Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Four kids and their superpowers

There are parental moments that are worthy of entire chapters in the book I am constantly, hypothetically writing in my head. 

Road trip. I’m driving. We’ve decided to get all school work done on the two-day, 17+ hour trip to Vermont. 

This leaves John in charge. And all four kids decided to implement their individual super powers at one time to take him down. 

He’s giving a spelling test. Child taking test is whining and crying. It’s what that child does best. 

Child #2 has a different super power. His/her power is freezing when faced with something that seems too challenging. This child has frozen over a science question that he/she absolutely knows the answer to and is refusing to answer it. Tears have begun. Snotty nose is not far behind 

Child #3 had a super power that involves not wanting to be bothered by anyone else’s needs. If a sibling need something handed to them and this child is occupied, they get upset about being inconvenienced. It’s sort of Selfishness but it is also sort of frantic scheduling and perfectionism. 

Our child #4 has a history of procrastination. But when we nag to get work done, this child gets mad we are nagging and won’t admit they have an issue with procrastination so we aren’t supposed to nag, but we aren’t supposed to allow him/her to fail to get work done wither. 

Road trip. I’m driving. We’ve decided to get all school work done on the 17+ hour drive to Vermont. 

John was like a ninja. Jumping from kid to kid and administering spelling test — just as accident occurred and he jumped up to check on and find an impaired elderly woman obviously high behind the wheel. 

“They tried to get me,” he said. “All four super powers at once! But I am invincible!”

(I do think they challenged him which always feels great for me to see.)

Monday, August 29, 2022

Best Buds


I love the older girls at ballet! They are all such wonderful role models. This is Maryah, Gabe’s girlfriend. She is one of the wonderful older gals at Central Ballet Theater that just leads my girls so well. 

A new era

It’s a new era in our home. Abigail is doing her own hair for ballet … I can’t believe she doesn’t need me to do her buns anymore. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

AUDITION for Genesis


    I took ONE measly photo at today's ballet audition. ONE! And that was because, at the very end, I remembered I had told Jessica I would try to take a photo of the girls at the tryout. The last second I remembered and took this one measly picture. :)

    Hannah auditioned too. Zero pictures of her. Mom of the year here. To be fair, I was helping with the audition this year (We are doing "GENESIS" which should be very cool!) Between helping new Mamas figure out what they were doing and managing my THREE kiddos (yes! Isaac has joined the audition group this year in a male acting role!) it was all I could handle.

    Add to that ... we leave MONDAY for Vermont. So excited, as always, for another annual Vermont trip but feeling so overwhelmed with the idea of having to get everything ready on the farm. Normally John would help, but he has three 12-hour shifts (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) before we pack up the vehicle and depart as soon as co-op is done on Monday. Not sure that was the best way to launch into a vacation.

    Either way, this audition is done which takes a load off of us as we jump into the week.

    My friend Jennifer Tipton, captured this picture of her daughter Alyssa and my Abigail. Now I have TWO pictures :)

    Friday, August 26, 2022

    Quad Squad Week 3 & 4


    Eoin’s Spelling Words Week 3: dinner, hello, mitten, sudden, yellow, zipper, puppet, attic, button, matter

    Eoin’s Spelling Words Week 4: content, forget, napkin, thunder, until, window, wonder, dentist, index, public 

    Genevieve: complete week 3 and week 4 spelling packet and test 

    Hannah: complete Lesson 3 and Lesson 4 Spelling 

    Wednesday, August 24, 2022

    Support Local

    We processed turkeys on our farm in 2019 right before COVID. The feed costs were approximately $4,500. We charged $6 a pound for the birds. We made $7,500 on our birds which gave us a $3,000 profit. 

    This year, we processed 84 turkeys. Right when we started raising them, the feed bags went from $30 for a 50 pound bag to $30 for a 40 pound bag. Then, right in the middle of their raising, the feed rose from $30 to $37 per bag. 

    But we just didn't WANT to raise the price of our birds. They are already so expensive for people to buy. We love what we are doing, and we wanted to make it "available" to "every man."

    As soon as we got the birds processed and in the freezer, we did the math. It cost us $7,500 to feed our birds this year! $3,000 more than previously. (The exact percentage was a rise from 60 cents a pound to 95 cents a pound of feed.)

    We made exactly $7,500 on our turkeys. We spent exactly $7,500 on our turkeys. We made zero dollars. We did get 10 turkeys for our freezer which was exciting. We also had community help us process and were able to give each family that helped a turkey. All of that is valuable, of course. 

    John Kitsteiner, myself, and my two boys sat in front of the computer looking at the math and all of us felt like crying. It wasn't so much about not making money. We don't need the farm to make money. (But what if we DID? That’s a whole
    ‘Nother story.) 

    But my boys were doing this for a business venture. They were trying to see if this would be something they could do and make money doing. 

    Elijah “Sidge” has fallen in love with the rural life. He learned how to eviscerate this year (see the picture with his dad!) and is really good at it. He was inspired and excited to do it again and possibly be able to live on his farm without having to get a job off the farm as he grows up.

    We go to the grocery store and say "Why is everything so much more expensive?" And then you sort of get it. Our feed costs went up over 50%.! We will have to raise the cost of turkeys from $6 a pound (already a LOT!) to $8-10 a pound! Seriously! That much of an increase with ZERO employees -- just all of us working for free. 

    We just feel sad. Not for us. John has a full-time job off the farm. But if Sidge wants to make a future for himself in agriculture, it seems the only "way" is to cut corners and "do it like the big guys." (Use cheap feed. Don't move the birds as often, etc.) To do it RIGHT is becoming nearly impossible.

    Food for thought .... support your local farmers if you can. And more than support them, understand why their “stuff” is expensive, pay it, and eat rice and beans a few other days a week just to do it :) Eat less meat but eat better meat. 

    And I’ve been asked if this can be shared.
    Please do! Bauernhof Kitsteiner

    Monday, August 22, 2022

    Turkey Processing

    Turkey processing day 2022. We processed 83 or 84 birds (count was off a bit somehow.) Average weight was 17.49 pounds. We had 26 people there to process including:

    • Law Family (Nick, Erin, one daughter Allie, and Erin's mom, Myra)
    • Jessica Price and her boyfriend, Bob, and daughter Bailey
    • Travis Chapman and his two sons: Lucas and David
    • Anni the great
    • Grandparents
    • Our whole family
    • Entire Kotynski family (minus Theo and Gabe)
    At some point, I need to write about the day, but while the event was fantastic and there were no major issues, we were incredibly disappointed at the end of it all which is hard to stomach. It cost us $7,500 to feed the birds. And we made nearly exactly $7,500 selling the birds at $6 a pound. Because of feed costs that rose right before and during the event, we were unable to make any money.

    Overall, this isn't a huge deal. But Isaac and Sidge were doing this as a business venture. They worked their tails off for the profit. It was so sad to see that there was no profit. Even more, it is hard to feel like it is impossible for small family farms CAN'T make a living if they do things "right." You have to compromise on feed or quality or something to make it work. 

    For John and I, it doesn't matter much. He has a fantastic off-the-farm-job. But if Sidge (especially -- as he shows the most interest) wants to support himself ON his farm, can he do that? We just aren't sure. And that made us sad.

    We, honestly, would have to go up to $8-$10 a pound to make money on the birds. That amount feels so astronomical and is unaffordable by most people. Which really bothers us. 

    We are still working to "process" the processing day sadness while so blessed by all the people who joined us and had a party with us here in Bulls Gap. Twenty-six people working together is super fun and we accomplished a lot.