Saturday, February 11, 2012

the last ten minutes

I must have began and ended a dozen posts for today. My head isn't in the right place to write. It's been a hectic week here, as you have read. My mind feels just as frantic. Some times the highs and lows are so great you get blindsided by them. You lose your footing, you forget the end game.

I mean, some things have been so amazing it makes you shake. Recently I had to grab the wooden seat of a Meadowbrook cart as the Percheron ahead of me took off at a controlled canter. It was the most exciting feeling I had felt in weeks. I know people who swear by the thrill of their cars and motorcycles but a machine is still a machine. It will do what you ask of it, what it was designed to perform and maybe some more. But at no point will a motorcycle decide to stop dead in its tracks, buck you off, and drive off without you just because it felt like it. Driving a cart horse sounds so placid, serene. It wasn't. It was wild, feral as transportation gets outside the sole and saddle. I got to spend time with Meg and Patty make new and closer connections. I took in some refugee rabbits. I got the signed paperwork back for my fourth book. On paper, things are amazing. They are amazing.

And yet...

And yet there was Pidge, Lisette, the bad pork, and Valentine's day. All of this has me reeling for fifty different reasons. Usually this is the kind of stuff I just accept, stiffen my upper lip and trot on. But right now, honestly, I'm feeling a that lack of focus that infects my better nature. I'm usually really good at shaking off the fringes and putting my head down and getting to work. Lately I have felt that uncomfortable lack of control, proven over and over again by events on this farm I could never control.

No one tells you when you decide to start a farm how much you need to take responsibilty for and let go of at the same time. Not just the agriculture, but everything. You sign up for this life and you are both the stewart and the monastic. You need to be make sure everyone eats, drinks, thrives and sings and then when it all gets taken away from you—either by your own mistakes or dumb luck—you're supposed to just accept your lot and move on, as calm as clergy. I understand both sides of this coin and have performed the mental trapeze swinging for quite some time without needing the net. But right now, I'm feeling a loss of grip. Nothing serious, but something to chalk up my hands and get me centered again. And that too is up to me, of course. I don't have a life coach. I have a pitchfork. Same damn thing.

I blame this weird winter. Apparently the season wasn't that into us. A few dates and we got stood up by the season like prom dates. Sure, it might get cold tonight or even snow an inch or two, but this winter has been downright weird. Maybe that's part of the loss of balance, too. Or maybe I just need to sit down and sink into meditation and work through it like a zen monk once told me he did. "When I get frustrated. I meditate. For the first ten minutes it is like being stuck in a phone booth with a crazy person. The next ten minutes, with a therapist. The last ten minutes: with me."

A reader recently wrote me to tell me she wasn't going to read the blog any more because it was getting too personal. She wanted recipes and farm updates and education, not a narrative of a stranger's life. I'm pretty sure it is posts just like this she was talking about. I don't know what to say to that other than the blog grows with me, changes with me, and I bet you could print out the whole thing and highlight when I was in the first ten minutes (now), the second ten minutes (when you felt inspired by something i wrote) or the last ten minutes (when you sensed I was at peace). My response to just wanting content, and not narrative: you're reading the wrong blog, darling. But if you stick around, we can work towards the last ten minutes together.

Ring the singing bowls, hands in prayer position, time to sit it out and shake the dirt off my hide.


Blogger ~~Melissa said...

Hang in there, sweet girl. And farewell to any reader who wants the farm without the heart that rules it.

February 11, 2012 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I'm sorry you're feeling off centered Jenna! I agree, I think the whole season is off and that's throwing everything around it off too. But you'll chalk up those hands, grab those ropes and get on your way because that's what you have to do! And I'm actually dumb founded that someone would feel the need to come to your PERSONAL blog, and send you an email letting you know that they will no longer be reading because they don't want to read about you as a person. I think that's extremely rude and why someone would need to let you know this and not just never check Cold Antler again I don't know... I personally enjoy the mix of content, I equally enjoy recipes, farm updates, and posts like Valentine's, it's good to know that there is a person behind CAF just like there always has. Chin up Jenna, spring is around the corner and hopefully that will equal things out. *Hug*

February 11, 2012 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Jenna, the main reason I read this blog is because this IS personnal. If I want recipes, I go to Prairie Woman. I have a zillion knitting/quilting/craft blogs and website I can go to for those activities. What makes your blog special is your life and how you share it with us. I can identify with so much of it. A calf born with a gross malformation that did not survive birth. A foal with his forelegs back and had to be cut apart to remove him from his mother. A Percheron mare dropping dead in her stall from a clot in her lungs. Colicing filly that survived a sugery at six months but did not survive the second. Dead piglets. On and on and on. A farm, a working farm, has triumphs and disasters. My vet said once that all animals are an accident waiting to happen and no matter what you do to keep them healthy and safe; they are looking for a way to die!! Because we rank higher on the food chain means we do what we can. I know Pidge and Lisette hit you hard; but even in the back of your mind I am sure you knew neither was healthy and it was only a matter of time. I honor you for the courage to pull the trigger. I called the vet. *I just ordered Barnheart. Was a selection in the Good Cook book club. I read Made from Scratch but do not own it yet*

February 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

I forgot to add-when you need to come here for sympathy, empathy or a kick in the pants, I am sure all around you will contribute whatever you need. WE want to see you succeed, not just survive.

February 11, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Candice said...

That's a lot to go through - I certainly don't think I'd handle it near as well as you have. And what Melissa said!

Farming isn't about all the 'fun' stuff - it's not just playing house, baking and cooking and raising animals because its fun. It's hard work - it's dedication - it's the ups and downs - it's your heart and your soul. I love and adore that you give me a glimpse into your life and your emotions that go along with it, and that you keep me 'grounded' when I start to daydream about how perfect/happy my future farm life will be when in reality I'll have to deal with the same issues and emotions. Your posts show that you're a REAL person, and a person blogging and talking about something you love which I feel like a lot of blogs I read these days lack.

February 11, 2012 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I love the fact that you post what you are feeling. That takes alot of courage and you are bound to get people who shy away from that. More than likely due to their own issues. You are doing alot and have been through discouragement over the last week and you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel something. I am alone too and it can be hard taking responsibility for everything and keeping steady at all times. And, we all need emotional support to get through the hard times. I love reading your blog,and I wouldn't change a thing about it !!!

February 11, 2012 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

My yoga teacher this week gave a class that was entirely centered around the kidneys (she is also a massage therapist/body worker and has a background in chinese medicine, so her yoga classes are influenced by - and designed to influence!- the different meridians etc. She's amazing.)

After class I was talking with her and she was saying that during this time of year, we tend to try to power through and amp up in anticipation of the coming spring. That is over stimulates/messes with kidney and adrenal function. That its too easy to allow ourselves to get over/un balanced in this final push towards spring.

Celebrating Imbolc/Candlemas the other weekend, I was struck by the duality of the season. There is the returning light, and that tends to be the biggest focus. But what is going on underground is just as important. The unfurling/waking roots are as important, more so perhaps, since they are the future foundation of the rest of the cycle of seasons.

It sounds like maybe you need to take that meditation time to nourish your roots. Maybe when Feb's over and you don't have workshops EVERY WEEKEND, you can take a day to do little more than chores, and drink coffee with dogs, or wander in the woods?

Also. I totally second what Melissa said. Very well put.

February 11, 2012 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

What kind of person writes to a blogger and tells them they won't be reading anymore because they don't like what they are writing about? I'm actually kind of pissed about this. People forget their manners when they don't have to look a person in they eye. Whoever you are, shame on you.

"I don't come to your job and tell you how to flip hamburgers."

Write what you want to write, Jenna. I, for one, find your thoughts to be of comfort. It makes me feel like I am on this journey with you...I can relate and I feel less alone for it. Get personal, work it out in front of us if you need to. Or don''s all just fine. You're doing great. Don't stop.

If you're in a funk just let it run it's course. It won't last.

February 11, 2012 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Kpatt said...

Part of your education in learning to be a farmer is the growth in mental toughness that you need to do the job. You didn't grow up watching your Dad butcher hogs or perform other brutal farm chores. Cut yourself some slack. You are a lot tougher than when you started this adventure. This isn't Disneyland. Your readers need to know the truth and you give it to them. Don't change a thing.

February 11, 2012 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Jburd said...

keep doing what you're doing. don't change anything!

February 11, 2012 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Like other posters, I too am perplexed about what would motivate a person to write a blogger about why they are no longer reading their blog...especially if it wasn't some offensive post like disagreeing about politics or some social issue. I think it's illustrative of people's misunderstanding of what farming actually is. You don't just take care of animals, grow things, and put up food; you ARE a FARMER. It's about a personal relationship with the earth, the animals and the people that share it with you. I like to think that we're part of that. Jenna, you've made us feel welcome and part of it. That is an astonishing accomplishment given that many of us are scattered hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Thank you for sharing this earth journey with us. I feel sad for your former reader that doesn't get it. She's chosen a lonely way to travel.

February 11, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger PattyW said...

What Meg said! We are So thrilled to meet you, to share with you, to read about you! If it snows we'll break out the sleigh ( my lemons/lemonade mantra).
Patty & Mark & Steele & critters

February 11, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger spike said...

"I don't have a life coach. I have a pitchfork. Same damn thing."

....that sums it up. Even if you are feeling off center, at least you know where you find your center. Not a lot of people can say that much. Time to grab the pitchfork.

February 11, 2012 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I think the reader who thought your blog was too personal needs to find her niche in a farm extension website. She's in the wrong place here. I (and I'm sure 99% of your readers) read this blog to live our lives through you and your positive & negative experiences. Keep up the good work, Jenna ~ you haven't disappointed us. You've inspired us. Best wishes for a happier week.

February 11, 2012 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Interesting you say your winter is off-kilter. Our southern hemisphere summer has been lousy this year, as if the sun decided to have a holiday elsewhere..must be all connected somehow?? Hang in there through the tough stuff, I really enjoy your blog - ALL of it, not just the farmy stuff.

February 11, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I find it very weird that someone felt they needed to tell you why they weren't reading anymore. As if you were writing for your audience. I don't get that at all. You are writing for you! We are just enjoying and connecting when it feels right. And I am oh so grateful for the humility, personality, intimate details that you share. Your writing is so balanced between joys and sorrows and feels just right as I ponder my own homesteading future. Thank you and these days too shall pass.

February 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2012 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

You are the farm, you have to be in the blog.

February 11, 2012 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

Blogger Melina said...

Ugh I'm sorry to hear that are feeling down. I'm sorry about the recent losses you have experienced.I love your blog. You say what you feel and I appreciate your honesty. It is refreshing. Don't let Valentine's Day get you down darling. There is so much more to love than chocolate and flowers on the 14th of February. You will find it. I'm certain. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

February 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I love that you keep it real. Be true to yourself.

I am sorry you are having such a difficult season. Seasons change and things will change for you as well. It is hard not to dwell in your "darkness" but search for the light. There is one.

February 11, 2012 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

I think some people feel they have some sort of entitlement to your life-hence telling you their displeasure with your actions/writings, and that you are here soley to provide them with what THEY want.... "because it was getting too personal. She wanted recipes and farm updates and education, not a narrative of a stranger's life", that's what google is for darling!

I am SO thankful for your (sometimes) brutal (in an amazingly good way) honesty. It grounds me, because being a Pisces I am a dreamer-there are countless "homestead" plans and drawings running rampant, and coating every surface of our lil' house. Without your blog I would have never known the name for my disease, nor would I have fully seen and learned to appreciate the inside visceral parts of raising a meat pig. You are a blessing. And that reader isn't worth a second thought....

I hate to ramble on, so, as for all the junk that's weighing you down currently; in 5 minutes will some of it matter? How bout five days? Five months? Five YEARS....? Some of it might, or so you might think, but after those timeframes pass you may not even remember these "things", nor how heavy they may have once seemed. You are just fine.

Thank you for all you've been, (to SO many people), all you are, and all you will be in the future.

February 11, 2012 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

Besides, that reader's probably just jealous of your wolfy grin, and proverbial balls to run, howl, and live your life; the way you're meant to.

February 11, 2012 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

When you live a life like this you have to be careful. You can load yourself down with too many commitments and when you get behind they pile up on you and you get to thinking that you will never catch up. Trust me, I am there. I have way too many things that I want to get done tomorrow and I really want ALL of them to get done but I know I am only one person. If I don't get those things done there will be another time.
The difference between my blog and yours though is that you are trying to make this one a success. I am just trying to pass on much easier.
If it gets to be too much step back and downsize. Downsize on animals if you have to, downsize on blogging, downsize on workshops. Downsize on something before it gets to be way too much.
Also keep in mind that we don't expect you to be perfect. We do understand that you are still learning too.

February 11, 2012 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

I too love reading your posts-both the ups and the downs. While I certainly don't wish any of the nasty, downer plain old crappy stuff that has happened recently on you or anyone, it's nice to hear that your life is not all beauty and harmony and roses. Then it's unrealistic, and not the real you. I can relate a lot more to the posts where you show through-both the happy and the sad you. Have a quiet afternoon of nothingness to the extent that you can-savor it, then rally. Sending you virtual hugs from Idaho!

February 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger kringsrud said...

Every once in awhile you post something that inspires me to come out of lurker mode and make a comment.

My two favorite bloggers, of whom you are one, are both having a rough couple of weeks. Both farm issues. Both personal. Both taking it hard. My heart hurts for you both.

Write your truth, no matter how messy or painful. That's what I love about your blog. I'll bet that's why most of us read you -- we don't WANT to read sanitized, pasturized, cleaned up for the masses accounts of farm life. We want to know what it -- and you -- are really like. You are not writing for Disney here. Don't apologize for doing what you do so well.

So. Deep breath. Drink your water. Take your vitamins. Get a few good nights' sleep. That meditation exercise sounds mighty nice. Tell us what we can do to help, and know that we stand at the ready to help if we can.

You are not alone.

February 11, 2012 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Please don't stop writing what you feel and only do recipes, cute, funny stories and informational posts. Then I'll think the life you're living is easy and will feel like my own failures at homesteading are odd or aberrant. That woman who wants you to do that needs to pick up a subscription to "Country Living," and enjoy the ads, the pretty pictures, and the idea of country life, which in reality is nothing so pristine. Please continue being honest and's what most of your readers like best about you and your blog!

February 11, 2012 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Infinite Possibilities said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2012 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Infinite Possibilities said...


I just LOVE you. Not in a "weird"'re just so normal and wonderful and real. Tomorrow is a new day to sort it all out. For now, have a glass of wine by the fire. You're a lot better off than most. xoxoxo

February 11, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Em said...

It IS, in large part, this winter we've (not) been having. I was at an off-season market today--nothing to sell but wool blankets and yarn and the winter-hardy herbs, and no one there to buy it, but my being there was a gesture of goodwill towards the farmer who hosted it. And while I and the other vendors there were trying to pass the time, I got to talking to a wonderful elder who also attends our main summer market: very old South, and a long-time grower. In the course of the conversation, we talked about how mild the winter has been (even for South Carolina) and how difficult it's been because of that.

It's been so mild that we've all continued to work outside through the "off" months when we really should have been spending more time indoors, more time in bed, more time reading and processing and thinking and recharging. (Allan Nation, who is a Mississipian, had a really great take on this in a recent issue of Stockman Grass Farmer.)

I am afraid this coming season will be a big challenge for many reasons--more pests and parasites from the lack of cold, for one--but the one I fear the most is the lack of a true winter and a chance for soul hibernation.

February 11, 2012 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

I agree with what everyone else has said! :) My entire month of January (and my entry into my 30th year) got off to a really crappy start to the point that I think I should have stayed in bed till Feb. 1. I had enough last minute cancellations and "no-shows" in my business to warrant it.
We all have times in our lives where nothing adds up and the universe seems out to help us dig our "hole" a bit deeper. But then we gradually come to the realization that the shovel would be better put to use in planting a tree.
Chin up! We all love you and want you to be healthy in every way. I highly recommend the meditation. I actually use nature sounds CDs or nature sounds with music as my method of centering. Try not to get bogged down by chasing every thought or dream at the same time. Even Wonder Woman needed rest in between bouts of fighting evil. :)

February 11, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

I'm sorry to laugh at that person, but it IS silly to come to YOUR blog, about YOUR farm, YOUR animals, YOUR town, YOUR life as an author and YOUR willingness and yearning to teach others and then be surprised that it's about YOU. I'm truly giggling at the very thought. :)

I grew up doing many of the things that you are learning to do now. They have served me well and I know they will you, too. Some lessons are harder than others, I know.

I think, despite the ups and downs, you are making progress on UP. Really.

I will admit I've been worried that you have been putting a lot on your plate with the book signings, the gatherings at the farm, your job, the farm and lessons, but when it was brought up by others you seemed to be aware of it and watching it, so I didn't chime in and say anything. Maybe I should have, I don't know.

Please know that if we say something about how busy you are, it's out of caring for your mental and physical health, not out of wanting you to fail.

We all get overwhelmed and kicked by life. People who've never set foot on a farm do, too.

How VERY lucky are we that while we're being trampled by life, we still get to put in the work to have our dreams come true? :)

Keep on trucking, sister. You're doing fine. :)

February 11, 2012 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger bookkm said...

My biggest concern about your blog and writing is that you chronicled the successes and we heard very little about the problems. That is so unreal. Once or twice you began posts and then deleted them and I was relieved, in a way. At the same time, you have built a community here and your readers are rooting for you.

You might take a few days off from blogging...just concentrate on the animals and the farm and feeling well. Or you might need to start another blog for venting...Or you can keep on doing what you're doing.

Frankly, my head spins when I read about your life. A load of pork is destroyed for safety concerns RIGHT before you have a workshop? Then you have a draft horse experience and come home and find a sick sheep? I can't find my keys and I have a meltdown, girl! Give yourself a break. Your life is so chock full of living you might have to hire someone? Take on an intern?
Oh yeah, that's it, Jenna. Here's a way to further complicate your life beyond belief. Troll the agricultural schools in NY and see if some student wants to be an unpaid intern.

In the meantime, cry a little. Take deep deep breaths. See if a neighbor can give you a day off. Go buy something stupid. Or talk to a doctor to make sure you're all healthy. Do whatever it is you need to do to keep going because I know I speak for many of us, we are invested in you, personally, emotionally. And we really want to know what's going to happen with your fiction. But, hey, no pressure. Honest!

February 11, 2012 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

I’m in agreement with most of the commenters—your blog is personal and that’s one reason why I read. I wouldn’t say I’m reading to live through you—it’s more of that I enjoy hearing your take on the world very much and like your genuine spirit and wishing you well on this trek through life—very grateful you are willing to share both the ups and the downs. Plus, it’s almost a relief that there’s you and fellow readers with similar interests out there and someone also crazy enough to still want this life even if it has to be done while going it alone. I think I started reading when you were in the last ten minutes and you helped get me into the 2nd ten minutes! Life certainly has many twists—holding on tight through the curves and then working it out is certainly one for sure—know you’re up to it. Wishing you and your pitchfork the best. Take care.

February 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Hang in there. We've been having the "what the hell are we doing here" conversation lately due to a series of rough hits in our first six months of living in California. Life is really hard and baffling sometimes. Bottom line, you're doing a great job and you are most definitely not alone. It will get better.

February 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

*scratches head* Getting too personal? Hasn't it always been that way? (And I have read your entire blog from start to current, so yeah.)

February 11, 2012 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Tina said...'s your blog, of course its personal!
The sheep, the pigs...the hens..the rabbits...they are under your care...the music...the truck stories....IT'S PERSONAL!!!
make a cuppa's tea, snuggle with the dog and get some rest...I here winter is coming for a visit.

February 11, 2012 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

I stopped reading're supposed to just accept your lot and move on, as calm as clergy...I CRY BULLSHIT GIRL. Sorry but it has to be said. No way in hell are you supposed to accept any of this as calm a clergy. BS. You cry and scream and rant if you need to. BS again. You are warm and human and your heart hurts so cry if you need to. No none of that will help you with the pain of dealing with a farm w/out a partner who has your back. But bs about accepting that.

February 11, 2012 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Jenna, wish we could all get together right now for a fire pit party with beer, wine and music! I have not read all the comments but I know your tribe is out there rooting for you and sending good thoughts your way. I found a new blogger this weekend, not a farm blog but a story and a recipe blog. Here is a good rabbit recipe that you might like.

I have been working my way through her posts and they are funny and the recipes are yummy. Peace to you and all on your farm tonight. Karen from CT

February 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Hi Jen. I'm a lurker and have been for years. Share it all - the good the bad, I want to read it all. Life is hard no matter what you want to do in life. I love to hear about your life and how you always get back up again. Thank you for sharing it.

February 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Your blog is not about a farm, it's about life. It's about Jenna. If the reader doesn't want that then go to a DIY blog. That is all...

February 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger bookkm said...

Let's make a solemn pact. If we, here in the blogosphere, ever decide to stop reading any blog, we will just stop reading. We will not announce our rejection to the blogger and to the other followers of the blog. We will slip silently away. That said, I have no intention of slipping away from this blog in the foreseeable future.

February 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

What everyone has said. We read your blog because it is personal and interesting. We empathize with your bad times and cheer the good ones. The dingbat errr former reader was rude to talk to you in that manner.
Hang in there Jenna-we are rootingfor you!

February 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

That's a hard place to be. And I don't know about you, but I'm not ashamed to admit that as much as I love my life, I really do suffer from farm burnout from time to time. I have days (sometimes whole weeks) when I don't want to do a single farm chore. When I'd really rather just go shopping, eat take out, watch TV. I don't do those things, of course, but sometimes I wish my life could be as uncomplicated as it was before that farm. Perhaps everything that's gone wrong lately has left you with a touch of that? I wish I could say it was non-winter affecting me, but in my case it's the pod person (read: baby) that has taken over my body!

Hang in there. Focus on the small wins, wherever you can find them. You'll get your game back. And yes, this blog IS you, so don't sweat anyone who finds that a reason to leave. Frankly, I take issue with "farm" blogs that are all recipes and crafts and vintage aprons. I appreciate that those folks can run their blog the way they want, but it feels too impersonal and unreal for me to enjoy. Farming is raw.

February 11, 2012 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I actually find it amusing that someone found your blog too "personal." Um...this is a blog, right? Not a website for your farm, but a blog...web log...would she be happier with a daily list of how many bales of hay go in and how much manure comes out??

Whatever you want to tell us, I find you just as interesting as the animals. Without you, there is no CAF.

Sleep well, Farmer Girl.

February 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

If I just wanted recipes and farm advice I have cookbooks and livestock manuals aplenty. I read your blog to hear your story. I want to be inspired, and that's exactly what your personal posts do for (almost) all of us.
And just so you know- I think we are all just as inspired by your heavy-hearted posts as we are by your jubilant ones, if not more so. It reminds us that this amazing Jenna chick is human, just like us, so yes, it's possible for us to dream as big as her.

February 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Mist said...

For every reader who doesn't want to hear the personal stuff, there's at least one more reader who comes here specifically for that openness, the baring of your heart and your truth. It's what attracts me to people "in real life", and it's what brings me to blogs. Do your thing, Jenna. You'll never be able to please everyone, and I know you know that. It does sometimes need repeating. ;)

Hang in there, lady. As always, thank you for sharing with us--good or bad. I hope you can feel the love and encouragement coming your way!

February 11, 2012 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

Over the years, reading your blog feels like visiting an old friend. We do not share the same opinions about everything but I do admire you will to make a living as a farmer. Your posts make me smile and think and cry sometimes. And I wish I could find words of comfort right now...

February 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

You are eating the whole apple Jenna. "Fruit, core, and bitter seed." You are living your life openly, honestly, and with integrity. And your blog is a testament to that. Don't change a thing.

February 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Katie Swanberg said...

Readers come and go. I think you do a fab job of writing about your life, and sharing the work that goes into a farm that the majority of us don't understand and will never see. Yes, you write for your readers but at the end of the day, you're a reader of your own blog too, and you know where that sweet spot it. Sometimes it gets a little hazy, but it always comes back into focus right when you need it (speaking from experience here). If you're receiving criticism, you are doing something right. And yes, the reason I read this blog is because there is a wonderful person named Jenna behind it, and it's about her life. It's personal.

As for that last 10 minutes...
“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
--Robert Louis Stevenson

February 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Gosh, I know that "I'm not in control of my life" feeling as it's been happening this past couple of years. A rogue star out in the universe somewhere, pulling us hither and thither. I want to get back in control, butt I have to just sit it out and wait for the fates to change their direction.

As for your blog being personal - you're human aren't you? You're not the one with the problem, it's the person who HAD to TELL you that SHE (I presume) couldn't cope with your PERSONAL blog. For heaven's sake! Life throws us a duff hand sometimes and we wouldn't be human if we didn't feel a need to share it. You don't need followers like that.

Carry on as you have been doing. I loved hearing about your driving lesson btw - driving something as big as a Percheron (after your little POA chappy!) is a big step up! Enjoy : )

February 12, 2012 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger gina said...

love your blog Jenna. Never commented before but keeping writing what you write - I love it! I wish I had done what you have done 20 years ago.

February 12, 2012 at 4:11 AM  
Blogger Grampy said...

Keep the faith. Look in the mirror at the awesome reflection of you. Realize how wealthy you are in your experiences. Enriched by your ability to share what you can

February 12, 2012 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Your blog constitutes that authentic life you wrote about a few weeks ago. You drive that cart all by yourself. As you serve yourself, you serve us as you share Cold Antler Farm.

Don't let anyone dictate or compromise that which reflects your truth.

February 12, 2012 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Tora Consolo said...

I can't add anything that hasen't already been said. Just know that are so many of us out here that are behind you 100%. Hugs and reiki!

February 12, 2012 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Melina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 12, 2012 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

I get the whole taking the responsibility and letting go at the same time. It's like that with parenting anything - children, a new company - and now, it seems, a farm.

When we have a week like this around here, we say there must be a crack in the universe around our star right now. We've learned from experience that hanging on tight to those proverbial rails and riding it out is the only way through. Soon (sometimes later) the balance will return, or enough of a balance to let us carry on without gripping quite so tightly.

Peace to you and your house.

February 12, 2012 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Quiet time is highly under-rated. Quiet time with no one other than extremely close friends or family. Quiet time on your place. I spend so much time just being with my sheep, and my dogs and my animals. Just being with them. It centers me. Take time to enjoy yourself more. Life is the journey.

February 12, 2012 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Joe and Jeannie Family said...

You are in the business of life - sustaining it and living it. Some days are hard, but keep on living.

Phil. 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus."

God can do a good work in and through you in all circumstances if you trust in him.

February 12, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger mary in manchester said...

congrats on the new book contract. i read your blog because you are a writer as well as a farmer, and pretty damn good at both.

February 12, 2012 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, I'm with everyone else: I read this blog because it's your story. I admire that courage to tell us what your life is actually like, what the farm looks like in mud as well as snow, in the dregs of winter as well as in high summer or spring when everything is alive. Please keep writing the story.

And, just on a side note: I actually know more clergy than farmers, and all I can say is that they sure need to cry and work to regain balance sometimes too. It seems to be part of being human.

February 12, 2012 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

I could have written this post myself today, if I had as much gumption as you do to put it all out there. You write what you want. It's your blog. At least you keep writing.

Farming has heady heights and terrific lows. A desk job in someone else's firm doesn't give you the life and death situations that working with living beings in your care gives you. I wouldn't swap it for anything else either.

February 12, 2012 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jenna, you've become a "friend" to many of your readers through your blog...friends share the good times and the bad, and are there for each other no matter what. I love hearing about your day, it makes me realize that it's not only me who's had a few rough moments. I love learning about farm life through your blog, seeing the pics of the animals, your farm, your's as close as I will get to farm life for the forseeable future.

February 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Megan, Rudy's mom said...

I was at dinner party last night and I was talking about your blog and how you manage everything on your own and how I admire your hard work. Everyone was amazed at how you turned your little farm into a small business to help others who want a to be apart of that life. It's great about your 4th book!

February 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Regina said...

I'm in it for "the last ten minutes'! You have a gift of bringing the reader into your experiences. I have tried to follow other blogs but keep coming back to reading yours faithfully. Keep up the good work.

February 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger chesapeake said...

The whole reason I read this blog is *because* it's personal. And since when did you ever mainly post recipes/crafts? I've been a follower since 2008. Had I known that this was a lifestyle blog, I would have unsubscribed. Because WHERE ARE THE OUTFIT POSTS??? What Jenna wore today? I feel cheated!


Hugs to you, Jenna! Carry on.

February 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

One of my favorite parts of your blog are the entries explaining how you feel. We are trying to get back to N. Carolina to start a farm but we are mired in the housing wreck in Northern California. Seriously underwater with our house and we can't move.
Reading your blog reminds me of how difficult it is to run a farm. You keep it real. When I read blogs- yours is first on my list and I'm a vegan/animal rescuer. While my farm will look a lot different than yours, the challenges with the animals are the same and I have certainly felt discouragement as well. Keep on keeping on!

February 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger e.m.b. said...

I love reading your blog for the precise reason it IS personal. Keep on keeping' on.

February 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Sacha Joy said...

I hope the world is looking brighter this new day.

February 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

Loving ALL the minutes of this is your "personal" that draws me back~ shalom!~

February 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

If you can swing it, both time and money-wise, go take a tan. Just one. Sounds like your hypothalamus could stand some stimulation and a little natural vitamin D couldn't hurt either.

February 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jenna your blog is perfect because it is you. If someone wants generic farming/gardening/animal husbandry info - there are plenty of generic sites to provide that. The soul of Cold Antler Farm is you. The you that learns the banjo, and when leaving to sign for the farm looks for something take with her that is hers to share the ride. You lead with your heart whether farming or writing. Its what makes you unique. Life is a roller coaster - with thrills,chills and scary moments. You share them all with us. Thank you for inspiring us. And doing it with that indomitable spirit that says I will do this & succeed.

February 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Luann said...

Love your blog Jenna, the highs and the lows, it is how life truely is. Nothing is perfect and it would be a false use of space if you did not share what you are inspired to share with your space. Sending positive energy your way, I understand alot about things not going how I have planned them. Just hang in there, keep being yourself. You have learned alot and will always continue to learn. Having a Valentine is not all its cracked up to be most of the time (maybe that is just the bad I am going thru myself right now). Chin up and give all those critters a hug from their Auntie Luann.

February 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I too have had that sense of wanting to recenter. Things have been weird in my life recently (in a totally different way).
The other day while I was volunteering at the library, I passed by the philosophy shelves and noticed The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism. I remember really liking Taoism in high school but never really reading up on it, so I got it on a whim. I'm really enjoying reading it, as I haven't really given attention to that part of myself (I guess my spiritual side?) in years. It feels good.

Maybe you should take some time to nourish your self. Go running, do some yoga, take a long bath, read a book that has nothing to do with farming, brew some herbal tea. Maybe if you can afford it, get a massage or acupuncture. It might be a great Valentine's Day alternative. As Tommy would say on Parks & Rec, "TREAT yo' self!"

February 12, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Yet another amazing post! While I haven't yet read all the comments, I'm sure I'll be redunant in saying don't change a thing. To me it's an honor to share in the personal details of your life and the farm. I look forward to reading everday because it feels more like a letter from a friend than an article out of a magazine.

Not that it brings me joy to hear that you're feeling out of balance, but it comforts me to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. The winters in KY have always felt strange to me, but this year has been by far the strangest. I don't mean to complain, my heat bill is virtually nonexistant, so I am grateful, but I still can't quite get a grip on this uneasy feeling.

I know the past few weeks have been crazy for you, so I'm sending as much calming energy your way as I can muster. Hope things start to balance out for you soon.

February 12, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Jenna, thanks for keeping it real here. As most of your readers have already said, I love that you get personal - it is indeed what keeps this blog compelling, much more so than other farming/homesteading blogs. We're all here for you too, not just the other way around. Sounds like a little bit of selfishness is in order, and well deserved. Hang in there!

February 12, 2012 at 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the stories are the adventure you describe. If a reader wanted an instruction manual go buy one. I think they miss the point of this venue/forum. People exchanging ideas, thoughts and stories is what it's about. Keep it up!

February 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I will never understand people who complain to the blog author about...the author's own blog!! Hello! Did she think you were writing for hire - and hired by her? Goodness! I have heard this happen time and time again on other blogs. Here's an idea: if you don't like a blog, how about you stop reading it? Go your merry way and find another that suits you better!
Anyhoo... spring is coming - both physically and emotionally. Hang in there :)

February 12, 2012 at 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just recently found your blog, and I really appreciate hearing ALL sides of your story. It's not all puppy dogs and rainbows all the time, and to hear the realities of it all really helps me in my own efforts. Anyway, thanks for being awesome in general (even if you aren't feeling too awesome today) and for sharing the ups and downs.

February 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I love your blog....keep it real, don't change it for anyone!

February 12, 2012 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger downeast becka said...

i think the mix of personal and farm, appreciation and yearning is what keeps me coming back Jenna. another blogger i dearly love, who i will leave nameless, i sometimes want to ask, "don't you have bad days?" how do you handle x,y,z?", there is no hard stuff...but we all have hard stuff. you share it. it makes it real. i really appreciate that. kudos. keep on keepin on...

February 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Sue at Sweetgrass Ranch said...

You are the heart and soul of Cold Antler Farm, Jenna. Your experiences -- highs, lows, and everything in between -- make reading this blog so worthwhile. So far, 2012 has been been a tough row to hoe for me: broken ribs courtesy of a flying lesson from one of my mares, emergency life-saving colic surgery and a long rehabilitation for my favorite filly, and a very old and dear friend in dog's skin on her way out of this world. Usually, I can juggle all the stars in the sky. Not so lately. Still, I have faith. In time, all will be well and I'll get back in my groove. Thanks for sharing how you feel. I'm there, too. We are both going to be better than fine one day soon. I love the image of Gibson giving you a hug. Here's one from me, too.

February 13, 2012 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

Your blog is the only one I consistently read (and have for over five years). I love your methods. I feel personally invested here, that's why I get so mad at the naysayers. KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!!

February 13, 2012 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

I hope that things turn around soon - you certainly deserve it!

February 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Thank you for writing and for the Zen quote. It was one of those things that, once read, smacks you in the chest. It's Truth. Hoping you feel more centered very, very soon.

February 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger chiggermarie said...


February 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Also- signed paperwork on your 4 th book?!?!?

February 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Also- signed paperwork on your 4 th book?!?!?

February 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger farmgirlwanabe said...

Please keep writing on all the topics you have been writing - personal or impersonal - your words inspire and for this old gal also ground me. It makes me realize that there is no such thing as a crazy dream and reminds me what I used to say when I was your age - nothing is impossible as long as you have imagination and couple it with a drive and a will.

I always say whenever a door closes a window opens. Nothing lasts forever either good or bad. So treasure the good when it happens and remember the bad will pass. When I lost my mom at 17 and my dad at 18 those were the words I used to keep my spirits up. (those and Gone with the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara's 'I can't think about that right now - I'll think about that tomorrow' or something like that). Reading all the comments that you receive daily indicates there are alot of people across the US and Canada, (and probably other parts of the world) that care about you and enjoy your words. If you were to stop I am sure that they, like me, would feel a vacuum in not having your writing around.

so...keep on truckin...

(by the way that's an expression from where I originate from that means - keep doing the great job you're doin')

February 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Hunington said...

An excellent essay on the Haters vs. Writers conundrum:

February 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger The MO Farmers Daughter said...

My Gosh Jena,Just look at how many comments you have,people love you and know that you are a real person,and that is OK.It made me feel better because I am guilty of doing the very same thing,we are real people,and no one expects you to even blog daily,you are not super woman or super human,your a real girl,and a young person that needs to be having a little fun besides just all work!love carol

February 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Wellfleetgal said...

I enjoy your blog- no matter what you are writing about.

February 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Wellfleetgal said...

I enjoy reading your blog- no matter WHAT you are writing about!

February 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Colleen Mole said...

That's a crock of shit! I love your blog Jenna because you share it all! Yes I want to hear the nuts and bolts stuff to get ideas, but I read your personal story to be inspired! Just finished reading Barnheart for the same reason. Now I want to get your other books just to hear more of your voice (and, of course, to dream of chickens)

And seriously, what kind of rude ass person would email you to tell you they aren't reading your FREE blog any more?? Just move on quietly and politely lady!

February 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Amy Daniels said...

Well, lose one, gain one. You have a new reader that likes what you are writing. :-)

February 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger MsPieway said...

Well, maybe your blog didn't work for that person, but it sure works for ME!! I am a woman pushing 60 and enjoy reading about young women going for their dreams...another blog similar in spirit to yours is: I grew up reading Mrs Mike and books like that, and maybe I couldn't live that life while I was younger, but I do love living it vicariously thru you!!

February 14, 2012 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger blissbelly said...

I like the personal stuff best, Jenna. Why would we ever pretend to be tougher/sleeker/more composed than we are? I skim over some of the technical details for the true glimpse into a farmer's life.

February 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Debby said...

Jenna I started reading your blog last winter and looked forward everyday to new photos and stories about how you were dealing with the weather. Trudging through the snow to feed and bed your animals, warm fire and coffee on the stove waiting to warm your hands and soul. It's really been weird this year!!! Please continue to keep your blog personal, it makes me feel like you are a friend and part of my family.I feel like part of your journey when you share the lows along with the highs. Things will get better and you have a amazing group of friends sending good thoughts, prayers and hugs your way.

February 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Debby said...

Jenna I started reading your blog last winter and looked forward everyday to new photos and stories about how you were dealing with the weather. Trudging through the snow to feed and bed your animals, warm fire and coffee on the stove waiting to warm your hands and soul. It's really been weird this year!!! Please continue to keep your blog personal, it makes me feel like you are a friend and part of my family.I feel like part of your journey when you share the lows along with the highs. Things will get better and you have a amazing group of friends sending good thoughts, prayers and hugs your way.

February 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home