Thursday, July 23, 2009

come in, sit down

Every once in a while I'll want to ask you, the readers, to comment on this blog and check in. Some of you write a lot, and I like it. Over the years I've come to learn some of you, and think of you. I think about Tara in Texas and Tony in Asheville. I wonder about Kathleen in Lancaster and the folks who still check in on me from Palmerton, Knoxville, and Sandpoint.

So you know a lot about me. You know my hopes and dreams, my animals' names, and about my obsessions with fall and coffee. But I'd like to meet you. So if you read this blog from time to time, leave a comment and tell me a little about yourself and where you're from. Tell me why you read this, and if you also dream of some land of your own. And hey, you may find others in your area this way who share a love of homestaeding. Hell. maybe you can make some lunch plans out of this. I however, just want to meet the people who already met me. I think it's nice to know who I'm writing to.


Blogger Brenda said...

Hi, I'm Brenda from southeast South Dakota. My and my husband's dream is to homestead on a small farm. We have gone as far as we can in the city. I want a couple of goats, sheep, a Dexter cow to milk and one for butchering, a couple of piglets each spring for butchering in the fall and some chickens! I have 16 raised beds in the backyard, a small orchard and I make everything from peanut butter to laundry soap from scratch. We have four children at home, 3 hamsters, a cat and a dog. Life is not complete without livestock. We just can't seem to find a farm to buy!

July 23, 2009 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

oh, and I absolutely LOVE your site. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for letting us city folk live vicariously through you (for now, that is) until we can have a dream of our own!

July 23, 2009 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Your blog gives me the country fix I need here in Toronto. I have land about six hours north of here in Northern Ontario which I will move to in a few years. Once there I'll be doing all the homesteader things you do. So until then I will live vicariously through your daily chores and happenings. Thanks for the window into what I hope to eventually put together.

July 23, 2009 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Rachel B. said...

*clears throat*
Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm 18 years old. I live about in Eastern PA, about 2 hours from Lancaster. I'm a big history enthuist, writer, reader, and, of course, dreamer. Naturally, I came across this blog when I read about your experiances in your novel. I love hearing about what happens day after day on your little farm, each post brings me closer to my own small farm dreams (hey, I'm at the point where I'm baa'ing at sheep). To me this is all about getting back to nature. :)

July 23, 2009 at 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Margaret said...

Hey there,

I'm a middle aged woman, living in Nebraska, with my husband, 2 teenagers, 2 cats, and a dog. I have a garden that expands every year, but no livestock. I found your blog from Mother Earth News.

I like making things: gardens, sweaters, blankets, dinner, beer, socks, pesto, salsa, whatever. I cook, spin, weave, knit, parent, but mostly try to live a satisfying life. I am a legal aid lawyer during the day, and understand your frustration with needing the day job to support the homesteading habit.

I love reading about your independence, the ups and downs of making things, and making do. I want chickens, some day, but until then support my local farmers. We live in town, and a permit is required for the chickens.

I don't comment very often, but I enjoy reading your posts.

July 23, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Ms.Jeanie said...

I am from KY in the SW part~about 6 hours from Knoxville. I love to read about your adventures b/c yes, one day I do hope to own my own land as well. We rent on 2 acres now and a whole 1 acre of it is not used and I have to mow it weekly. When I read your blog, I think how I would like to expand my garden there next year or put in some chickens. It is on the north side and gets the hot part of the sun during the day. I am a new beginner to all of this as well and when I read your trials and accomplishments it gives me hope. I know I am not alone. I love your sense of humor and I too share a love of coffee and fall. I would love to have a simple life as you seem to, but son nor hubby is willing in some the tv.
I did buy your book and loved it(great job) and refer back to it from time to time. I loved the clothes section. Any plans for a sequel soon?
I want to run out and buy a violin everytime I read a post about your fiddling around :)
but I am tone deaf and think this would not work for me or others who would have to listen. :)
I used to bake bread but gave up and then after I read your book, I got back into it and the smell of homemade fresh bread makes it all worth it. Take care of the homestead and keep us informed.
Ms. Jeanie

July 23, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya. I'm Heather. Currently the husband, children and I are living in Florida. Which none of us like. (I'm originally from Kansas - I have to admit to missing the rolling prairies just a little bit.) We're actually hoping to get moved up in your direction (aiming for NH) sometime in the next year, two on the outside.

I came across your blog a little while ago, forgot to add you to my blog reader, and then came across your book. (And then *didn't* forget to add you to my blog reader!) I read because where you're at is where I hope to be at, sometime soon. We're considering moving us into an RV and moving up yonder this upcoming spring, to intern/volunteer at a farm. Eventually we'd like to have our own farm and get into farmer's markets & CSA.

July 23, 2009 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Angie in Virginia. I have a small farm with pastured meat chickens that I sell at market, laying hens and ducks, two milk cows, hogs seasonally, a lamb and too many cats. I love reading your blog because you're funny and I am suddenly very invested in your animals' lives-I have to admit I read through the archives. All of them. I really enjoy hearing about your music-something woefully missing my my life. I also covet your rabbits. And because of you, I am now getting two of my own. Keep on keepin'on! Oh-and Virginia has achingly beautiful falls too. And the home of the Carter family-so I highly recommend it.

July 23, 2009 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Amanda Stanoszek said...

I'm Amanda from Northeast Ohio! I have a small acreage of my own, where I raise chickens and (soon) horses, and make lots of compost. :) I also rescue wolfdogs (wolf hybrids). I have future plans for a vegetable garden and mini orchard. Your blog was the biggest inspiration I needed to make the move from my life in the city to my new one out here in the country last year. It is the best decision I've ever made! Your blog gave me the courage to pursue my future relentlessly and not give up, and a healthy dose of realism to boot.

If you want to read more about my life here, you can check out my own blog about our little "Hoof and Howl Farm" -

July 23, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Amanda Stanoszek said...

Oh, and I also wanted to say that I'm not sure how I originally found your blog, but I started reading it when you first made the move to Vermont. I remember the header in the top of your blog changing to "Green Mountain Foothold". :) Of course, when the book came out, I was ecstatic and had to read that, too!

July 23, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Anonymous SpiderWomanKnits said...

Hi! I just came across your blog through Whip Up about a week ago and subscribed right away. I live in Southern Vermont with my husband, three kids, two cats and three chickens in a big beautiful farmhouse on 8 acres. I'm a knitter and a self proclaimed chicken-whisperer who has gotten bit by the chicken bug so badly we are in the process of trying to start our own organic egg farm ;)

I love reading your blog and relate on many levels. Before I started having kids I used to live alone on 100+ acres in a cabin without any running water, plumbing or electric. I have survival training and self taught primitive art, craft and survival skills. As a woman, reading another womans blog who is doing something most people would say shouldn't or couldn't be done just puts the biggest smile on my face every time.

Also on a practical level we have lost 5 of our original 8 flock of hens to a bobcat. So, I feel for you and your struggle with the loss of your ladies.

So much of what's wrong with our society is the absence of the passing on of knowledge. Your blog is empowering for those who wish to do what you are doing in the future and informative for those of us who are taking a similar journey right along with you. Thanks so much!

I can't wait to read your book :)

July 23, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Summerbeam gardener said...

I'm Heidi from Fredericksburg, Virginia. I enjoyed reading your book, which I found at my local public library while searching the subject "homesteading." I taught myself how to play the fiddle several years ago...I've since taken up the cello, which I love. Besides being a mother and artist, I manage an organic garden and grow a variety of produce for a local CSA.

July 23, 2009 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Jenna!

I'm currently here in the farmlands of Central CA, living the simple life in a house on the edge of town with small acreage but lots of heart. My husband is a professional farmer, and I am an op/ed columnist for a syndicated newspaper company (which means I get to work from home -- yippee!). Here at home, we grow our own organic veggies, keep laying quail, eat vegetarian, and do most of our cooking in a solar oven (easy task when temps reach over 100 degrees in summer). We enjoy the simple life, but like many here, would eventually like a bit more acreage in order to be even more independant. I loved your book, by the way. The excerpt printed in Mother Earth News hooked me and I bought it the next day and truly enjoyed it.

July 23, 2009 at 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I found your blog just last week from craftster and I have been tearing through the archives while it rains outside.

Currently living in a city in the flat flat midwest, but grew up in the mountains of Maine. My childhood was filled with dogs and moose and barns (sadly with no livestock inside) and I hope to get back to the mountains and a small farm before I have my own children.

I love to cook, tend and make. Thanks for writing so I can have a break from city life and for all the ideas I am currently storing up for when I have my own homestead!

July 23, 2009 at 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Wolfe said...

Deborah from Atlanta here. I grew up in rural north Alabama amid pastures and farmland.

My partner and I live in the urban heart of Midtown, Atlanta, but yearn for the quiet and green of the countryside. I am a professional photographer and she is a professional web designer. Translation: we are self-employed creatives.

Driving up to Boone NC this weekend for a bluegrass festival and downtime.

I might pick up the banjo again. I played as a teenager.

Not sure if I want to have chickens. Nothing against chickens, I grew up with them. It's just that I want the freedom to travel and the two cats I have already pose interesting dilemmas in that arena. I would, however, love to have space for a garden and we do support our local farmers by buying locally produced organic foods.

I found your book and it leapt off the shelf into my arms and refused to be put back. So, I was forced to bring it home and read it. And now I follow your blog.

You remind me a lot of myself when I was younger. You also help remind me of all the things I used to love but let slip out of my life and now need to be re-uploaded to my hard drive. That was a run on sentence.

That's all for now.

Carry on.

July 23, 2009 at 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Marina said...

I'm Marina, from Toronto, Ontario, and I attempt to do my little bit of homesteading in the city, living as simply as possible, walking pretty much everywhere and shopping locally. My husband and I just bought property about 1.5 hours east of the city, and while it is only a weekend spot, it already has plans for a greenhouse and garden plot. I read your book and was instantly captivated by the simplicity and difficulty of the life that you live, and have started making sure that my young children grow to understand that bread does not automatically come in a plastic bag and that vegetables come from the ground, not the shelf. We planted a very ambitious veggie garden this year that is treating us very well, and my toddler loves to wake up each morning to check and see if anything is "ready". I hope the child I'm currently carrying has as much zest for baking and gardening as he does.

July 23, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

I'm Loretta from Florida (a native Floridian, rare). I grew up with a cow that I loved to milk (but hated to drink the milk), turkeys, chickens, squirrels, rabbits, hogs, a garden and bees. Miss my bees. I was pretty much a wild child until they made me go to first grade and sit with all those loud socialized kids. YUCK. Live in Colorado now with my boyfriend and two older bulldogs and try to make my suburban existence be as nature filled as possible. Eventually I will be back in the woods but for now this is what is good for us. Read your site because you're happy with yourself and make the most of what you aren't happy with. Yours is the last blog I read each day, saving the best for last as it were. I just started a blog and am experimenting with it...

July 23, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Kathleen from north western Quebec and I found you through Mother Earth News. Each day I go and read what happened in your life and I find you very couragous to live like you do. I hope that some day, you will be able to live your dream and have a place of your own to farm, with plenty of animals.

July 23, 2009 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

I'm Trish. I'm a lurker that lives with my hubby and 5 kids in northwest Arkansas. I am somewhat of a city girl, but a deep desire has been forming over the last year or so to be more self-sufficient... And, I'm finding that I'm enjoying "the land" a lot. No, not a lot... A LOT. We have 5 acres in our small town. We have had honeybees for about 7 years. This year I decided to do a garden, mainly because I'd like to know where at least some of my food is coming from. I really can't explain what a monumental event this is. I've never gardened before and have never wanted to...but guess what? I get it!! I finally get whey people get so excited about their gardens. I have 2 raised beds that are 4x8 each. I'm so tickled each morning to go out and water and give a little pep talk and pick the ripe stuff. And, we got 3chickens about 3 months ago. The ladies are for eggs, but we've discussed the possibility of getting more for meat. And, we'd like to have a meat cow at some point. I'm secretly scared of the idea of having something that you have to milk twice a day. That just seems to scream, "tied down!" to me. Of course, I never thought I'd have a garden and chickens one day... and look at me now!
I discovered you through your book. I never buy books a Barnes and Noble that I don't know anything about. But, yours caught my eye when I was there for my birthday in April and I just bought it on impluse. I loved it and have loaned it out twice. Thanks for letting me watch you and your family!

July 23, 2009 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

could've left my blog address I guess ;-)

I'll be checking out the other blogs from the people here also.

July 23, 2009 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Hi Jenna-

My name is Denise and I originally come from Northwestern PA. My husband and I packed up everything we owned and moved to AL about seven years ago. I found your blog after buying your book (kindle addition) after reading about it in MaryJane's magazine. We now live in a subdivision and have a large garden with blueberries, raspberries, and assorted vegies. This year I have canned some salsa and plan on doing some more canning as everything comes off. My husband grew up on a dairy farm and we have been wanting to get some chickens. We found a nearby farm that sells milk and eggs. The taste difference is so great I cant imagine drinking grocery store milk or eating eggs from the grocery either. We recycle and compost and are hoping in 10 yrs after we pay off the house to buy a small farm in either AL or TN. Our cats just love to move...NOT! Will you be writing another book soon? We all want to know.

July 23, 2009 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Wow - look at all of us piping up! I'm Laura, and I moved to Rhode Island last year from California. My husband and I are buying our first house - 38 days till we move in, woot woot! I grew up with rabbits, cats, birds, and horses back in CA, and some of my best friends are organic farmers, so I feel right at home on the farm...but at the moment I just have a cat :)

My dream is to one day have enough land to have my own milk goats and/or sheep, a few chickens, and rescue horses. For the time being, I am looking forward to getting a garden going in my backyard.

I started reading your blog after devouring your book, and I have been looking forward to each post ever since. Being able to see what's going on at Cold Antler Farm and read your words is a breath of fresh air; it reminds me that there are kindred spirits out there.

July 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi iam from calgary, alberta canada. i got your book through and really enjoyed it. I have a small piece of land and an older home near downtown calgary. I have a three year old son whom i am teaching how to garden organically, compost and recently we got two chickens for eggs. it is a joy watch the garden, sell some of it to local resturants, and now taking care of two five week old arucana chickens. thanks for giving me the courage to get the chickens and know that a single woman can do it too.

July 23, 2009 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger J and J Oxrieder said...

Jen and Jake here, mostly just Jen though. I found your blog by searching through other's blog lists. Cold Antler Farm.... that sounds cool, and I was hooked.

We live just outside of Spokane WA, not far from Sandpoint as it were. I love the pictures you sometimes post of Idaho, because they are familiar. Jake and I are part of a hopefully growing movement of backyard farmers. We've converted 2,000 sq feet of our back yard into raised bed gardens. A small chicken coop sits next to our deck. Currently we have 2 BO hens and 4 Red Star babies in the brood box. I do wonder what our neighbors think of us.

It's just the two humans, 1 wolf, and 6 chickens. Next year we will be able to add several thousand to our care as we will start our bee hive.

Our garden is in it's infancy, because of all the rock around here we've had to bring in soil and start cover crops and manure. This year we've planted 5 fruit trees, grapes, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. The veggies alas are coming from the farmers market. But next year I fully intend to participate in the snap pea challenge!

We're longing for land but when it happens, it will be right. We would love to purchase land with a farm house, and orchard established, since it takes years for trees to bare.

I just want to say thank you Jenna, you eloquently write about the simple and beautiful but everything that is homesteading.

Our blog is here:

Well met everyone, I can't wait to check out your blogs!

July 23, 2009 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

Hi Jenna,
I'm Lelainia and I live on the West coast of Canada in beautiful British Columbia.

I am a mixed media artist, designer and writer. I was teaching mixed media as well, but was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis not that long ago and well...I had to stop teaching. (If you want to know more of that, search my MS tag on my blog.)

I am 38 and Aries girl through and through. I am quite happily married and our son just graduated HS. We have a black Lab, Indiana Jones who is 16 months old and we adore him. He was a gift from my husband who hoped having a dog to keep me company would comfort me and help me cope with being ill.(He does. He is an angel dog.)

I was born and raised on the Canadian prairies, so I can relate to the lifestyle you live. I would like to someday own some acreage on a mountain somewhere, where I can't see my neighbours, but I know who they are and that I am welcome to drop round for tea. First I'd have to win the lotto though...

I am in the middle of chemo (which is sheer hell) to try and treat my MS, so I am spending alot of time house bound. To keep from climbing the walls, I rely on Google Reader to keep me amused. I can't remember who referenced your blog, but I've been reading it for about 2 weeks now. You have a lovely story telling style and seem like the kind of person who is very down-to-earth. I like that in a person!

Anyway, that's a wee bit about me. Thanks for keeping me company!

July 23, 2009 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

Hi Jenna, I may be representing an older generation of reader for you. I'm still gardening and enjoying working outdoors when I'm not sitting (or standing) at the desk during the day job. I grew up on a farm in the 50's-70's... and miss it dearly. If "things" had been different then, I may have pursued the same path you are taking, so it gives me pleasure to read your accomplishments and perhaps I can offer a word of encouragement or wisdom now and again. I do look forward to each post.
Waving hello from Washington state!

July 23, 2009 at 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Sherry/Woodswoman said...

I feel like an older version of you Jenna. I'm a GRIT blogger...sister site to Mother Earth News.

I work full time, for the government. Luckily, my husband is home with the animals, doing rustic wood crafting.

My husband and I have livestock. Dexter cows/sheep/pigs/chickens/free-ranging rabbits/horses. And a little goat is on the way.

We garden. We process our meat. We live simply. Outhouses are the norm.

We have sled dogs ~ 16 beautiful Siberians and Alaskans ~ who provide rides in the winter.

We believe all the animals must "earn" their keep. They do.

I've introduced Queens to a hive.

Your informative and delightful book adorns my stocked shelves, adding to the library of homesteading books.

Even though we are older, we learn every day. We "hone" our dream every day.

Brenda ~ you'll find that farm. It will slowly come together for you. It did for us. We started with acreage. Every building on our 40 acres is handcrafted by recycled building materials.

Just remember, "less is more". We love our life and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Jenna ~ your writing brings a smile. It will be fun to watch you grow and solidify this wonderful way of life. You feel like a kindred spirit.

July 23, 2009 at 11:41 PM  
Anonymous René said...

Hi Jenna! My name is René and I live in Redmond, Washington. I work for the evil empire (aka Microsoft). I've dreamed of having a house with a little garden for some time now, but thanks to you that dream now also includes chickens, rabbits, and a hammock. I read your blog because I miss the country and big open green spaces and I love to read about your adventures. You are, in fact, a very exciting young person. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my cat, Sasha, and several tomato plants and herbs. If you're ever up this way let me know and I'll treat you to a really good cup of coffee.

July 23, 2009 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger karenw said...

Hi, my name is Karen and looks as if I am the first australian to comment. i live in Canberra which is called the bush capital as it is really just a big town with lots of parkland. I am a stay at home mum with three kids, 17, nearly 13 and a handful of 6. I love to sew, knit and scapbook.I read your book (ok, in just about one sitting) then went searching for your to read all about your lifestlye. I grew up on a farm, a bit differnet from yours, no hills in sight and very dry. But Dad liked to explore different areas of farming, so we had stud sheep, sunflowers, pigs, a family cow for milk plus a small herd for beef, and I looked after the chooks, ducks, turkeys or whatever took his fancy (I think he would have loved to have an alpacca that have become popular as guards for the sheep). The only animal I tried, so hard, to get him to buy was a goat, but I failed sigh. But we sold up when I was 13 and moved into town. I am trying hard to get my vege patch up and running, but it shall have to be moved as the tree next to it has grown too large and there is little sun there now. Oh and I am trying to convince my husband that some chooks would be great - may take a while but we will get there. my blog is www.blogspot, not much on gardening but some on the crafts I do. Thanks for a great read.

July 23, 2009 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger drzelazny said...

I live in Portland, OR..though I am seeking a move back to New England were I grew up. I hope to be living in NH, VT, or ME by next year.

For the longest time I wanted to live in a yurt on 5 acres in Canada. Now my dream is to build a cordwood house on 10 acres in NH. I want the best of both worlds, to be outside in the morning in the garden, then write or play my uke/harmonica in the afternoon. Perhaps a niche e-business is the path to get me there.

July 23, 2009 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hello, all!

I'm Bob, currently living in Iowa but moving to Illinois next week. I grew up on a small farm surrounded by city. I'm finishing up a grad degree in history, but for the past several years I've been yearning to go back to my family's roots and farm. The downside is that I don't have the ability to go back to the family farm. So for now I read just about everything I can get my hands on farming past and present. I've also been playing the fiddle for the last year and a half, so I know what you mean when you talk about the joy of self-made music. This is probably my favorite blog to read, if not the only one that I TRULY follow.

My wife and I are buying a house, and while it's in town, this fall I plan on bulding at least one raised bed for vegetables in the backyard. I want to learn to can and preserve what I grow. I view all this as training for the time when I'm able to finally get a small farm. I want to raise pasture beef and heritage hogs for what I need, maybe a few fruit trees. I've got time on my hands to figure it out, I guess.

I guess I'm just looking for a simpler way of life. I'm tired of the city, the anonymous hustle of life. I want something more than a desk and papers, I want dirt under my fingernails, maybe a little straw and 'nure on my boots, and the peace of mind that a farm has always brought me. And if I can't get my farm, I just want to do my best to live a simpler life. And joke about giving ball bearings to goats for self-esteem enhancement.

July 23, 2009 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Hi, I'm Diana. Our family of five lives on a small farm in NC. We raise alpacas, Nigerain Dwarf goats, Dexter cows, rare American Chinchilla rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and have a lovely mini donkey jenny too! I stay busy around the farm but love to read other's adventures on their farms to keep me in perspective of how I'm doing. Also, we are from Maine so I love to hear about life in New England... Fall most of all!!

July 24, 2009 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Hey Jenna,
I don't recall exactly how I came across your blog. I requested your book from my library and enjoyed it very much and will be getting my own copy in a week or two.
Being 51 I'm one of your "mature" readers. After spending my first 40+ years living on a small farm in IN I moved to our small town where I work as a "Library Lady". I enjoy my job but have never resolved myself to town living so I'm working at bringing as much farm life as I can to a small city lot. My bunny hutch is almost completed and will soon be welcoming an English Angora bunny. Next spring I plan to add a few chickens, probably Silkie Bantams. I like their fun look and laidback personalities. Square foot gardening works for me and you have to love homemade compost!
My dream is to move back to the country but until that happens I'm making the most of my tiny urban homestead.
Keep writing!

July 24, 2009 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Shoveling Ferret said...

Hi, I'm Justine, currently living in Chicago with my husband and our doggie. I found your blog through Whip Up I think.
Until last year I was working toward a PhD in Egyptian Archaeology, had dug in Egypt and Sudan, done some teaching, etc., etc. My husband and I had always hoped to eventually wind up with some land and animals - he's more of a farm boy from MS, I grew up in a rural area of Nevada with a few horses and ranchers in the family.
Anyway, last year I became disabled and have had to drop my career and leave school. We're still working with doctors to figure out what exactly is wrong with me. I'm working on figuring out something to do from home. And we're still hoping to get some land, hopefully out west.
I figure puttering around on a bit of a subsistence farm/homestead would be good for me - chickens and goats and dogs and vegetables don't mind if I'm still in my jammies or if I'm a little slow and wobbly on my feet, so long as they're looked after and fed. ;) And I love the idea of being closer to self-sufficient. And, if I have to be homebound, I'd like it to be somewhere pretty and something ours.
For now, I love seeing the news about your farm - it's both hope and learning all in one package!

July 24, 2009 at 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Wendy said...


My name is Wendy and I am from a small farming community north of Toronto. I don't farm but wish I did. The best I can do now is manage our small gardens. We have several fruit trees and hubby built raised garden beds this spring. I am hoping to sneak a few chickens onto the property next year, and I have put in my order for more gardens.

Love the simple life. Love your blog.


July 24, 2009 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Turtle said...

Drzelazny - lol, my mom has 6 acres and a post and beam in northern NH she may be interested in selling as she wants to move west!

Hi everyone! I am a native Vermonter who grew up on a dairy farm. We then relocated to NH where through college i stayed and had a sled dog team, bees and tapped maple trees. If we didn't grow it, we didn't eat it, smile, we were poor with a single mom's income, but we had a blast!
After a dozen+ years in hawaii we now reside in WA state, across the sound from Seattle in a quaint hippie farm town. My hubby is a city boy who isn't as excited to have farm animals, but only remembers them as punishment to his friends when growing up with the chores.We are very close to having some farm animals (chickens, rabbit, bees )added around the property but are taking it easy as we will be moving in 3 years or so (after daughter finishes college). The larger animals will have to wait.
I have way too many crafts and interests for the number of hours in day!
I love reading your blog as you feel like someone i would have hung out with and you remind me of friends i grew up with.

Hope you catch that fox, and ?? with the egg eating chicken!!

July 24, 2009 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Katie from NorCal. Found you via Mother Earth News and have read this entire blog end to end (a first for me). I would love for nothing more to have a couple acres to grow food and raise some critters and live in a yurt. Until then, I'm a suburban data analyst with big dreams and an SUV that hauls more than most trucks I know of. Your blog is inspiring and I find myself often thinking, "What would Jenna do?" to motivate myself to get off my ass and do something productive. Never stop writing - you have a tremendous gift. Thanks for sharing the adventure with us!

July 24, 2009 at 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I found you through Mother Earth News (my latest edition arrived yesterday and I have already read it front to back!). I live in Vancouver, BC and DREAM and PLAN with my boyfriend (actually, getting married in about a month!) to get the hell out of the city, build a modest and "green" home out in the trees somewhere, and have a hobby-farm-huge-garden-small-bed-and-breakfast a few hours out of the city. We want to own a couple of sheep, a goat or two, a donkey, chickens for eggs and some ducks. Probably a few dogs, cats, etc. We already garden out of containers on our small balcony (fresh salad every night for the past couple of months - woot! woot!). Jan (my man) bought me your book for this past Christmas, I read it in one day and have revisited it a few times since. I check in for your blog updates every day and now I'm sounding like a bit of a scary obsessed woman. :)
I'm a youth worker but I really want to be a gardener, animal mama and general woodswoman. Thanks for the inspiration!

July 24, 2009 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Ducky said...

Hi, I'm from WA state and have plans to get my own little piece of land to raise a garden, a few chickens, hopefully a rabbit or two and the list goes on. I have lots of dreams, plans, hopes and I'm learning what I can while I'm right here, preparing for a new way of living.

July 24, 2009 at 12:47 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Donna, I asked about the pack goats the other day, from Washington state. I am about a week away from 42 and I wish I would have started when I was 20-something, although that's just not the way it worked out. Anyway, I grew up with chickens, rabbits, fruit trees and a big garden and I just really miss it. That and I'm constantly looking at the Lehman's catalog which makes me feel like homesteading! I loved your little book, my favorite part was about the dog sledding because I wasn't expecting it! I can't remember how I found your blog - probably Mary Jane's Farm. Keep up the good work!

July 24, 2009 at 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Hrist said...


I'm from Vancouver, BC too (hi Elsie!) though I've lived a few other places around the country. I'm finishing up art school (I'm a textile artist) in a couple of years, and then my fiance and I an a friend or two are going to bugger off to a farm somewhere. The plan is for sheep (obviously), a couple of milk goats, maybe some cashmere ones thrown in, a guard llama, angora bunnies, chickens, a big garden, a little orchard, lots of berries, bees, and a western martial arts school/retreat tucked in the back.

I found your blog a few weeks ago from an article about when you got Finn (can't remember where, though - Mother Earth News, maybe?). I've been having a hard time finding any resources on training goats - and I would LOVE to have a pair of them trained to pull a cart around. Any tips?

July 24, 2009 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! And I forgot to tell you that, even though I couldn't afford tix to the Vancouver Folk Fest, I sat on the beach outside of the venue (it's pretty easy to get a free show through the chainlink fence)to listen to Iron and Wine. And I'd never even heard of Iron and Wine until reading your blog. THANK YOU!!! Awesome.

July 24, 2009 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

Glad to know I'm wondered about! Summer is cruising right along here south of Lancaster, PA. I raised 2 dozen broiler chicks this summer and they are now in my freezer. The garden is in a sort of lull, with the only things ripening being cucumbers and a few zucchini. Salad greens are over, corn isn't quite ready, and the tomatoes are on strike - refusing to ripen unless we get some seriously warm weather. Potatoes are nearly ready to be dug, perhaps this weekend or next. My cinderella pumpkins were growing like gangbusters until bacterial wilt got them. I have hopes for one that still looks like it might make it. I just harvested a tiny crop of winter wheat and it's bundled up and drying in the garden shed. It should be ready to thresh in a couple of weeks. Never having grown wheat before, I'm sort of winging it.
In other news, I am getting ready to show my new mixed media sculptures in September. Great news, except I'm not nearly ready.
Oh, and by the way, the fiddling is coming along slowly. I can't seem to stop squealing and scratching on the strings!
Feel free to pop in to my blog for a visit at

July 24, 2009 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger theresa said...

Hi, I'm Theresa from the tropics. I have always dreamed of living off the land, a bif peaceful chunk... I recently discovered your blog. I also garden and have another blog called The Green Mama. Nice to make your aquaintance. :)

July 24, 2009 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger P said...

Hi- I'm Paula from West Linn and I moved here with my husband 2 years ago from Florida so that I could farm our suburban lot. I would really love to be out in the country, but I doubt I'll ever get him to do that, and since it takes a while for nut and fruit trees to get established, I think I'm pretty much stuck here, so I'll make the best of it. I've been interested in homesteading since probably junior high school and have been picking up various skills over the years, but you know what? I don't know how to feed myself. I can cook just fine, but I don't know how to raise and keep enough food to keep body and soul together through a winter, and I aim to learn how to do just that. I think my husband has resigned himself to chickens in his future, but I have to figure out how to get them cared for while we're on vacation because that is The Great Sticking Point. Reading your blog every day (and thank goodness you do keep it up every day!) makes me feel like I'm on the right track, and plus, I just like the way you write. So don't stop!

July 24, 2009 at 1:52 AM  
Blogger P said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 24, 2009 at 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Hi Jenna! I'm another Karen from Australia, but in my case I've moved this year from Western Australia to Tasmania.

At the moment we have a weatherboard house from the 1950s in the suburbs, and a backyard being changed from lawn to gardens one bed at a time. We have plans for chickens and bee hives next summer.

I really enjoy the way your blog captures a sense of day to day life - thanks for sharing!

July 24, 2009 at 2:08 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Hi, I'm Jamie from Northern California. We are almost the same age, I love the fiddle and I do some graphic design as a side business too! For all that we have in common ;) you are living an amazingly different life that I love reading about.

I found your blog through Mother Earth months ago. Right now, my S.O. and I have three backyard chickens in Sacramento city. They are not exactly legal, but our neighbors love the fresh eggs, so no one is telling!

Someday we hope to move to a bigger piece of land and do some beekeeping, bat-raising and more gardening. We also want to try our hands at raising some milking goats, though now your stories about Finn make me want to try training a pack goat someday too!

July 24, 2009 at 2:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna, I´m Kiki from Germany. Currently I´m working on my Ph.D. thesis in archaeology. Thus my homesteading is limited: just a few tomatoes etc. in a small greenhouse in my father´s garden... I love your site - don´t know how I found it, but it is great! Wish I could come and sit there with you...

July 24, 2009 at 2:25 AM  
Blogger erislaughs said...

Hey hi,
My name is Sheila. I am just finishing up my degree in East Asians studies and Visual studies. Im a huge nerd (mostly comics) and I do political stuff around food and migrant justice. I live behind a store and have zero ways to garden. I AM thinking about finding a place to keep bees though (tricky in a city that demands you not keep bees 100 feet from a property line - Im thinking of convincing the university..). I knit, blow glass and make stuff. I paint, make vblogs about comics and also video art. I have tattoos and like clothes and cook a lot a lot. I am a bit academically out of shape and am starting heavy weights and possibly martial arts again. (I've been taking kung fu since I was 10 and various other things, but the last 4 years have killed my exercise drive...)

One day I would like to live in a place with a green roof with 2 chickens and a bee palace.

Oh and I found you through whip up!

I like your blog because you admit most of your mistakes, even if it comes late. I like Iron and Wine now and am seriously thinking about picking up an instrument, but I don't know which one. There are 2 guitars in my house (room mates) and a piano, but Im just not sure which one to bite into. I like your recipes and the practical things you tell us (radios in the trees). Plus you seem nice. <3

July 24, 2009 at 2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tell me why you read this, and if you also dream of some land of your own."

To the latter question - I don't. All land, and all anything else, is my own, save what is exclusively someone else's - which is himself, and no more, and perhaps not even that much.

As for why I read (and I confess I don't read regularly), it's because we already did this getting to know each other thing, much more mutually, back at Xanga - where I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, you were more yourself, as you were the topic of the blog - whereas here I think it's a lifestyle blog, just as a music blog is a music blog, a sports blog a sports blog, and so on. So I felt we got to know each other fairly well, though neither of us could have said much about the 'facts' of the other's life. Seeing the direction in which you've gone, I can say our lines don't run parallel to each other. But where they intersected, they intersected, and I consider you a friend. For instance I remember being genuinely proud of you and happy for you upon hearing you'd gotten a book out.

-Paul Tanner

July 24, 2009 at 3:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also in the spirit of gift-giving here's a quote by William James, from a letter to his young son:

"I saw a moving sight the other morning before breakfast in a little hotel where I slept in the dusty fields. The young man of the house had shot a little wolf called coyote in the early morning. The heroic little animal lay on the ground, with his big furry ears, and his clean white teeth, and his jolly cheerful little body, but his brave little life was gone. It made me think how brave all these living things are. Here little coyote was, without any clothes or house or books or anything, with nothing but his own naked self to pay his way with, and risking his life so cheerfully - and losing it - just to see if he could pick up a meal near the hotel. He was doing his coyote-business like a hero, and you must do your boy-business, and I my man-business bravely, too, or else we won't be worth as much as a little coyote."

god bless.

July 24, 2009 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger CorinneLouise said...

Hi, I am Corinne. We live in southern France but will retire in Canada,southern Quebec, where my husband is from. We have 2 cats.
I am a vegan and have had my first garden when I was 6.
We've arrived from Kuwait last february so my garden is small this year, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melon and winter watermelons, but doing splendidly, thanks to my mom who has been composting for years.
I've "met" you Jenna when you were part of MaryJane farmgirls forum and have followed you since.
We hope to get some land when we move back to Canada, I would like to have a horse rescue place, sell heirloom vegetables, seeds and some canned goods, and maybe a small place for quilters, there are none where we plan to live.
It is great to see many Canadians posting her today.
Jenna, I truly admire you and the force that drives you through rain and shine.
I hope you can have your dreams of being a shepherdess one day soon.

July 24, 2009 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi. I am a 71 year old retired teacher who has been living on 44 wooded acres in Southern Indiana for the past 19 years with my partner Diana.

We have a garden, heat with wood, save rain in a cistern and rain barrels, have an old dog, Emma and 3 free ranging chickens.

I discovered your blog earlier this year after reading the piece about you learning homesteading in Mother Earth News.

I enjoy reading your blog every morning when I get up and read the news on the internet before starting my day. I appreciate you sharing your life with us and feel I know you and your animals.

Good luck with the fox. I hope it is not a mother with babies.

July 24, 2009 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger granny said...

Hi Jenna,well if you ever get to comment 55 Im it!!I am a 46 year old granny of two and live in Queensland Australia.I cant remember how I stumbled across your blog..but so glad I did :0)I have 4 chooks vegie gardens and always cook from scratch.I love the simple things in life and hope to give up working outside the home the end of this year and be more self relient.What I admire most about you is at such a young age you realise you still have to have a regular job to enjoy the home-life you love.So many opt out of general society thinking the world owes them a simple lifestyle.As you know ..we work towards that.I paid a small fortune for your book to be shipped from the US,and I enjoyed every word,and passed it on to other members of my family to enjoy!I wish for you a life of healthy live-stock and good crops my friend,I look forward to all your posts.With best wishes and kind regards,Granny :0)

July 24, 2009 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger svelteSTUFF said...

Aren't you sorry you asked?!! I'll add to your extensive list of lurkers...

I live in Central NY State (halfway between Syracuse and Rochester), in a small city on a 1/2 acre with my husband and (1)fish.

Growing up I lived in the rural country, worked on farms (everything from digging potatoes to baling hay!). Moved to current city out of college, and 15 yrs ago purchased our house. Animals are more than I want the responsibilty of (and City codes won't allow!!). I do love my flowers, herbies, berries and grapes though! DH (the born and bred city boy) has started veggie gardening and gradually it keeps expanding!! My hometown thinks of me as the 'City Girl' and my neighbors think of me as 'The Farm Girl' - guess I'm lost in a time warp somewhere 8-).

I'm great at baking, but my cooking basically 'sucks'! That doesn't stop me from trying though. I enjoy your recipes and can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen so that I can try out your pizza recipe (on the grille).

I adore VT-NH-ME (we visit at least once a year). Your photos let me enjoy a glimpse of VT that us 'tourists' aren't normally exposed to, and for that I would like to say Thank You.

(tree-hugger at heart...)

July 24, 2009 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger carri said...

Hi, I'm Carri from Alabama. I homeschool my three kids and this year we have decided that we have planned and dreamed enough. It is time to get started living those dreams. We have veggies planted all over our yard and built a chicken tractor out of an old bed frame, aka The Hen Wagon. The girls have just started laying this week!! You wouldn't believe the excitement around here.

We have plans to start planting some fruit trees next year. And I want to add angora bunnies to the mix as soon as possible.

I found your blog after listening to your interview on Craftsanity. I love it when I pull up bloglines and there is a new post from you. I love the way you are living your dreams even when things don't go quite as planned. I love that you are learning as you go and aren't afraid to share it all. You inspire me to keep on truckin' on this path I have chosen.

I blog about our adventures at

July 24, 2009 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous heather said...

hi ~ i'm heather, currently living in CT, moving in 11.5 months (who's counting?) to VT.

similar to your arrangement, we will be renting... caring for the land. i learn so much from your experience each time i visit, thank you for writing!
beauty that moves

July 24, 2009 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous RuthMarie said...

Lots of folks write about veggies and chickens however your blog keeps me coming back. I think you have a great talent for making the ordinary seem extraordinary. Sign me up for the duration!

July 24, 2009 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Hi, I'm Carrie from Lockport, Il. I live in a suburb about 20 miles south of Chicago. I'm learning how to play fiddle and mandolin. Already play guitar. I'm getting chickens and a puppy sometime soon. I'm slowly creating a more healthy and self sufficient life style. Since I can't live on a farm right now, I'm bringing the farm to me in as many little ways that I can. I am a certified Naturalist who loves to camp, hike, bike and bird watch. I love meeting all of you on this blog and getting priceless ideas and inspiration from all of you (especially you, Jenna) If any of you are ever in my area, I would sure like to meet you!

July 24, 2009 at 8:11 AM  
Anonymous said...

Reading your daily comments is one of my day's highlights. You are living the dream I still reach for. I'm an urban "farmer" as much as possible in condo living, so I truly live vicariously thru your trials. I have no illusions about how incredibly hard you must work and the difficult decisions you often have to make. God bless you for chasing your dreams. Better to try than wish you had, as my Grandmother used to say.

July 24, 2009 at 8:16 AM  
Anonymous RuthMarie said...

Hi, RuthMarie here again. I wanted to send you some photos of where I spend my time listening to the music between the notes. Thanks for adding to your blog daily!

July 24, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Hi Jenna,
This is Becky checking in from Kalamazoo, MI. I've commented occasionally and check your blog daily. I also bought and love your book. We have a very small "hobby farm" with 2 horses, a garden that's been doing very nicely this summer, and I too share your love of fall-especially October. Here in Michigan, I count the days til summer is over and I can once again build a cozy fire, pull out the fuzzy blankets and snuggle in. Thanks for sharing your life-you inspire me!

July 24, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your website. I read it everyday and purchased your book! I look forward to having my own homestead some day working towards it has we type. . . . and seeing you do it makes me have even more get up and go towards the goal.
Thank you for everything you do.
Natalie from Alexandria, Kentucky

July 24, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Mousme said...

Good morning!

I'm Daphne, 30 years old and from Montreal (Canada). I was pointed in the direction of your blog by a friend who knows I want to have my own homestead someday (sooner rather than later).

Right now I live in the city, in a rented apartment. I'm lucky enough that it's the bottom half of a duplex, and comes with a decently-sized garden (for the city). I have four large raised beds and a few side beds in it, in which I have been raising a modest crop of veggies.

This year is the first year I'll be doing preserves and the like in earnest. I'm looking forward to figuring this all out.

I have no livestock (I don't count the four cats), because of the stupid municipal by-laws, but when I get my own place out in the country I'd like chickens, ducks, rabbits and goats, at the very least.

I work as a dispatcher for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which means really wacky hours, and which also presents something of a stumbling block if I ever really want to do any serious homesteading (animals don't work well on shifts, as I understand it :P).

I love reading your blog. It gives me hope that I can in fact do this on my own while still working a "day" job. Until such time as I get my own homestead, I am greatly enjoying living vicariously through your posts and photos. :)



July 24, 2009 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi, I'm Lisa from Tennessee, living in the west part now around Dickson on 10 acres. My husband and I have 4 kids, the oldest is off at basic training and we homeschool.
We have chickens, guineas, 2 ducks, rabbits, 2 goats and a pot-belly pig.
We are doing our best to become self-reliant and live off our own hard work, sweat and tears, and it is hard work. (can I get an amen?)
I don't comment often but I read every post from you and feel the pride, awe, fears, apprehensions, gratefulness and humbleness.
As people trying to get back to the land, everyone here that posts,can relate on some level.
I don't know how I ever found your site but it is an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

July 24, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

Hi Jenna,

I read your book which is how I found you on the web! You and I have alot in common except you are able to start your dream alot younger than I was when I figured what I loved. We also raise angoras for my dream of a fiber farm. Your picture look ALOT like one of the rabbits we have right now! My next fiber animal dream is pygora goats, milk and fiber who could ask for more?!!!


July 24, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Hey Jenna,
I am hooked on your site. I found it after reading "Made From Scratch". I don't live on a farm but in a very small town in Illinois with alot of small farms and homesteads. I love your blog and check it every day. If there isn't anything new in the morning, I will check it until there is. Lol. I love country life and gardening and especially animals.

Keep up the blogging. And I hope you catch that pesky fox.

July 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I'm Margret from North FL. I currently live on 1/4 acre with my boyfriend, 2 dawgs & 4 yellow cats. I've been wanting to farm for a long time but haven't been able to buy acreage....yet. However, my house will be paid off in 2 years and THEN I plan to have chickens, goats, and maybe a horse. I want to relocate back up North, but haven't got the bf talked into it yet. I'm orig from upstate NY and miss maple syrup time and crisp fall mornings a whole lot. I found this blog on Mother Earth News & just ordered yer book off Amazon.

July 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna
This was an interesting idea I love it! I can't belive that there are people all over the world reading this it's so cool! I currently reside in Bristol NH on 2.5 acres with a husband 2 girls 9 sled dogs 3 cats and one garden that needs more sun and not so much rain. I use your recepies all the time I check in on the site all the time for new recepies or ideas. You've brought me back to life as it should be. I've been to the libaray more now than I ever been I check out books on chickens gardens and how to have 5 acres of independence. I started the fiddle and I'm hooked but I need more time in every day to get everything done. I look forward to all you do as you've helped so many of us with your talented writing. I can't Thank you enough!
Sincerely, Stephanie

July 24, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Francesca said...

Hello! I'm from Italy, I just found your blog a few weeks ago through a reference to your book. I live in a isolated rural village where I struggle to keep a garden, and tend a few fruit and olive trees. Hope to get to "know" you better soon, thanks for the invitation!

July 24, 2009 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Gerilee said...

Hi, I'm Gerilee in Virginia. I moved here from Chicago two years ago, never having farmed or having any animals except cats. Now I have three acres, four hens, two dogs, three cats, and two milk goats coming as soon as the shelter is built. I've got garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs growing in the back, a fiddle (unfortunately sitting unplayed at the moment), a hammered dulcimer (ditto), and a couple of spinning wheels. This life beats city living hands down. I'm hoping for a few more goats and possibly a guard llama. Maybe a couple of sheep.

I don't know how I found your book but I devoured it in one sitting. I'm 50 years old and loving my life more than I ever have. Thank you for the inspiration.

July 24, 2009 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

@Shoveling Ferret - I'm rather well known for doing farm chores in my pj's, and no, the animals don't mind! (But boy, do I tear through pj's that way...)

@Bob - those had better be some LARGE ball bearings. Have you seen what goats come equipped with? (!!!)

Right, so anyway - Tara here, in central Texas (who has apparently said enough about herself already!). Hubby and I are at or nearing 40 and moved to our twelve-acre place last summer. We have four awesome dogs, four hilarious goats, six rather charming ducks and 80 chickens. Oh my god I have 80 chickens! I swear it doesn't LOOK like that many on twelve acres. I work full time for a special events caterer in the city, hubby does uber-technical computer stuff that I don't really understand (and also teaches firearms safety). I grew up in rural Illinois and spent a couple of pre-teen years in Colorado (love both) and wound up here at the age of fourteen. My relationship with Texas has been, uh, rocky, but somewhat like an arranged marriage, we've learned to accept one another for better or worse. Hubby and I got fed up with the noise, pollution, traffic, stress and consumption of city life and ran for our lives. We adore old things. We are considered "fringy" by even our closest friends. Every day I look around my place and think, "I can't believe I live here!"

I don't recall now how I found your blog, but I love finding others like us that work "two jobs". I've been surprised to see how many folks have so much in common with us. And so much unrequited farm love out there! Those pangs are the worst. It just consumes everything.

It's great hearing from everyone here. I think you ought to seriously consider hosting "Antlerstock" whereby we could all come for a weekend meet and greet. ;-)

July 24, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi Jenna, I'm another Jen. I'm a little older than you--34, 35 this year--but I live on my own little piece of good land in a small town in Southern Ohio. I live right in town, but due to the fact that my house sits in the middle of my third-of-an-acre plot, I have a big garden out front. I try to plant sunflowers in front of my garden so the neighbors won't mind. :)

I live in a big old house (early 1900s) with five indoor cats, one new kitten, an English Bulldog, two outdoor cats (and whoever shows up to be fed in the morning.), and a bunny. I would have chickens, but I work almost an hour away from my home and I don't think I could do them justice.

I write rural fantasy novels (and have fifteen published via small publishers), and have a couple of blogs as well. (My main one is DisOrganization ( if you ever stop by. I also weave, dabble in photography, and sew. My main hobby is antiquing, and somehow I have ended up with four spinning wheels that I don't know how to use.

I got interested in your blog just recently, enjoyed your book (especially the music chapter) and am participating in the Fiddler's Summer Challenge. I'm really having a lot of fun. Along with my fiddles, I also own an old parlor guitar, a strumstick, two harps, an accordion, and a few tin whistles. I'm hoping that by actually taking time to learn how to play the fiddle, I'll be able to then learn how to play my harps and everything else as well.

I bake bread every week--I've just started a new sourdough starter--and I make yogurt on my kitchen countertop. Right now, I am swamped with cucumbers and zucchini and beans. I also cook--just about everything.

My goal is to have a small stone cottage in the middle of woods with enough cleared land for a garden. It would have to be big enough to fit my looms, of course, and my fabric and yarn stashes. :)

Oh, and I'm single, too. I admire how much you get done by yourself! Keep it up. :)

July 24, 2009 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from a rural part of Colorado near the heart of Denver. My neighborhood is zoned for farm animals, although I don't have any. I have neighbors with horses, chickens, geese, ducks and donkeys. I have a pretty large veggie garden, 4 flower gardens and fruit trees. That keeps me busy enough.

I just started harvesting some herbs for drying and freezing. Most of them will be used to make Christmas gifts. I freeze many herbs for cooking all through the year, as well as veggies.

I am a mom to 4 children and also to 2 dogs. I have a part time job and volunteer, so I keep pretty busy! I love to make things and have to make time in my schedule for crafting.

I found your blog after reading your book. I love to read memoirs and really enjoyed yours!

Thank you for the invite,


July 24, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jenna!
My name is Bridget, I'm 25, and I found your blog through Mother Earth News a few weeks ago I guess. Right after that you posted about your Fiddler's Summer Challenge, which felt pretty kismet to me since one of my goals for this summer was to learn to play. My partner and I just moved from Toronto to Peterborough, Ontario, which is about a two-hour's drive in a northeasterly direction. While the transition from big city to very small city hasn't been without it's bumps, it's a lot nicer living so close to farms and open spaces - where I'm aiming to be in the next few years. For now, I'm unemployed, which hasn't been terrible for summertime, but I'm not sure where I'm going to end up job-wise, and that's a little more troublesome. At home, I knit, sew, cook, bake, can, and garden... and play fiddle! and I volunteer at the local university's market garden, where they grow food for an on-campus cafe. One day I'd like to live a little outside this city maybe, build a home, grow some food, have some chickens and maybe some sheep... For now I have my dog Indie and new (crazy!) kitten Moodie to keep me and my big dreams company.

Thanks a bunch for writing, I'll be sure to keep reading... :)

July 24, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hi, Chris from Dallas here . . . I read your blog because you're such an inspiration to all of us who work day jobs but also have homesteading/farming going on (even if just in the dreams). Someday I want to have a farm with sheep like you do, but for the forseeable future, I have to be content to homestead in the suburbs and working fulltime at the Major Medical Center (I'm a research scientist). The past two years our garden has been mostly a FAIL (due to heat and drought), but I'm still working at it, and have plans to convert at least half of my backyard to raised beds and mulched paths. I also have plans for a small flock of laying hens (soon!).

July 24, 2009 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Hansen Family said...

Tracey from Middle Tennessee! We are selling our 1.5 acres in town (full of oak trees and no good for gardens and no animals allowed in the city here). for 5 acres just out of town. We would love more but to get that, we would have to be faaaar away from anything and we decided that is not for us. We do, however, have 5 beehives at our house and 10 more at 2 different farms nearby!
I am enjoying following your adventures, although many days the green-eyed envy monster does creep up! I agree with Brenda that life is not complete without livestock... so quiet and empty!
In fact, I could have just c and p'd Brenda's wants, except for the meat birds. we are vegetarian farmers ;)! thanks for all you take the time to share!!!

July 24, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

Hi Jenna. I'm a small town Minnesota girl who now lives in the Twin Cities and misses the country life more than I ever thought I could! Your blog is like a breath of fresh air whenever I visit it (which I do often), and I'm always delighted to read about the latest and greatest at Cold Antler! I've been married to my husband Aaron for nearly a year now, and we've already started plotting and scheming and saving for our someday homestead. Reading your posts (and book!) has given me inspiration and I cannot tell you how excited I am to someday live a plot of our OWN land, raising our own animals and gardening to our hearts' content. Right now we live downtown in a loft with our cat Charlie and our 9month-old Welsh Corgi named Georgia(who, by the way, is probably the most entertaining little creature I've ever seen -- any other Corgi lovers out there??) but we're hoping that in a few years time we'll be happily rooted in the country. Thank you for helping others like yourself to realize their dreams of a better life!

July 24, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Good morning, Jenna!!

My name is Emily. I'm 31, I own a small film production company with my partner in crime, Austin. We have just relocated to Philly and love it. We're kicking it in Northern Liberties, and I confess I completely dig the Sunday night hoola hoop parties in the Piazza. Next time you get your butt to Philly, you should pop by. Too much fun!

Your stories have inspired me to stretch myself beyond basil and tomatoes - and now I am about to be devoured by my cucumber and zucchini plants. They are not to be trusted.

When I'm not skateboarding, I'm rocking my Great Grandpop's fiddle to the dismay of my cats. (My Joy To The World could take on Joshua Bell any day.)

If you are ever in my neighborhood (or you are reader of Jenna's blog in my hood) and you are jonesing for some bowling and tater tots, look for the girl in the blue/green hammock. I'll buy the pints!

July 24, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Hansen Family said...

Oh yeah and my pathetic blog is

July 24, 2009 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Cheapo Mimi in Nashville said...

Hi Everyone,
I'm Sherri from Nashville. I am a middle aged working woman but I think I was a pioneer woman in a previous life. We are empty nesters living in a great A-frame in the 'burbs with lots of trees but no sun for a garden (except what's on my deck). We had a much loved border collie that we lost last summer at 14(looking for another to rescue)and have our lovebug border lab, Claire, who is almost 10. When I grow up, I want to sell flowers & herbs on the honor system from my little rolling flower cart by the side of the road!

July 24, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Lil'Green Bird said...

Hi Jenna! I'm Beverley from the UK. I love reading your blog and catching up with life one the farm. We would love to have lots of land but we fill our are with four children, four chickens, rabbits and a huge veg patch.We are learnign more each day about maiking and mending, recycling and making from scratch. Thank you for taking the time to let u all know what you're up to :))

July 24, 2009 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

By golly we're a pretty good-sized community here on C.A.F.

Jenna, I vote for the ColdAntlerStock idea too. I could prolly attend mid-Octoberish. Would be willing to bring strong back & weak mind and maybe my guitar to play along w/you fiddler types.

July 24, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Dani said...

I'm an Eastern PA girl (originally from Allentown, now living in Pottstown), and my partner and I have long-term plans to have our own little slice of wooded heaven somewhere in New York state someday. I adore your writing style and love reading about your adventures in balancing a "real-world" job with homestead life.

July 24, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your book first. Read and loved it so I couldn't resist checking out your blog. I became hooked. You are such a brave girl. God blessed you with an adventurous, try anything spirit. Believe it or not your blog and book have been very inspiring to this 41 year old mom of three. My husband and I have just a couple acres of land. We raise chickens, and pigs from time to time, and dabble in gardening. I've always wanted goats and sheep but have never been able to jump in wholeheartedly like you have. And that's the commitment farm life/homesteading need, a wholehearted one. Anything else would be a failure. Maybe someday we'll take the plunge but for now I'll live it through you. :)

July 24, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Jaspenelle Stewart said...

Stay-at-home mother, wife and aspiring heirloom gardener hailing from Spokane, WA here. Not native to WA though, I was born in Canada, lived for a few years in NC and then spent almost all my time till I was 18 moving around Europe (except for a brief stint in Indianapolis.)

It is funny, with all that moving you would think I would be pretty loosefoot (most of my family thinks I should be) but I crave nothing more then to settle down and put in deep roots.

We rented a small house this year and I have three raised beds in the backyard full of heirlooms. I have always gardened but this climate has been a big change for me (not surprisingly, it is nothing like Barcelona!) Next year my husband and I have plans to expand to more raised beds in the back and two in the front. Over the next couple years I hope my landlord warm up to the idea of chickens. I think he will, I am a perpetual optimist.

I follow your blog because it inspires me to get up and do something as a renter, rather then waiting for the dream homestead in the country. You also inspire me in a spiritual way with the calm slow lifestyle you discuss in some of your posts.

July 24, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger evergreenknits said...

Hello there! I read your blog to get my fix of Vermontness. I moved from Vermont to Phoenix about two years ago, and I miss my little Vermont cabin with all my heart. Someday it would be my dream to move back and have a place with space for a few alpacas and fiber goats.

In terms of my background -- I'm a knitter, spinner, and natural dyer. I'm midway through my PhD in energy politics. No kids. No instruments (though I would love to pick up a fiddle someday!).

Thank you for sharing your marvelous life with us!

July 24, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Hi Jenna. I live in Boston with my husband and our massive rabbit, Bubbles. I found your blog from another Vermont homesteader blog.

My favorite part about your writing is that your willingness to share your hardships. Sometimes on the road to making dreams come true there are setbacks. Stolen chickens. Massive mistakes. Your blog is a reminder to me that just because things are hard, doesn't mean they aren't worth doing. You're a big source of inspiration.

Plus, you own a goat. Wow.

July 24, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Hi Jenna,

I started reading your blog after a friend had recommended your book to me. I'm an urban homesteader in San Francisco with 2 goats, 5 chickens, a dog, and a cat. I talk about my farm happenings here:

Itty Bitty Farm in the City

July 24, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi Jenna,

I'm Karen from central Wisconsin. I'm a middle aged woman living with my husband and a house cat. Three dozen mature sheep with nearly as many lambs left (another 20+ have been sold) and three barn cats populate the barn and pastures.

I have a garden that provides much of our fruits and vegetables for fresh eating as well as preserving for winter.

I work as a substitute teacher in the local school district. When not there or working around the homestead I sew, quilt, spin and knit. After 25 years the flock is self-supporting so my off-homestead income supports my sewing and quilting. Much of what I make is given as gifts.

I first learned of you when reading the article in an issue of Countryside magazine earlier this year. I then ordered your book. From the book I discovered your web journal. I love reading about your days, the ups and downs of making things, and making do. Even after nearly 30 years of country living I'm inspired after reading your blog. My garden is looking much better this year thanks to you. I'm taking time each day to sew and/or quilt just as you do with making music.

I don't comment very often, but I enjoy reading your posts. Keep them coming!

July 24, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Wow all the comments from people all over. I live in VT closer to the CT River then you but still in Southern VT. Kids, Chickens, Pigs, mud and lack of veggies, I live a similar life. But, what I appreciate in your blog is how you capture what makes living here special. In our all too chaotic lives, your blog is just the reminder I need to wake up and look around me. Thanks

July 24, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how fun is this to read all about everyone!
my name is rebecca and i live in park city utah. my husband and i rent a little a-frame tucked away in an aspen grove. we soooo dream of having our own land someday. for now, i work with our local farm as a cook for harvest dinners and lead preservation workshops throughout the summer. i volunteer there as well so i can have buckets full of local veggies and learn all about farming.
i loved reading your book and your blog is really what inspired me to start blogging too. thank you for that:)

July 24, 2009 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Hi there!

I don't know how or when I happened upon your blog, but I'm sure it was through one of the others I follow.

I'm a born-n-raised Midwestern girl currently residing in the Milwaukee, WI area with my hubby and daughter. We hope to one day live more of the "country" life, but that's a few years down the road yet. Someday...

Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us and letting us live vicariously through you.

As I have not been following you for too long, I'm still working through the archives. :)

July 24, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Lady Epiphany said...

I'm Epiphany, a stay at home mom in Central Jersey. I found you via The Cleaner Plate Club. I really enjoyed your book and your blog.

July 24, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Hi Jenna. I live in Washington state. I have three chickens in my suburban backyard and a garden that will be heavily expanded next year. I would like to move to a home with a few acres so I can have a goat or sheep. I'm interested in urban homesteading, learning my fiddle, reading voraciously, crafting (crochet, embroidery). I really enjoy your blog.

July 24, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My name is Melissa & I live in a small town in rural Missouri. I'm the director of the county library and found your blog after purchasing your book for the library. This year we put in a garden & 6 grapes vines. A greenhouse may be in the works! I would love to have chickens, but have severe bird allergies. I have 4 dogs, 2 English Cockers & 2 Miniature Bull Terriers, one of which will be 15 in September. This summer I started playing the mountain dulcimer. Holy Manna is my favorite song so far. I also spin, knit, & have 2 looms. To me, there isn't anything as satisfying as seeing my homespun yarn drying on the clothesline or wearing a sweater I've knit from my own yarn.
Thank you so much for your blog!

July 24, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Kristi here, Im 29 and live in Vancouver, WA. Although I live in the city limits I am working on my very own homestead. My dreams consist of a goat(most likely wont happen), a rain barrel and a greenhouse(both of which I asked for, for my birthday).

We recently just got some chickens! In a week they will be spending their first night outside. So this weekend will be spent making sure the coop is "critter" proof.

I too enjoy my finds at thrift stores..recently found some trippy fabric, I assuming from the 70's that I plan on turning into curtains. In fact most of the things we own are second hand(Id like to know how much we have saved over the years because of it)

Thanks for your blog and book! Both are terrific!

July 24, 2009 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger SusLynn said...

Hi, Susan here from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'm always single, about to retire and am actively looking for land in the western part of this state - coulee country between the rivers.

I rarely comment but always read your blog, every since I found your book - the title of which made me pick it up. I love to re-use, recycle and start from nothing.

You make me smile. Bad things happen to all of us and the only part we can control is how we look at it. You have that ability to see the good, let the pain make you stronger and come out smiling.

Thank you for allowing me to see your brave heart.

July 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger MIB said...

Hi, Jenna (and everyone else!)-

I'm Melissa, and I live in Fonda, NY (Southern Adirondack foothills). I'm a full-time editor and part-time homesteader, although I was those two were switched, time-wise!

My husband and I raise a lot of heritage-breed livestock: chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, pigs, and sheep (Soay are the best!), and we've recently added Boer goats to our place. We also keep bees, and raise heirloom vegetables. If you're interested, you can check out our Web site at

Originally, I read your article in Mother Earth News, and it made me tear up to have someone expressing so many of the feelings about this lifestyle that I had but hadn't been able to adequately explain. So I started reading your blog, and I really enjoy both your posts and the responses from commenters. And I have to say, it's really cool to see so many people introducing themselves. I'm glad to be part of the CAF virtual community.

Best wishes to everyone!

July 24, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Debbie said...

I'm Debbie from Northern Virginia. I found your blog through Thistle, but became addicted to it through your stories and turns of phrase. They bring peace and perspective to my hectic office work day. I am also contemplating retirement in a few years and learning how far I could simplify my life. Could I handle a garden and chickens (or more) on my own or should I seek out a community where I can partner. I have already started downsizing (less is more)and receive weekly local farm produce and fresh eggs. I can almost smell your bread when you're baking. Thanks for sharing!

July 24, 2009 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger anna banana said...

Hi, I'm Anna, and I live in Queens, NYC right now. I dream of living on the land I grew up on in NE Ohio and homesteading there. I want chickens and perennial food plants. I want sunshine and hay making and physical exhaustion at the end of the day. I want to play recorder at Contra and English Country dances. I want to create.

I love reading your blog because it's real and everyday in its content (as opposed to every day in its posting regularity. I don't care so much about that). Also, I love your pictures :)

July 24, 2009 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Lorri said...

I'm Lorri. I live in SE Virginia with DFH & DD. I sew, knit, crochet, spin, can & dry food. I'm from NE and would love to move back. We are planning to eventually have our own homestead with horses (if I can get them!), sheep, Dexter cow for milk, and chickens. And dogs, and a garden, and bees.... :) If I could I'd preserve all our food now.

I found your blog right before you moved to VT, can't remember how. I love reading your blog, it helps me get back in touch with a different rhythm of things.

July 24, 2009 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

I'm Ronnie from Richmond,Va.
& I've been an early American craftsman sine 1975.
Your blog is one of the very few I read because it is a great read in everyway!!!
I do not know whether this
is allowed or not, but my website is
Actually I did a chair bottom
with a herringbone splint bottom made
between the Civil War & the turn of the century for the porch at Cold Antler Farm but have been hesitant to send it without asking
This is a "THANK YOU" gift for
a great blog giving us all an extremely pleasant read which brings much sunshine into our daily ives!!!
Thank you very much!!!

but have been hesitant to ship it

July 24, 2009 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger the rachface said...

Hi Jenna! As a patent lurker, I'm compelled not to post but I'm going to anyway. I'm Rachael and I live in hampton roads, Virginia. I dream of a farm with sheep, chickens and goats and maybe a cow or two. My husband and I want to find our dream property and raise our daughter as closely to the land as possible. We look forward to the day we can grow all our own food. We recently tore up all of our lawn in our suburban backyard for raised bed veggies and are putting in fruit trees in the fall. You inspire us to move forward and remind us that it isn't always easy with the daily happenings at Cold Antler. I don't know anyone in real life that has the same dreams we do. Thank you for motivating us.

July 24, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Rhonda from Irving, TX. I'm moving back to west Texas in a few months. Out there I'll have a little more room to start learning to homestead. For years I knew I wanted to do something different, to live more simply and be more self-sufficient but didn't know where to start. I just happened to see your book displayed at Barnes & Noble and thought it looked interesting. Little did I know I just picked up the guide to the rest of my life! You gave me a starting point and I thank you.

July 24, 2009 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I can't believe I hit a hundred comments....

Hi Y'all!

July 24, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hi neighbor...
Oh wait...My dog is making out with the mailman...wait wait wait...

Hi neighbor...
My name is Alli and I live in Saratoga Springs, NY. I send you anonymous pictures with my phone sometimes...haha!

I enjoy reading your blog because it keeps me grounded and in tune with what I know I really love. Living in this town can eclipse that sometimes.

Mostly I think we do similar things at it is interesting to read your blog about the weather and say, "Yep, I got caught in that ________".

My husband homebrews for a hobby, and lately I find myself wondering if spent grain (wet and brewed to pieces) would be a good mulch. Does anyone know?

PS: Count me in for a work party sometime...I'm kind of close by and get a kick out of that sort of thing. And I have a pick-up that's aching to be abused.

July 24, 2009 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Holy crow Ronnie!!!

Send it up! email me:

July 24, 2009 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

ALi, you and your man come over for dinner. I want to start brewing at home this August, but need some pointers. Maybe you'd want to stop by?

July 24, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger June said...

My family lives on four acres in southern Maine. We garden. We raise chickens -- and mourn them. We are learning to get the most from our land -- planting an orchard and grapes, tapping our maples, eating the weeds.

We're more than dabblers, but we are not homesteaders either. It is hard sometimes. But it is not as hard as what you do. You inspire me to keep at it, push it farther, try. I thank you. I enjoy your blog.

July 24, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna!

My name is Kelly and I am an Interior Design student, going to university in my home town of Toronto. I came across your blog through a green living blog ( which I enjoy reading. I have enjoyed reading your entries so much over the past couple of months.

I was a devoted fan to the Little House on the Prarie books as a child and I think in some ways I haven't grown out of the fascination. I am in awe of your efforts and hard work to live closer to the earth, work with your hands, and choose a life that is counter cultural in so many ways. Being a Christian, I also think you have some great ideas about good stewardship, simplicity, and learning to use what you need more than just what you want. Thank you for sharing your fantastic stories and keep up the good work.

P.S. I planted my first vegetable garden this year! So exciting!

July 24, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sarah in toronto - i read your blog wistfully and dream of having my own farm/land someday. your writing is beautiful. thank you for the daily read, and the lovely photos.

July 24, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

This is Robin from the Black Hills in South Dakota. I found you through Mother Earth News & then promptly read your book, been reading the blog ever since. I garden, grow & dry herbs, deal with deer, live with my husband & daughter, deal with deer, and write a local foods blog for the region, plus a blog geared toward outdoorsy moms for the local daily newspaper.

July 24, 2009 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger smacdonn said...

I'm Shawn. I'm a native Detroiter with an experimental vegetable garden on his balcony. I say experimental simply because I've never tried to grow vegetables before. So far I've learned that it's easy to over water a container and that I kinda wish that I had a bit of a yard to plant more. Oh, and that you can't keep bees in my particular suburb.

July 24, 2009 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Stephanie O' said...

I'm Stephanie from Fort Wayne, IN. I have a small little vegetable garden in my front yard that I love to tend to and give the veggies away to friends, family and neighbors. I truly enjoy your blog and would love to have a much larger homestead of my own someday, but for now, I'm happy to hear about yours!

July 24, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger ammamcp said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Nancee. I'm glad I'm responding late, gives me a chance to read others' responses, altho I admit I'm only 1/2 way through. I'm enjoying getting to know the others who read your blog.

I grew up in L.A. suburbs, moved to Cincinnati w/ my young daughter in 80's. Made some great friends and my ex & I had a 20'x40' garden. Made lots of friends who are still my community today.

Moved back to L.A. and started dreaming about homesteading. When my daughter was grown, was a travel nurse for a while, and lived on my friends horse farm during that time.

Moved to Richmond VA for 6 yrs, then back to L.A. the past couple yrs where the kids are.

All this time homesteading as you do has been in the back of my mind. Yours is one of 2 blogs I check in w/ daily.

I've picked up my fiddle again due to your posts, and am checking into what critters I can have in the city I live in (besides my lab mix Henry).

You have inspired me w/ your book and blog to bring my dream into the front of my mind and more importantly how I can implement parts of it NOW and not wait til I can have all of it someday. Thanks.

I love the tone of your book and blog. Feels like we're sitting on the porch talking about this stuff!

July 24, 2009 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Brown Thumb Mama said...

Hi! I picked up your book from the library and absolutely loved it.

I've since read many of the books in "Research, Son" and am trying to convince my husband to do some urban homesteading.

Love to read the frequent updates and learn more about your life.

July 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna! I'm Kalee, a college student in Idaho. I found your blog on a google search while doing research for my sustainability internship. I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a long time, but I took a summer internship taking care of an organic garden on campus so I'd have something to do (and free produce!) for the summer, and as I've read about and experienced a little sustainability and self-sufficiency I've found myself amending my dreams for my future. Blogs and websites like yours have shown me that a better way of life is possible. I love your blog, it's beautifully written and so honest. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your life! It has been so helpful!

July 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

Hi, Jenna!
I'm Michele, and my home is in Helena, Montana on 8 acres that I share with my parents; while my job is 80 miles away in Great Falls, Mt. The commute and two nights away from home every week are the main reasons I do not have any animals besides my Malamute / Rottie cross.
I was a little scared to put in a garden (first time ever this year!) but it seems to be doing OK with the strange watering cycle I have to give it.
I found your blog address at the end of Made From Scratch, so jumped onto Blogger at that moment and "followed" you since. I received your book as a chance pick from my online book club. (Actually a cookbook club, but you can brouse other genres, too.) I remember staying up late the night I got it in the mail, then taking it to work with me the next day to read... and finishing it that evening. I laughed, I cried, I loved it! It kept me awake thinking about spring and all of it's potential (It was late Feb or early March-- cold and snowy!) and right then and there I decided THIS would be the year I finally did a garden!
I have hopes and dreams of keeping chickens and bees, both of which I never gave a second thought about until I read about your trials and tribulations with each. Maybe even a rabbit or two. I'd love to learn how to spin fibers. I already crochet, bake, cook, and sew (not as much as I used to).
I'm an amature photographer, and aspiring writer.
I read through all of the comments, and even decided to follow a few of the other bloggers along the way. I love the fact that in just a few short months you have become friends with folks from all over the world!
Did you ever imagine this type of a following?
Way to go, Kid! Here is a cyber pat on the back! :-)

July 24, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a living, breathing farmwife from Central Illinois. We farm row crops, corn and soybeans. My husband has never wanted livestock and we don't have outbuildings conducive to owning them. We'd have to build, which is what I'm going to do. My teenage son and I are going to build a chicken coop, preparing for peeps next spring. I have a border collie...Spaz..a stray that just came to live with us, a black lab (by choice), a brownish lab mix (not by choice) and a Great Pyrenees pup (by choice), as well as assorted cats, both inside and out. Some of the cats are going bye-bye, because I love songbirds. I had a homemade soap business for about a dozen years, but $4 gasoline pretty much killed that, plus I wanted my basement back. We just built a really cool beehive pizza oven in the backyard. I raise vegetables for the freezer and love to make jelly and preserves. My name is also Brenda

July 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Hi Jenna, I am Judy from Syracuse, NY. I am married and have one daughter who lives in Tennessee near Nashville. I had never read a blog until I read a small article about you and your book in my local newspaper. It was reading all of your posts and buying your book that inspired me to start my own blog. I am not so much into the homesteading as you and alot of your readers are. I have have tried little baby steps here and there. I did join the Snap Pea Challenge. I did get a few peas. I am a country girl wannabe and I can live vicariously through your wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

July 24, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger evylynn said...

I'm adding myself to this very long list of comments.

I live in Seattle--and I am truly a city girl. Despite that, I love visiting the country and your blog gives me that little visit (virtually) and reminds me that are many ways to live--and it's great to take a peak at someone else's very different life. While I could never live on a farm, I still enjoy gardening, cooking, baking, crafting, etc. and may get chickens some day. It's those simple things that feed the soul, no matter where you live.

July 24, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Shari said...

Hi! I'm Shari and I live in Michigan's lower peninsula. For the last 4 years my husband and I have been renting an apartment in a farmhouse on a hobby farm. I've been gardening a lot and trying to learn about raising animals too in the hopes that someday I will be able to have my own place. We are getting ready to buy a home soon and are looking for just the right place.
I blog about life here on the farm, my experiments in cooking/preserving food, our clan of barn cats, crafts, etc. Actually, I prefer to photograph my life rather than write about it. Please swing by my blog sometime and say "hi" -- I think we have a lot in common.
I'm not really sure how I first came to read your blog. I probably saw you on someone's blog list and checked it out. I enjoy your photos and your stories -- you are an average gal leading an extraordinary lifestyle, and that's pretty cool!

July 24, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Wendy Rogers said...

Howdy from FiddleSong Farm! I am Wendy Rogers from Fiddletown,in the Mother Lode country of California. We have about 4 acres and raise Nigie goats, chickens,dogs, cats, and one pot bellied pig named Lucy. I love what you have to say and how you say it! I have a garden and some fruit trees that are just starting to produce. Most fun are the goaties. I milk two of my does and made "Hummingbird Cheese" last weekend. I can't wait to try it! Here is my web address to see the pictures: W

July 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, gosh, just adding myself to this already long list...

My name is Alicia-Marie, 29, from Salem, a town of roughly 5,000 in southeastern CT.

Right now, I am living vicariously through Jenna's blog, which I found after reading both her Mother Earth News article and book. I also had the chance to see her speak at the UCONN Co-op in April. Ah...I see myself with chickens and goats in a few years, maybe sooner!!!

I am a dreamer, poet, storyteller, avid hiker, novice gardner, and toddler teacher. I love music; it is like breathing to me. I am learning fiddle at the moment, (along with piano).

July 24, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Judi from the Eastern Shore of MD. I'm loving everyone's stories. I post fairly often, but here's my "stuff."

I originally found your book through Angry Chicken's blog (I think) and started reading your blog about the same time your article appeared in Mother Earth News.

I'm 58 and live on 3/4 acre in semi-agricultural suburbs. There is a farm across the street and a horse boarding place two doors down, BUT my little strip of houses is zoned "no livestock." Hmphh! I WILL have chickens in a few years when I retire from my desk job at the local health dept. (or sooner, if hubby agrees to help when it's cold and I have to go to work--he's already retired.)

This is the first year I've had a real veggie garden and it's had triumphs and failures. Weather, bugs, etc. We have apple trees and will really be having a great harvest next year. Lots of years went by without us taking care of the trees and we had to do some work to get them back but we WILL have an apple harvest next year.

But the triumphs of our garden were really good ones and I will do more each year. I'm learning to can, preserve, etc. Made cherry jam the other night!

I sew, read, crochet, blog, love thrifting, reusing, recycling, and now (thanks to Jenna) I'm a new fiddler, working daily at making real music come out of the pretty little box.

I would love to do more of EVERYthing, especially the gardening and preserving. I need more time, more energy. Hope I still have my health when I retire. Till then, I do what I can.

I love the idea of being more self sustaining, and hubby, who is a bit older and grew up in the Appalachians watching his grandparents farm and preserve, is very supportive. He knows some things that I don't and I keep him updated on newer techniques I read about.

Jenna, your blog is superb. You inspire and uplift, but know how to deal with the everyday nitty gritty and aren't ashamed to tell us about it. I wanna be like you when I grow up.

I blog at and I'm known on some other blogs as White Feather. I plan to blog soon about my earlier experience with "accidental" chickens.

I didn't mean to write a book! Jenna, please keep writing for us. You have no idea how much you are effecting people.

July 24, 2009 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger NeeCee said...

Hello, I'm NeeCee from Oklahoma. My husband, four children and I currently live in a small rental home close to my parents who are in ill health. We have been dreaming of our own farm for a long time now, but I'm determined to bloom where I'm planted. I have converted all my flower beds into veggie gardens and have pots of herbs everywhere I can put one.

I read your blog and read your book to continue to learn all I can so I can be prepared when we finally move onto our own farm.

July 24, 2009 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger CMS said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Carol from King of Prussia, PA, single at 31. I first learned of your adventures with your book and have since become a regular reader of your blog. This apartment is getting too small, even with plants on the balcony and moody cats who refuse to sit on my lap. I am a quilter and cook, and generally do all kinds of things homemade. My goal is to one day have plants in the actual ground and animals running free in the backyard. Thank you for sharing!

July 24, 2009 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous HeyWray said...

Hello all! It's lovely to see so many like-minded people here.

I'm another Heather, this time from Central Coastal CA (we're very particular around these parts about not being confused with So Cal or No Cal, takes longer to say - but still). I'm also another dreamer, doing what she can with what she has available to her now. That's what drew me so strongly to your book, Jenna. I read the excerpt in MEN, and then saved up my nickels and pennies to buy your book...then found the blog...and I've been catching up with the archives ever since (just finished - whew!).

My favorite line from your book, which has become a mantra of sorts for me: "the same mess of fear and hope lies at the beginning of any adventure" (sorry if I botched that, but the jist is right). So SO true.

I've been growing my own veggies for years now, in various forms and sizes depending on my rental situation. My homesteading is otherwise limited to daydreaming and book-reading. For the past five years I've been restricted to containers (mostly - I have a 2'x7' side bed next to the patio that I've slowly infiltrated with veggies). Tomatoes are my favorite. I call my little space the Tomato Patch. Yeah, yeah, not very original but it makes me smile. Lots of other veggies, too - cukes, green beans, swiss chard, pumpkins, peas, peppers - corn and potatoes are new this year (little experiment there). No animals, sigh. Unless you include the worms (three cheers for vermicomposting!), the Hub, and some very animated stuffed animals (I'm sworn to secrecy). I have big dreams for chickens, goats, turkeys, dogs, and maybe even some draft horses. For that I should probably move to a place that allows pets. You think? The Hub, perfect man that he is, resists change like nobody's business. He's on board with the idea, he just needs time to pack his gazillion CDs, records, and books (he can't be all bad, right?!).

So, my obstacles are living in a ridiculously expensive place, landlords who love pets except when their renters have them (seriously people, we can't even have fish), and living with an ocean view (it's really hard to give that up). The plus side: the landlord pays the water bill, we live outside year round, and my Hub compensates beautifully for the lack of barnyard antics. Plus the library has lots of good books on homesteading.

I recently gave my copy of Scratch to my friend and kindred homesteading spirit because I knew she'd dig it. And she does. I already miss my copy, though, so will have to go get another soon.

Other than the veg growing, my homesteading skills include weekly breadmaking, knitting, yogurt making, and a couple attempts at cheesemaking. I have big plans for canning tomatoes this summer. Someday I'll have a nice chest freezer, walk-in pantry, and cold cellar. Today - I'm happy and grateful to have what I have and the luxury to dream for more. Many thanks to you, Jenna, for the fresh perspective and nose-thumbing at nay-sayers who say you've got to wait, wait, wait until you have your own acreage.

Cheers to big dreams and all our messes of fear & hope!

July 24, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Karen and I live in a city in Florida. On our little place in the 'burbs we have bees, and a garden, and maybe in the spring we'll have a few (illegal as hell) chickens in our back yard. Someday my husband and I will live on a small place in the midwest - probably Missouri. My dream is to have a large garden, a few fruit trees, lots of bees, dogs, cats, and... a team of working mules.

I read your blog not only because you live and talk about a life similar to the one I'd like to live, but also because you are positive and encouraging about it. Plus you have a great sense of humor about the whole thing.

I'd love to sit down and have a cup of fresh-ground coffee with you. We can swap bread recipes, and I will tell you how I lost my first colony of bees (and cried like I'd lost a friend).


July 25, 2009 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger smilingcat said...

Hi Jenna,

Hermosa Beach, Ca. part of LA. :(

Read your piece in Mother Earth few month ago then got the book and was totally consumed by it and then came here.

We're bit of chicken to make that big leap into homestead. But we are building up our courage. We've torn out our useless yard and converted into a veggie garden. front, side, and back. My place is an urban homestead sort of like the Dervaes but on a smaller scale. We try to stick to only heirloom variety of plants. No GMO no F1 hybrids... Organic garden.

I just love reading all your blog entries happy, sad, and just the facts.

Thank you for your inspiration. You always lift us up.

July 25, 2009 at 2:33 AM  
Blogger Calidore said...

Hi I'm Catherine from Australia. Can't remember where I found the link for your blog but I'm so glad I did. I love reading about your trials and triumphs. Hubby, three kids and I live on 2 acres with three dogs, one cat and some geriatric chooks (one who has decided to begin laying again). I have scaled down my vegie patch due to time restraints and water restrictions but still love to grow and cook my own produce. Keep up your wonderful blog and your lifestyle. You are a breath of fresh air.

July 25, 2009 at 2:52 AM  
Blogger Daffy said...

Hi Jenna, and everyone else!

Thought I'd best add my name to the list of lurkers/readers, I've just read through the entire list and it's lovely to 'meet' everyone!

I'm Jenni, 29, living on the edge of Sheffield, in the middle of England, in a 110 year old rickety house, with a tiny, tiny garden.

I'd love to have a farm... but until that one day comes, I'm trying to make the most of the tiny space I have. I've been writing about it here:

I've stopped work for the summer to concentrate on writing for the last 8 weeks of my phd. When it's over, there'll be a bit of a life change I think... I've been doing that full time for six years, plus working 20 hours a week for the last two. I'm looking forward to a slowing down of pace...

I've been (kind of!) joining in with the fiddlers' summer school - only I've been playing my flute, which I love, have played since school, and am so shy about that I don't play it in front of anyone else. I'm learning to have a bit more courage...

Anyway, keep up the good work, I haven't read your book, but I'd love to, and I can't remember how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did! :)


July 25, 2009 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi! I've never left a comment before, but as an occasional reader I figured it was the least I could do! I'm Michelle and I live in Canberra, Australia. We live on a 1/4 acre block in the inner suburbs and have done so for the last 3 years, haing lived in a small apartment for 10 years before that. We have built a vegetable garden from scratch, discovered the joys of composting, and are consciously living a recycled and increasingly sustainable existance. My dreams are for a chook pen and a grey water system. My reality is a broken down 25 year old solar hot water system and no money to fork out $5000 for a new one! But we are going to live here for at least another 20 years, and we will get there, by hook or by crook.

This spring we are increasing the size of our vegie patch, and planting more fruiting trees. What's the point of a flowering quince when you can have a fruiting quince?! Would love more land to grow food, but we like the convenience of living where we live.

Thank you for writing your blog - I enjoy reading about your journey.

July 25, 2009 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

guys, thank you all for posting. I read every one, and they are the kind of thing a gal needs to hear everyonce in a while when she's very sore or tired of writing. I don't know if I'll ever be tired of writing, but sometimes lately I've been too sore to email or blog. Kind words keep me going, and thank you.

July 25, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. My favorite cousin (Puget Sound, WA) has a musician husband who dreams of homesteading. Just this last year they planted a kitchen garden and got a few pullets they put in a home-built chicken tractor. She had your book and since she wouldn't give it to me (she was reading it) I looked up your website instead and read that; I think the site was mentioned on the dust cover or something.

I myself have a tiny house that my sweetie and I built on a flatbed trailer that's in the barnyard of a friend's place. That friend (family of six) also has a small garden and chickens, and are going to be going on the road in a self-converted school bus soon. I'll be moving the little house on to other pastures from there; where I don't know, but my cousin is making a case for moving it to hers!

You're welcome to read my blog if you like; it's just about living small and sustainable whatever you can with what you have. I ramble a lot more, tho. A person with better things to do wouldn't reasonably have time for my verbosity.

I love your photos, and read you because like me you appreciate simple things, exercising creativity, and because I love to hear anyone's story when they're doing something they love.

July 25, 2009 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

WOW, what a lot of lurkers you have! I'm yet another Heather, out of northern Illinois. I was raised on a farm, and cannot WAIT to own my own little piece of the prairie! My husband is working on his degree in Music Education, so we have to wait till he's finished to even think about buying property. For now, I'm stuck in a little apartment with two sons (that I homeschool), my sweetie, and a really weird cat, who just means the world to me. I'm a rabid knitter (are you on Ravelry? if not, you should be...) and spinner, and I have lofty dreams of owning a few head of merino sheep, an alpaca gelding or two, and a guard llama named Lloyd. Yes, I've even named my future animals. I'm also dying for chickens, a pig or two, and possibly even a small cow (dexter, maybe?).

Your book inspired me to teach myself the violin, and I'm lucky enough to have a good violin shop nearby who rents really nice instruments for really reasonable prices. I've not been practicing much during the summer, as I'm outside as often as possible (both boys are in baseball, too, which ties up a lot of time), but I look forward to the fall & winter months spent indoors with my books & violin.

I've often thought I was born at the wrong time, and as such, am a huge history nerd, particularly domestic/household/daily life type history. I'm extraordinarily lucky to have a vintage baseball team nearby, and just adore sitting in a lawn chair along the third base line, knitting on a sock, & watching the boys try to hit it out into the corn. Even though it's not quite where I want it to be yet, I have a good life. That's not to say, however, that I don't rather envy yours. ;-) I tell my husband often how much I wish I could have you for a neighbor!!

July 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Nikki said...

Hello! I'm Nikki. I live in Nebraska, in a small town, with my husband (just married in June), 2 cats, a 6 month old white German Shepard puppy named Duke(he was a wedding present-it's a long story, but to sum it up, he was left in a backyard for months and was skittish and untrained, so we got him. My husband was supposed to be the main person that trained him because he had dogs before and I didn't, but it turned out that Duke was also scared of men. So he attached himself to me instantly. Luckily my dad, who has an Akita, came through with many books on training and after a ton of research we're finding our way). I found your blog (I don't remember how, sorry) and read through your archives. I just bought your book and loved it. Coincidently, we just moved to a place where I can finally have a vegetable garden, instead of just houseplants. I started small, with 2 watermelon vines, 3 cucmbers, 1 pumpkin, and 4 tomatoes. They're growing like crazy, and I'm about to embark on my first experiments in pickling and canning. We want to have our own place someday, out in the country, and have as many animals as possible. I love your blog, and it was a lot of fun to read about how you wanted to get a goat, or sheep, and then read about when you did.

July 25, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I would love to have a small farm, but I only have one acre...I'm also 56 years old,and don't think now is the time to start.

I have a great vegetable garden, and do some canning and freezing.

Quite obviously, I'm really jealous...LOL!!

July 25, 2009 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Busy Beavers said...

Hello everyone! This has been wonderful to follow. All too often the internet tends to separate humanity from the technology and it is great to be reminded of how much of a connection we all have to one another – if only by lurking in the shadows of a favorite blog.

I’m Liz currently in Northwest Ohio. My partner, J (I can have an online presence if he does not – sometimes hard given our strong relationship and my need to share, but I respect it), myself and our three cats moved here three years ago from Central Nebraska for graduate school (I in History, he in English). Our five year plan includes purchasing a smallish farm and beginning a family. This has been an … interesting (shall we say) year – one that has forced me to reevaluate where my career was leading me, how dependent on money we all tend to be, and what was truly important to J and I. It has been a bit of a spiritual journey and I am only now beginning to appreciate the lessons I’ve been learning.

As this journey progresses I find myself (and consequently J) returning to my/our childhood(s). I grew up on a hobby farm in Upstate NY and I never thought I’d want to go back when I was doing all those chores, but now we both want to return to that “simpler” way of life. My priorities have been changing. We would like to have a couple Jersey cows, a guard llama, some fiber animals, and chickens – this is what we’ve agreed upon so far. I found your blog about 8 or 9 months ago in my effort to reevaluate my life and haven’t turned back since. I have it marked on my Google Reader and read it as much as I can. I love your blog (and your book). So many of your stories remind me of growing up (sheep trials, sheep dogs – we had a Border Collie named Nip growing up, the rabbit trials and tribulations – I raised them for a long time and had an incident grounding me with death as well, etc. etc. etc.). Your blog provides a bit of nostalgia for me and hope for our future.

We will be moving next year, but don’t know where yet. I will keep you posted (around April when we know). In the meantime, I fill my days with my thesis, cooking (including homemade ice cream and pasta), quilting, sewing, crocheting, and our tiny container garden – can’t wait for that to be BIGGER. If anyone wants to keep in touch, feel free to email me at

July 25, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Gabrielle said...

Hey Jenna, My name is Gabrielle and I live with my family of 5 on 2.4 acres in Fallbrook, CA. We live in a very rural area here in Southern CA that affords us the ability to grow what we want, raise any lifestock (we have 5 hens right now) and it's quiet and far from city lights. This year I learned to jam, sew and I am planning to learn crochet. I love cooking using fresh veggies. I have further plans about what I'd like to do, adding animals like goats, rabbits and pigs. I began reading your blog after reading your book as I am enjoying getting back to the basics...I grew up with a variety of farm animals (horses, goats, pigs, chickens) on a 12 acre place and the fond memories keep me coming back to share the same experiences with my kiddos. I think homesteading is fun yet challenging but I am enjoying learning from you every step of the way. Your book was a great read and an inspiration to me so Thank you!

July 25, 2009 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Hi, Jenna. I'm Alison, and I live with my husband, son, and cat on two acres in Gambier, Ohio. At the moment I'm still a struggling grad student, so I'm dipping my toes into homesteading gradually. Thanks to our Village zoning laws, livestock is out for us, but every year the vegetable garden gets bigger and we spend less time and money at Kroger. My plans for next year are pretty grandiose; we'll see how much of it actually materializes.

Thanks for keeping your blog going, even with all the other work you have to do on the farm. It's a good inspiration for me when I get discouraged!

July 25, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna, My name is Pam and I live in central Massachusetts. I loved your book and check your blog almost everyday at my "day job". My husband and I dream of moving to rural Maine. This year I bought baby chicks - we now have nine 6 week old Rhode Island Reds.

July 25, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I'm Melissa, from the Ottawa Valley in Quebec, Canada. It's this really beautiful part of the country that follows the Ottawa River, and the people that live here are so friendly - we often get mistaken for East Coasters because of the twang in our voices, but I also think it's the love of whiskey and beer :)

I grew up on a farm - a large dairy farm, and someday I'd like to get back to my agricultural roots. I'm a teacher right now, but someday, someday I'll be a teacher-hobby farmer. I know I've got some mad skillz!

I've been reading your blog for a while after I discovered your book, and I love your take on life and land. You're fresh and enthusiastic, and that's why I keep returning.

July 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

Greetings, I'm a lurker from SE Wyoming. I was lucky enough to be born into a ranching family so I live 30 some miles from a grocery store on a working cattle ranch where my family runs cow/calf pairs and grow alfalfa to feed them. I also dabble in a few chickens, gardening and we have too many horses.
I am also a lawyer (but work from home) and my collegues often think I'm crazy for living the life we do.
Your blog and adventures are a breath of fresh air an inspiration and an education. THANK YOU! While my blog is primarily about my daughter, it does have pictures of where we live and what we do.

July 25, 2009 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hi Jenna-

I'm in my mid-30s and grew up near your childhood haunts (Northampton, PA). Moved near the central coast of CA where I married and have 3 human kids and teach. The other kids are 3 huskies, a little mutt, 2 cats, 2 goats, 3 angora rabbits, a turtle, a horse (we just lost the other horse), and countless worms and bees. We bought some acreage and have spent the last 5 years rennovating the house. We finally have gotten to the back yard and are in the process of building a small sustainable farm... critters of course, a vineyard, and lots of gardens (mostly veggie, herbs, and cut flowers).

July 25, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Hi, I'm Nancy from a small town in northeast Oklahoma. I found your book first...I think it was one of my Amazon recommendations....which led me to your blog. I LOVED your book.
I am 52, a librarian and mother of four and soon-to-be grandmother of one! All my life I've wanted to live a simple, self sufficient life but I'm only just now getting to do it! We live in town but our house is up for sale and as soon as that happens, out to the countryside we go! I'm a knitter and spinner and have always dreamed of having sheep but the first livestock we try will probably be chickens.

Jenna, I think what draws me to you is that you are living the life I would have liked to have lived at your age if I had only had the guts to do it. I chose a different path in life, one that has certainly had its rewards but in the long run wasn't really true to who I am. You have inspired me to dust off my dreams and make a start. Like they say..."you're never to old to be who you might have been".

July 25, 2009 at 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Hi my name is Kelly and I am living in ERlanger KY. I was raised in rural Gardnersville KY and some day we plan on returning to the family farm and build a cabin. ( I dont want a flashy 2 story cookie cutter home, give me chinked logs and morter, a tin roof and a feild stone chimney or 2) I was raised the counrty way, and I LONG to go back. I can, quilt, freeze, dry and garden. I always have a garden in my backyard and one down home. I read about you in Mother Earth News and treated myself to your book. I have no children yet , but have 6 cats and 1 wretched dawg. I want pigs, goats and "oreo" cows( dutch belted) and of course chickens and counrty ADT Geese.

July 25, 2009 at 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Sometimes it takes a poke to get me to comment. Julie from Colorado again here. This summer has us building a solar greenhouse with SHCS (subterrarian heating & cooling system). I'm so excited to extend our growing season and have room for chickens. Also, I'm strongly considering having a few angoras overwinter in the greenhouse. Do you happen to have anyone kindling in the next few months? :-)

July 25, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Tessa said...

Hi! I'm Tessa. I'm 25 and I live in rural South Carolina. I've also lived in several other states. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through 12th grade. When I graduated from college I began working at an elementary school, which can be very stressful at times, but can also be very entertaining. I find myself lucky to be in a kindergarten classroom.
A few things about me: I, like many of you, dream of owning my own land. I have wanted a cow, a goat, and some chickens since I was a child. I LOVE coffee, I really don’t like commercialism, I love reading about new ways to be resourceful, and I love nature. Sometimes my parents, sister and I will take off for a day and we'll find a nice walking trail. Last Saturday it was Cade's Cove!
I found Cold Antler because my mom kept talking about this really neat book written by this really adventurous girl. Of course, she was talking about your book, Jenna! I read the book and loved it! Then I started keeping up with your blog. I enjoy your descriptive writing style, and I like learning about what farm life entails. I’ve found it is so much more than just the fluff and feathers it seemed to be. Thank you for your hard work, Jenna. It inspires genuine inspiration!


P.S. I’m glad you asked us to introduce ourselves! I’ve spotted many other blogs that I’m looking forward to reading!:o)

July 25, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hey Julie from CO-

We did that last year with our 3 angoras and greenhouse (similar design as what you describe). Now mind you it was our first year with the greenhouse; we found that the angoras did not really add any significant heat, but it definitely helped keep the oxygen/ CO2 balanced for both plants and animals. We will move the rabbits back in for the winter again this year to prevent oxygen toxins for the plants, but are rethinking heating (our limitation last year).

July 25, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

Hi Jenna! Carrie here from northeast Wisconsin. I comment fairly often. I found your blog through the MEN article. My hats off to you as that was the most inspiring read. That was all it took for me to start changing little things in my life. Eventually I got my hands on your book and was even further inspired. I love keeping up with you, the animals, and cold antler. I regularly stalk your blog to get all the latest news. I'm 23, and currently still living at home. Which sometimes makes it difficult to make changes. So far, I've taken over the garden and made it organic. Put in a raspberry bed, and an herb bed. Then I happened upon herb seedlings I couldn't pass up so I have those in pots and need to build another herb bed. Reading this blog has also reaffirmed my love for tha land, especially in my area. I already knew that I love it, this just made the love stronger. I must have a spot of Irish in me somewhere. I've planted lots of flowers as I love those pretty things. I already had a love for antiques and all things old, and like you, believe in using all my old bakeware and kitchen wares. I laughed when I saw your pyrex mixing bowls, as that is the same set and color that I'm collecting. I just started percolating coffee, which I am a HUGE fan of. I already do lots of sewing, so I've been trying to add to my wardrobe and make some new purses. I love to cook and have made your bread recipe several times. So, I've just started to make homemade bread all the time as well. I'm hoping to inherit my great grandmothers spinning wheel, so I can learn to spin! I have plans to someday have chickens, a dream that I'm hoping I can make real very very soon. I can't wait to crack that first beautiful brown egg into my mixing bowl. I'd love to have sheep and rabbits as well, to put my spinning to use. I'm hoping to find myself an autoharp and learn to play as I'm enchanted by that instrument. What has been so great about this blog is knowing that there are others my age out there interested in this lifestyle. I'm inspired to make changes now that will make for a better life down the road. You are so inspiring, don't ever stop inspiring others as this is a gift not everyone has. You are so wonderful Jenna, thank you for this blog.

July 25, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Green Earth Goodies said...

Hi Jenna,

I'm Jennifer from Colorado. I bought a log home in the mountains about an hour west of Denver and have been trying to simplify my life, appreciate nature and slow down and smell the flowers.

I picked up your book at the library and loved it (have read many of the books in your resource section as well) and have been voraciously gobbling up your blogs. Your style of writing encouraged me to start a blog about my transition to a slower-paced life (I'm currently a road warrior for work and often travel out of state Mon-Fri.) However, I'm turning the curve, bills are almost paid off and soon I'll be able to stock some savings, leave the 60 hour work weeks and start a homestead like yours and sell my homemade body care and cleaning products at farmers markets.

You are a constant source of inspiration and I love your writing style. Can't wait until you can sustain your self through your writing so you can homestead 100% of the time.

Your blog is such a treat, so please continue at it...can't wait until your next book comes out!

My blog is at


July 25, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger PBoyd said...

Hi Jenna,

My name is Patti and I live in northern California---Humboldt County. I grew up here on the coast but lived for 15 years in Appalachia, on the very southeastern tip of Kentucky. My husband and I and our three boys returned to Humboldt in 2004. It is an outdoorsman's (or woman's) dream with vast oceans, Redwoods, rivers, meadows and mountains.

I found your book Made From Scratch quite by accident, or maybe it was written in the stars. It now sits proudly on a table in my living room so I can get at it easily and so anyone dropping by can see it and say, "Hey, that looks interesting. Tell me about it."

I am 42 years old. My dream, along with my husband and sons is to have a piece of property up in the mountains, away from the world, living off the land, raising animals, a garden, and enjoying the fruits of my/our labor. It amazes me that a young woman such as yourself is so in tune to the rhythm of nature, of life in general, and is getting down to the business of living her dream---rented cottage and all. I so appreciate that you are willing to tell the world that we don't have to be living in ideal circumstances to live our own dreams or to wait until we can live it EXACTLY how we picture it----it's okay to settle for what we can do RIGHT NOW.

Because I cook almost entirely from scratch I spend a lot of time in my small kitchen, so I like to surround myself with beautiful kitchen things. I ordered my first vintage "kitchen item" just last week----a 1955 Sunbeam percolator in perfect condition---- and then I started looking on ebay to find some replica Tupperware items that my mom owned when I was growing up. She passed away in 2006 and your book just stirred up so many memories of "the old days" that I I couldn't help myself. I ordered a few mint-condition, vintage Tupperware things, as well. This vintage thing is so addictive. My husband and I have been browsing our local thrift shops for older, but usable itmes and have come across some lovely things, very much like my mom used. I'm hooked. Thank you for reminding me that new isn't always better!!

Thank you for your book, your blogsite, for sharing yourself with all of us. I am a regular reader and look forward to hearing about your adventures.

Blessings, Patti

July 26, 2009 at 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, this is Rick in Anna Texas. I found your blog through the Mother Earth News Blogs. My wife and I have 19 acres 70 miles north in Oklahoma and we are slowly developing the homestead there for our retirement. It's a great area for deer which appear to have stripped all of the leaves off of my apple tree saplings. I have been checking your blog for quite some time, but was most recently pleased to see that you used to play or accompany a couple instruments that I still do, the bowed psaltry and dulcimer, along with the bohdran and guitar. My wife plays the celtic harp. I have often thought about raising rabbits, both for meet and fleece. I am curious as to a good location to learn about raising rabbits for their fleece and would appreciate any inputs. I realy enjoy your blog and check it daily to recharge my batteries.

July 26, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Kandy Gray said...

number 157!

hi i am Kandy from Dorval Quebec Canada. i live in a suburb of montreal with my dog (who has issues) and husband. i found out about you from my cousin who is dying to start a small farm of her own once she gets the $ together to buy some property.

me, i am a social worker/cabinetmaker who is an avid quilter and who can back but not cook. i have a garden and will be getting chickens from my friend in the spring.

i would love to home stead and have been collecting and pouring through homesteading and self sufficiency books since i was a kid (my parents where hippies who dreamed of off the grid living) but have married a man who refuses to move more than 20 minutes away from a future-shop or best buy. sigh...

please keep righting for all those who live vicariously through you.

you go girl!


July 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Hi, Jenna!

I'm Alisha and I found your site after reading your book. I was looking for more personal stories of people who found their way to homesteading, after buying nearly every "how-to" book out there.

My husband Preston and I live in southern Illinois on three acres we've dubbed Rye Wolf Farm. We raise Buff Orpington chickens (27 of them, at the moment), Nigerian Dwarf goats, dwarf rabbits, and lots of vegetables. Oh, and I think we currently have the world's largest pumpkin plant growing out of our compost pile. It's insane, and more than a little scary.

We'd love to have you stop by our blog sometime!

July 26, 2009 at 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, from Western Australia, I am new to your site - (1 week) I am enjoying it alot, although I need to spend some time researching the states of US to get my bearings... I live on 2 acres with 10 hens (did have 14 - we have our own fox problem here too) and a medium size vegetable garden. My aim in the near future is to get the garden larger and purchase another rain water tank to compliment the one I already have. Many thanks for taking the time to continue to write your blog.
Cheers from Kathy in WA Australia

July 26, 2009 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Shana Lee said...

I'm Shana. I currently live in Philadelphia, PA. If you ask where I'm from, well, do you want the long version or the short version?

I read your blog with a large amount of jealousy and even more admiration. You're doing something I've thought about for years. Having my own land, gardening and raising livestock. Having roots (literally and figuratively). Simple yet complicated by all the good things. Not to mention you live in Vermont, one of my favorite states. And like you, I *love* coffee and cooking, especially with fresh local ingredients. I'm doing what I can here in Philly to have that local homegrown taste in my life, participating in a CSA and the like, but someday, someday...

So thank you for sharing and letting the rest of us live through you.

July 26, 2009 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Gretel & Steve Adams said...

I found your website because I was wondering what the heck my husband was spending so much time on the computer doing... reading your blog! He found you through Mother Earth News I'm pretty sure. We are all-natural urban farmers here in Columbus, OH. We both farm full time in the summer, but I substitute teach in the winter and he works at a coffeeshop.

We try and be as self-sufficient as possible, but sometimes that can be quite stressful. We heat our house with a wood burning stove, we use no chemicals farming and we try to preserve as much of the harvest as possible by canning and freezing produce. We look to you for inspiration to enjoy what we are doing more. For us, it's hard to make a hobby into a job. We use to garden and now we have 10 acres to take care of!

We grow mainly cut flowers which we sell to florists and at farmer's markets, but we also do a lot of produce. This year we started a CSA and are looking forward to that expanding next year. Slowly but surely, we are finishing the paperwork so we can sell our flowers to Whole Foods also.

We have four chickens, two cats, and two dogs (one of which is a husky), so we always enjoy your animal pictures. We haven't been able to talk our husky into pulling firewood to the house, but maybe someday his services will come in handy. I tried to convince my husband that we should attach him to a wheel hoe and let him run in between the rows, but he might get a little out of control and destroy things.

Thank you for blogging for us! It seems therapuetic for us to see what other people are doing.

Gretel Adams
Sunny Meadows Flower Farm

July 27, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Allyson Ingerman said...

Hi - writing from Oatmeal, Texas, where my husband and I are rehabbing an old ranch complete with old ranch house.

Currently we are living in the 120 sq' cabin with our 2 large dogs while we try to finish the little main house (will seem huge at 600sq' after the cabin).

Our ranch is 62.5 acres and suffering through a major drought here. Watering in the garden we planted a few months ago nearly 3x per day and worrying that the well will run dry.

No shower, but finally have a toilet. Showering in the field with the hose - sometimes the water is actually warm (but not all the time).

It's taking me awhile to make the transition to having food animals - mainly we have what I call ornamental livestock: 3 miniature Sicilian donkeys (April, Scarlet {about to give birth any day], and Jasper [ornery cuss of a donkey, but I love him]; 1 Zebu (Slider, like the mini burgers form White Castle); 5 Dwarf Nigerian goats (Reese, Nixon, Nancy, Bonnie & Clyde); 7 ducks (3 Rouen, 4 Peking); 3 chickens (1 black sickie, 1 bantam rooster and the odd girl out, some large female chicken - not currently laying).

We recently acquired a Duroc meet pig which was named by my nephews 'Princess Pancake' - mainly because if she fell on you, you'd be as flat as a pancake. Pancake will be the 1st farm animal we plan to slaughter and eat - it's an adjustment for me. Although, a few of the Peking ducks may go that way and I raised them from 2 day old chicks.

Out here in Oatmeal we are 60 miles form downtown Austin, Texas and about 30 miles from anywhere else. It's dry, hot (105F yesterday) and brown. But despite that, it's calm, quite, and smells like the cedar trees.

I've enjoyed your blog and ran across it originally while looking for other ranchers/farmers. I'm working up to splitting my twitter account into sections: 1 for the ranch, 1 for business and 1 for personal, so was just doing a bit of research.

Someday a ranch/farm exchange would be in order. Like a working vacation. When you want to come to the warmth and we want to cool down, we should switch homesteads for a week. :)

We'll be building a barndominium in the next year and planting fruit trees. We're working on some water reclamation as well to try to help with the drought. If you have any ideas, that would be great.


Allyson Ingerman
Crazy4NR Ranch
Oatmeal, TX

July 27, 2009 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I'm Terri, and live in the Greater Boston area, but grew up in upstate NY, in an area that I now look at through different eyes since coming across your blog and having read your book. I never realized how beautiful central NY was while I lived there. Thank you!

I first read your article that was in Mother Earth News, and then read your book. I now think that if it were not for my husband, I'd love to be in your shoes, with lots of animals around, and enjoying homemade items so often. I've recently found a farm stand that sells fresh eggs, and don't ever want to any from the grocery store ever again!

Your pictures are great, and your writing tone is so welcoming, I feel like I am right there next to you. I like how you don't sugar coat things and let us know of your failures as well.

Oh, and I'll be in Kutztown next week, so I'll think of you when I check out some antique stores. My grandmother is buried in the Hope Cemetery, in the center of town, and my mom lived there for a while, growing up. So it'll be like a journey back in time, in many ways.

Oh, and thanks for all of the suggestions in the "Research, Son" portion of your book. I'm reading The Good Life now.

Thanks to you, I am now taking time out every day to just breathe and enjoy life. Maybe someday I'll have a homestead like yours. (Sorry for writing a book of my own on your blog.)

July 27, 2009 at 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Shannan said...

Hello, I'm Shannan currently living in Columbia, SC but I am originaly from Upstate New York. We moved here to take care of my mother while she was fighting lung cancer. I miss the northeast so much esspecialy in the fall everything here just turns brown and dies in the fall. Very depressing. I have lived all over (military brat)and my husband is from Germany. South Carolina is just where my parents decided to retire so in order to live near family it was inevitable that we would end up back here. I will say though that it is not my favorite place to be and I can not wait until we can move somewhere further north. My husband and I hope and dream that someday we can move back to the country with our three kids before they are to old to enjoy the freedom of living on a good sized piece of land. Right now we just have a small back yard that has been neglected for so long that every time we try to plant something it is a struggle just to keep it alive. I guess it is just one of the great things about living in the burbs. We have two dogs, a husky mix and a australian shepard mix as well as to black cats. In the spring we hope to get a few chickens, we are lucky that we live just outside of the city limits so they are allowed here. At this point I have two gardens that have failed miserably besides tomatoes a few cucumbers and one lonely pumpkin. We have major drainage issues, the only place for the garden is at the back of yard which just happens to be at the bottom of a slope and washes out every time we get a heavy storm. Next year I hope to do raised beds to try to combat this problem.

I must admit that between your blog and book you reawakened my need to get back to a simpiler way of life. I have also realized that I am not alone in this. Our dream is to get out of the not so great neighborhood that we live in now and begin living a life that not just constantly takes everything that we give it but gives us back something as well even if that something is just a few tomatoes, eggs and some sore muscles. I know that it will be more rewarding than the life that we are living now. But until then I will continue to bake my own bread, teach my children that hard work still means something, and continue dreaming of a farm where I will lay my head down to the sounds of crickets and not someone elses stereo. Thank you again Jenna and everyone else out there who has decided that this a simple rewarding life is worth something.

July 27, 2009 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Butts said...

Hey there Jenna,

I loved your book, I identified with it greatly, and recommended it to all my gardening, crafty, outdoor loving friends. I'm Jennifer from Nashville, Indiana. My hubby and I are both employed in natural resources and are passionate about living a more simple, self sufficent lives and teaching this way of life to our 3 and 4 year olds. My hubby has always hunted and fished, so that is where we get the bulk of our meat. We love to gather wild edibles such as berries, mushrooms and nuts. We had our first garden in quite a few years and are loving it, as are the kids. I love seeing them munch veggies right off the vine!!

We have been making our Christmas presents for our families for a while now. My husband will make wooden folk toys for the kids and I will sew various items for them such as hats, scarves, pillow cases,and this year, pj pants! I have also done a few quilts, my grandmother was a quilter and I would like to carry that on.

I grew up on a farm so, I grew up doing all these things and am so glad to have come back to this way of life!

Love the bluegrass and folk music too! I have always wanted to learn the banjo, however I cannot even read music.

Love what you are doing!! Keep up the good work and keep sharing your way of life with the world! It's important work.

Jennifer (Butts)

July 27, 2009 at 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Julee said...

Hi Jenna, Gosh, I feel as if I know you from reading about you adventures at ColdAntler Farm....My name's Julee from Weiser, Idaho...home of the National Oldtime Fiddle Contest and Festival. Right up your alley, huh? I have been a Mother Earth News reader now for some 30 years and have always dreamed of living the life you are building for yourself. I have had some success with gardening but have'nt taken the step for animals, but, Jenna , you are inspiring me to do more. I admire your grit and determination to live by your own lights and I do believe you will get there. I am getting older and do worry if I will accomplish what I wish to do, but, like you, I will keep keepin on....

July 27, 2009 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hi! I'm Erin and have been reading your blog for the past few months. I live in iowa and while I am an attorney by day, I have begun lusting for a simpler life during my off hours. I've picked up baking, quilting, gardening and have looked into bee keeping and chickens! Although I don't have the land to do so now, I have dreams of having my own little acreage someday. Keep up the fantastic writing!

July 27, 2009 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger SLC said...

Hello, I'm Susan and I'm currently living in Illinois, though I'm from Texas. I have three little ones and I picked up your book in the library when I was looking for books on a simple life. I loved it and told friends about it - they loved it too! I have my own blog and I have a list of blogs that I keep track of for fun; yours is one of them. Thanks for the posts and pictures!

July 28, 2009 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Vivian said...

Hi Jenna, I'm Vivian from northwest Georgia and have been following your blog regularly for months since I found you via Mother Earth News. I bought and read your book - loved it! - and now am sharing it with friends. Wish I had done as a young woman what you are doing now :). I loved my summers spent as a child on my grandparents' farm and still cherish the old ways, antiques and love of the earth - ain't nothin' like the feel of soft fresh plowed dirt between bare toes! I like the fact that your blog is so real and matter of fact - not glossed over -about everyday events, "the good, the bad and the ugly", so to speak. Keep up the writing - you are my escape to the simple life and an inspiration to me to work harder at getting back down to the basics!

July 28, 2009 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Conny said...

Okay, I am sooo late to this party (because I took a 5 day vacation) but still wish to comment. I was probably only 1/2 way through the comments and so will want to finish reading them later this evening. I am so impressed by the variety and locations of folks checking in. Being that my paid work is as a legal assistant, I'm feeling like I should put together an Excel spreadsheet just to keep it all straight. There are many, many more blogs to check out.

I'm Conny, living in the Silicon Valley of Northern Calif. I have some homesteadable land in the Sierra foothills, but am too chicken (thus far) to move up there on a permanent basis. So for now, I'm making do on my urban homestead with a small garden and the skills to make things from scratch and do small repairs.

I love reading your blog daily. Its inspiring. What you share brings me happiness and a hope that maybe someday I could do the same. And, on more than one occasion, has brought back memories of random farm experiences I've had.

I'm one of hundreds of your readers who've chimed in to say, "We LOVE your blog, and wish you the best."

July 28, 2009 at 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Julie in Colorado said...

A huge thanks to Heather for the info on the rabbits!

July 28, 2009 at 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I'm Lisa from Rexford Montana which is in the far northwest corner of the state in the Rockies. We have 20 acres with a log house that overlooks Lake Kocanusa and the Canadian Rockies. Moved here seven years ago after spending my first 42 years in Detroit. Love it here! We have a cat and a Anatolian Sheperd. I do alot of gardening, canning etc. but no livestock (which I'm sure the Anatolian would appreciate). We're talking about getting some chickens. I knit & quilt & do other assorted crafts when I'm not at my 8-5 job.
It's a great site, very inspirational!

July 28, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Hi Jenna, Colleen from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Found you in Mother Earth News, bought your book, discovered your blog. You're living my dream, lady, congratulations for realizing yours.

I raised open-air pollinated organic veggies for 7 years (for personal use) before moving into town where I have just enough space for a couple potted plants (tomatoes, of course, and jalapenos) and herbs. My goal is to own a few acres within a couple years where I can live as sustainably as I can afford. Would love to have a large organic garden, some chickens and guinea fowl running around, some bunnies, and whatever else may come my way. Llamas?

I look forward to your blog, your stories, and some amazing photos. You pass along a lot of information and experiences in a welcoming way. (I discovered Frightened Rabbit and shared them with my friends. Great beat on "Old Old Fashioned"). Thank you.

July 28, 2009 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Ann Martin said...

I'm Ann from suburban Delaware; it's practically country here compared to where I grew up - within sight of the New York City skyline. Well, 'country' in that deer and rabbits are eating the heck out of my flower garden this summer. There's a groundhog living under our shed who scares me as much as I scare him when our paths accidentally cross. I admire your lifestyle and it brings back memories of reading the Whole Earth Catalog from cover to cover when I was your age.

July 29, 2009 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger girlandcat5 said...

Hi my name is Heather and I live in New York City. I am a live in nanny full time, and Barnes and Noble employee part time, which is where i first found your book. I am also going to nursing school at night. I am from the midwest and as a kid I worked summers on a horse farm. My dream is to move back to the UP after I am done with school and be a nurse by day and homesteader the rest of the time. I would like to have a little house on a few acres where I can have a few dogs, a horse, some goats, chickens, and bees. If I have enough land I would like to keep alpacas as fiber animals. While living in NYC I knit, crochet, sew, bake, and have vegetables growing on the fire escape. Reading your book gave me the inspiration to finally try playing the fiddle which had been a dream of mine for years. I don't comment that often but I have been reading your blog on a daily basis, and want to say thanks for letting us all live vicariously through coldantler.

July 29, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Drew Shiel said...

I'm Drew. I live just outside Dublin in Ireland, and started gardening last year when we bought our own house. So far I'm growing a few vegetables, mostly in a sort of trial mode, and planning a major assault on the garden for next year. I'd like to get chickens, but it's probably not really practical for the size or location of the property.

July 30, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Julia Wright said...

Hiya! My name is Julia, I'm twenty-three, and a soon-to-be mom (to a little girl in October). I've got an incredible husband that puts up with my crazy dreams, and we live on a small farm in Southern Indiana. I started my own business straight out of college--I have an Associate's in Agribusiness as well as one in Fine Arts-Studio Concentration (talk about varied interests). I always wanted to be my own boss because I knew I could never find a job that would satisfy all my loves--agriculture, antiques, auctions, and art (plus travel, history, writing, and a million other little things). I really enjoy your blog because we have similar goals--self-sufficiency, living off the land, and then I've got HUGE writing goals. I'd love to write a book about farm women. Have lots of stories about farm mishaps, biographies about historical and present day farm women and lots of my photographs to go with it. It'd be like a huge, readable, coffee-table art book. As far as our farm goes--I'm the "farmer"--my husband works in town and since I work from home I have been attempting to get an orchard, garden, and our livestock just the way I want. At the moment we've just got some chickens and rabbits and horses(make it easier on my pregnancy by downsizing the chores), but I butchered two steers for freezer that I raised last year and I want to get some dairy goats in the future as well as some more poultry species. Our garden is going well--I've got all sorts of things to can and freeze--plus I planted some fruit trees, vines, and bushes that will be giving us all sorts of goodies in the coming years. So needless to say I'm right there with you as you struggle to make your little piece of heaven work--your blog lets me know I'm not crazy and that there's others out there just like me. Keep up the good work!!

July 30, 2009 at 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jenna,
I bought your book and then found your blog.
I live with my husband on 2 acres in a very rural area of n/central TX., in a 1930's farm house. We've been married 30 yrs. and we've been homesteading for 20 yrs.
We have a large garden and chickens. Life is good.

July 31, 2009 at 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Kathi from Mahtomedi, Minnesota. I love your blog, especially your tales of daily life, working full time and homesteading as well. I've a similar life (without as many animals, add in teenagers), but I relate to the "tireds" and the feelings you share. I'd love to do even more, but our local government frowns on chickens, small livestock, even though we have an acre lot. Time for me to gird loins and start fighting city hall, eh? LOVE your blog. PLEASE keep up the great work and know we do support you and LOVE hearing from you. Can you post any videos you are getting re: fiddle folks?

July 31, 2009 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Misty said...

Hi there,

I have really enjoyed your blog and check in at least once a day. I've really enjoyed the fiddle challenge and my kids enjoyed growing snap peas...and my cats liked eating the vines :)

I am probably one of the lucky few. I live on my in laws' small (60-80 milking head) dairy farm in Northern PA. Our cows are 90% grass fed. My kids have at least 100 acres to run through, a creek to splash in, ponds to fish in and lots of calves and kittens to play with. We're a manure and mud pie kind of family. While my husband and I work outside the farm, we help where we can, right now it's hay season so lots of time is spent on tractors and in fields. My kids are the 6th generation of my husband's family to live here.

We make bio diesel from local restaurant grease that runs all of our farm equipment and our own truck. We've been doing this for about 4 years. Last summer I had fun making soap from the glycerin by-product of this. But I'm not really sure it's a marketable product :)

Our family includes 2 kids (6 and 5), 1 good old dog (Duncan), 2 indoor cats (one is my fiddle partner and whenever I play she rubs all over my fiddle and bow), 5 barn cats that have migrated to my porch, 14 chickens, 2 horses, and a guinea pig. I'd love a milking goat for soap making and cheese, but time seems to be the issue right now. Plus what to do with all those babies? Goats are practically thrown in the back of your truck when you aren't looking around here, so they aren't overly marketable.

I enjoy canning and we have a medium sized garden. We have at least 50 year old blueberry bushes, and red current bushes, as well as a variety of apples. We tap the maple trees in our front yard and make syrup. We drink raw milk and eat fresh eggs. We really are living the dream.

Thanks for letting us peek inside your life!

August 1, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Lynnanne said...

Hey there, Jenna!
I'm Lynnanne in Indiana, born and raised. I too bring you an "older" readership as I push the big 5-0. Live with hubby and two of three kids. Have always loved antiques, log cabins, etc., but don't live in one.
I work for the DNR, love the out of doors, especially bird watching. I do a bit of freelance writing for a local paper and am working on a creative non-fiction piece.
We have dogs, two rabbits, and laying hens (buff orphingtons and welsummers) and one rooster.
Found you, I believe, in either Mother Earth or Huffington Post.
Would love to live more "off the land" than we do... with my biggest challenge being to talk my hubby into building me an outhouse. :)
Love the blog, keep the faith.

August 2, 2009 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Sarah Sanders said...

Ok, well, I wasn't going to comment here - it's a little overwhelming to see all these people here and add my name to the list but here goes! My name is Sarah and I live in southeast Minnesota. I found your blog (and book) through Mother Earth News Magazine. I've stopped by every day since discovering you to read what's going on up in your end of the woods. I am wife to the man of my dreams, and Stay-at-home Mom to our two boys, ages 6 and 4. For the past year, we've been trying to live more self-suffciently in the city where we currently live - making 98% of all our food from scratch, making all our own household cleaners, toothpastes, deodorants, soaps, buying all our meats, milk, veggies and eggs from local farmers -and we put in a few raised bed gardens this past spring and they're producing quite a bit of our food this summer! Thanks to inspiration from your book, I taught myself to play the mountain dulcimer and have started sewing clothes for my family. What fun it has been to enjoy the simple satisfaction you talked about in your book (and here on your blog) of doing things for yourself and avoiding those "big box" stores. I am so grateful to you for your words of encouragement and inspiration to those of us longing for a simpler, more self-sufficient life - whether we live in the country or not. My family and I currently live in a city, but are making preparations for putting our house up for sale either this Fall or -at the very latest - this upcoming Spring. My hubby and I both so desperately long for the country life and to take this self-suffiency thing to the next level! We want our kids to grow up knowing what a REAL 'good life' is! :o) Thanks for sharing your life with those of us who long for the kind of life you're living!

August 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I've commented before, but I'm Erin (originally from Seattle, Washington). My husband, son, and six dogs just moved from Texas to Colorado with the Army. I dream of goats, chickens, and gardens. And while I might have to stick with a garden for now, our retirement plans include all of those things. I love checking in on you from time to time; I love hearing about your adventures in homesteading that I so badly want for myself and my family. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

August 3, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Hi Jenna,
I came across your blog while searching for sites on homesteading and now I am thoroughly addicted. I just finished reading your book which has earned a place on the shelf between “Chickens: Small Flock for Pleasure or Profit” and “Mad Cowboy.”
My husband and I are just getting started on the farm – we will be getting solar by this fall and chickens next spring, hopefully. Until then, I am picking up skills that my grandma tried to teach me when I was little, but of course, didn’t pay attention. Baking, sewing, and crochet are making a comeback here.
My husband, 5 month old son, Snowy the dog, and three cats make up our homestead here in Webster, NY. I have been thinking that I might actually want to name it – since our barn is filled with swallows that dive-bomb me every time I enter the place, I think Diving Swallow Farm will do the trick.
All your advice, from the book and the blog, are very useful. And, of course, on those days when I just need something to cheer me up from the bottles of formula, endless loads of laundry and wringing my hands over this seasons poor-producing garden, I get to read about the fate of monsters.
Thanks Jenna!

August 3, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Kelli said...

Hi Jenna! I found your book at a local bookstore and loved it! I love being able to take a peek into your life and know that if I stick to my dreams, I to can live back in the country.

I live in a small town in Ohio. I try to be as self reliant as possible. My dreams are to eventually work from home and to live in the country raising various critters:)

August 3, 2009 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Hi, Jenna -

I've been reading your blog for a while, ever since my partner came across your book and loved it. :) It's a morning treat at my office job to take a break and check in on your page to read your most recent adventure or reflection.
We do the little homesteading we can at our rental home in Louisville, CO (10 min east of Boulder), and recently had a question we can't answer. I am hoping in your resourcefulness and connectedness, you'll be able to give us some guidance - or throw it out to your expansive readership for some ideas.
While we haven't crossed over into creatures yet, we have a good garden going this year and are thinking of the different ways to put up our bounty. In addition to canning and freezing, we'd like to use a dehydrator, but are unsure about which are safer and won't create cancer-laden tomato and fruit slices. Stainless steel seems the natural choice, but from what we've read, the stainless steel in non-commercial grade dehydrators is made of a collection of metals - not all of which are good for you when heated. The plastic ones say that the parts near the food are made of a safe plastic, but that seems questionable.
Ideas? Thoughts? Guidance?
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your adventures - they are a joy and inspiration,
Anna, Louisville CO

August 4, 2009 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Lisa. My husband and I live in Kansas City, Mo. I am 47 and he is 55. We've been married for 2 years - both of us previously divorced and very happy to have found each other. He has a PhD in history and teaches all online and I graduate from nursing school in May. It is our dream to buy some property and do just what you are doing. We are just getting started a little bit later in life than you did! I love reading your stories and can't wait until we can have a more simple life. As soon as I graduate we are going to start saving money to make our dream come true! Keep up the wonderful writing, it is an inspiration to us and I'm sure to many others. Thanks!

August 5, 2009 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger jessajune said...

Hi, I'm Jessa! As you may gather, I'm a bit sporadic in my blog reading, but I do always check in sooner or later to see how things are going on the farm.

I'm currently living in a small cottage on my folks' land, helping them tend their garden and chickens... you might call it a suburban farm, though it's only an 8th of an acre, and we're far from self-sufficient.

I'd like to have something similar or a little larger myself someday. Even better if there's room for a horse... or maybe a sheep, as I am a knitter as well, and learning to spin is on my list of things to do. I love the idea of being more self-sufficient, and I've really enjoyed and been inspired by your blog. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

August 28, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger jessajune said...

I forgot to mention - I'm in California, about an hour south of San Francisco.

Also, that I really enjoy your food posts... eating from your own garden is SO satisfying! Today I had scrambled eggs with bell pepper and scallions, all from our yard.

(And don't feel bad about having trouble with peppers - my Dad has the greenest of thumbs, but even he has trouble. He's had the best luck with overwintering potted pepper plants in the greenhouse - they seem to produce better in the second year.)

August 28, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

I'm a little late on this but that's part of being me, at least it's in the right year. I'm known as Crystal mom to five gorgeous kids I have no idea how I was so lucky to get. We have 5 virgin acres we're working towards getting set up on. We're in Florida. A miserably hot state we call home. Thanks for the blog and the book -from a kindred spirit.

October 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Hi Jenna,
My best friend told me about your blog a couple of days ago, and I started at the beginning, and have read to this point. Your blog has become the topic of our daily conversations, and has become an inspiration to us.

I live in central Florida, and I am in the process of moving to an old farm house across the street from my best friend. It is a rental, but it will be good to get out of the suburbs.

I share your love of Tennessee and bluegrass. I almost married a man for his 40 acres in Tennessee. I am a single 55 year old woman who has moved back and forth between the city and country, based on how strong my desire was to be married. I was young long before internet dating.

I have spent the last 10 years in the city caring for my parents who taught me the skills you are now learning. I am older, less fit, and more broke than any other time when I have lived the country life, so I am not sure what I will achieve at the new place, but I am glad that you are there to inspire me.

God bless.

May 14, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
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