Saturday, November 19, 2011

deer season, book sales, and dead chickens

It's the first day of rifle season here in Washington County, and the parade of pickup trucks driving up and down the mountain started at 4AM. I have my tags, my father's 308, ammo, and hunting jacket, but I have never shot the gun before and feel I need some time getting comfortable with it before I head out into the woods with it. I'll probably avoid hunting until muzzleloader season, and hope I take a doe. I'm not interested in the bravado or camps, at least not right now, but it does feel a little left-behind to not join in on the first day of the season. All told, I haven't seen a single spike on this mountain, just scrubby does. So hopefully one snowy morning in December I'll take one down. I'd just like to have venison in the freezer.

I'm excited to announce some good stuff. Barnheart comes out in bookstores soon, a few weeks, and Connie at Battenkill Books has already sold 130+ and for that, I thank all of you readers. It is a huge deal.

Trying to make a living as a writer is hard (especially when you write about chickens and sheep, and not forensics or presidential biographies). When you buy a new book like Barnheart at its release it sends a message to the publisher (and the small book stores) that this book is something they should be paying attention to, my name is something worth noting. Events like Connie's, a small-town pre sale, is something new and adventurous for this relatively new bookstore. Between Jon's pre-sale of Going Home (almost a 1,000!) and my humble starts, this bookstore is going into the Holidays in high spirits and so am I.

If you are interested in getting a personalized and signed copy of Barnheart mailed right to your door from a small bookstore in my town, then click this link right here, son.

High spirits are good. I've been having a rough week, but have faith everything will work out for the better. I wrote a long, bitching, post last night (which some of you may have seen, and if so, I apologize) about my own troubles with keeping this place together. I took it down because complaining doesn't pay bills, hard work does. So I will be putting my head down these next few days working on projects and ideas, dealing with advertisers and workshop registrations, and so forth. I'll find a way. I always have.

In other news, I just finished planning an intense workshop with Brett about backyard meat chickens. I did one last year (which he attended) but this year we're presenting it together as a team. I'll cover the animal side (chicken care, raising meat birds, and the slaughtering/butchering demonstration) and he'll be showing everyone how to build a chicken tractor. (A chicken tractor is just a moveable pen that can constantly be dragged to fresh grass so your lawn gets fertilized and the birds always have clean pasture.) So it'll be a combination of husbandry and construction, ending with a farm dinner of chicken BBQ, sides and fixins. We're going to offer a full-day in late June (23rd), and there is no farming experience needed. This is for people thinking about getting started with meat birds, too. Maybe you just want to see how hard it is to go from chicken to drumstick? Or maybe you've raised layers and really want to see what goes into a dozen roasters? Everyone will go home with five meat bird chicks, plans on how to construct their own tractor, and enjoy a campfire in the evening if they wish to stick around. Bring a banjo and sharp knives. Fun!

44 Comments:

Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Jenna
Advice.... Start living your todays and dwell less on your tomorrows. This is from someone who has been there. When you buy a house you are house poor for 10 years. It will get better.

November 19, 2011 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger bree said...

Good morning Jenna,
I didn't see your bitchin post but I enjoyed reading this one first thing this morning. Congrats on the new book. I am ordering 2 copies this morning from Connie. Have a great Saturday!

November 19, 2011 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Thanks Julie, some times it is just overwhelming.

And thank you, Bree.

November 19, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Trekout2 said...

Enjoy each minute of life and take it one day at a time .... I am On the deer stand right now in Texas seeing another day begin ..... Thanks for doing what you do we enjoy it every day.

November 19, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

I'll be getting the book eventually but can't right now.
Never saw your other post but don't worry, we expect you to be "human" and have bad days. Not every day is the idyllic picture of the chickens pecking in front of the barn and the horse and sheep peeking over the fence. Take a breather, the answers will come.

November 19, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger NMPatricia said...

The post was real as are you. I t is part of life and I have always admired you because of your honesty. And knowing that sometimes life doesn't always look good for other people and that it isn't just me. I read your posts more for the essence of you that comes through than the lifestyle. I will never have the small farm that you do. But I can aspire to be the kind of person that you are!

November 19, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Misty said...

Life is very real -- from birth to death and everything in between. I read your deleted post. And as nice as it is to aspire to always being upbeat, there are times when things just get you down. (Believe me, there are things that can really get you down.) Living your dream, however, tells me that you have a positive outlook on life. And as hard as some days are, you take the good with the bad and chalk it all up to experience and life's journey. If everything always went well and nothing ever went south, well, it just wouldn't be real.

As far as the aches and pains go, add 20 years to your age and you'll be where I am now. The aches and pains come and go. You just learn to deal with things without killing yourself before your time. There are some days I wonder why I do what I do. The hot days of summer when hay is baled with pure sweat. The cold days of winter when I can barely make it through the snow to feed and water everybody before my fingers freeze solid. The pulled muscles, painful knees and back that keep me from a full nights' sleep. Well, these are jsut badges of honor for living your dream.

November 19, 2011 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I didn't see the post either, but I think I can imagine the gist of it. ;) Know this - no matter what happens along the way, no one with your kind of gumption will ever look back on their life at the end of it and say, "Well, that was a waste."

Bonus points to Trekout for posting FROM the deer stand! Trekout, where are you in the state? We've seen precious few deer since the summer drought. Our neighbor seems to be following the same small family around the entire area. Doe and babies are too small, no good bead on the buck so far.

November 19, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I missed your post (because I was working late on a graduate school project after working all day at my day job and coming home to do barn chores), but I know how hard you are working on everything. Your talent for seeing the poetry in a snowy morning, the simple pleasure of eating food from your own farm in front of a warm woodstove and even the worry and stress of building a homestead and two careers helps me see the beauty in my own little farm, and know that I'm not the only one out there paying some pretty high prices to have it.

November 19, 2011 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger christine said...

I ordered my book yesterday from Battenkill. I received a copy of Jon Katz's book from them as a gift and I love it all the more for the connection to the author and this great independent bookseller. I know I will feel the same about Barnheart.

I'm also anxious to have Gibson's 'autograph'.

November 19, 2011 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Casie Duberstein said...

I just ordered your book. It's a Christmas present to myself this year! I've already ready your other two so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one just as much.

This morning I was up at 4:15 AM making breakfast for my husband before he left to go out for the first morning of deer season here in Wis. My oldest daughter is along this year too. I hope atleast one of them brings something home. We have one in the freezer already from bow season, but this family of 5 can go through about 3 nice sized deer in a year. It's great to know you have a freezer full of venison!

Good luck on your hunt!

“I know that as far as I am concerned, I have long gone past the stage when the chief end of a hunting trip is the bag”
Teddy Roosevelt

November 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Sylvan said...

Jenna, You are such a terrific writer that I think you should also write a "Great American Novel." Why limit yourself? Just sayin'.....

November 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
OpenID smedette said...

Hang in there, Jenna. I really admire everything you do.

And, I've just ordered your book.

PS...whatever happened to the coffee cup/mason jar warmer contest thing? I sent you an email with my entry and would be happy to send you the actual thing:)

November 19, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

They were all due the 15th, I don't think I responded to anyone, been really behind on emails. I will sort through them and post the top ten for a vote over the weekend, sorry for the delay.

November 19, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Ms. Brenda said...

Jenna,
I'm ordering a copy of Barnheart for my public library. Did you see the review of Barnheart in Library Journal yet? It's very positive. I think it's ironic that it describes you as "endowed with seemingly endless reserves of energy and enthusiasm for her agricultural pursuits" as you're going through a rough patch. Remember, we're all still here cheering you on (& cheering you up).

November 19, 2011 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

Hey Jenna, this should cheer you up: http://consciouslyfrugal.blogspot.com/2011/11/interesting-homesteading-reads.html

November 19, 2011 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger aHunkaHunkaBurningLove said...

For me, the first hour or two of the first day of dear season was the best after that I prefered to just wait until the weekdays to hunt, after most of the out of towners went back to there towns. Looks like your in a position to be able to hunt on weekdays if you want. Good luck.

November 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Glad to hear I still have a bit more time to pre-order my copy of Barnheart!! I've been so afraid I would miss out on getting an autographed copy! With luck, I'll have the money to pre-order before Wednesday...

I saw a teeny bit of your post you deleted, and sorely wished I could just zoom over and give you a great, big hug. Girl, everyone gets down. It's a part of life. Last I checked, this wasn't a perfect world (unless it changed overnight when I was sleepin'!), so we just have to buckle down and take the downs right along with the ups in life. What ultimately matters is how we respond to the problem.

Hugs! :)

November 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger DebH said...

Glad to see you re-energized yourself...I read that post and thought...come on..there are always those days. Just don't let them win! I try not to blog or dwell or remind myself of the trying times, but stick to the best times. Sometimes when I worry myself into a lather, I summon all the powers above and around to help me solve. It works for the most part. Either I have solved the problem while I'm in my deepest sleep or I realize it in an instant. Accomplishment is all the praise I need for myself...and in the trying times it might be all we have..

November 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Life is never easy and sometimes those valleys can seem very deep. You are doing wondeful things, Jenna. Your hard work may not seem to be worth it at times, but it will eventually. Just keep plugging along and realize your blog friends are behind you and encouraging you all the way!
Kelpie and Collie is very correct. It will get better.

November 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Trekout2 said...

We are hunting in Franklin Texas it's about one hour outside of collage station Texas. The drought has not had an impact on the deer yet... We see 14 to 16 doe a day but season will not open for them till next Thursday - Sunday then back to bucks only any given day we see 3 to 5 bucks but they must have a 13 inch spread between the antler.

November 19, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Victoria Nidetch said...

I have ordered your book Jenna, especially signed by you and Gibson.
You are very brave, things will get better.

November 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger LindaSue said...

Missed your down post. That is unusual because I click on your blog 5 or 6 times a day. That is how much I enjoy reading what you write. I don't care if it is up or down. It is " you " Jenna. That is who and what we have all learned to care about.

I am 64 now and know what ups and downs are. I lost my son when he was 11. In my early 50's I decided to go to nursing school. Fought and struggled and finally got my LPN and 1 class away from my 2 year RN. Worked for 6 months and hurt my back. Kept working for almost 6 more years till it got so bad I had to "retire". I fight the pain and disability everyday. Some day's are bad and some ok. Don't have many good days anymore. I just keep on trying.

When we get on our land I am going to have a garden and chickens. I sure wish I could come to the chicken fun in June, but as I live here in south east Ala, it is a far piece to come. I will be with you in spirit. Going to get your chicken book and barnheart. Hoping to order on this Wednesday.

Ok, so now I am going to bake some (fresh pumpkin I roasted and put in the freezer) pumpkin, raisin,apple cider muffins. Oh yeah, a handful of 7 grain dry cereal that I ordered from Montana Wheat. Wonder how they will turn out. Can you smell them yet?

November 19, 2011 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

I saw your down post. No worries about it. But I do want to say that I can't wait to get my copy of Barnheart that I ordered from Battenkill. It makes me feel good to support a small bookstore like that and wish that there was a small bookstore here that I could have ordered it from. Alas all we have is a chain store that I dislike patronizing and it's the only game in town.

Best of luck to you, Jenna.

November 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

This hunter is probably going out tomorrow afternoon. A doe is just as good as a buck. You can boil those horns all you want, but they don't eat well. :) Bucks get all stupid this time of year, not so hard to kill. Does, on the other hand. . . . there is always one in the group that sets off the alarm to the others. She is on high alert and, in my opinion, a more difficult kill.

Is the 308 a bolt action, clip fed, lever action. . . ?? I had an incident with my dad's lever action Marlin 35 Rem. The hammer slipped. . . no blood, but I now use a bolt action.

November 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Didn’t see last night’s post, but I can also imagine the gist! Equanimity—that’s what I’m striving for to an extent at least-I have a long way to strive. I picked up Michael Perry’s Population 485 just last week and haven’t gotten that far, but I did get to chapter 2 and The Beagle and his ex-wives :-).

As for that rifle, take some straw bales and stack them up for a target backstop away from the house/animals, tack up a paper target and fire away a ½ box of shells or so, just you and the rifle tight against your shoulder. I’ve usually shoot my rifle balanced on my knee as I kneel down when hunting…but that’s just me and my sitting next to a tree hunting style—best of luck and have some fun!

November 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger The MO Farmers Daughter said...

Jena,I am older and I think you need some motherly advice,I personally think a young girl like you is trying to do too much,its overwhelming,you need to focus one one thing for a while,instead to doing so much,stop an focus,take a break,do something fun,and just start focusing on one project you want to be successful,and then relax,I just do not see how your doing it all,you are not superwoman!love carol

November 19, 2011 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger kwalk said...

Just ordered a copy of your new book! Can't wait to find it in my mailbox. You're doing amazing things, girl - be proud and keep on rockin!

November 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I have been in contact with Connie and will swing by Battenkill the day before Thanksgiving. If it isn't available I'll pay and have it shipped to Maine.
Consider having Rainbow Rangers featured in your workshop. The grow a bit slower than Cornish but don't keel over from congestive heart failure. I did 50 this year and didn't lose one. They are especially good for free ranging or tractoring.

November 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Hope you get your deer. Venison is such good meat.

November 19, 2011 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Speaking of deer hunting.

Oh its the second week of deer camp, and all the boys are here...

We drink, play cards and shoot the bull but never shoot no deer...

The only time we leave deer camp is when we need more beer...

Oh the second week of deer camp, is the greatest time of year!

November 19, 2011 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Hi Jenna, I did read your post and would have commented if it was possible. First of all, your family loves you, it may not be the life they expected you to have but they love you just the same. They probably don't want to see you working so hard so far away from home. They understand that you have committed yourself to your farm and animals and can't go home for the holidays. They just don't want you to be alone for Thanksgiving.

If there is anyone who can make this farming thing work, it is you! Every once in a while you should step back, take a deep breath and realize how far you have come. Then, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. I am sure it is tough being a young, single woman working your farm alone, but I am sure that you will meet the right guy and he will love you even more than we do. Keep your chin up, you are a fighter and you will get through this.

November 19, 2011 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Megan, Rudy's mom said...

Hey there!
I read your last post. I love that you are honest about your situation so the rest of us can see that it's not always fun. When you look back at that post once you have done good you'll feel better because of it. I get the whole family or animals thing. We had 4 dogs and family that don't live close by. So traveling was impossible. It sucks to have to choose but right now I think your animals are your family. I ordered your book too and look forward to reading it during Winter break! I think it'll be cool for Gibson to sign them too!

November 19, 2011 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger julronimo said...

Sorry you felt you needed to take your "negative" post down. Would like to think that you know we, your illustrious readers, can handle the down swings with the up swings. Hoping things are going better now.

November 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Jennifer F, you should stop by and say hi if you are around, or I'll meet ya down at Battenkill Books.

And thank you all for the kind words.

November 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

Hi, Jenna. What is the "Coming Home" book that you are referring to? I don't want to miss out on a good book! :-)

Diana

November 19, 2011 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Perhaps we will stop by. I have to do a drive by of Cold Antler to show my sister in law. We kind of had a contest to see who could find you and I won but you helped.

November 19, 2011 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Diana, Going HOme is Jon Katz's new book about dealing with the loss of a pet. It's a serious book on pet grieving and dealing with emotional loss. You can go to bedlamfarm.com for more info.

November 19, 2011 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Totally agree with Megan, Rudy's Mom that the down beat posts are as valuable as the upbeat posts - otherwise it isn't real. And for future farmers/homesteaders, it's vital to know there are good day and bad.

November 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

Thanks, Jenna! No wonder I couldn't find the book when I googled it - I used the wrong title. :-)

November 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

I was lucky enough to get an advance review copy of "Barnheart" (which I still have to review on my Mother Earth News blog) and it was AWESOME. I read it in one night, simply because I didn't want to stop reading. You guys are in for a real treat, seriously.

Jenna -- You kick butt. The fact that you have down days and still do everything you need to do, when so many people would throw up their hands and just go back to bed, says a lot about your strength.

November 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

I'll definitely be signing up for the backyard meat chicken workshop. I need a kick-in-the-pants to move from egg layers to meat birds. Plus, June 23rd is 3 days before my birthday. What better way to celebrate than a trip up to your area from PA.

November 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Well I pre-ordered from Amazon a few weeks ago, but am always leaving good books at the local coffee shop so I might as well get a second from your bookstore :) Thanks for the link!

November 22, 2011 at 12:17 AM  
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