Saturday, March 27, 2010



I bought another spiffy farm-type book, one called Made From Scratch, by Jenna Woginrich. A young woman in her twenties, Jenna wrote from her rented farmhouse in Idaho where she kept two huskies, some chickens and a couple angora rabbits and where she learned to do much from scratch. You know, like baking bread, sewing, gardening, knitting, canning fruits and vegetables, bee-keeping, using 'antique' appliances rather than new and using candles instead of electricity to both save money and to live like folks did eons ago.

At the end of each chapter she gives easy, detailed instructions of the 'hows' of such activities with knowledge gleaned from trial and error. And wow, any book which creates urges within this old dog to learn some new skills is quite the book. Trust me.

Jenna is very down-to-earth and reminds me of my own 20-something self from decades ago when I read back-to-the-land books and mostly just played at being a pioneer woman in the suburbs. But Jenna takes all this more seriously in her book, even with her real job, an office one. Her return home each day is when her life really, well, comes to life.

And I love her 'just do it, just start small' attitude. Oh, how often I need those pushes off my own couch!

But also I'm thankful for this book because it reminded me that no way should I even think about keeping farm animals. At least not now. She writes of two tragedies on her homemade suburban farm and I've still not recovered. And I didn't even know those animals personally.

I really, truly wish I could handle all the risks you take with animals, you know, the risks of injury, sickness and inevitable death, but well, I'm just too darn hypersensitive in that area. At times I believe I've accepted this, other times, I temptationally (my own word) toy with lofty ideas of keeping a few chickens and maybe a couple tiny goats. But then, alas! A book like Made From Scratch shakes me to teary-eyes--and shakes some sense into me, also.

Anyway. Jenna has a blog, Cold Antler Farm, and isn't that so cool? I mean, how many books have I read where, upon reaching the end, I asked, "And then what happened?", and longed to follow the characters on and on forever. Well, in this instance, I can. And how satisfying to discover that Jenna is in the process of buying a farm of her own, 6.5 acres, in nearby (to me) Vermont.

Now, her language is occasionally a little dicey (nothing too shocking, though), so, the more sensitive amongst you, be warned. But after reading her book, I've come to respect, appreciate and care about Jenna so I, anyway, am not bothered by those sorts of slips. I also appreciate her simple writing style, but more? I'm thankful that I can follow her fun adventures with farm animals vicariously without risking total heartbreak if the worst should happen to them. Just partial heartbreak--and I can handle that.


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Ever considered homesteading? Ever wondered how to do it on a small scale? If so, you'll enjoy Made From Scratch and Jenna's way cool YouTube video, too.

3 comments:

Judy said...

I could not have animals either.

I'd give them all invented personalities of my own and probably end of living in the barn with them.

And, I'm married to someone who wants to live in a loft in 'the city', where ever THAT is.

Echoes From the Hill said...

We have had baby goats, newborn lambs, horses, and four foals born here. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Yes, it hurts deeply when a much-loved animal dies, but the love you have given and received outweighs that pain.
nancyr

Tracy said...

Sounds like an interesting book! I wonder of my library has a copy?