One Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich
The farming life seems ideal in a lot of ways, but you would think that it would take multiple people to run a farm. Jenna proves that this just isn’t true.
This book is a journal of sorts. It covers an entire life in the year of Jenna on her farm called Cold Antler Farm. She runs it by herself, well, she runs it with the help of a border collie named Gibson. Jenna is the only human on her farm. There are sheep, goats, geese, pigs, rabbits, and some horses on Jenna’s farm, but Jenna is the sole English speaker there.
The book starts off in October. Jenna says that October is her favorite month of the year. It’s a month when the hard tasks of harvest are mostly over and a person can enjoy the spoils of the season for just a bit before winter takes over. Winter has its own problems, but a person can take a break for just a bit and not think about those problems.
Jenna describes caring for her animals in the winter, which includes warming frozen watering troughs and providing fresh hay, well, somewhat fresh hay. She learns how to milk a goat named Bonita and she even gets a Fell pony. She is a self-taught fiddler and loves herself some hard apple cider. Her life isn’t exactly easy, but in a lot of respects it does sound wonderful.
What I liked
I am amazed that Jenna can do all of this herself. I grew up out in the country. I know how heavy those square hay bales are. I know about heavy bags of dog food and keeping bunnies warm in the winter, but I have never taken care of goats and sheep. I can do a dog. I can do cats. I can do rabbits. I’ve even had a rat before. Sheep and goats are a different matter, although, I would really like a goat, or two, or a miniature donkey for my farm. My farm has yet to be anywhere near as practical as Jenna’s. Jenna is just kick-butt at running a farm. I’m impressed; I really am.
Jenna makes me want to buy a violin. She says she taught herself. Seriously, how hard can it be if Jenna taught herself? I actually had this dream a while back that someone gave me a violin and I was super excited about it and I woke up wanting a violin. If I already know how to read music and I can already play the piano and pick at the guitar, then surely the violin can’t be that hard. I’m going to reconsider this violin thing, especially since you can buy a cheap violin on Amazon for less than a hundred dollars.
I wanted to have a farm, in fact, I live on farm, but mine is overgrown with honeysuckle and nightshade. I had this idea of having an organic micro-farm. Maybe it will still happen one day, but in the meantime I really do like Jenna’s description of her life on her farm.
What I didn’t like
Jenna seems like an amazingly neat person and I wouldn’t mind meeting her one day and checking out her farm, if ever I got the chance. I don’t know a lot about Jenna. I don’t know if she has any claim to fame or if she’s a professional in any other way than her farm. I’m kind of skeptical as to how this book got published. It’s a great book and all, but it just seems too simple. I like that Jenna’s book has been published; I really do. It just feels like a kick in the teeth because I’m a writer and I am in this kind of cloud with a bunch of other writers who spend lots of time creating these amazing stories and we’re not “officially” published.
Part of me thinks, “If Jenna can get this short little book published, then I can definitely get something of mine published,” but then part of me thinks, “Is this a joke? Should I write simpler stories? Should I just throw some thoughts on paper and call it a book?” You know what, this is just how the world works. Sometimes it’s really difficult to get a story out into the world and it may seem like there are many more stories out there than aren’t up to par to your story, but just keep going at it. Make new stories; make new art; just keep making things. Good stories find their way out.
Seriously, I want to learn how to fiddle. I could play The Devil Went Down to Georgia, because that would obviously be like the second song I learned to play after Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
Could you run an entire farm by yourself?
If you’re a city person, do you ever think you could learn to feel that pull of the land that farmers feel?