Wednesday, February 15, 2012

pony update

I have been getting a lot of emails about Merlin. Everything from threats to stop reading the blog to Readers who want to donate to help pay for him. Folks, if I can not afford to purchase and keep the animal I won't buy him, it is that simple. I haven't even seen him yet, and when I do and the owner and I talk terms and such, he may very well be a current impossibility. But you can't stop a girl from wanting, trying, and kicking the tires. I need to at least look him in the eye.

119 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

I'm constantly confused by the reactions you get from people. What's wrong with you getting Merlin? What about you has made them think you would get an animal you couldn't support? What makes them think "So help me god, if you get that pony, I'll stop reading your blog!" is a good bartering chip. Doesn't seem like you'd want readers like that anyway.

Seriously, what the hell?

February 15, 2012 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

People need to get a grip! They don't own you, and they need to realise that! Good grief.

I say go for it if he's the right fit for you and the farm and Jasper. Only you will know what's right! None of your readers, me included, know what's right!

February 15, 2012 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

How many times and in how many ways do you have to say "only if I can make it work" until people understand that you mean it?

I hope you can make it work, and I'll have all available appendages crossed for you. It's amazing how things line themselves up when it seems the universe is wanting something to happen. Merlin is gorgeous and if the finances and other such things allow, I'll be so happy for you! You've done so much so well, I trust your judgement. So should everyone else.

February 15, 2012 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

A few days ago you didn't have the time or resources to explore options other than burying 2 sheep with viable meat, fiber, or skins and within a few days have found the time and money for a high maintenance pony?

From the outside in it seems like there are upgrades to the property that should take priority to properly care for and manage your current animals in a healthy and humane manner.

Again, from the outside in it appears that merlin
s a stunning golden goose. Recently you were stressing over funds to fix your truck, putting off getting jasper a proper harness until you had the money, not able to afford to fence additional land for pasture rotation, test your ewes to see if they were in lamb, fix the roof or the house/barn etc.
The list goes on and on.

Every other post contains disaster or potential drama related to avoidable circumstances. Tired of lambs getting out? Fix the fence, don't want to be outside pushing every 2 inches of snow accumulation off the barn roof? Fix the roof. Don't want to stress over making your mortgage payment in time? Build a savings.

Perhaps you could afford all these things but have learned a woe is me approach keeps donations coming in? I don't understand how merlin is even a remote possibility with all the comments and posts about money issues.

Folks, this ain't normal.

February 15, 2012 at 2:18 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

He looks a lovely pony - the minute I saw him I thought Fell pony (but then I am from the UK, and horsey with it!) He looks super and just what you need to take your driving career onwards and upwards.

February 15, 2012 at 2:32 AM  
Blogger kristen said...

Amen. Make your own decisions, girl. Right or wrong, they are yours to make. Revel in it.

February 15, 2012 at 3:03 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

I think people with Barnheart and no outlet to express it live vicariously through your blog, which is great. It's why you have so many readers. I would guess their responses are based on what THEY would do in your place, and not a personal attack.

Some people may feel if they invest time reading your blog/books or send donations to help with the farm, that gives them a say in what you do. I don't agree with them, but it must be a difficult line for you to walk, encouraging interest
in the products of CAF without losing your personal life and space.

I read your post about Merlin, and from my perspective as the owner of two cart horses the pros and cons immediately flashed through my head too. But I don't proffer advice on your choices because their YOUR choices. I just enjoy reading about the successes, or commiserating when things go wrong like they do for all of us.

February 15, 2012 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

I really don't understand how people feel that just because they read your blog, they have any say in your decisions, or that threatening not to read your blog anymore will cause you to do what they want you to. If they can't accept that this is about your life, and that you are entitled to make your own choices, and then threaten not to read your blog anymore, or leave rude comments on your postings when they disagree with your decisions, then what in the hell are they doing reading your blog in the first place!?

I agree with Jennifer. These are your decisions to make, not anyone else's, and if anyone has a problem with that they should keep it to themselves.

I love reading your blog, and find your story inspiring. Very few people have the courage to do what you have done, and whether or not you are able to get Merlin (and that would be amazing if you were able to), I'll still be reading your blog every day and rooting you on!

February 15, 2012 at 5:58 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

We do embroidery and we've bartered in the past for things that stretched our budget. I tell people we accept cash, checks, meat and repairs.

Good luck to you.

February 15, 2012 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

We do embroidery and we've bartered in the past for things that stretched our budget. I tell people we accept cash, checks, meat and repairs.

Good luck to you.

February 15, 2012 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I hate having to start my day defending my choices like this, but if I don't respond to comments like that then it appears the person who left it has thought more about my life than I have.

1. If I had all the time and resources in the world I wouldn't have eaten or skinned two sickly sheep. They were composted because that was my choice. This is not a Native American Living History Museum where every animal is used in death, this is not a survivalist website. This is a women with 14 other sheep to care for that are healthy and bright and two very sick ones who were not fit for consumption or fleece outside a desperate situation. They were composted because that was my choice.


What makes you think those upgrades are not being taken care of or planned right now? What makes you think I'd even have that horse at my property until I was ready for him? Both horses would live in a forest/pasture area off the sheep field with their own new run-in shed, more space, and water. A friend would help me build it for the cost of supplies. Until it was ready Merlin would be boarded at a riding stable where I would take lessons with him once a week with professionals teaching us about each other together.

I don't ask for donations. The only time I ever asked for donations when I was buying the farm house and was scared to death and then I asked for a dollar. People donate because they choose to and want to help the farm. I do post workshops, classes, and other ways to turn my passion into how I make my living. I am proud of this work, these classes, and starting this business. Also, just because I open up so much of my life on here as to explain what is and isn't hard in running a farm (money included) doesn't mean you have become my accountant or banker, making accusations from your computer screen.

When is the last time I wrote about sheep escaping That problem was fixed months ago. The barn is getting torn down and replaced, right now I make do with it till the animals have a new shelter. It has been shorn up by a man who built his own house out of logs. I do have a savings account, thank you. And the only reason I am considering this animal is because ALL of these things have been taken into consideration. Also because I let my gut feeling, heart, and emotions have a say in all my endeavors. You think I had 20K in the bank when I decided to buy a house? I had nothing. I made it happen because, like CJ said, where there is a will there is a way. I can find a way to afford this animal if I want him, I know that much. If I decide I dont want to make it happen after talking to the owner and the experts, it won't. But a blog comment that brash certainly isn't what would stop me.

February 15, 2012 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

How can people determine whether or not you can afford to buy your dream pony? I'm sure that your job and proceeds from your books give you enough money to take care of yourself and your animals. Don't listen to the naysayers ~ you do what is in your heart and what makes you happy. Compare how many of us wish you well to those who are jealous of you and your farm and want you to fail because they don't have the resources to be able to do what you are doing.
Best wishes, my friend.

February 15, 2012 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Windhaven Farm said...

It's always fun to read the negative comments from folks that have a barn full of animals and have made their own trials, troubles and mistakes and stuff, but are trying to warn you away from the things THEY HAVE DONE and countless others have too! If EVERYONE lived by the rule of someone else's life experiences, we would all NEVER get past diapers and constant care. I mean, shesh... like everyone is life waits to do ANYTHING that is a dream until they are totally full of savings and buildings and resources and time and whatever... yeah right. Oh yeah and every single person that gets an animal/livestock, they keep that animal forever and ever until they die and all. Shesh, I have folks all around me that change out dogs, cats, horses, livestock like crazy. If they get something and it doesn't work out, they change it, trade it, eat it, move it, give it away or sell it. Happens ALL THE TIME...

Forget about these do-gooders that constantly want everyone to live with safety nets and harnesses and helmets and never ever take a chance and do something that yeah, might be a little risky or might be alittle difficult or whatever. They aren't living, they are just waiting to say I told you so for every little thing. I mean, get real. If we all lived constantly in fear of the what if scenarios, we would never fall in love for fear of heartbreak, never have a child for fear of birth defects or complications, never move away from home for fear of travel accidents or changes that make our lives change... never do anything that might work, and might not.

For gosh sakes, people have had animals and such for thousands of years and they lived in huts and tents and all sorts of weird situations... humans and animals are pretty darn adaptable. If only people were allowed to do anything when it was 100% perfect and safe and sanitary and all that, NOTHING would ever happen and nothing would ever get done or accomplished.

Who says that Merlin might not open doors for Jenna that would lead to some super blessings? Who says that taken him would help the current owners through some very difficult times with health issues and give their hearts a rest knowing that he won't end up at auction or something worse. Who knows if this new book won't help out or make it all just wonderful? Shesh... life is a journey and the road is good and bad, with pitfals and turns and happy little shady places too! If they don't want to read your thoughts about the path, then stay home and stop reading...

(Sorry, but this just burns my biscuits... I am hoping that you will get to meet this lovely boy and see if it all works out. I hope it does!!!)

February 15, 2012 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Well said Jenna. You owe no one an explanation of your finances or your choices. Life is about taking risks and living it, and no one has the right to live your life but you! Please don't stop dreaming or sharing your dreams and please don't let a certain perpetually negative commentor make you feel like we all share her opinions. I read every day and comment so seldomly, but know that I am one of countless supporters, known and unknown to you, that is cheering you on and excited to see CAF continue grow and become all you dream for it to become. We started our little farm on a shoestring years ago and have made it work through every situation you could imagine and I have no doubt you will do the same because of your determination! I hope you won't censer your sharing with us out of fear of criticism-you have much to teach, even when things don't go as planned. Our best lessons were learned that way! Keep dreaming!!

February 15, 2012 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Oh for pity sake, I do wonder about some of those who follow your blog. Keep looking ahead Jenna, and please keep dreaming. I say if you want the horse, GET HIM. Life is too short to worry about simple minded people. There is no cure for stupid, just best to ignore them.

February 15, 2012 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

used to be that contrary neighbors disappeared when you shut your front door. There is no door on the electronic world. "I fish on my side, you fish on your side and no one fishes in the middle". I know of a particularly nice couple farm blogging in GA who have been continuously plagued by a vitriolic nay-sayer out in the Pacific Northwest, the self appointed farm-guru who corrects nearly everything they write, and in none to nice a tone. At the end of the day, I enjoy what you write, I cannot see the contents of your checking account, and I wouldn't deign to judge the depth of your existence. As far as donations, ask away, it is everyone's choice to pay or not. There are blogs asking for payment for prayers in return, mantras and extra beer money.

I have a aunt who most likely has every dime she ever made in the bank, and cries "I'm broke" at every turn. Money is fleeting, and wealth is relative. Be happy.

February 15, 2012 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Now just a cotton-picken minute Meredith A, I've read your blog posts and curiously in October 2011 you posted an article entitled "Norweigian Fjords and Kunekunes." The post contained a picture of an amazing equine who you explained was your dream.

So why is it OK fr you to share your dream publicly and not OK for Jenna to share her dream to the point of exploring it further?

I think it might be well-advised for you to put your writer's envy aside and concentrate on your own blog content. Jenna has that writer's gift of story-telling that your blog lacks, but could be promising if it were more compelling.

February 15, 2012 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger The Sprouting Acorn said...

@ j.d.
one word: jealousy!!

February 15, 2012 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

You are young and those of us with some age and experience under our belts can't help but give advice whether you and your followers think it is right or not. Meredith A is trying to advise you to get in touch with the reality of what another horse on your farm will mean if all goes well and what it could mean if it all goes south. I would agree with whoever said a free horse isn't going to be free. At the very least, you should consider a lease for a year or two with the option to return at any time. It doesn't appear that you have enough work for one horse. What would you do with a second? Is this fair to Jasper? Do you really have the time required to do justice to two horses in terms of work, exercise, grooming and everything else associated with proper horse care.

February 15, 2012 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

@the sprouting acorn: IMHO yes.

February 15, 2012 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

A word to negative commenters:

A. If you don't own livestock
B. If your farm blog doesn't have traffic
C. If you feel compelled to comment without hands-on experience.

This reader will take them for what they are-worthless keystrokes.

Now let's move on, shall? I've got seeds to plant and chicken breeds to research.

February 15, 2012 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Kaitlin Torp said...

Haters gonna hate. Good luck!

February 15, 2012 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

I wasn't going to comment, but as someone who has worked with horses and owned horses most of my life, I did want to address doglady's comment. I've seen the before/after photos of Jasper and it appears to me that he looks healthier now than when he first arrived at CAF. That being said, what difference does it make if he doesn't do much work and simply gets some love, attention and care? I don't think he'd mind that at all. And horses are herd animals. Once the initial pecking order is established, you'll find that Jasper is very happy to have a companion as that is their nature. From what I've seen, Jenna isn't afraid of hard work, and she's certainly someone I aspire to be like. Good luck with your dream horse Jenna! I hope it all goes well.

February 15, 2012 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Tealah said...

I wrote a very long comment, but after giving it some thought I decided to delete it. Your blog doesn't need any more fighting and negative comments aimed at anyone. I would much rather send out some positive reinforcement instead.

I know that you have thought much harder and more carefully about POSSIBLY adding another horse than one or two blog posts can convey. I know that out of all of us only you can truly know what your situation is, what your plans are for the future, and what you can manage. Knowing that, I know that I can easily support you getting Merlin if that is what you decide to do after meeting him and speaking with his current owner.

In the end it is your decision and your dream. I hope you won't let any of this negativity depress your spirits. Go spend some time cuddling with Jasper in that hay-sweet barn and just breath in serenity.

February 15, 2012 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger shepherdkelly said...

Wow! I'm sending positive energy your way! Haters I say! tell them to *#!@ off

February 15, 2012 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

Jd, I've been intimately involved with the horse world for 17 years, from shetlands to shires, assisting with pony rides at 10 to working with middleburgs most elite horseman.

There are countless reasons why I don't currently have a horse, from time and money to interest. My energy and funds are prioritized towards the animals I've voluntarily already made myself responsible for and I owe it to them to provide the best I can (and steadily so) before taking on another project or toy.

February 15, 2012 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Jenna,
To hell with them all! He is a beautiful pony, and I am sure Jasper would love some company. I have 4 horses and if you ever pasture them alone all they do is whinny to the others. My neighbors horse who happens to be a single escapes any chance she gets to come and hang out with my horses. Horses need companionship, they get lonely. And as far as Jasper not getting worked, so what. Are horses supposed to be worked all the time? Is it okay for them to just be happy? They are not our slaves and it really is not that expensive to feed horses, esp a pony. Many people overfeed them on grain. My smallest horse gets a soupcan of grain in the morning and again at night. One bag of feed will easily last her for about 2 months. That is .23 cents a day for grain. one bale of hay can last her for about 4-5 days depending on the size of the bale. That is $1.07 a day for hay, grand total is 1.30 a day for feeding my smallest horse which is 15 hands. I am sure that Jenna will be fine. Let the girl dream. The life of a farmer is not all rainbows and flowers. Life happens, death happens. Paying huge vet bills on meat animals is just not the way it is. You have to walk in someones shoes before you can speak with such haste. I have seen Jenna make many decisions, some good, some not so good, but it's all a part of the learning process. I hardly think that adding a pony to the farm will break her. If she finds it to much I will personally offer her a spot at my barn for her to keep one of them. My girls would love to have a pony in the barn.

February 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger karental said...

Happy Wednesday, Jenna.

February 15, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Tracy P said...

You don't have to defend yourself at all Jenna! Life is too short, and you can't please everybody. Ignore the haters, and keep working towards your dream :)

February 15, 2012 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger CallieK said...

I read a lot of the comments on the previous pony post and for the most part the comments that I saw, even the negative ones were advising caution, all of which are people wishing well for Jenna even if they aren't sure this is a good choice for her and I respect that. But Meredith your comments are always an attack and border on mean spirited. You practically accused her of begging for donations and mistreating animals and this isn't the first time. Of all the people who comment on Jenna's posts, your name is the one that sticks out in my mind as being constantly negative. There's term for people who deliberating try to incite argument on the internet - they're called trolls and you are a perfect example of one. Jenna the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them.

February 15, 2012 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Just wanted to let you know that I weeded out my Google Reader yesterday. I started with 385 blogs, and figured I was spending too much time reading about other people's dreams rather than working toward my own. Your blog is one of the 16 I kept. Thank you for writing, and best of luck - you are an inspiration to us all. Well, the vast majority of us, anyway. :)

February 15, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

@Meredith:

It's nice to read a comment from you expressing your equine management experience. Really nice. We get to learn more about you.

I, too, have extensive experience as a former stable manager to 26, including a descendant of the great race horse "Citation" who was a marvelous hunter/jumper, and a former owner of three.

Here's my point - it's like the child who has an enormous passion for {name the passion} and the parent comes out negatively because it didn't work for them or they didn't approve. (By the way, I'm not saying Jenna's a child, but some commenters treat her as such.)

We can't interject our experiences on someone else. The universe doesn't work that way. Jenna's proven that by her talents, determination, and blessed passion that dreams do come true. That's the lesson in all of this.

Sure, there are going to be failures and, BTW,I would never, ever eat the meat from a diseased animal. Doing so defeats the purpose of homesteading - a healthy, sustainable food supply.

And, admittedly, I did question if there may have been an unknown lurking at Cold Antler, but I NEVER challenged Jenna's skill as a farmer.

And finally, why would anyone dissent publicly unless they wanted to draw attention to themselves? I read that you are a tenant farmer and I hope you have the means to own your own farm some day, but I don't think it's going to happen by cutting other people down. Instead, why not email Jenna's privately and voice your concerns? I've emailed her in the past and she couldn't be nicer or more accommodating.

Thanks for listening.

February 15, 2012 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Em said...

J.D. hit the nail on the head: Meredith A, always the most negative commenter here, seems to have the biggest and most raging case of internet jealousy I have ever seen. It's really astonishing, but also very telling. I would feel sorry for her, but it's hard to feel sorry for someone who seems so determined to spread her own misery.

Hopes and dreams are what it's all about, Jenna. Keep on dreaming--that's why you have the following and success that you do.

February 15, 2012 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Harvest Kitchen Sisters said...

Can't we all just get along? I had a pony as a child... Stop the fighting and get on with your lives- like J.D said there is seeds to start, garden plans to be drawn, animals to tend to...

February 15, 2012 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

I can only speak for myself and my own motivations regarding anything, but in particular for posting on this subject on this blog.

My comments are not personal, Jenna or directorial. You make your own decisions and live with them. We, the readership, can only know of you what you put in print, so basically you control what we use to form our opinions.
If you speak of money struggles, we can only assume you have money struggles (as we all do).


I see much of myself in you, Jenna, as a single woman buying a farm, running my own business and the struggles and accompanying success. I'm not trying to compare my history to your present.
But one of the most valuable things you can learn in life is to learn from other peoples mistakes and experience rather than enduring it all on your own. It's not easy or fun, but it's easier to swallow than "well, I wish I'd listened to that..."

I see some things posted and think "uh oh, that's going to be trouble". I don't post. Your choices, your life.

But I have this "thing" about horses. Any horse lover knows what it is. And a lifetime spent dealing with horse owners (as a farrier and horse breeder) has shown me a lot of human nature with regard to horses and dreams. My first (and last) postings on this subject are written with Merlin in mind...not so much Jenna.

The sheep, the rabbits, the chickens and so on, I ignored. I did e-mail you privately about my concerns with your first attempts to drive Jasper.

But I want to speak up on the subject of Merlin because I can see the likely scenario that I've seen a hundred times before. Heck, I've been there.... "I WANT this horse"

But is it in Merlin's best interest? Have you fully maximized the use of Jasper to justify getting a second horse? Just a few posts before the "hello, Merlin" one I read where you hoped to realize your dream of owning a Haflinger. Now it's Merlin.

I won't repeat my "advice" about the cost and of pitfalls of multiple horse ownership again. But my comments were made based on the lack of equine experience that I read in your words on your blog.

All I/we ask is that you really think about this and what's best for Merlin. Some of the saddest things I've heard are a vet saying "is this horse a surgical candidate for this colic", and the owner answering, "no, I can't afford it".

You make your choices and you live with the results. We read about them. Dreams are wonderful but not always realistic *at the time*. Your life, your choice. End of story.

February 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

Wow...I really don't get how anyone is in a position to judge you. You've bootstrapped a farm business from nothing, which is a hell of a lot of work. It sucks that you have to waste your time responding to them, but I suspect they'd just keep up their crap if you didn't.

February 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I'm hoping everyone's just suffering from some cabin fever at this point in the 'winter' and that's where all this negativity and crank is spewing from again. It has to be hard for Jenna to open up and share her dreams and life with us and then have people behave like they own it. I don't remember reading a post offering a CSA on Jenna's personal life, and how and what she adds to the farm. I think there might be some confusion between the difference between offering donations, advice, and being a loyal reader and owning a share in this adventure. Jenna isn't a store where you should be emailing because you've paid for a subscription to her life and you are no longer satisfied with your purchase due to content/decisions/etc... If you want to express concern, advice, and the like that's wonderful, that's what community is about, but when people are writing angry, attacking, and complaining emails, things have gone astray. No one can possible have the ability to assess someone's situation based on a microscopic portion of the whole, enormous picture, and no one should try.

I've read CAF since the beginning, and have seen Jenna turn many things down because it wasn't the right time, the right animal, the right situation, or the right finances and I know she'll do it again if she thinks she has to. Since I do not know or own her situation, I wish her huge luck in her visit with Merlin on the weekend - he is an absolute beaut and I know you'll do what works best for CAF!

February 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM  
OpenID jessieimproved said...

Some people can get way to invested in the life of someone they don't actually know personally. You write a very emotional blog at times, so there's always going to be the danger of that. You're the boss of your own farm, and you know whether or not you'll be able to get that beautiful animal, end of story.

February 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Victoria Nidetch said...

I think some of the "crapehangers" as my mother would call them need to find another blog to read. Jenna does not need to constantly justify what she writes in her own blog. Go somewhere else and quit annoying the rest of us who enjoy visiting with her every day!

February 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger bookkm said...

I almost said something like, "Pace yourself." when I first read about Merlin. But, hey, it's not MY life and you are not my daughter. If Merlin fits into your life, he could be another step to quitting your day job. Or he could make that day job a necessity. Either way, you've shown that you can get out of any scrape you get into. It's what makes your blog so addictive.

You're right. It doesn't do anybody any harm to dream.

February 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Carissa Kennedy said...

Wow. I'm astonished at the negative feedback. Jenna, you are an inspiration to me. You've fearlessly (or with fear!) dove into your dreams headfirst. I can't imagine, after following your blog for so long and reading all your books, you would not consider Merlin's best interest in taking him in. Or consider the fiscal responsibilities that would accompany that.
Just keep in mind that the majority of these comments are positive and you have a following of folks that have faith in you.

February 15, 2012 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

You know, any of you folks that think Jenna isn't grown or cognizant enough to make good decisions can go boil your heads.

For god's sake, the woman spends more time taking care of her own animals than most people spend taking care of their own children. I've seen the woman crawl into a chicken pen full of shit on her hands and knees to put down clean bedding and she put down those unhealthy sheep after giving them all of the chances in the world to thrive when some other farmers would have just put a bullet in em at first sign of illness.

Meredith, your incessant badgering isn't helpful. You're way off base on this. Unlike you, I've been to the farm, and I can assure you that Jenna has that place under control. Don't mistake her confessional tone for weakness because you'd be dead wrong.

February 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

i personally believe jenna runs a glorified factory farm and it indeed angers me her writing and speaking skills are being used to represent young farmers and educate those interested in agriculture.

but alas, nothing i ever say will give her pigs soil to root in, sun to bathe in, or room to run.

best of luck jenna.

February 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger chesapeake said...

I have to be honest, I had all the same concerns as Meredith.

But. Your farm. Your life. Your choices. Just like my choice to read and comment, which I'll keep on doing. :-D

February 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Holy cow, I'm not even gonna' say what I'm thinking here, other than methinks Meredith A. has some serious problems...

Jenna, it's your life. Period and exclamation point! Take some enjoyment in making people mad (it can be quite fun actually...), and just continue to keep us updated on CAF life. Whether it's about Merlin, or anything else it is YOUR LIFE. It's not anyone else's who e-mails you with disparaging remarks. They may not like choices of yours but who cares? They ain't living with you, and I'm going to guess that those who are being nasty have never met you in person. So while there is most likely a sting from their words, brush it aside. Life is too short to worry about what others think or to let someone else rule your life from hundreds of miles away.

And shucks, it's not every day you come across a pony like that. Of course you should wheel, deal, and explore every possibility in getting him! If for some reason you end up not being able to, then at least you gave it all you had, and you can rest easy knowing that.

February 15, 2012 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Kpatt said...

Jenna, if your neighbor moaned to you about a financial loss they had suffered, as you did when you lost the pigs. And if that same neighbor tearfully accepted your donation, as you did when readers donated to help cover your loss. How would you feel if that same neighbor, a week or two later, showed you a picture of the new motorcycle they were thinking of buying?

February 15, 2012 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

"i personally believe jenna runs a glorified factory farm"

First off, HOW DARE YOU! You have no right to make such statements based on your remote observations. I'm forced to believe you've never actually seen a factory farm if you'd feel inclined to say such ridiculous things. CAF is a wonderful place and I will not stand by and let some knee-jerky nitwit smear it's name.

You are trolling. You've in one fell swoop reduced yourself to the same caliber of internet troll that sits around on the Huffington Post and looks around for a fight to pick because they have nothing better to do. They are uninspired and unfulfilled and they take it out on any one they can because they are cowards.

Shame on you. SHAME! You should be ashamed of yourself, Meredith A. Think about what you say before you say it. Your hasty words have weight with anyone who would be foolish enough to care what you think.

You voiced your concern, and it was responded to fairly. Now you're just being nasty and I take serious issue with it.

February 15, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Life is not about being continually down in the dumps. If I gave my neighbor some money one week, and the next week he/she came and showed me their motorcycle, I would be delighted that their fortunes have changed for the better and they are now capable of doing things they enjoy! Don't most people like to see other people happy? Why should we pull someone down because their luck has taken a turn for the better? Losing the hogs was no doubt, a blow to Jenna; the pony is a good distraction, and a good happening. How long would Jenna have to go before she could buy something fun without people being angry with her for it? Weeks? Months? Years? Yes, many of us have donated. Now, let's be excited that She has this chance to start a new adventure!

February 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

I would never dare try to tell you what YOU should or shouldn't do however, I will slightly defend some of the concerned comments (not the outright negative ones though). You provide a very emotional blog that makes us all feel like a small family, even if we have never met. You very frequently post your daily trials and tribulations, for good reason, it shows what happens on a modern day small homestead/farm - many of your readers have no experience with gardens, animals, etc, so this blog is about as honest as it gets. You do however, often make reference to not being able to afford certain repairs, or the mortgage payment being paid just in time, or some other financial strain. We obviously don't know your finances, but from a readers perspective, it often sounds as though you have very little left over each month.(much like the rest of us..lol) Maybe that isn't the case and you just vent about the never ending extra expenses that seem to pop up everywhere (I have them too!). Maybe you truely are financially stable. Regardless, I believe most of the concerns expressed are heartfelt and based out of concern for you and the animals well being. You will ultimately need to expect that you are never going to please every reader. As with every other post, you are bound to receive feedback, good and bad.

Regardless, you know what Cold Antler Farm can handle and you alone are the responsible party. Never stop chasing dreams. :-)

Besides, every experience is a learning opportunity, whether it ends in failure or success.

February 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

Oh my goodness - Miss Jenna. This is crazy as usual! It amazing that people with threaten you that they will stop reading if you make a decision for your life. You've always done what is right, made the best decision you could for your given situation. If you were abusing your animals, I could understand someone stepping in and calling foul - but I just don't see any of what is going on as abuse. Yes, there is a learning curve...but isn't life a learning curve? Not all of us have been farmers for generations...we all have to learn and grow and make mistakes etc. We are jumping into our farm with both feet, partially from encouragement from reading your posts. Keep writing what you know. <3

February 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

...and by the way, if people waited to have children until they could afford them, they would never have children. Animals are the same. We were given an opportunity to take on two alpacas - were we completely ready for them? No, but they are healthy and happy and thriving well - it was an opportunity that we couldn't miss. I'm glad we did it...but I'm sure it has some people shaking their heads.

February 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

I think I know Meredith's issue. She's an avid pig farmer and she believes from Jenna's posts that Jenna's pigs were "confined."

From Meredith's blog she is very fond of her pigs. I think she might be confusing pigs in a sweet hay-bedded barn with factory farming whereby pigs cannot move at all. CAF is not a factory farm, nor are it's practices from what I've seen.

I believe in the good within all people. I'm not defending Meredith's actions, just trying to understand them from reviewing her blog.

As I sit here writing this, my father lies in a hospital bed in our living room with his wife, my mother, of 64 years holding his hand and speaking words of love and encouragement to him. He is in Hospice care and doesn't have long. She (and quite frankly I) am scared as we prepare to say goodbye to someone we love dearly.

In the morning after I complete the medical stuff and everyone's comfortable, I read CAF with my coffee, including the comments. Why? Because after all this is over I need to continue my life. I choose to do that as an urban (or maybe rural) farmer. It's a learning experience and a break from a sad situation.

CAF gives me hope. Jenna, my words to you are "Live it! Really live the dream!"

Also, thank you to everyone for the information contained in your blogs. They have been a treasure.

February 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Windhaven Farm said...

What is it with these elitist animal owners that feel the only people that should have an animal is one that can give it it's total use and employment... ie sheepdog people in particular... or horse people, whatever... (which of course, they are the only people that do, in their opinions).

Yeah sure, it would be lovely is every single herd dog on the planet had sheep to work. And if every single horse on the planet had a "job" to do. For gosh sakes, there are umpteen hundred million animals on this planet as pet dogs that are bred for specific jobs and none of them it do it. Can't remember the last time I saw my neighbors retriever, working ducks in a hunting scenario.... gee, they shouldn't be allowed to have that fine pedigreed animal then, should they?

Shoot, most humans don't live up their own potential! We all struggle with that, I believe.

Her animals are all good looking, healthy and loved. She has opened her farm and her heart to everyone here and that always is a dangerous thing. Because doing so allows naysayers to get their negative jabs in. She's never been afraid of decent advice, even opposing thoughts, and sure, she's made some decisions that maybe aren't the best, and she's learned. LIKE US ALL.... Her candor is refreshing and inspiring. She dreams, she plans and when the universe opens up and rewards her, she rejoices and she shares.

Wonderful cycle if you ask me.

If she had some glorified factory farm, why on earth would she open up her place over and over to workshops and events that would give folks the effort to call foul on her IF there was some issue? My gosh, I think she's really brave to have that check and balance... like we don't ALL tidy up and clean up our house/farm/office whatever when we have folks over. Jenna has folks over 24/7 with her blog! haha... that's hard work, right there!

Shesh.... some people.... M.A.? Ah, the door is over there. Have a nice life! You are never ever positive and frankly, we're getting weary of your always predictable spiteful comments dressed as advice. Why don't you spend that energy writing your blog and making it useful, helpful or even, hey, entertaining? It could sure use your time.

February 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

To Meredith A.: PLEASE stop reading this blog. You contribute nothing of value to it. Do you really lack one of the most basic tenets of human interaction that most of us learned as small children? That when there are adults talking, your opinion isn't always necessary, welcomed or even legitimate, and when you do share your opinion, you are to do it in a way that shows RESPECT to others? I have to admit, your "glorified factory farm" comment actually made me laugh out loud. Like a little child in the throes of a tantrum, you are now just saying the most inflammatory things you can in an effort to...what? You will not inspire change in others, particularly Jenna, with this kind of behavior. But keep on flailing about if this is truly what makes you happy...
P.S. Even if you take the time to comment on anything I've said here, I will not comment back. I'm quite done with you.

To everyone else: PLEASE stop acknowledging or commenting on anything Meredith says. Like a maladjusted child, she seems to thrive on any attention, even negative attention. If we all ignored her, or responded with only positive feedback, she might realize that her self-righteous vitriol really has no place here at CAF.

To Jenna: Please know that you are a brave, driven, inspiring figure to (most) of those of us who read your blog. Your BLOG. Your online personal diary about YOUR farm that you are so selflessly sharing with complete and total strangers. You have to know that you have more supporters than detractors. I believe that certain challenging people are put in our paths as a test. You are seem stronger, more centered, more balanced, more popular (not that that necessarily has anything to do it with it, but hey), more honest and more kind than the challenging people you are faced with here in this comments section. Keep doing what you know is best for YOU and YOUR animals and YOUR farm and YOUR situation. And thank you for being brave enough to share it with those of out here who are dreaming, learning, planning and doing right along with you!

February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

I can't tell you how it saddens me to see a pony referred to as "a distraction".

Horses are not like cows, pigs, chickens and sheep (and I've raised all 4 of the above) when it comes to animal husbandry.

They are far too expensive to own to consider them pets like dogs and cats, although people often try to make them so.


My comments are not about me and how I keep my animals. They are not about Jenna and her motivations and dreams. They are about Merlin and his future, based on information Jenna provides us.

February 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

@LadyFarrier:

Fathaluva,

Jenna's going to LOOK at horse.

She has not purchased horse.

Horse is with its current owner.

Merlin safe.

Jenna safe.

This thread has morphed into madness.

Let it go for crying out loud! No purchase required to look.

This topic is getting embarrassing due to the poor reading comprehension skills of the detractors.

February 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger leslie said...

i wanted to speak up to say that i read your blog. i really enjoy it. you inspire me. if a post isn't my cup of tea, i skim it and wait for the next one. reading about your life is one of the few things that made me confident that i could take steps to change mine. even when everyone i knew thought i was nuts for wanting chickens and i would think "i'm just an ordinary girl with zero experience...." i'd remind myself that you were too. you'll make the right choice with merlin. or not and you'll fix it. keep dreaming. keep reaching. keep writing. and, thanks.

February 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger delpasored said...

Madness is the correct word for it. People proclaiming they are experts in animal husbandry, yet they recommend the eating of sick and dying animals! Somehow knowing in their hearts and little brains how Jasper and Merlin feel and what is best for them. Warning Jenna that she has no idea what she is doing and can't possibly know how difficult and expensive horses are, unlike the person making the comment, of course. Telling Jenna that their negative and at times vitriolic comments "are for your own good, dear".
I read this blog for Jenna's lyrical writing, and her boundless enthusiasm for this life. If Jenna chooses to buy/trade for Merlin and it doesn't work out, she will undoubtedly sell him for a profit. This is a working farm, remember? BTW, the first wishing for a Fell Pony in this blog (that I recall) was way back in Dec 09 - Nightmares.

February 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

@JD, I am so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My husband's grandfather is in surgery right now for a whipple operation. We're praying he makes it through.

There's a bigger picture here, guys. Let's all remember the important stuff. Scolding Jenna for being excited about a new opportunity THAT DROPPED IN HER LAP, questioning her farming skills, etc. is tired and been happening WAY too much lately. Jenna knows her farm, knows her limits, and she knows a horse a big undertaking (heck, I think she has said as much at least twice in this thread alone). This conversation that has been happening a lot recently and each time Jenna patiently addresses it. I don't know how she does it to be honest. The first time I met Jenna, she talked about how awesome the blog was, how her readers helped her so much and she was really grateful for their knowledge and expertise. She's generous enough to share her life with us and we should all recognize how big that is. Doesn’t mean we can’t disagree with her, ask questions, etc. but it does mean we show respect and do NOT insult her character (ahem...Meredith). It’s rude and turns what could be a great conversation into one of snark and defensive posts.

Jenna, I read your blog every day. I hope you keep writing, learning and teaching. Your book started me on the path to sustainable living. You inspired me to learn more about where my food comes from, how to become more sustainable, AND you gave me my first baby chicks at the Chicken 101 Workshop who are now a happy, healthy flock and are thriving. None of this would have happened if I didn’t pick up your first book a few years ago. You and your readers continue to inspire me to learn and do more every time I read your blog. I just wanted you to know what sort of an impact you’ve had on my life in particular, and I’m sure you’ve impacted other readers in similar fashions. So…thanks :)

February 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Kpatt said...

It's true that Jenna can live her own life and make her own decisions. The problem I have is the, "crying poverty" in one breath and then contemplating the purchase of an expensive pet in the next.
I'm glad that Jenna has the money for building a new barn and a savings account. That she has money for riding lessons and boarding a horse until the new barn is built.
I thought she was struggling. My bad.

February 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger crashdown said...

I think what some of the negative posters are reacting to is that some of Jenna's decisions appear a bit manic. Being depressed and then plunging into a potentially expensive, madcap scheme is something that might be cause for concern. Jenna, this is just food for thought as you reflect on yourself and your inner life and motivations.

February 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Theats to stop reading the blog? Why on earth...? Idjiits....I swear.

February 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

What started out as a simple post of Jenna sharing a dream (which, if we don't want to share in her dreams, why do we read CAF?) has devolved into accusations of a most ridiculous kind. "Glorified factory farm"? I actually laughed out loud.

I understand the tactic of saying the most hurtful thing one can think of in a last-ditch effort to assert one's point; my 5 year old nephew does the same thing. But as I'm going about my business at home here today, I can't shake off the feeling of sadness that has been with me since reading the posts this morning.

Whenever the members of a good and positive movement starting in-fighting, the opposition, whoever or whatever it may be, smiles. It has successfully diverted members' attentions away from the real focus and goals.

I honestly don't believe that Meredith A. honestly believes that Jenna is running a "glorified factory farm". If Meredith truly thought that, then I would think she would be doing more than just announcing it on a comments section in a blog. And comparing Jenna's 2 pigs to the thousands of pigs that suffer everyday in REAL factory farms is a 'slap in the face' to those factory pigs and their plight.

Meredith: PLEASE PLEASE stop reading this blog. You MIGHT sometimes have legitimate opinions in there somewhere (even a broken clock is right twice a day), but your delivery is extremely off-putting. Why would you continue to read a blog if you TRULY thought the author was irresponsible and mistreating their animals? Your passions might be more beneficial to "the cause" if you directed them toward REAL factory farms. Please stop throwing that term around so indiscriminately.

To everyone else: Getting caught up in arguments distracts us from our homesteading/farming/sustainability goals. We are here to share in Jenna's dream, which she so graciously puts out there for us. There IS a comments section, and we all might have one, but that doesn't mean we HAVE to share it. As a matter of fact, it's in rather bad form to give your opinion to someone when they haven't explicitly asked for it. Don't we face enough challenges in our endeavors as it is? Do we really need to drag down one of our own?

To Jenna: You do realize that you have more supporters than detractors, right? Thank you for everything you share with us. Those of us with a little common sense DO realize that your life has more dimensions than just those that you share with us on this blog. You have so much support from people who don't even know you. You are an inspiration. THANK YOU.

Michelle P.

February 15, 2012 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I wasn't going to jump in until I read the comment about Jenna running a factory farm. That was unjustified and completely unfounded and demonstrates ignorance of the reality of actory farming. Factory farmed animals could be so lucky to live in circumstances like the animals at CAF.

I share many readers sentiments around the negativity being expressed and having lived through rampant internet hostility directed at me and my family, I can totally relate.

Do not judge people you don't know. Remember, Jenna constantly reminds us that she doesn't share everything with her readers. And from everything I have read by Jenna or about Jenna, she makes educated decisions.

Most of us read this blog to live vicariously or to plan for our own homesteads.

What a loss for us if Jenna felt shamed into not sharing her life.

February 15, 2012 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I wasn't going to jump in until I read the comment about Jenna running a factory farm. That was unjustified and completely unfounded and demonstrates ignorance of the reality of actory farming. Factory farmed animals could be so lucky to live in circumstances like the animals at CAF.

I share many readers sentiments around the negativity being expressed and having lived through rampant internet hostility directed at me and my family, I can totally relate.

Do not judge people you don't know. Remember, Jenna constantly reminds us that she doesn't share everything with her readers. And from everything I have read by Jenna or about Jenna, she makes educated decisions.

Most of us read this blog to live vicariously or to plan for our own homesteads.

What a loss for us if Jenna felt shamed into not sharing her life.

February 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I will respond to this all in a post later today, but in the meantime I'd like JD to know my prayers are with you.

As for people talking about my money situation, rest assured I don't have much and what I don't have I figure out how to get. If that is something you don't want to support, do not support it.

If I gave anyone a donation as a gift it would remain a gift.

February 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

Wow, I don't know where to start. Hmmm, let's see what the naysayers have given us today...factory farmer, manic depressive, animal neglect-er, something about money mismanagement. I'm sure I'm leaving something out. You people know who you are, why are you here? IGNORE the TROLLS!!!!!!! I hope they don't ruin your blog for you Jenna. If so, please don't leave me without my daily CAF fix - start up one of those subscription services. I'd pay monthly to read about all your "bad choices"!

February 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Stevie Taylor said...

Jenna,
It is often impossible for others to understand the mercurial visions and underpinnings of a farm. When our farm was a commercial venture I had many people tell me to focus on one thing or I would never be successful (i.e. profitable). But I also had many people tell me to branch out so that if one aspect of the farm failed, another aspect could support us (i.e. financially).

After a while I learned that success and support on a farm don't always have anything to do with money. That changing your focus or what you founded your farm on is as natural as spring easing into summer or fall into winter. Sometimes even the farmer can only know what is right by sitting in that field, standing by that livestock and listening for the guidance that comes from deep inside. You can't always find that guidance on your checkbook balance.

Good luck.
stevie@ruffledfeathersandspilledmilk.com

February 15, 2012 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

I am with doglady and Meredith A. I am not a hater. I am not a detractor. I read the blog and enjoy it. I DO have experience with animals, homeownership, gardening, auto ownership, etc. etc. I am older and (hopefully) have learned some things over the years.

Anything I say bringing up points about owning another animal (or anything else I post) is offered to be helpful. To give Jenna or other folks things to think about they might not have thought of.
I'm finding the people that are doing the most name-calling and generalization toward those of us with realistic ideas based on our own experiences, are the ones being nasty.

Again, I'm not an expert. I never proclaimed myself to be, but I do have life experience. Jenna, if the only comments allowed on your blog are ones that totally agree with your view, then I guess honest discussion is discouraged, and the experiences of lifetimes of readers disregarded. Or, we get chased off the blog by the "positive" people with absolutely no experience.

If offering my personal experiences (as you do your's) gets me lambasted, I guess I don't find that fair. Particularly as your blog allows comments.

Thanks for writing your blog. I do enjoy it.

February 15, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

What strikes me about all of this is how different people are. Some people are more comfortable taking risks, going out on a limb and trying to make something happen before all the moving pieces finally settle. I think Jenna is more comfortable taking risks than I am, for example. The thing about risk tolerance is that it can catapult you forward to a place you'd never thought you'd be, or it can hold you back. The risky part is the uncertainty.

But here's the important part. I trust Jenna knows when something hasn't worked out and she cuts her losses before any animal would be neglected.

February 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I totally get Jenna`s 'I don't have much, and what I don't have I find ways to get' scenario. We did the same a few years ago when we dealt antiques. We did not have a lot of money. At all. When we bought something we bought it with the realization that if we needed to part with it we could do so at a profit. If something else needed to be bought, something else could be sold/bartered or we could offer services to another in order to make that happen. I truly believe this is where Jenna's at, and I don't think it's a bad thing. Different tactics work for different folks, and I think this might be hardest to believe for those that do not know the merit of bartering, this is not an option to a lot of people. Keep on Jenna! I would be devastated if Jenna ever stopped sharing her blog with us, or if the content were to take a need-to-know down turn based on all this crap going on around here. I can only hope that wont be the case.

February 15, 2012 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

Life in the Big City isn't nearly as crazy as the comments section of dear Jenna's blog. Jenna - go for it! Jasper ended up in Paradise. Look at him! You are brave dear girl to leave this comments section available to the public. Such passion.

JD - it made me sad to read abut your dad but so glad he is home with you, too. Peace, prayers.

February 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I think it's your business how you live your life. That said I admire your gonads asking for donations to buy your farm or anything else. Wouldn't be my choice for sure and I do not agree with it but it is your choice. I think it's funny people actually donate. I like reading your blog and seeing different way to do things.

February 15, 2012 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Well said, Michelle!

beccaWA, I think your approach to expressing concern is reasonable. It's totally fine to gently articulate a thought and then move on. Jenna obviously reads and considers the comments. What more can anyone do? I think that Jenna's response to those concerns voiced by a handful of readers is also reasonable. The main issue is that commentary from people like Meredith is completely out of line. It comes from a malevolent place and it manages to be completely counterproductive since it puts people on the defensive.

Can anyone honestly say there has been a point during Jenna's shared journey that she has embarked on something so glaringly foolish that irreparable damage has been done? I cannot. She's an ethical adult with fine intentions and I think she deserves to be treated with respect.

Besides that, she hasn't even done anything yet! Cripes! Just let the woman weigh the situation and make a decision before jumping up her ass about it.

February 15, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I find this all rather astonishing. It's great that someone mentioned having kids, you just figure out how to make that work when it happens. I didn't have the space or funds for angora rabbits, and then an rescue opportunity came along. I made it work. We live paycheck to paycheck with a house full of animals and increasing a yard full of them.

I think I know enough about Jenna to know she would feed them before herself. I also come from a farming family and I seriously wonder what some folks would say about the animal husbandry practices I grew up with. People need to understand that most farm animals are not the same as pets, and yes... horses are companion animals and VERY long commitment, but she already has one. I think she knows exactly what that would entail.

February 15, 2012 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Jerusaleme said...

WOW... Jenna Do what you want! let the negative people piss up a rope and have wet feet!

Your awesome, you make a lot of folks day with your frank and honest blogging about rural farm life.

Keep dreaming and if that magic pony man happens to end up at CAF then Hells yeah it was meant to be.

If you lose some crazy wack job fool readers over it, you don't need them in your life any way.

keep your head high and tell it like it is!

February 15, 2012 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Sorry, this has my mind just going.

As I said before, I live paycheck to paycheck. And yet, I spent $4000 last year on vet bills and still managed to make ends meet. And I don't have any large animals to care for. People who are willing to sacrifice are capable of a LOT. We ate a lot of pasta, dropped some unnecessary bills and just pushed through.

I look at it this way, if you work 40 hours a week, you have 72 other waking hours to make things happen. People like Jenna use that time well. I'm working towards it myself. I think it's hard for folks who do not life this kind of lifestyle 24/7 with intense commitment have no idea how much you can accomplish. I have at least 4 income streams other than my "job" and even though some of that is seasonal, it make it possible for me to do a lot of things I wouldn't be able to if I just looked at the numbers today.

Sorry, but this is really hitting a nerve for me.

February 15, 2012 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger delpasored said...

JD, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother. Let us know if you need a shoulder to lean on.

February 15, 2012 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

I wonder how many of the commenters who are expressing dismay at the prospect of Jenna acquiring Merlin are actually among the older (in age) – and perhaps wiser - readers of this blog?

I'm approximately twice Jenna's age and I have to admit that my immediate, visceral reaction to 'This Just In' was, "She's getting ANOTHER animal?' I, too, have gotten the impression from Jenna's writings that she's perpetually just this side of flat broke so I find myself wondering how she can really afford what looks to be a very nice show quality animal.

Jenna, I know you’ve said you won’t get this pony unless you can “make it work” and I have no doubt you can probably do a deal for the purchase price (I think you mentioned a barter for part of it?). But what worries me about all this are the unanticipated financial disasters that surely lurk - especially WRT the dogs, and now the two cats. I'm a dog person and I know, KNOW, as sure as God made little green apples that some serious vet bills are looming. I won’t judge your method of dispatching your unthrifty sheep since I do accept the realities of farm life; however, I have to assume the same method would not be used on your pets when they start to have age related problems.

Maybe I’m a sentimental old fool, but experience has taught me that as dogs (and cats) age, they become VERY expensive as we (the vet and I) work to maintain their quality of life for as long as possible. I believe Jazz and Annie are now 10 or 11 and as someone who has owned a number of dogs over the last 35 years, I know what’s coming.

My current reality is that in the last two months, I have spent (conservatively) about $2700 on two 15 year old Goldens. We lost the battle with one of them and the other is now doing fabulously well. But it wasn’t cheap. Thank God I didn’t have to make the horrible decision to put my remaining dog down simply because I didn’t have the money. And these end-of-life expenses have happened with every single dog I’ve owned. There’s no escaping it. Never have I been “lucky” enough to have a dog just pass away in his sleep.

When things are going well, and all the critters are healthy it’s easy to push potential disasters to the back of your mind. But things can turn on a dime. Horses too, for all their beauty, seem to be incredibly fragile animals; I think someone else asked what if Jasper or Merlin were to colic? What if, God forbid, you face major vet bills for two or three of these animals within the same month? (It happens!)

You’re getting opinions (both pro/con) from folks because you invite us into your life with your blog and you quite frequently write about your tight finances. You’ve told us you recently took a pay cut to go to a four day week and lost your sick leave as a result. So some of us, at least, are left with the impression that you have very little wiggle room.

And if this post gets me labeled a troll simply because I’m not blindly cheering Jenna on in her latest scheme, so be it. I know Jenna does her best to care for her animals properly (the factory farm comment was unwarranted) but still, it IS possible to have too many animals and Jenna already has quite a menagerie.

February 15, 2012 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I appreciate and respect that comment very much Kathy P, and will address much of it later on. thank you for taking the time to write it.

February 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

To the comment on age...I am 37 and my husband is 48. We have five children ranging in ages 8-25. We live paycheck to paycheck, with some extra to help us along the way. We have two dogs, seven cats (4 inside, 3 outside), a bunny, 2 fish, several tadpoles, two alpacas (hopefully 4 by June), and coming soon: 2 angora goats, 2 lamancha goats, and 2 CVM romeldale sheep - talk about a menagerie!!! But we are making it work. Our animals are well cared for...our children are very well cared for. Sometimes my husband and I go without to make things work. We choose to not have cable. We struggle. But are willing to make sacrifices to have these things - they bring joy and FUNCTIONALITY to our lives...sometimes you need to invest in your future.
Hey Jenna - keep kicking ass girlie!!!

February 15, 2012 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

To Jenna, Jamie, Kellie V, delpasored,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my parents. They are deeply appreciated. This is hard, very hard.

To Jessieimproved, I visited your blog today and you saved me $60 by my using your seed warmer idea. Thank you for sharing smarter, less expensive ways to grow our farms. Much appreciated.

February 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I'm sorry, I haven't read the rest of the comments yet (and usually do before posting) so this has probably been said a million ways already, but...

PEOPLE. GET A GRIP. First of all, why on earth would Jenna change a major decision because you (gasp!) threaten to stop reading? This blog is something you read for your own enjoyment. It's her LIFE. Whoever you are, get over yourself.

Second, even if taking on this animal (or any other thing she aims to do) is a mistake, it's her mistake to make. We do chose to do things, sometimes they're the wrong things, we learn and move on. No one here can claim they've never made a poor choice.

February 15, 2012 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

Why was my comment removed?

February 15, 2012 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger jules said...

J.D.: I too, will keep you and your family in my prayers. Bless you and your mother.

February 15, 2012 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger TransFarmer said...

I think perceptions and impressions have been a big issue in these past couple of posts. My impression, from past posts, has been that Jenna has been on tight times, but I also know that financial security ebbs and flows, especially in these current economic times. I'm not her accountant,so I don't know.

That being said, I also recognize that Jenna's life is not mine. I enjoy her blog, but do not live vicariously through it. How Jenna does something may not be the way I do it, or vice versa. The blog does offer me some insight, and lets me see things from a different perspective at times.

People need to recognize that this is Jenna's life and not theirs. Why would anyone question someone's dream, especially if they are just thinking about it.

Jenna, if you get him, will I still read your blog? Yes. I'll read even if you don't get him. IF it doesn't work out, will I chide you later? No, life is all one big learning experience. IF everything works, I will still keep reading? Yes. I look forward to seeing how things go. You are a confident, capable adult who is able to make decisions based on your current circumstances. That's how I read things. I'm just along for the ride knowing and recognizing that this is not my life.

February 15, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Update: just DID read all the comments. This has officially gone off the rails.

How dare anyone tell a stranger how to spend their own money? Also, I've visited Cold Antler and personally seen the animals in Jenna's care (pigs included) and comparing it to a factory farm is LAUGHABLE. Those animals live very, very well. All of them. If she wants to spend every dime she earns making that happen, what business is it of ours? I myself have taken on animals before that I shouldn't have. I recognized after a period of time that a particular animal wasn't a good fit for my farm. And guess what? I SOLD THEM. They're happy, I'm happy, new owners are happy. No harm, no foul.

February 15, 2012 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Lilly said...

I offered unsolicited advice yesterday in the comments, but with no ill intent - just a suggestion to use caution and be careful, which I know you're capable of doing! That said, I did just want to say that my husband and I were recently discussing how brave you are in handling the sometimes savage comments you get on here. Yours is one of two blogs that I regularly follow and I'm friends in real life with the other blogger. She gets hundreds of comments daily, but is incredibly sensitive and tetchy to any even remotely critical comments. We were comparing your attitude to hers and you're almost 20 years younger, but have a much stronger, braver approach to responding to your commenters. I think it's because you have a certain mission in your life and you know it - you know who you are and where you stand on things. Good luck with checking out Merlin - do a vet check, have experienced horse friends with you, and see if you can do a trial or lease first (a lease would be a fabulous option to see if you two get along and if he can incorporated into your program) and then go from there.

February 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger jules said...

J.D.: I too, will keep you and your family in my prayers. Bless you and your mother.

February 15, 2012 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger jim said...

this blog is beginning to look like the Hatfields and McCoys-Jenna's life-let her live it, she will do the right thing without our advice-never give advice, fools won't follow it and smart people don't need it-----quit shooting at her. we love her.

February 15, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I am come late to this brouhaha. If you want the horse and it works out, go for it: buy, lease, rent, borrow, whatever works. Go for it. You can also ride this horse, right? Imagine the joy that will bring you! I've had horses all of my adult life, a few acquired when they probably should not have been. Now I am 76, and I remember late evenings when I walked to the pasture where the horses peacefully grazed, and felt pure happiness. Horses were always worth it. They were mine, and I loved them.

February 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Chester, your comment was deleted because when I clicked your name it went to a blank profile page without your real name or email address or blog. You need at least 2 of those things to scream at me, then you can say whatever you like! i.e. Meredith A. Who despite thinking I run a factory farm, has the decency to say it to my face with her real full name and email and blog behind it.

February 15, 2012 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger wooden wonders said...

try your best to get him, every girl needs a horse or pony, or 5 :) do what your heart tells you

February 15, 2012 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

I agree with some of the others in how you are handling this, Jenna. I don't think I could be so calm against such a storm! My hat is off to you. :)

February 15, 2012 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

I would just like to second Lilly in her commendation of the grace and fortitude Jenna shows, and has shown, in the face of all kinds of comments. She both shows and earns all kinds of respect for that.

(I'm going to refrain from the rest of the conversation because it seems to have as Tara? said, officially gone off the rails. In a few directions.)

February 15, 2012 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger lasharb said...

Jenna you know what you're doing. As my mama would say "Girl, you do you and to hell with everybody else!". :)

February 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Yvette said...

@J.D. I am wishing you and your family much love and strength...and peace.

@Jamie I hope your grandfather-in-law has a great outcome and a speedy recovery

Jenna: Artistically creative people make stuff happen by, FIRST, dreaming hard about impossible, unreachable things. It's clear that you're a dreamer, and it's also clear that you're quite intelligent, responsible, and very hard-working. Your life is a testament to making impossible things happen and finding ways to make your dreams real.

Merlin is the kind of thing that annoys the purer pragmatists among us. How could you think about something so impractical? BUT, if we're lucky, these folks follow up with fact-based info and share personal experiences that matter. And then we all walk away smarter. It's a beautiful, generous kind of dissent, really.

Then there are the DO AS I SAY folks who become easily, irrationally FURIOUS when someone dares to have a dream or a modus operandi that doesn't fit with their personal aspirations. No-one starts out this way. It's always indicative of their own control issues, and it's a monster that's senseless to feed. For some reason, these folks seem to also always have selective reading comprehension.

Dream big, Jenna. Just look around your home and land, and be confident in your sense and sensibilities. I love the pragmatists here. I'm thinking that one of your commenters needs a hug and some introspection.

February 15, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger shepherdkelly said...

J.D. your family will be in my prayers tonight.

February 15, 2012 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger shepherdkelly said...

J.D. your family will be in my prayers tonight.

February 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger CarolG. said...

Everyone: Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember the peace there may be in silence...
Jenna, best wishes to you whatever you decide to do. I love reading your blog and the openness with which you discuss many issues. Your writing skills and your sensitivity leave me always eager for more. Thank you for sharing your life.

February 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger CarolG. said...

Everyone: Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember the peace there may be in silence...
Jenna, best wishes to you whatever you decide to do. I love reading your blog and the openness with which you discuss many issues. Your writing skills and your sensitivity leave me always eager for more. Thank you for sharing your life.

February 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Lissa B. said...

I just have to say to each his own. Anyone who has read your blog for any length of time or has read your books, knows that you don't post everything. There are a million other things going on behind each of your posts and for people to comment on how any of your ideas or plans or what ifs are silly because of reason x, y, or z should take a chill pill. Life is about the journey, your life is about your journey and my life is about mine. It's fine that others in what they presume is your position wouldn't buy a horse. Good for them, but that is THEIR choice. I'm sorry that you are getting so much hate mail from those people. I consider myself lucky to have been a reader of your blog for a few years now and while I don't always agree with your choices or think that I would handle things the same way, I still enjoy reading about your journey. And I appreciate that you share it, even though it draws so many negative comments. Please don't ever let those people shut you down. There are too many of us out here who LOVE reading about ALL of your choices, good or bad, and don't want you to stop posting because of a few negative Nellies. Love you Jenna!

February 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 15, 2012 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

Cold Antler Farm exists because Jenna is a dreamer who makes those dreams a reality. I'm glad she shares her success and her failure. I think we can all voice our opinions respectfully. As someone who has been to Cold Antler in real life, I can say it is a wonderful loving place. And Jenna is a really good kind hearted generous person. She is not an actress or Hollywood celebrity.

February 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

J.D.
You and your family are in my prayers.

February 15, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

Who was screaming? And I have fix my email.

February 15, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

Excuse me, *fixed.

February 15, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger redhorse said...

I can't lie, I would love to have a Fell pony, it's what the Queen rides now, y'know? How la-di-da. As for the concerns of others, ponies are not high maintenance, ours is like an air fern and I have to find low calorie feed for her so she thinks she's eating more than she really is.
Unless the pony has foundered, you shouldn't have a lot of problems, and Jasper would love the company.

February 15, 2012 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger The Sprouting Acorn said...

j.d.-

thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

February 15, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for my family. You don't know how much it means to me.

This week has been gut-wrenching for the following reasons:

A) Monday my 16-year old cat quietly passed away.
B) Tuesday my Dad took a.bad turn.
C) Today my mother sttarted sundowning, whereby she became very upset for no reason.

I'm afraid to see what tomorrow has in store, but I guarantee you I'll meet it head on with a farmer's tenacity.

Thank you again.

February 15, 2012 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

If you constantly put your happiness in the future... you will never get there.

I try to consider that when making decisions. Yes, being responsible is important but there are times just like you have experienced where life is a leap of faith.

Being a parent for example. If everyone in the world waited to have children until they could "afford them" by the American "standard" the majority couldn't afford a family. Couldn't afford to multiply, grow, and raise the next generation.

"They" claim it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child. I would never have that sum of money in my life. I don't want to have that sum of money if it costs me my happiness and requires me to put it off into the future.

My two children are my joy, my happiness, my future. I love what they bring to my life. Yes, they have toys from the thrift store (or tree lawn) and clothing that has been handed down and the bear minimum of baby gadgets but we have each other. We have joy, happiness, peace. We have family and will work it through together.

Sometimes life requires you to make choices of the heart and stop worrying about when in the future you can be happy.

Oddly, I sold my horses to have my family. I miss them. I dreamt my whole life for them (horses). They are the reason I met my husband... but I will never regret giving them up for my two boys.

I hope you get your pony Jenna.

February 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

(A totally different Meredith, I assure you).
Just a thought, but if a few people don't want to read your blog anymore, what does that matter in the grand scheme of things? People read CAF because it is interesting and they want to. If someone stops reading, will that make you stop farming? Of course not.
Making your life open to people does invite feedback, both good and bad, but the decent person would speak their peace and let it be. Instead, you are taking on the roll of the decent person by not deleting these negative comments. It's your life and your choices and we are along for the ride. It seems like some people are treating CAF as some sort of internet reality show where they can pick and choose what you will or will not do. What should Jenna buy for the farm this week? What should she wear to work today? Shoudl she get a pony? Another sheep? A pint of ice cream? Should she tell us about her roof in her next post of should she write a rainbow-filled "everything is glorious and pristine" paragraph?
We all choose to read about CAF, the good days and the bad.

February 15, 2012 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

I’m not even going to read the comments since browsing over them they look pretty nasty…. I don’t know how you do it and hope you don’t let any negativity dampen your life for one moment. Best of luck with looking at Merlin. For a few years I did have my horse alone. Although she was happy, she’s obviously more content living with other horses…I’m very glad that I’ve found an excellent place to board her during my stint in the city where she can hang with the herd. She’s known as one of the most talkative horses on the property probably making up for lost time! When I do get a place where I can have her on my own land I’ll definitely get at least one other horse. With other horses she’s as calm as a cucumber, but when alone 80% of the time wound tight as a spring. Whenever you do get another horse I know Jasper will welcome the company—and in all honesty two horses are just about the same as one for work and effort. It truly doesn’t have to be expensive either. The most I’ve ever spent on a horse is now while boarding. Growing up and into adulthood I just had two strings of hot wire keeping as many as a dozen horses in and a bunch of oats bought in bulk from the elevator and hay for the winter. If you have the land to keep them they don’t have to be expensive to keep, especially if you learn how to do most of the simple vet work yourself and have connections with a farrier (but of course twice the feed bill if you don’t bale your own hay:-)). Again…best of luck.

February 16, 2012 at 12:05 AM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

J.D.

You and your family are in my prayers.

Jenna,

Thanks for sharing ALL of your life, the ups AND downs, and for being brave enough to deal with all our VARIED opinions and doing it with grace and poise.

February 16, 2012 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

J.D.

You and your family are in my prayers.

Jenna,

Thanks for sharing ALL of your life, the ups AND downs, and for being brave enough to deal with all our VARIED opinions and doing it with grace and poise.

February 16, 2012 at 4:24 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

You are welcome to say whatever you want here, if you do it openly. You are welcome to disagree. You are welcome to give advice, share links, wag fingers, or give me a high five. You can stop reading any time, there are other blogs out there, one might suit you better.

But my choices are mine, and that is the only explaination I will offer for them.

February 16, 2012 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Karen Smith said...

oh, my goodness! First: J.D. ~ you and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers. My heart truly feels for you. Hang in there.

I don't usually comment much, though I read every post (but not every day). I am amazed at what a brouhaha this became. I hope it's mostly over. The 'factory farm' comment didn't make me laugh, it made me sit up and say (out loud, to only myself and the dogs) "WHAT?!". Then I decided it was a crazy comment. I am not going to try to analyze anyone but the whole thing just makes me sad for those involved... both Jenna and Meredith A. I read Jenna's blog because she inspires me to keep following my dream. Doing that sometimes brings a terrible price. At least it has for me. I am trying to follow my dream of having a farm and a loving relationship. Others either don't approve or don't understand. I left behind a well established life to follow this dream and it's been very, very hard. Farm? What farm? We don't even have a house. Really. Right now we live in an RV while our house is taking much too long to be built. We do have 4 acres and a 4 bay garage. No barn. The garage is in the process of becoming the barn. We will have pigs and chickens (and hopefully turkeys and sheep) this spring, but right now no house and no barn. I don't want any sympathy ~ in fact, I'm embarrassed by it and try not to let too many people know. I share that to illustrate the fact that I am following a dream I've had literally all my life. I'm 50 years old this year ~ why now? I could've just ridden out the next decade or so somewhere warm and comfortable until I retired. Because, like J.D., I have watched my parents pass, along with more than my share of others. I held my mother in my arms as she died. Without going into any other detail, the vast majority of the family I knew in my youth has already passed away and I have felt (and still feel) their loss in profound ways. And I listened to what they told me in their later years. That's why I'm doing this now. And I read Jenna because she gives me hope and encouragement. I don't judge her. I don't try to tell her what to do. I try to offer *her* encouragement along the way, because I think she's wonderful. If it's your dream, do it. Life REALLY IS too short. And don't tell anyone else how to do their dreams, just love them along the way.

February 16, 2012 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Jenna, I haven't read every comment on here. But my husband and I are starting completely over, having a health issue with him cost us our income and home. We, the kids, and the two dogs are moving to a family-owned rental for 18 months while we try to pick up the pieces and figure out our next step. In the meantime, we want to do as much as we can to have our own little rental homestead. Your books and this blog have been an invaluable resource as I prepare to have my own rental homestead in the city.


Including making me consider bantam chickens, something I'd never done, because of the possibility of moving them in dog crates! Your first book is what helped us make the hard but responsible decision when we had to cull some new hens last year when they were showing signs of respiratory disease.

We've never lived any way but paycheck to paycheck, I get the feeling like you're constantly struggling, but still managing those big expenses when they are that important. I have no doubt you will make the decision that is best for you, Merlin, and CAF. You are making your dream a reality. More power to ya.

February 17, 2012 at 12:13 AM  
Blogger Macrobe said...

"After a while I learned that success and support on a farm don't always have anything to do with money. That changing your focus or what you founded your farm on is as natural as spring easing into summer or fall into winter. Sometimes even the farmer can only know what is right by sitting in that field, standing by that livestock and listening for the guidance that comes from deep inside. You can't always find that guidance on your checkbook balance."

I found this blog serendipitously. And, out of curiosity, read nearly all the comments. It was like watching a drama reality show. From former years of farming/ranching/etc, including having pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, kids, blah blah, the comment quoted above is the light in the chaos. Well put. Because it is the truth.

We all make decisions that we learn from, good and bad. And sometimes they switch colors along the way. It is the way of things.

Another note, the Internet is a skewed reality show. Anything one inserts on this public media forum is open to misinterpretation, misrepresentation, and attack (or applause). Expect scat to fly sometimes. Regardless, you know your own circumstances more intimately than anyone else on the Internet. Go with what you know to be true.

He's a beautiful pony. Reminds me of my Mr. Shadow :) Oh, and I absolutely LOVE your logo!

Tohidu

February 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM  

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