Sunday, November 27, 2011

a decision has been made

I think about the future of this farm often. What it's purpose is beyond feeding the farmer and supplying some of you with wool? What can a collection of words, hope, and force create beyond a chicken dinner and a knit hat? I have come to this decision:

Cold Antler Farm will remain a working homestead, and continue to feed myself and those who come to take part in the land. But it's also going to become more than that. I am dedicating my writing and labor to the continued inspiration and education of others. I don't want this to be a living history or vacation resort. I want this to be an empowering classroom where anyone, from the upper west side to rural Nebraska, can come and learn these skills, and leave with the confidence and information they need to dig into their own backyards or can their own market-fresh tomatoes. I'll do this through workshops, speaking events, webinars, books, blogs, anything and everything that gets this message out: this life is yours for the taking.

They say you should find something you love, and then find a way to make that your living. So I will. This is an indisputable fact. I am in love with this life, and nothing makes me happier than getting other people started on the same path. When a person picks up their fiddle for the first time, confused and excited, I love the look on their face when they learn the first four notes and can leave the farm playing a tune. I loved watching first-time chicken owners leave this place with a shoe box of chicks and a copy of one of my books. I think it will take a few years to really get the workshop model down, but it already seems to help and connect others to something they crave just as much as I do. So I will keep at it.

I'm not sure what it will take to make it happen, but I'll do it.

33 Comments:

Blogger Trekout2 said...

And a good morning to you too

November 27, 2011 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Noël McNeil said...

I think you could definitely make a living farming...especially since you are a writer and are doing to much extra. Your pocket book might not be as fat, but it's a wonderful and fulfilling life. Keep up the hard work; some things take time and you've made huge progress just in the time I've been reading your blog. I love it and read it every day! Lord bless!

www.theshepherdsfarm.blogspot.com

November 27, 2011 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

I am so proud of the Jenna you are and for being in inspiration to many future small farmers or back yard gardeners. I am one of the people that just love reading your account on a daily basis and my only regret is that I am not close enough to see your operation in person. I wish you enormous success in the coming year.
Odie

November 27, 2011 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger PurrfectPetSitting said...

Any chance you'll be doing a beekeeping class/seminar? This will be my first year of keeping bees and I'd be interested!

November 27, 2011 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Right on!

November 27, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
OpenID mindingmymiracles said...

That is awesome. I can hardly wait to come and learn. ~Jessica

November 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

And you will do it. You have inspired me more than words can say already. I have 2 Finn sheep for wool and meat. I have 3 Katahdin ewes to have lambs for meat. I have a $25.00 ram to be the sire of these lambs. I am talking to people who are passionate about spinning and wool and knitting and animals. I love this life also and want to make my little farm work. And I will do it too.

November 27, 2011 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

"They say you should find something you love, and then find a way to make that your living."
How true. They should stress this in high school.

It's obvious that you are constantly re-evaluating what will make your life's work pay to keep you alive. I find myself constantly doing the same.
You are inspirational.

November 27, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

I think that's a wonderful decision!

November 27, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Woot!!
All I have to say is .. its about dang time!

hugs from a cool and wet TN
Denise

November 27, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

hunny, i hate to break it to you, but if you look over the past year,,,,you have already been doing this..... workshops, book signings, web fiddle lessons, etc etc, deep breath, etc...

keep living your dream and helping others my dear, i think that we are enjoying it as much as you are!

November 27, 2011 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Aisha said...

as soon as I live someplace with space again i will be one of your students at your chicken workshops. until then i will read your books, and your blog and show support that way!!1 Until then Be Blessed and YAYY on making the decision to be happy and let your happiness make you money.

November 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger CarolG. said...

How wonderful that you have found your dream and a way to share it with others showing not only the passion you have for task but also the work and discouragement you work through. You are providing inspiration for many. May your chosen life continue to provide you joy!

November 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Craftsteader said...

Keep up the good work, Jenna! I was home for the holidays and stopped with my SIL (the lady from Maine with the heritage rabbits) and we had a peek at your farm from our car while you were at work. It was lovely and wonderful to see all those lovely blackfaced sheep on the hill under the apple trees.
Like you, I want to see slow food, slow cloth, and the sustainability movement grow! I've been blogging tips on fleece processing, handspun and weaving side for several years and I hope more of this catches on for the good of small farmers everywhere! I have watched the movement grow over the past few decades and I love the new energy and insight you bring. Keep up the good work towards creating this new economy!

November 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

YES! YES! YES! You are finding your path in life! Teaching is such a wonderful thing to do.

Jenna, you are touching the world.

November 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

I agree with kandy Gray--you've been a teacher this whole time, maybe you just didn't know it! ;)
-Jaime

November 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
OpenID roseandphoenix said...

Do you know, last week I read (in the astrology section of a newspaper!) a line from Rumi: "Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." This is a beautiful candle, Jenna. I'm so glad you write about it. It's hard to make the inner commitment, I always feel it's like rocking back and forth before actually changing where your weight is balanced. Congratulations on shifting your centre.

November 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

Wonderful and powerful decision. Thank you for being here for us.

November 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger nawrockifamily said...

How wonderful it must feel to make this decision. I admire you for pursuing your passion. Like Norma said - finding what you love and doing it should be taught to younger people. Reminds me of the saying - if you find something you love to do, you will never work a day in your life. Farming is hard work and takes commitment, but that commitment to doing what you love is a far cry from the traditional 9-5 desk job work. Good luck to you, Jenna!

November 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

Most people who farm on your scale have outside jobs to keep body and soul together. Unless you suddenly find yourself wealthy it's just a fact of life.

November 27, 2011 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Sounds like a purposeful life....

November 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Great chicken photo Jenna!

November 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

This is so well said and I really admire your talent! Keep it coming girl!!

November 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Susannah of Cricklewood Farm said...

Yes, what you are proposing is absolutely feasible! And the way to do it will be unique to you - check out http://chrisguillebeau.com/ and his book the Art of Non-Conformity. This book is helping me a lot. He chronicles his journey to becoming a writer and speaker, but the lessons are applicable to anyone. For me the art of non-conformity involves building a career as a fiber artist, becoming a shepherd and creating a self-sufficient life for myself and my community. And I'm doing it the way it works for me.

Wishing you much success in your own endeavor, Jenna!

November 27, 2011 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yes, but David, this isn't just a farm. It's a writer and designer's farm. Right now I don't have time to focus on those skills (tried, clients got work too late or backed out) but I could make it work. It would require two or three more book deals, odd jobs, royalty checks, a small CSA, continued yarn sales, magazine artciles, and more....but I can do it. Just not right this minute.

November 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Very excited for you and this direction Cold Antler is taking—spreading the enthusiasm and know how for this life sounds like a fantastic pursuit.

November 27, 2011 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Great ideas, Jenna. Sounds like you will make the small farm go. Lots of work just to feed the household fresh food.
I am going to try the heirloom Long Pie Pumpkin next year after you used it for pie along with some heirloom squash.
Keep me in mind for wool.
The (soggy) Phony Farm, Middle TN

November 27, 2011 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Green Zebra Market Garden said...

I eventually see you running something akin to the John C. Campbell Folk School.

November 27, 2011 at 8:25 PM  
OpenID destinationisjourney said...

I wish I was still planning to move to NY state so I could go to your farm events!

November 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I'm not really sure about the whole "Find something you love and make a living from it." Sometimes we end up getting so stressed out about having to work so hard to make a living doing what we love so we can earn a buck, that we end up not enjoying the thing we love.

November 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Antlerstock was just such an experience, Jenna. I felt so encouraged and alive when I left it was fabulous and that kind of inspiration is worth traveling for and paying for so GO FOR IT!

November 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Snarled Yarns said...

Hello from the upper west side of rural nebraska...Oh wait, it's just Omaha.

November 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

I may have said this before, but you go ON with your bad self!

November 29, 2011 at 4:31 PM  

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