Tuesday, March 02, 2021

The Day of My Life

American Woodcock: Farm Bird #122 (Photo from Audubon)

Wow. I find myself more and more behind on Blogging. More and more days going by since I last posted. 

So I'm going to try to update you on our life. 

First up, tonight we saw another bird. Well, I didn't see it. Well, in fact, no one actually saw it. Did you know that if you hear a bird it counts as a seen bird? Not only was this a first for our farm, it was a "lifer" for John and the two kiddos two. 

John said: "I've been hearing a nasally peent call right at dusk for the last few evenings, but I couldn't place it. I kept thinking it was a frog. But then this evening, some memory clicked in my brain, and I realized it was a bird ... a shorebird ... a snipe ... or a ... woodcock."

(Tomorrow night they are going to set up a stakeout to try and see it.)

(And if you have been REALLY wanting to see a woodcock dance, well, now is your chance. Click here for just that very thing!)

Lest you think the whole world is birds to us, well, I assure you, it is not. 

I mean, how can life be boring when you have DUCK WEED on your counter. Seriously ... this is growing so it can be added to our pond and do something wonderful out there. 

(It truly has become a running joke as to what else Wendi can have on her counter.) To see other items I have had as part of my farmhouse decor please visit here.

In other things dominating my life: puppies. Oh man these cute little piles of fluff. They are SO sweet but the older they get the more work they are. We are keeping them all the way up to eight weeks this time, and I see now why breeders "oust them" closer to six weeks. They are so smart and so curious. New trouble is brewing every single day.

(If you want to see a LOT more pictures of our pups, visit our Facebook page at: Bauernhof Kitsteiner Australian Shepherds. 

If you didn't think it was possible to feed four bottle baby lambs at the same time, you haven't met Wendi ... check out my MAD skills below:

Between all the lambs and puppies, life is a wee bit crazy. Here's a few funnies I've recorded over the last few days:

On the way to church. “Hey kids, I’m sorry this morning was so chaotic. All the puppies and lambs and kids and farming we had to do just got me frazzled.”
“Any comments?”
“Mom, does 8x8 equal 64?”


Facebook fact checkers have confirmed this is accurate:
Two anonymous children can be in tears (and one howling) over a fitted sheet and who picked it first to put on their bed.


Quick calculations:
If you have four children and each one has just four needs/questions/requests/comments before bed, there will be SIXTEEN replies you need to make before you can go to sleep.
P.S. if one of your children (anonymous of course) has 47 needs then that number will be 59.
Tonight was at least 59.

And here is us delivering Girl Scout Cookies to the Emergency Room. My friend Kristin Girton helped me spend the last $365 I had raised for the nurses!!!

Hazel, Eliza, Isaac, Hannah, Abigail and Sidge


Friday, February 26, 2021


My son Elijah "Sidge" got a new drone for his birthday. Here, he and Daddy are catching my first "nap-in-the-please-let-winter-be-over-sun." Arabelle and Hannah joined me for part of it. The drone flying above my head freaked me out quite a bit.

No life is perfect. Pictures may indicate perfection. But reality is far from pictures. 

Of course, if you've read my Blog or seen me on Facebook or met me in person, you know I strive to never present a life that is not AUTHENTIC

It's not completely possible. Obviously. Especially as my children are aging. They don't want to be included in my writing sometimes. They specifically say: "Do NOT post about that." And I respect that. 

But, generally speaking, I've been open. I've tried to be REAL.

So here is REAL for you.

We moved to this farm in the middle of nowhere looking to live a different life. A purposeful life. A S-L-O-W life. 

I knew that S-L-O-W and farms are sort of at odds with each other. I was warned of that. I know the definition of slow is all convoluted and warped and confusing ... but still. I wanted ...


Some of you are laughing. You've seen my posts. You know Wendi is not serene. Stop laughing. Sit down and finish reading.

So I was talking about SERENITY and PEACE and SLOWNESS. Yes, I understand I live on a farm and I homeschool and I have four kids and my husband works in an Emergency Room and there was this pandemic thing, and I have a non-profit organization and write for some organizations ...

I feel like life is moving at a million miles per hour. I want it to slow down. I need it to slow down. 

Some of this is my choice: Commitments I made that were not required. More time spent on my phone then needed. Staying up too late reading when I should have just gone to sleep.

Some of it is not: Baby lambs unexpectedly needing my attention. A farm emergency that canNOT wait for my schedule. A child with broken braces. Just a child in general for crying out loud. They don't follow your schedule. 

I walked outside last night to feed the baby lambs. It was a full moon. And I thought: We've lived here for six years, and I've never really played on the grass and just spent time staring at the moon like I planned to.

I remember when we first moved here, and John and I laid in our bed and looked out our window. It looked like vacation. It felt like vacation. We wanted it to always be a place of peace and respite and retreat.

I know it is still a peaceful place. People that come to visit (and come back to visit) reiterate that to me often. That despite the complete insanity of what is swirling around us, they are at peace. There is comfort for the weary here.

But what about for me? Is there peace for the homeschooling Mama of four. In other words: Am I doing something wrong? Or is this just how it is?

Living SLOW requires hard decisions. There is a ballet production we REALLY want to be part of this summer, and we think we will have to not let the kids participate. This is HARD. We want to do it. But we just know that it will speed life up again. And during the summer, that speed is really fast. 

Of course, the weather is currently crummy so a lot of these emotions are playing off of that. 

But I'm not doing a good job of living the SLOW life.

Oh, we don't have TV. And we don't eat out. Those are good things. But I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Literally. I've seen a chicken with its head cut off. That's what I look like. 

No, really ... I have four children. Is it just impossible to live slowly with four children? Add in homeschooling? Add in a farm with animals? How can I live out in the country and have more time to enjoy that country? What am I doing wrong? 

I look at that picture above, and I think ... I'm trying to do all those things. I'm striving. That's my goal. And yet I still feel like I'm lost half the time. Dropping balls.

Is it just normal homeschooling life with four kids. Or can I attain SERENITY?


Monday, February 22, 2021

Being tall

This article. John stumbled upon it. He sent it to me. And while the author is only six foot tall, some of her comments really jumped out at me. 

A HUGE breath of fresh air

Most of us hope we will never again face a pandemic. Every 100 years sounds good to us for sure. What year it has been.  

And yet, there has been so much beauty in this year. There are memories I feel like I will never forget. 

Like this picture above. Six friends (and a few more not pictured) that got to be together to surprise 14-year-old Ana on her birthday. With our COVID numbers down and a beautiful soon-to-be-Spring day upon us, we gathered at the Kotynski house and then carried over to my farm for some puppy and lamb love. 

They didn't even care that they wore their masks outside "just to be extra safe." What felt wonderful was to be ... together. For things to feel normal. 

Later that evening as I recounted the events of the day to JB who had to work, I found myself tearing up. "You know," I said. "I don't think Ana would have cared if there was a single present there. Or if it had even been a birthday present. It was the fact that the girls were there that brought such joy to her heart." Her friends! Together.

Here are some more pictures from our fun-filled day.

Yes, that's a sheep in the picture.

One of our bottle-fed lambs. Toni Kennel has been feeding it, but it was time to release him. It was an emotional day for Toni. Man did "Malfred" like this little guy.

Cigars. Pretzels. All the same. 

The only picture I snapped of Abigail! With little Erin!

Hannah, Kari, Aunt Hannah, and Allie

Friends: Cali, Hailey, Remi, and Ana. Beautiful introverted girls just loving to be together. 

Dear Toni and little Malfred. 

Gabe and the lovely Maryah. 

Nicole (Maryah's mom), Anni, and Erin (with her "special" little bottle baby)

Nicole's youngest daughter is an an ANIMAL fanatic. 

And here she is just moments after tearfully saying good bye to the farm!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Homesteading Mama 111: Untangling a reel and the lessons that come with it

It's been awhile since I posted any of my "Homesteading Mama" videos. So I'm gonna try to refocus myself in that direction. Here is a video my son Sidge snagged today ... featuring one of the more glamorous aspects (sarcasm intended) of farming ... when a reel becomes tangled and you have to spend hours walking back and forth in the yard to untangle it. 

I've come to learn that unexpected frustrations on a farm are PART of farming. In normal life you try to avoid things that will cause you to lose time. But in farming, you just can't avoid them. When we first started farming, I would get so unbelievably frustrated when my day was derailed. 

But in the six years we have been farming, I have come to understand that derailments are normal. Farming is unpredictable. That is the part of it I can count on.

If you use reels, they will eventually become tangled. You can try to be diligent. You can work hard to prevent the tangles. But eventually, you'll spend three hours untangling a reel. 

And let's say you only want to let "veteran" reel-users use the reel. No kids or newbies allowed. You can do that. But now you have less help on the farm. Less things people can do for you. That hurts you too.

No-win situation. 

So during those three hours that you are untangling a reel, you can fret and think about all the things you could be doing with those three hours. 

That's what Wendi used to do. 

Sometimes Wendi, now, does that too. But she's a lot better about it. 

Wendi, now, tries to do the untangling in her yard, with her kids around her. She picks a sunny day. She tries to remind herself that this is good exercise. (A good tangled reel will often get me my 10,000 steps for the day!) Honestly, Wendi expects a good tangle every 3-4 months that will cost her a half-day of her life. 

My being is NOT a farmer. People say: "I could not do that" that to me all the time. Folks, I could not do that. If you would have asked me if I could skin a chicken, kill a pig, load a dead goat into the back of a 4-wheeler ... I would have said HECK NO

But here I am ...

Killin' it!

(Pun intended!) 

Edward visits

My childhood friend, Michelle, lives in North Carolina. Her oldest son, Edward, and my Sidge have become good friends over the years. He came for a visit this week ... such a breath of fresh air during COVID. We had a wonderful week with him. He is such a wonderful young man and just a joy to have around. We have loved having him for farm visits and this was another great one!