Dec 20, 2011

Barnheart

by Jenna Woginrich

This book continues where her previous one left off. Woginrich continues to strive to live her dream of homesteading. She moves into a new place, a rented cabin in a small community in Vermont. Continues gardening, raising chickens and rabbits. Adds sheep, ducks, geese, a turkey, a goat and a sheepdog to her little farm. Most of the book is not really details about the animals, or even about her efforts to raise her own food. For all she loves sheep, I learned more about what it's actually like to keep them from this other book. There's not much mention of her practices of animal husbandry, for example, until she has to defend someone's accusations on how she keeps them. There's hardly any mention of the garden, except for that she has one. It came across to me that the focus was her emotional journey. She talks a lot about her longings, dreams and plans, and then describes how she goes about acquiring them. There are welcoming neighbors who help her along the way, and suspicious ones who report her (unfounded) for animal cruelty. In the end, she discovers she can't stay forever at the cabin and undergoes a frantic search for a piece of land to own.

Barnheart was a quick, focused read. I really admired the tenacity which she had, to stick to her goals. She didn't mind if she looked odd to her neighbors (or even her own family) but just went ahead and found classes in the things she wanted to learn, found someone to trade sheep with her, found friends who liked fiddling, neighbors who helped her build a sheep shed, a whole community of people living the same kind of lifestyle (with a surprising variety of backgrounds). Her enthusiasm is catching, her honesty refreshing, her love for this way of life very obvious. I enjoyed reading her little book and have recently subscribed to her blog so I can follow along with her doings. I don't know if I'll ever have a homestead (or even if I want to) but I do love gardening, and want to have a few chickens someday (maybe rabbits too) so it's nice to see someone living that dream and far beyond it.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 184 pages, 2011

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