Saturday, September 30, 2023

Big ol’ Maui

He made have been the biggest in Raven #3 litter but he was also the calmest and sweetest. What a fun pup. He made the drive on Friday morning to Florida with the Dunhams! 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Puppies are getting ready to go home!


Hello! I am SO excited to be going home to live with you forever. I know we are going to be the best of friends.


I wanted to tell you a few things about me that might help you help me transition to my new home.


Firstly, I am eating PEDIGREE PUPPY food. I’m still usually eating it soaked in water, but I am ready to eat it without the water. It’s hard to know how much I am eating because I am eating it with so many other doggies around me. But generally, if you follow the instructions on the bag, that will be a good way to start. I haven’t really had many treats yet because I don’t chew that well. But I can start soon.


A really great way to feed me (whenever you can) is to HAND FEED me. This is a great game for the little people in your life too. Just put my food in a cup, sit on the floor near me, and feed me one piece of kibble at a time. This really helps me to have a soft mouth. Soft mouths are so important as we get older. You don’t have to feed me this way all the time, but doing it frequently is really good.


You can also put my food into little toys and kongs and other things that I can work on getting the food out of. These are especially good to put with me in my crate.


Speaking of crates …


I have been raised with seven wonderful litter mates. I sleep with them every night. When you bring me home, I’m gonna howl or cry at night for a few days. I have just never put myself to sleep without feeling them next to me. The Kitsteiners have a stuffed animal that they are sending home with me. Put that and a soft blanket in my kennel with me at night to sleep and that may help.


But here is the truth. And Wendi (the tall Mom one) is making me write this. The best way to get me to settle down and get used to YOUR FAMILY being my new pack is to just let me get through it. Put me in a small kennel at night (if it’s too big, I may find one area to go to the bathroom in) and put the kennel somewhere that you really can’t hear me crying. I know it seems mean, but Wendi assures me it is the best way to get me through this hard time. Take me out one time during the night to potty and then put me right back in. I will come to love my kennel. And you want me to love it. You want me to be able to go in there when you need a break or you can’t watch me fully.


Speaking of that crate, here’s another thing Wendi is pretty big on. Crate training. Basically, if you can’t be watching me like a hawk the first few months, put me in that crate. At her house, they usually do this:


1.  Remove from crate/kennel and take outside to potty.

2.  Play really hard with the puppy for about 15 minutes.

3.  Potty again.

4. Back into the crate for a nap.

5.  2-4 hours later, repeat the cycle.


It is okay to leave me in my crate for about 4-6 hours at a time. If you have to go to work right away, just see if someone can let me out one time for a quick potty and play. I will still sleep a lot so I don’t mind being in there.


If you don’t have time to play with me, chewing really burns energy. Throw in a rope toy or something else that I can chew on, and I’ll burn a ton of energy in that kennel while I wait for you to come home.


If you leave me unattended, especially during the first year, I WILL find something in your house to destroy. You got to think of me like a 1-2 year old baby. You wouldn’t dare leave that baby out in the living room and expect him not to destroy your house or get into things that can hurt him. Don’t do it. Don’t feel guilty about the kennel! I like it there!


I will potty train very easily for you. Just remember: potty me every 15 minutes if I am in your house. Don’t leave me out or I’ll pee or poop in there.


When I am about one year old, you can start trying to leave me out (if you want) in a gated area. But honestly, I still might find trouble. The best way to keep your house from being destroyed is to not let me be alone to find ways to destroy it.


Okay, here’s another thing. I am an Aussie. I am SUPER DUPER SMART!! I am capable of learning nearly everything, and sometimes, you will think I am a human. Here are some important things you want to work with me on from a young age:


1.  Walking on a leash. (Take me to Tractor Supply or Lowe’s where I am welcome as soon as I’ve had all my shots and am ready to be out and about!)

2.  Getting on to my back. Make me do this a lot. You want me to be able to show you my stomach without freaking out in case I have an injury.

3.  Touch my paws a lot. If little kids are going to be around me, let them poke me in my rear end and tug on my ears. Of course, they need to be nice, but it’s important that I get used to the fact that I may have to interact with little people who don’t always make the best choices.

4. Meeting tons of people of all different sizes and shapes and colors.

5.  Meeting people wearing hats and gloves and looking very scary is good too!

6.  (Remember – dogs trust their SMELL more than their vision. I might bark at something until I smell it and remember who/what it is.)

7.  I am the BOTTOM of the pack order. I won’t want to be, but I have to be. Feed me after you all eat. Remind me who I am in the pack. Pack order is very important with dogs. It’s okay that I’m the last member of your pack. Don’t let me pretend I am not.

8. If you are going to raise me on a farm, you want me to meet your farm animals. But here is the truth: until my impulse control kicks in, I will have trouble not chasing them. What you want to do is introduce me to them on a leash where they are protected. As I get older and am able to not be a toddler in not listening, I will be able to respect your rules about those farm animals. Teaching me LEAVE IT at a young age will help me to do this properly when I am no longer a crazy toddler.

9.  The most important commands you can teach me are:

a.  LEAVE IT: Practice this by putting out both your fists. When I sniff one, tell me to leave it. When I turn from it and go to the other first, reward me with the treat that is in inside of it.

b.  SIT: This helps you control my behavior when need be.

c.  STAY: This will take me awhile. But teaching me to be able to sit and stay when you need me to not be in the middle of something is very helpful.

d.  LAY DOWN AND ROLL OVER are super fun. Not hugely necessary but good to learn.

10.  Meeting other dogs as soon as I have all my shots and the vet says it is okay. Let me meet as many dogs as I can.

11.  The first few months I am at your house are the months that I will develop my comforts and my fears. Mess with me a lot during this time! Play music loudly. Set off the fire alarm. Introduce me to everything you can so I am not afraid of it. If I don’t see something until I am two, I’ll be terrified!

12.   Really work on me not jumping on people and greeting people correctly. I may end up getting kind of big and you need me to learn this.


When I go home, Wendi is going to give you a “PUPPY PASSPORT”. All you need to do is show that to the vet and they will need what shots I have gotten and what I need next.


I have had my six week appt. But I need to see the vet at eight weeks (right about the time you are taking me home.) The vet will also advise on flea and tick and heartworm medicines. I have been seen at East TN vet and we love everyone there. But you are welcome to take me somewhere else too.


If you decide you want to register me as an official AKC puppy, you can do that. Wendi has my Mom and Pop’s pedigrees (man! They are intense!) and she can do that.


Other questions? You can ask Wendi anytime!


Can’t wait to begin our life together,


Your new Kitsteiner Australian Shepherd Cutie Pie



Tuesday, September 26, 2023

I am sorry …

I want to post more! There is so much going on! The main thing right now is: The Dunhams are in town!!

Friday, September 22, 2023


Please, fight for this family with me!!

This family attended ballet with us. They are real people and this isn’t fair!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

“Anthropic Constants”

    21% of the earth’s atmosphere is made up of oxygen. If that level were 25%, fires would erupt spontaneously everywhere and if it were 15%, humans would suffocate. 

    The 23 degree axis of the earth, if altered slightly, would mean extreme temperatures one way or the other that do not support human life. Same with the speed of the earth’s rotation, tectonic plate activity, the thickness of the earth’s crust, and we’re just getting started. 

    If earth’s atmosphere were only slightly more or less transparent, either not enough or too much solar radiation would reach us and life on earth would cease to exist. 

    If the gravitational interaction between the moon and the earth were just slightly different, we would experience severe tidal effects and climatic instabilities that would render life on earth impossible. 

    If the carbon-dioxide levels on earth were slightly higher than now, we’d all burn up because of a massive greenhouse effect, and if they were slightly lower, we would suffocate and plants could not photosynthesize. 

    If the gravitational force of the earth were 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001% different, our sun would not exist and neither would we! 

    1 in 10138 = Chances of all 150+ Anthropic Constants occurring on any one planet of the 1022 in the entire universe 

    “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” 
    —Stephen Hawking, Atheistic Cosmologist/Physicist 

    “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly-improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.” 
    Arno Penzias, Nobel Prize Winning Physicist

    Colossians 1:17 – He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

To be ...

Being a Mom is 






Add to that homeschooling, and I feel like I truly canNOT keep up.

Add to that farming. Homesteading. 

You want a 






But how do you obtain slowness?

Why is it so hard to just




These are things I think about daily. 

Why can't life be simpler? We are a family striving for simplicity, and yet, it isn't simple. 

Our garden this year? We didn't keep up on it. Without a Wwwoofer here, we just couldn't do it? Is it possible? Is it truly possible to obtain simplicity in this world that we live in? 

I'm not sure. 

I think of ten years from now. Kids will be gone. But will it be slower? And will I be capable of doing all the things I want to do when I am 56. 

If the kids were in school, would I have more time?

Or would that time be filled up with other things?

I am so thankful for rural life. Farming. Nature. 96-acres. Peace. Noise-free life. 

When we were in D.C., for just that one night, Sidge hated the city. So did Gabe. Sidge honestly thought he might be snipered through the window. It's funny that he's more worried about guns in the city than he is in the country where there are bullet sounds frequently from hunters in the area. He wasn't used to the cramp feeling. The three story, narrow-house literally made him feel like he was suffocated. 

So I know where we are supposed to be.

But I wish that being could be more ... 

Friday, September 15, 2023


I never thought I’d have less time to Blog and keep up on our life than I did when the kids were little. But here I am. Mother of four nearly teenagers just chugging away. 

It’s a beautiful life. Our life here is what I imagined. Not as slow. But beautiful. People use this place for respite and refuge. Unexpected guests show up needing a talk, some nature, some peace, some encouragement. 

I can’t imagine raising my children anywhere else. But man, are there are a lot of children. And a lot of animals. 

Friday, September 08, 2023

Almost Back to TN

We are in the car, heading back from our nearly two-week vacation. What a time it is. I can't believe how much technology we are now capable of using IN our own cars. It's crazy! Your phone can just be a HOTSPOT. I can't even believe how we used to travel and how we travel now.

We are now just under an hour from Washington D.C. where we will spend our last night of vacation. It was so wonderful to get a break.

I am able to watch the U.S. Open Men's final on my laptop in the car. That's so cool.

I missed the two women's semi-finals because last night, our last night at the camp, there was a storm and we lost power. MAN was it something! Power went out around 5pm and didn't come back until well into the early hours of the morning. 

I had such a fantastic time with my family, with relaxing, with Gabe too. 

I MUST start eating better now that I am back. Trying to get ready for a wedding in December. Kelsey is getting married. The boys will be ushers. I'll be a bridesmaid. And the girls will be flowers girls!

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Friday Funnies

So frustrated with Hannah and Abigail’s arguing, I tell them that at the end of the day, they’ll be required to tell me five nice things they did for the other person unprovoked. 

About five minutes later, I saw Abigail consider giving Hannah the first choice of a coloring book. “That could be one of your nice things,” I said. 

They both shook their heads. 

“We did those five things already.”

Apparently, the moment I told them this they sat down and agreed to pay each other five compliments. 


You’d never imagine the fighting/bickering when you see photos like this: 

Wednesday, September 06, 2023


A really cool video

I want to post things here that I want my kids to see someday. I plan to show this to my students. Such an important reminder. We will often only hear the negative. But there is tons of positive that we do not hear.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Do Not Worry

I wish I did not worry. 

That's it. That's the whole thing. Why despite God's continual blessings upon my life, do I allow small trivial matters to dictate my mood and my day. It's been my biggest nemesis since I was small.

The worry is nearly always about people. It's about pleasing people. And pleasing people is pride. 

The number of times in the Bible God talks about worry .... he mentions it SO often.

And yet, when I am able to sit and BE sometimes I have too much time to let the worry come over me.

Vermont: Pictures on the Rock

This is our NINTH year with someone from our family coming to Vermont and our SIXTH year that our entire family has come together. It is the highlight of our year and truly, for all of us, the happiest place on Earth outside of our farm! 











The first year we came to the camp as a whole family. Isaac had been one year by himself, I had come one year with Isaac, and Sidge had come with Isaac and me a third year before, in 2016, we started the summer family tradition of all of us coming together.
Our entire family annual adventures begin!

Sidge joins the Vermont Brigade

Wendi goes to Vermont with Isaac

Isaac goes to Vermont with Joni