Sunday, September 19, 2010

settle into us

We're a small farm here. A few hooves, a few chickens, a garden, bees, and some geese. The same fences that hold my stock in—dry the wool I plan on spinning. The same eggs I turn into muffins—also get cracked open over bowls of kibble. Egg shells end up in the soil, and extra food scraps are feasts for the flock. So what was waste to one turns into garden ground and future eggs or chicken sandwiches. It's a simple system. It serves us well.

Cold Antler has a lot of work ahead of it before the snow falls. A shelter to build, fences to go up, a goat to adopt out. There is a garden to turn over and possibly more meat to put in the freezer. There's a car to repair and register, money to earn and save, a book to finish and a cat getting surgery. There's a pup to train on sheep, wool to market and sell, and workshops to host. But all seems to fall into place, and all work gets done. It has to.

It seems like the real work of the farm isn't food or lessons: it's me. I mean that is the most selfless way possible. Building a place into a purpose changes how you understand yourself, but not at the mercy of the main intention, which is humbling. (You don't have room for much ego when removing a hundred pounds of rabbit shit from a barn.) As I turn this property slowly into the place I want it to be—I feel more confident than ever before in who I am—but also more stressed and fearful of things I used to never think about. I worry more about my health, money, and quality of free time. I am a little more scared of heights, loneliness, and bills in the mail. Certain things scab over and other things seem raw. Maybe that's simply growing older? Or maybe this place is training my mind to prioritize and let logic win over emotion? I'm not exactly sure. I do know I am happy here and feel at home in this world of animals and home cooked meals. I can turn around three times and lie down.

Perhaps none of us ever really settle down into our lives. Maybe we just have give our lives time to settle into us.

25 Comments:

Blogger sheepkelpie said...

Make sure you keep a wee bit of time for you and your human friends. Keep going places, doing things, don't break that connection. The worries you have are part of being home owner. Don't over do, and enjoy your life. You will be restored when you get your boy to lessons on sheep!

September 19, 2010 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Oh, I do. I just don't write about much of my social life because it's not the subject of the blog. But I spent three nights this past week with friends, and have a guest from Philly up in the spare room right now sleeping in (or I suspect reading!) and was at a BBQ yesterday. I get out!

September 19, 2010 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

You are going through a natural transition, I'd say. There will be many more of them to come if you're living your life right. Each one propels us further into who we are meant to be, our purpose in this life. Enjoy each step, Jenna. It's a glorious ride.

September 19, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger sheepkelpie said...

I think you should mention it- it's part of your life, right? It's the whole package. In my blog, I write mainly farm/dog stuff, but also the cool people stuff :)

September 19, 2010 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

I like this post very resonating.

September 19, 2010 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

You're easing into life. It's kind of like a new pair of boots. You have to stretch out the new pair you got when you got the farm. They might pinch you in spots but give it time...

September 19, 2010 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Perfect analogy. You as the farm. The farm as you. I like it!

September 19, 2010 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Jenna, do you ever have plans of turning your blog entries into a book? Everytime I read one that really settles in my heart, I think about printing it out, so I can re-read it whenever I want to. I know I can re-read them here, but there's just something about writings that I love, sitting on my bookshelf that makes me feel content. BTW, is there anyway to buy a copy of 'Made From Scratch' directly from you? Having one right from you (with, perhaps a note scribbled inside the cover ??) would be truly awesome.

September 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

I think it is like that old saying "You bloom where you are planted." And you have been planted in Jackson, NY on Cold Antler Farm.
You take in the air and water and lift your face to the sun with your animals, gardens and open land. You make it thru the fall and winter bundled up against the weather.
The animals and gardens are your fertilizer to keep you growing and maturing. Without them, well you wouldn't have blossomed into the wild flower you are now. You are where you are supposed to be.
God bless.

September 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I wish I didn't write lonliness in there, it makes it sound like I'm unhappy. I just mean every once in a while living alone is one of the things that gets to you. But I'm certainly not shuffling around in a bathrobe sipping wine and watching The Way We Were.

September 19, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

JENNA,
I think your private, or social life should remain just
that when posting a BLOG!!!
I post appropriate social things on my BLOG which are not
"PRIVATE" because of the world we sadly live in today!!!
(IN A WAY YOU ARE A CELEBRITY
BECAUSE OF THE BOOKS YOU HAVE AUTHORED ETC. SO WE SHOULD RESPECT YOUR PRIVATE, & SOCIAL LIFE!!!)
Just "THANKFUL" your are sharing the comings, & goings of COLD ANTLER FARM with us which is
always a great read!!!
"BLESSINGS", &...
CHEERS with a health drink!!!

Ronnie
http://www.chaircaningdirectory.com

P. S. HOW'S THE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
COLD ANTLER FARM COMING ALONG???

September 19, 2010 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I usually don't talk about friends because I don't think they want to be online, which I respect. But there are cidermaking adventures and music coming up, so I hope to fill you in.

September 19, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Colorado Girl said...

I really love the blog as it is. I agree with previous comments. Your private should remain so. I absolutely enjoy the posts and pictures of the farm life. It is inspiring! {I put some candles in a mason jar, after seeing the pic here, and I love the look!} As for a documentary, that would be awesome. Are you really working on one?

September 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

The wool hanging on the fence is sort of shaped like a sheep. :P

September 19, 2010 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Tami SouthStreetShabby.blogspot.com said...

Ahhh Jenna....what a great post. Sounds like you're finding your place in the world and settling in. Nothing wrong with the way things go. They go the way they are supposed to. We have to have our downs so we see/feel the difference when we have our ups!

BTW....Judy and I went to Sharon SPrings yesterday...had a blast. Got to meet Brent and Josh came around after we left the shop...but we did see him. I think you should put it on your calendar for next year..it was well worth the 2 hour drive from Syracuse! :-)
We both got the book too and both of the guys signed them. We managed to get the 2nd to the last wheel of Blaack Cheese...it's awesome!

September 19, 2010 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

This post resonated with me. Life is never static; it moves in all directions. What keeps me grounded are the simple moments.

September 19, 2010 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

Yes, we think about these concerns more as we get older. We think deeper and more seriously, not a bad thing at all. Nice post.

-Brenda

September 19, 2010 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger sara amber said...

oh, this guest from philly was totally sleeping in!

thanks again for an awesome weekend. the drive from the farm (through sharon springs!) to cooperstown was gorgeous and easy. i left there a little after 4:00 got home before 9:00 and just loaded all the photos from the weekend onto my computer. tomorrow night = photo editing night, so i'll put them in the mail for you on tuesday. (don't worry about the envelope!)

ps. i was craving more of that maple cheddar all damn day.

September 19, 2010 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger karen said...

There is nothing like owning your own home to make you realize you are not invincible! One day at a time, enjoy the ride, you are doing fine!
Karen from CT

September 19, 2010 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh, don't second guess your writing. My husband is gone for two weeks out of every month and sometimes I'm so lonely for him I can barely stand it. But I also have 4 kids that depend on me for both mother and father things. How can I be lonely with 4 kids at home? Not really sure....but it's real. Your loneliness is real, too, just not incapacitating.

September 20, 2010 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Jenna, the only thing I can suggest from having been there about doing for your anxiousness is to save as much money as you can manage (they always say pay yourself first) because nothing, but nothing will give you more peace of mind about life than having cash flow. Okay, maybe a cupboard full of food and a bunch of toilet paper stashed away does, but money in the bank sure makes an unwelcome and unexpected bill a LOT easier to stomach.

September 20, 2010 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Cat needing surgery?! Oh no! What happened? Has she already gotten into a fight?

September 20, 2010 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Jenom: no no! just being spayed in a few months, normal stuff.

September 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Right then. Carry on.

September 20, 2010 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Emmett said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I too live on a small farm (though a little bigger than yours.) We're just on our third year, so the farm is still changing me in big ways with every year. I don't suppose I'll really settle into a true routine--where I feel 100% settled and comfortable in my place--for another couple years. And maybe it will never be 100% settled. The effects the farm has on me are generally good, but they keep me always exploring my mind and body to discover just how it is I'll fit into this system in the long run. We work the land and tend the animals, and the land and the animals work us right back.

-Emmett
http://wisdomoftheradish.wordpress.com

September 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

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