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!



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Just some of our puppies

 We are so excited about Arabelle's fourth and final litter of puppies. If you want to see TONS of videos and pictures, hop over to our Facebook page at: Bauernhof Kitsteiner's Australian Shepherds. But for now, here are just a few faces from our past litters!

"Bronco" Litter 3. My nephew Gabe is the owner of this beautiful Blue Merle Male.

"Colt". Owned by the Lane family. Red Merle born in litter #2.

"Finn" owned by my good friends Yamil and Patty and their little guy Troy. Born in litter #1. He's a stunning Blue Merle.

"Jax". Litter #3. He went to Joni's niece's daughter in Vermont!

Luna -- with the Morenos in Florida!

Friday Funnies

 Entering Aldi. Woman says to me: “Would you look at that?! Some dummy parked too close to me and I can’t get into my car!”

I wasn’t parked THAT closely in my
Opinion but I nicely said: “I’m sorry. I’m the dummy. My car is really large. I will gladly move my car.”


 Time for some good news:

John cautiously told me last night that the COVID cases in his ER seem to be trending downward now. He said he intubated a patient with COVID last night so this doesn’t mean the virus is magically gone or not something to keep vigilant about. But during the last week, he’s felt the pace/trend start to take a shift. He often can’t explain it other than to get a “feel” during his days in the Emergency Room as to what he is seeing.
We are feeling this at home too. Less calls/texts/worries from community members and friends and families ...
This is fantastic news. Keep fighting people!
John Kitsteiner
said that as more and more of our most vulnerable get vaccinated, he will continue to see less and less really sick patients with COVID which translates to fewer deaths and ultimately less restrictions on us as a people!

A Path to Soul Rest

 Is it ironic that

The Glorious Table

features one of my writing devotionals in their collection of devotions on a day like today? Designed to be read each day of Lent (which starts tomorrow!), this devotional is FREE! You can download your own copy by clicking here:

Today was an INSANE day for me on the farm. Lambs and puppies and freezing temperatures, homeschooling and another backed up toilet (two days in a row! We have too many people.) I counted 10 loads of laundry today because of all the towels needed for animals that had to come inside because of the temps. I was so tired that at dinner I said: "Eat whatever you'd like. Even if it's cake!" (We didn't have any cake which is why I felt this was safe.)
I plan to read this little devotional each of the next 40 days. Rest with me, will you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Our Crazy life

January is supposed to be a bit slow on the farm.
But it has been anything but slow. It has been ...

The "big thing" is that we tried an alternative lambing practice this year ... it's a long story that you can ask John about if you really want to know all the details, but ultimately it let the sheep dictate how things went a bit more. And they dictated lambing in January.

We don't want to lamb in January. I mean, ANY month but January 
We've had a serious of "bad luck" with our baby lambs. 
  • First, a mother appeared to have a problem with her teats and her twins died. We tried to save them but were unable to. 
  • Another mom had twins. One appeared from the onset to have a bit of brain damage. It just wasn't acting right. We intervened quickly but we could not save it. The Kotynskis had taken her home, but she died quickly.
  • One of our veteran and favorite sheep, Tamarind, delivered a healthy baby. Then she had a prolapsed uterus. We attempted to save her to no avail. I got a video of what life looked like as we held the baby lamb, tried to save the Mama, and did piano lessons all at the same time. The Kotynski family decided to take that little girl home temporarily and bottle feed her.
  • Next, we had a mother completely abandon her baby. This doesn't happen often, but it did. My friend Erin Law was over when it happened, and she took this little boy home. Here is a video of her little doggie bonding with the lamb.  
  • Shortly after that we had a mother have TRIPLETS. This is always tricky as it can be hard for a Mama to feed triplets. Many farmers automatically pull one when a sheep has triplets. We don't, but this Mama seemed to be ignoring one of the three a bit so we brought him in. Our friends Blair and LoriAnn were visiting when we brought him in, so we got some pics of them together:

  • He has gone to our friend Cali's house for right now. Here is a picture of Cali getting ready to take her little lamb for a walk:

  • And then, just yesterday, another situation emerged. This time it was temperature based. Freezing temperatures. Frigid. And a Mama dropped twins. One just wasn't getting cleaned off well. The sheep got very cold. We tried a few intervention techniques, but it didn't appear the Mama was doing a great job or the lamb was feeding well so we decided to pull the baby. I got a video of Ritter with the lamb here. The twin survived the night out in the field -- we weren't even sure if that would happen, but it did. This second lamb spent the night with me, and is now with the Kotynski family. Here are some pictures of their two lambs:

So now, we have four sheep spread all over Greene County. The plan is to let the temps. get a little warmer, get them all back together, and then reintegrate them into our flock. It will give us some very friendly lambs which could be lots of fun! The two males will have to be processed, but the girls could stay with our herd. We normally don't keep girls who are bottle lambs as to prevent passing along "bad mothering genes." But our females were an orphan and this new gal who we pulled due to cold weather so we aren't sure we will process them. 

And of course, while we are dealing with craziness with SHEEP we also have a house full of DOGS. The cold temps meant I had to bring them inside. Here's a video of the dog and life INSANITY!


Puppies and Lambs

Can you do anything more wonderful than hug baby dogs and baby sheep? The Director of our ballet: LoriAnn and our mutual friend, Blair. Blair lost her husband, Robert, to COVID complications a few months ago. We are all connected via Christ and Ballet and medicine in our community. Today we just loved on farm animals and enjoyed spending a few hours with these wonderful ladies.

Lori Ann (left) with "Mando" and Blair with "Jack"

Lori Ann with "Madison"

We had a sheep that was a triplet and was rejected by his Mama. We decided to bring him into the house, give him some milk, and let a friend feed him for a few days before bringing him back into our flock.

Me with little Heidi. She is SUCH a sweetie.

Lori Ann's granddaughter came with for a visit. She and Abigail are the same age: both homeschooled and in ballet. This is the dog that Sarai loves. We call him "Washington."

The evening before, my friend Erin came over with her two daughters: Haley (7th grade) and Allie (4th grade). They had previously had two of our puppies but due to allergies had to regime them. Both of their previous dogs are doing great. These gals are BIG-TIME pet people:

Allie (back) and Haley (front) came over with their Mom (Erin)

These girls are SO photogenic!

Look at those dimples (and puppies!)

Erin with "Washington"

Here is the latest on our lambs:

1. We lost a set of twins. We are pretty sure that something was "wrong" with the mother's utter/milk because the mother was attentive and the babies were thriving at birth. But they both declined rapidly and despite bringing them inside, we could not save them.

2. We had another baby born that appeared "off." Honestly, my first thought was: "I think this lamb is brain damaged." It's Mama was trying to get it to eat, but it just kept wandering around, confused. We decided to pull it. The Kotynski girls took him home to feed him overnight, but he died before bed even came upon them. That just confirmed that something was truly wrong with this little lamb.

3. We had a sheep with a prolapsed uterus. She died which left her baby as an orphan. Because the Kotynski girls had just lost that lamb the night before, they decided to take this very healthy lamb and take care of her. They named her "Lamby." We have decided to try and reintegrate her into the flock to have some "friendlier" lambs in our group. Normally, we don't keep lambs that are bottle-fed because they could then have babies that are bottle-fed. But in this case, Lamby's Mama simply died. She is an orphan. So we will give her a chance to breed. 

4. The day after "Lamby" was born, we had a sheep that didn't lamb last year, lamb this year and totally "reject" it's baby. This was a boy. This happened to happen while the Law's were over visiting. They decided to go ahead and take this lamb home for a few days. The hope is we will also reintegrate him into the flock. Because he is a boy, he'll be very friendly, but we will also process him for food in a year or so. 

5. The day after the Law's took home Lamb #2, we had another rejection. This time it was a mother who had triplets. She was ignoring one of the triplets. This, in and of itself, isn't completely abnormal. A mother can rarely feed more than two lambs. Some people automatically pull one lamb when triplets are born. I called Erin Law and asked her if she'd take a second lamb for a few days. She said yes. Here I am trying to feed this little guy his first bottle. No, it is not Mountain Dew. A huge thank you to Anni who brought some goat colostrum and milk down for us to feed these guys! It's just par for the course around these parts. Here 

We have had nearly two dozen lambs born this season. We've had many great stories. A few hard ones. I'm realizing that every year will probably be like this. Lots of happy. A little sad. And fun snuggles along the way.