I previously posted this on my old blog. I decided it would be good to re-post it.
I got Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own from the library. This is a wonderful memoir by a formerly local woman, Jenna Woginrich. In her previous, book she mentioned she went to Kutztown University and in this book, she reveals she grew up in Palmerton, PA.
The book starts with Jenna uprooting her homestead in Idaho and moving to Vermont to start over due to job loss. She moves into an old rental house with some acreage and starts to make her dream come true. Vermont holds a lot of challenges for a starting farmer including the harsh winter and urban folks who only want “pretty farms” as neighbors. Jenna ends up being forced from her rental property by her landlord when the landlord wants to reside in Jenna’s current home. Jenna takes you through her journey of reestablishment. She rebuilds her farm twice throughout the span of the book.
The book is honest about her struggles. She is introspective and inspiring. When I was single, I dreamed of a homestead, but could never imagine accomplishing this without the help of a partner. She threw caution to the wind, and chased her dreams. She has more responsibility on her shoulders without a partner to lean on. Jenna shares her frustrations of being alone, but she has dream and won’t let anything stand in her way.
Jenna goes from nothing, to a full garden, a flock of sheep, chickens, and bees all while learning some lessons about farming along the way.
This quick read (under 200 pages) lets you share in her adventure. I enjoyed reading about her passion for her lifestyle, although I did have to roll my eyes at the thought of Palmerton being suburban. Palmerton does have a downtown, but it is about as small town as it gets and I would consider rural. Palmerton is surrounded by farm and woods. But it made for good reading when she described her sister’s horror at the thought of eating a turkey Jenna raised herself.
I would recommend this book for light, fun reading. It was an enjoyable read from someone who harbors the urge to homestead. You can follow Jenna on her blog where she has added to her farm.
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