Uncle Ed. Maggie has a great love of the outdoors and animals and wanted to try out the farming life. She is truly one of the most peaceful and sweet women you could ever meet. The kids LOVED her (especially Hannah!) She was a beautiful presence on our farm.
Review of our farm from Maggie:
"Thank you for allowing me to live on your farm. You and your family were very loving and fun; I will miss all of you very much. May the Lord Bless you."
#8 David (September 2016)
David joined us for three weeks. He just graduated from high school and was looking for which direction he wanted to go with his life. He loves animals so he decided to give farming a try. He has decided that farming isn't his favorite, but he was amazing with the dogs and the kids LOVED him!
#9 Mary Ann (August thru November)
Mary Ann arrived at our farm at the end of August. She initially was going to stay about 7-10 days but then asked if she could stay until first snow. We honestly think of her like Mary Poppins. She gets SOOO much done, barely makes a peep, and is simply an amazing force here on the property. She is in her 60's but truly can do what most 40 year olds can do without a problem. We were so blessed when she stayed with us until November. She was pure joy here on the farm.
Review of our farm from Mary Ann:
"The rustling of the Sudan sorghum and your resident Mockingbird are beautiful memories from Bauernhof Kitsteiner. And from beautiful people it's not a coincidence. You all have etched a special place on my heart. I'm so grateful to you all and God for a wonderful time and such an educational experience. WWOOFing with children adds a very special joy."
#10 Shelby (End of September thru early November 2016)
Shelby was actually a friend of mine in the Azores. Her husband, Lane, just got out of the military, and they are taking a year off before starting real life up again. Shelby works part-time as a graphic designer from home so she is working while here on the farm. She was here for two weeks by herself, and her husband Lane joined us for two of those weeks. Shelby is one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and we will be friends for life!
Review of our farm from Shelby:
What a treat this has been! I am so grateful for your hospitality and open arms. You guys are incredible and what you are doing here is inspiring and special. I'm surprised to be laving with fewer thoughts about farming than about family and parenting and homeschooling and hospitality and church. Thanks for taking us in and giving us a front row seat -- again! I miss you all already and WILL be back."
#11 Dawn (October 9-16, 2016)
Dawn found us through JB's website, and is just going to be here for just one week. She is an engineer, and actually came here for her vacation to learn more about our farm and permaculture! I said "you gave up your vacation for us?" And she said, "I didn't give it up! I'm here!" So sweet and a real favorite of Hannah. (Hannah cried HARD when Dawn left.) We really hope Dawn comes back for more farming adventures.
Review of our farm from Dawn:
"Thank you for sharing your home and family with me. I really enjoyed being here and getting to take care of the animals. Sidge, Isaac, Abigail, and Hannah, I loved playing with you all."
#12 Lane (October 2016)
Shelby's husband Lane joined us for about two weeks here on the farm. He was fantastic in helping us with cleaning up our fencing and some other things that needed a "man's" touch. :) He also did a lot of scouting of the deer to let us know where they are living so we can hopefully get one when hunting season begins! Lane brought a lot of life and humor to our farm.
#13 Leah (November 2016)
Leah was lucky #13 here at the Bauernhof, and she was also our first strict vegetarian which was a bit of a risk for me, as I always worried how I would feed a vegetarian since we are a farm that is raising meat. But Leah was a fantastic cook and took care of most of her own food (and made some yummy dishes for us too!) Leah was living the typical stylish life in New York City with a degree and a good job when she decided to take a year and explore farming. Boy are we glad she did. What a fantastic time we had during her 2.5 week stay. We only wish she could have stayed longer. To read more about Leah, you can click here.
Review of our farm from Leah:
"I have nothing but positively GLOWING things to say about this family and this farm. I felt warmly welcomed from the moment I arrived (just as a pig was giving birth!), and my weeks here were enriching in an astounding multitude of ways, including so much practical education (on holistic management, permaculture, animal husbandry, the economics of family farming, and more) AND so many deep chats and compassionate exchanges of lifestyle perspectives, plus plenty of lighthearted play with the whole family (including four spunky kids). The work was totally reasonable -- Wendi made sure to tell me from the start that she wanted my contributions to bring me genuine joy, and both and she and John were always open to my questions, my interests, my point of view .... and even my vegetarian cooking! Bonus points: stunning location, cozy accommodations in a private room, and a flexible schedule, with brief spurts of work spread throughout the day. This is a must-WWOOF particularly if you're interested in ethical animals husbandry and permaculture principles, or if you're looking for a true cultural exchange with a loving family, but there's something for everyone here -- honestly, my richest WWOOF experience to date."
#14 Jacob (December 2016 - October 2017)
Jacob came for the month of December, and ended up staying much longer. All said and done he will be here for close to a year. Jacob is an incredibly intelligent guy who could take care of our farm for weeks at a time with no problem. He's amazing, and life would be so much more hectic without him here. Jacob was our longest term WWOOFer, and he has come back to visit periodically since leaving us. We look forward to staying in touch with him in the future. He has a home on our farm anytime!
"If you are a first-time woofer who is interested in permaculture and loves animals this is THE farm to visit. The Kitsteiners are exceedingly accommodating, good for a chat and their kids and grandparents are fun, too. Oh, and there farm is cool too and always improving. The daily chores are manageable, leaving you time to explore, read, start projects, spend time with the animals, or visit a nearby attraction. John is both patient and intelligent and if you wish to talk to him about something, he will find a way to fit you into his schedule which says a lot, I think. There is so much to learn from him so don't waste this opportunity. Read up on a question and fire away, he usually knows something helpful. If you are interested in pigs, laying chickens, and katahdin hair sheep this is the farm for you. Seasonally, the farm runs broilers and turkeys. You'll like it here."
#15 Peter (January 2017)
Peter and Tymen came in on the same day. Peter was just with us for one week -- an exchange student from China studying in the USA. While his visit was short, we so enjoyed getting to share our cultures with each other. He was a true joy and a country music fanatic!
Review of our farm from Peter:
"The word wonderful is apparently not wonderful enough to describe John and Wendi. They agreed to have me stay on their farm for only one week, mainly for cultural experiences. I’m grateful for everything they treated me with, including tasty snacks of all kinds, pills when I accidentally caught a fever, sturdy and warm boots that prevented me from
#16 Tymen (January 2017 and again in fall of 2017)
Tymen was with us for a month, and then returned for another week before heading back home to Holland. He is from the Netherlands, and I agreed to host a second WWOOFer (overlapping with Jacob) because he wanted to do outdoor heavy labor. And boy did he! He helped us with so much fence and tree removal. He was also Hannah's first crush -- she was absolutely addicted to Tymen. He spoke incredible English, and we really hope he'll get to visit us again someday.
Tijmen came back to us for a second wolfing experience. He has solidified himself as a member of our family now, and we hope to stay in touch with him for years to come! He even won little Abigail over which is no small task!
Review of our farm from Tymen:
"My stay on the farm was fantastic. John and Wendi are very nice people who make sure you have everything you need to help out on the farm. I learned a lot during my stay, and whenever I had a question or needed help, there was always some family member willing to assist/provide an answer. They already have a lot of experience with volunteers, so
#17 Amy (March 2017)
I actually really like this picture of Amy. She is a very private person so I sort of felt like too close of a picture would be a little too much for her. While Amy describes herself as shy, I actually think she isn't as shy deep down inside and will be continuing to shine more and more. She is one of the nicest young women I have ever met, and I would love to have her live at our farm FOREVER! She was an incredible worker and actually perfected the fence moving -- a rarity in the land of WWOOFers. I cannot say enough good things about her!
Review of our farm from Amy:
"Getting to know this family was a treasure that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. They are all very kind and gifted. The land itself is magical. John, his family and we the wwoofers are transforming it into a healthy productive site. While I was there, I mainly helped care for the animals but there is plenty of other things to work on if you so desire. The most satisfying skill I learned was how to set up a temporary paddock and move the sheep every few days (managed grazing). If you want to learn about permaculture this is the place. Get ready to be inspired!!!!"
#18 Leon (April 2017)
Leon was another Dutch volunteer who had been traveling a ton around the world and just made his way into the USA. He came to us through the workaway program -- which we've been getting more and more volunteers from. He was here for some hard weeks on the fun as the sun was just starting to beat down more, and we had quite a bit of problems for our pigs -- but he always had a great attitude and was willing to help in any way.
Review of our farm from Leon:
I stayed with the this amazing family for a month and a half they were the so generous and kind to me. Learned a lot about living on a farm and taking care of animals. I also learned more about home schooling and permaculture . The kids were super nice and really ahead of their own ages. I would recommend this place to anyone that wants to
#19 Tim (June 2017)
Tim joined us from California -- a college student looking at seeing more of the world. What a great guy! The picture above is of him using the drone he brought to the farm! He drove here from California and was an incredibly hard worker despite the fact that our heat is a lot different from their heat. We truly enjoyed the two weeks he spent with us here on the farm.
Review of our farm from Tim:
What a great first experience for me! John and Wendi were so great and welcoming to me (as were there children and parents). I really enjoyed my two weeks at the farm and I learned so much while there. The duties I had were manageable and someone was always there to answer questions I had. Working with the animals was new and fun! And enjoying the
#20 Haley (July 2017)
I just LOVED this girl. She was young and happy and upbeat and just the type of girl you hope your own daughters can grow up to be like. She loves her family and her life and was pushing herself to go away from home and try something new. Such a sweetheart!
Review of our farm from Haley:
"This was my first work away experience and it was the perfect choice for me! The family is amazing! They were always cooking great food, and were so welcoming and kind! The kids are great and fun and you will never be bored with them!! The work was hard but fun and rewarding!! My job was feeding the animals every day. I loved my trip and it was
#21 Veronica (In and out beginning in fall 2017)
Not really sure where to PUT Veronica. She is a LONG time family friend (like we've known her since she was a tiny little four-year-old). She now lives about four hours and has been joining us on some weekends to help on the farm and with the kids. Veronica IS family to us, but she is majorly helping on the farm as well so I have to add her to this page.
#22 Duygu (November and December 2017)
Duygu actually found us by putting the word "Turkish" in the search engine on the workaday.info website and finding our family who has a special place in our heart for the Turkish culture. She helped us a lot with animals but also did a TON of cooking for us. I really thought I had forgotten my Turkish when she came to us, but it came flying back to me. She was an absolutely wonderful addition to our life here on the farm, and I am so blessed to have a bit of Turkey here in Tennessee.
Review of our farm from Duygu:
"I do not have enough words to describe this beautiful family. All of this family's members are extremely polite, respectful, and kind. Wendi and john have 4 wonderful children who are raised with love and discipline. They have a very nice farm and while staying two months with them I was able to enjoy this peaceful and happy life. Mary and Ray
#23 Anni (frequent visits beginning in 2017)
Anni met our family by attending a conference on the farm. She then started coming back now and then on weekends and when we had big projects to help us. She works at the deaf school in Knoxville and has become a very dear friend to me as well as someone my kids and dogs love as well! This lady is truly one of the types of people that makes the world a better place, and we love having her come and help us on the farm. She is also incredibly strong and can handle nearly any job the farm throws at her.
#24 Pilar (local friend who volunteered pictured in front)
Pilar attended our church and is hoping to start her own farm someday so she spent some time helping us here at our farm. She's a lovely lady, and while she has other commitments now that keep her from volunteering, we are so blessed for what time she did have fo us!
#25 Sicong (January 2018)
I was on a "take a break from visitors" stretch when Sicong contacted us through workaday.info. And man am I so glad he came and spent two weeks with us -- especially the two weeks of the ballet which are soooo busy. He is an incredibly intelligent, diligent, observant, and kind man. He's currently getting ready to finish up his last year at MIT, and he was just a fantastic joy to have here on our farm. We sure hope he'll come back to visit again!
Review from Sicong:
"I spent a beautiful two weeks on John and Wendi’s farm. An incredible first Workaway experience that leaves me itching to go back.
The work was very reasonable and entirely manageable, and I always felt trusted on their farm and in their home. The animals were a joy to work with. Even the mischievous pigs, with their insatiable zest for life. The
The work was very reasonable and entirely manageable, and I always felt trusted on their farm and in their home. The animals were a joy to work with. Even the mischievous pigs, with their insatiable zest for life. The
#26 Nico (April and May 2018)
Nico came to us via our friend/wwoofer Jacob. They were working together at another farm, and he decided to come here for about a month. Nico is an amazing guy. A tremendous worker. And super easy to have around. We were under intense renovations during the time and didn't know where/how we would eat our next meal without a kitchen, but he handled it flawlessly.
Review from Nico:
"I had the pleasure of staying with the Kitsteiners in April and May 2018 and really enjoyed the experience! Wendy and John are both incredibly nice and accommodating. I came here to deepen my knowledge of permaculture and absolutely did through the very informative conversations I had with John. It is such a great learning experience seeing the permaculture functions on their homestead and how it works for them in this region. If you come here prepare for amazing meals, great hospitality, and an incredible learning opportunity."
#27 & 28 (Summer 2018)
I don't usually host couples here at the farm, but this couple was a farm nearby that hadn't worked out for them so I decided to give them a try. They were fantastic and a huge help on the farm. Uliana did a lot of cooking and cleaning, and Ivan did a huge amount of work on electrical/Internet issues we were having. They also helped a ton on the farm. It was a great month with this Russian couple on our farm.
Review from Ivan:
This was an absolutely the best experience for me and my wife. We loved the experience we acquired with electric fence and it comes handy on our current farm-stead. It was fun working with kids once in a while. My wife was happy to make some hand-knitted hats for ladies in the household. My wife learned to be friendly with dogs, pigs, ducks, and
Alexa is a singer/song-writer living in Asheville, NC who came to us for the weekdays for a three week period. What a joy she was! Super outgoing, upbeat, happy, helpful, and honest. The kids loved her! She taught knitting, music class, and how to make granola. We are really hoping we will stay in touch with her in the future being as she lives so close.
Review from Alexa:
"I first heard the expression "salt of the earth" from my mother, who used it to mean, "just downright good people." John and Wendi are truly the salt of the earth. They are reliable, hardworking, straightforward, and have an excellent sense of humor and zest for farm life. They are full of great advice and stories about not only farming, but
Alena is a 20 year about-to-be-college-freshman from Germany. Her dad is American and her mom German. She spent her life in-between Maui and Germany. Her English was great, she cooked us some great food, and the kids really enjoyed her help with school work.
Review from Alena:
"My stay here was amazing. I felt very welcome and the kids were fun to be around. I loved taking care of the chickens and sheep and cooking with the family. I left not only with a great experience but with new friends. Thank you so much for this wonderful time!"
"Laura" came to us from Belgium and spoke Flemish. This was fun as we had Joni here, and the could communicate as you can see in the video above. Laura was a joy to have. She was fantastic with the kiddos and a very kind soul!
"When you arrive, you feel welcome from the first moment! John, Wendi and the grandparents (who live nearby) are really kind people. They are so thankful for all the help they get. I had interesting conversations with them about farming and the cultural differences. I really felt appriciated. It's never boring overthere. The kids are a real
Anna-Lisa was from Germany. Soft-spoken, she warmed up more and more over the time she with us, and we were really sad to see her go. She was such a kind person, and she had a lot of cool stuff to share with us. She was only here a week which wasn't nearly long enough to truly get to know her, but we hope she can come back some day and share more again!
My time on the Farm with the Family was really great! I only stayed for a week, but it was really nice and they are so open and welcoming. It was super interesting and super fun to learn a little bit about how a farm works and help with the animal chores. My flight got canceled on my way there, but Wendi was really great at communicating and
Lena was an interesting story. She contacted me on another farm that wasn't working out for her. I was booked at the time with both Jacob and Tijmen and didn't have space. So I asked Anni if she'd want to host her for a week until she could fly to her next location. Anni took her in. They got along wonderfully. They even came to the farm for a day to let Lena see our place and us to meet her. We took the picture above of five blondes in one place at one time.
"I messaged Wendi when I had a bad experience at another farm. She wasn’t able to host me because her house was full be she was so kind to set me up with a friend of hers and my experience could not have been any better. I even went up to her house one day and got to know the farm and her beautiful family. I felt home right away and I had such a
For more information on becoming a WWOOFer on our farm,
you can visit JB's website here.
Click here for a great list of "Do's and Don'ts" for WWOOFers.