For a long stretch of time last year, I wanted to move to the country. I thought it would be nice to have quiet, to see the stars shine, and a bit more space between me and some of my neighbors, without a view of their varying, ahem, decorating styles (snob). I also thought raising my own livestock, like chickens and a pig, would be fulfilling. I’d know where everything came from, what it was fed, and that it had a good life. I have since changed my mind – loving the easy walk to Hawthorne, Woodstock, and downtown, the lure of the Academy Theater, and best of all, my dear friends who live nearby.
This, however, does not mean that I don’t like to occasionally wax poetic on the virtues of a hobby farm, and so I read about them in wonderful blogs and books like today’s. In Made from Scratch, Jenna Woginrich writes in simple, yet beautiful prose about her life as a homesteader: baking, raising animals, growing vegetables, keeping bees, even making music on a fiddle.
What I liked best about the book is her honesty. She’s never done any of this before, but is willing to “Research, Son” and ask questions (and for help) like nobody’s business. As she writes about her experiences, we learn that, while there are many, many joys to a more earth driven and sustainable life, homesteading isn’t always easy, poetic, or romantic. There are many hurdles and much to learn, like how to plant a sensible garden, keep bears from a bee hive, or to put down an animal in dire pain (the hardest part of all, I think).
It is a wonderfully rewarding journey, even if it was only vicarious. She’s also got a blog if you’d like to see what she’s up to at the moment. It’s pretty interesting: Cold Antler Farm.