Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the open door

I was walking back to the farm, covered in sweat from a jog, when I approached the strange mini van parked in my driveway. I'm not used to people showing up unannounced. My farm isn't on "the way" to anything. So far the only ones who had were the local members of the closest Jehovah's Witness congregation. I assumed I was about to be witnessed to in all my cool-downed, pasty sweaty glory when I got a big wave. Stepping out of the van was a jovial woman with shoulder-length gray hair and a big smile. She said her name was Sandy and she was a professor in New Jersey. She wanted to know if she could hire me as a speaker, and bring a pack of college students up to the farm for a lecture, tour, and some farm work?

**Antlered throngs of angel choirs sang**

She said her class would be up from the 11th -15th of June. I was covered in sweat and looking about as attractive as a garden slug but I couldn't stop my big, wolfish grin. I told her I just quit my job and would be available whenever she needed me. She seemed as happy as I was at the idea. Just a week out of the cubicle world and I already had a gig lined up at the farm! I took it the way I take all things, as a sign. A little slap on the back from fate, telling me I made the choice that made my world dance.

We talked a bit, and she gave me her contact information and told me we could work out the ideas about speaking rates. We parted quickly after that because I could see Sal limping on his bad leg (an on and off injury) and the 5 escaped sheep who for the 45th time had used their thick early-summer wool to get through the fences. I sighed and thanked her and set to work. In a few days the flock will be shorn, Jim McRae will be here Friday afternoon (let me know if anyone wants to come for that?). After they are naked that fence will not allow a single escapee.

I digress. Point is the meeting was fast and auspicious as a pair of crows flying over a first kiss.

I came inside and an email was waiting from the University of Vermont, interested in having me take part in a speaker series about food and farming. I was now nearly staggering about. It was late June, between meetings with my publisher about future books, the Meat Bird workshop here at the farm with Brett, and the Greenhorns Premiere at Battenkill Books on the 29th. My dance card was filling up. Filling up suddenly! As if the open door of my choice had let a rush of opportunities in.

Hot dog!

90 Comments:

Anonymous kathy said...

ahhh....
asking the stars for busfare pays off. I never doubted for an instant. You have such a message. It's the perscription for the illness of cubicle dwelling, poison eating, soul destroying modern life.

May 22, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
OpenID domesteading said...

Whoohoo! Rewarded for your faith in yourself and your hard work and commitment to what you care about. That's just a big old slab of awesome with some magic sprinkled on top.

May 22, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
OpenID domesteading said...

Whoohoo! Rewarded for your faith in yourself and your hard work and commitment to what you care about. That's just a big old slab of awesome with some magic sprinkled on top.

May 22, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Suzzanne said...

it's amazing how it all shakes out, in the end. i'm so happy for you--hang onto that joy, even when the going gets rough. you were meant to do this.

May 22, 2012 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Fantastic news! That's wonderful!

May 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Awesome Jenna! That is outstanding! What a day for you!

May 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM  
OpenID gileadgoats said...

Yes!! Leap and the net will appear! I love to see folks manifesting their dreams like this. Excellent choice Jenna.
Congratulations!

May 22, 2012 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Mist said...

Incredible! (And just the kind of post I need to read after the less than fortuitous month I've had.)

May 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Amazing, Jenna! It's like the universe is saying, "About time you quit that job. I've got better things for you to do". So, so happy for you :)

May 22, 2012 at 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Violet said...

You definitely make your own magic, Jenna. :)

May 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

This kind of thing happens to us all the time! I've been doing lectures-for-hire for about 15 years. Just like you, whenever we have a need for something (like say, a transmission on a car that just depleted the rainy day fund for something else) the universe calls and offers me a talk...often for the exact amount of money needed. I'm sure you'll find the formula of bookwriting and lecturing is a self-sustaining cycle. It's also a wonderful way to meet people that can push your thinking. A bit of unasked for advice: don't under-value yourself when setting your fees and don't hesitate to give yourself a raise. You're a hot commodity...as they say on the farm, "Make hay while the sun shines!" Best to you, Jenna!

May 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

You have a good fairy sitting on your shoulder, Jenna. If you happen to see a rainbow, you'd better follow it because it looks like, with very little luck, you're going to find your pot of gold. Fingers crossed for your continued good luck!!

May 22, 2012 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger MollyKnits said...

Awesome! Follow your dreams!

May 22, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

That's so great, I'm so happy for you!

May 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Yes!!!!!!

May 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I am so happy for you! The stars are aligning...

May 22, 2012 at 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Dani said...

My mother always says "When there's a will, there's a way." I've always believed that if you expect good and look for it, you will find it. And if you are true to yourself, things will fall into place. Keep believing you can! I'm sure everyone here does.

http://asthecrowflies.typepad.com/

May 22, 2012 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been reading your blog (quietly) for several years now and love it quite a bit. You should definitely speak at UVM, and if you organize that for sometime between now and October, please contact me and perhaps you can stop by the farmers' market I manage about 10 minutes from Burlington! (Btw, picked up Greenhorns, the other day, read your essay and loved it)

May 22, 2012 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Wow! Sounds like there is more than 1 door open! More like a set of French doors, a sliding glass and a few bay windows!
Congratuations!

May 22, 2012 at 9:24 PM  
OpenID T. Crockett said...

I'm reading Barnheart right now, and it's so exciting to see you at that early, property-less stage and know that a cubicle-free, dance-card full life awaits.

Way to go!

May 22, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
OpenID T. Crockett said...

I'm reading Barnheart right now, and it's so exciting to see you at that early, property-less stage and know that a cubicle-free, dance-card full life awaits.

Way to go!

May 22, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been reading your blog (quietly) for several years now and love it quite a bit. You should definitely speak at UVM, and if you organize that for sometime between now and October, please contact me and perhaps you can stop by the farmers' market I manage about 10 minutes from Burlington! (Btw, picked up Greenhorns, the other day, read your essay and loved it)

May 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been reading your blog (quietly) for several years now and love it quite a bit. You should definitely speak at UVM, and if you organize that for sometime between now and October, please contact me and perhaps you can stop by the farmers' market I manage about 10 minutes from Burlington! (Btw, picked up Greenhorns, the other day, read your essay and loved it)

May 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Such fantastic news! I love how the universe works ;)

May 22, 2012 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Here's one more. I can't pay much, but would you be willing to come down to Massachusetts to speak to the kids at my summer camp? We're doing a program called "Fun on the Farm" and I'd love to teach them about modern homesteading. Maybe a skype visit instead if you can't leave the farm for too long? :)

May 22, 2012 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger MB said...

YAY!! You are on the right track full steam ahead and all that.

May 22, 2012 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Stacey, where in Mass?

May 22, 2012 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thanks all!!

May 22, 2012 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

here is one more. I can't pay much but would you be willing to come down to Massachusetts to speak to the kids at my summer camp? we are doing a session in august called fun on the farm and I'd love to teach them about modern homesteading. maybe a skype visit if you can't leave the farm for too long?

May 22, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Wow!

May 22, 2012 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Wow! This is such good news for you! Glad to read about that dance card. Such a popular lady. Congratulations on all the suitors.:)

May 22, 2012 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Y'know, just as I believe most "born losers" create their own misery, I believe "born winners" create their own success. You are one of those people who attract people and opportunities, and now you can attract full-time!

May 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

I believe I may have given you this quote before?
"Follow your bliss and doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened or anyone else." -Joseph Campbell

May 22, 2012 at 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

This makes me happy. You deserve it, and there's nothing quite as satisfying as watching karma, hope and faith at work!! ...and this is just the beginning! Cheers!

May 22, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

This is very very cool.

May 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

[looooong exhale] I admit I am jealous, Jenna... You are totally living the lifestyle I want (and am slowly working towards). I congratulate you on your good fortunes!!! Life is coming together for ya'. :)

May 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Hell yeah you made the right decision! Way to go!

May 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Tora Consolo said...

Sounds like all the planets are lining up in your favor! Congrats and best wishes!!!!

May 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Katie Swanberg said...

I love how the Universe works. :)

May 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger bree said...

I am thrilled for you Jenna!! Yipeeee! You have made a gutsy and right choice.

May 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Wonderful news, Jenna.

May 22, 2012 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Farmlady Wannabe said...

Fear kicked out the back door, Fortune enters the front door. Well done !!!

May 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

Sooooo happy for you!

Diana
San Francisco

May 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Sylvan said...

Tears of happiness for you, Jenna.

May 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Definitely a sign of good things to come.

May 23, 2012 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger kristen said...

Excellent! Fantastic! Big hugs from this gal in WA state. Embrace it all and walk forward into fleecy smiles. :)

May 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Well those are some pretty serious in-your-face-obvious signs if I've ever seen one! That's awesome, Jenna - so happy for you :)
-Jaime

May 23, 2012 at 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Dianne @ My Southern Heart said...

Jenna, I'd say that your act of FAITH is definitely being rewarded! I'd keep the calendar close by...no doubt those squares are going to fill up fast! ;-)

May 23, 2012 at 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jenna!
I stumbled upon your blog about a month ago and I am so impressed by your moxie. I feel like I am living in the shadow of my loved ones, a supporter but not a leader. We have just purchased our first acreage ever and we have had it a year. We have slowly cleared it and are planning on building a shop/suite and a barn on it. It is hard to think of us living there but I hope to have a few animals once we are there. We live on Vancouver Island, too far for me to come to visit you as much as I would love that. I hope that you keep on writing and I sure look forward to your next entries.
Elizabeth

May 23, 2012 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

This is just FANTASTIC!!!!

May 23, 2012 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Great news. Sounds like you made the right choice and the Rest of Your Life is about to unfold.

May 23, 2012 at 4:34 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hej Jenna,
Hope you still moderating your comments. Just found this and immediately I thought of you, since you now too start officially to give inspiration to our future farmers.

www.good.is/post/pick-up-truck-grows-an-educational-mini-farm

Have a lot of great moments and fun with your students.

Elizabeth

May 23, 2012 at 6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh... Jenna, you are such a wonder yet humble and funny and willing to be honest with yourself and us. What a recipe for growth and opportunity. I am SO happy for you. It just keeps getting better because you let it and invite it in. Joy abounds.
Cindy/Hampton

May 23, 2012 at 6:13 AM  
Anonymous Judith said...

This is so awesome! It makes really happy to see bow this is all working out for you, and how your hard work is paying off. Thank you for taking us all on the journey with you. You are meant to do this.

May 23, 2012 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

Wow! That is awesome! Congratulations!!!!

May 23, 2012 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous janet gordon said...

Your dance card is indeed filling up - way to go!!! I was just the other day wondering if your flock had been shorn yet. As one of your charter wool CAS members, I am still wondering what I can do with the small sheets of sort of felt? Now roving would be a good choice for me to receive, since I can make thrummed mittens and hats, but this new fibre puzzles me..... Ideas??????

May 23, 2012 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Totally awesome, Jenna! I love when that happens. What time this Friday for the shearing? I kind of want to see the conclusion of the adventure. :)

May 23, 2012 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Totally awesome, Jenna! I love when that happens. What time this Friday for the shearing? I kind of want to see the conclusion of the adventure. :)

May 23, 2012 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

How are your sheep escaping? Pushing under the fence?

May 23, 2012 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Jenna, nothing like validation to make your month!!! So happy for you

May 23, 2012 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

That is AWESOME!!!!!! Congrats to you!

May 23, 2012 at 8:18 AM  
OpenID meatbagz said...

HOT DOG INDEED!!! that is awesome, and definitely a sign. so cool, and well deserved!

-kate

May 23, 2012 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

You have no idea how inspiring it is to be a witness to someone's dreams coming true. If you can do it, so can the rest of us. Continued blessings, Jenna...

May 23, 2012 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger singinggardengirl said...

Woohoo! That's awesome!

May 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Your life just keeps getting more magical every day...congratulations!

May 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Nika said...

That is awesome. Good luck!

May 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

How wonderful! Congratulations! And thank you!

You truly are inspiring. As I've been having slightly depressing conversations about what I'm going to do next year (after my job finishes), it's so helpful to see other people leaping without a net. I'm not in cubicle land, but academia is a golden rut as well, with even less obvious off-ramps. I'm with Goat Song -- one day!

May 23, 2012 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats Jenna! The fates are working in your favor! -Katlyn K.

May 23, 2012 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

You are one truly amazing lady!

May 23, 2012 at 9:43 AM  
Anonymous cowgirl said...

yay!!!

May 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Melanie J. said...

From what I've read, that is true farm life...there are dry spells and there are times of bounty. I'm so happy for you! Enjoy it!

May 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger kara d said...

Congratulations!
It's so amazing to have what you love be what you do.

May 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Jane said...

it just makes me so happy to see your leap of faith (and hard work) rewarded. congratulations!

May 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

This is WONDERFUL news ! So happy for you !

May 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

That's soo awesome! Great news. Passing on knowledge is so important. When we share what we love, it grows.

May 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Jenna, this is so fantastic! It's like getting immediate feedback from the universe! I'd love to attend one of your lectures, although I'm not sure you could be away from your farm long enough to travel to the West coast....could you?

May 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord love a duck!!! How exciting for you, Jenna. Congratulations on taking a leap without knowing where you're falling and yet having the faith that all would be well. I'm smiling for you!!

Diane in North Carolina

May 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna that is too cool! I would be amazed at your incredible luck - but I know it is actually your incredibly hard work!

You go!

Nancy

May 23, 2012 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Knit Picky Knitter said...

Go Jenna!!!!!!!!

May 23, 2012 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger April said...

WOW Big time congrats!! Don't forget to take along a few signed copies of your books :D

May 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

While mowing the lawn this morning, I considered your wonderful good news. Can't help but wonder, however, how in the world that lady found your homestead? Is someone in town giving out directions? Could be a long summer for you if we all decide to find you (just joking)...

May 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

You may find that you are financially more secure now that you are dedicating all of your energy to the activities that bring you value. Think about it, there are other web developers out there but there is only one Jenna Wagenrich author/farmer. We all think that leaving that paycheck is leaving security but it's often more like leaving small thinking behind. Now you are changing the world, full time. Makes me want to dance a jig!

May 23, 2012 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Great news!!!

May 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Black Cat Gardening said...

Fantastic!

May 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC!!!

-Shelley in Idaho

May 23, 2012 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Ivanhoe said...

Security is not in a full-time job with benefits. Security is in family and community ties, taking care of your surrounding ecosystem, and maintaing a sustainable food web. Jobs and money should just be possible ways to organize these things.

Congrats on your newfound freedom. I just graduated from music school with a few months of savings, and I decided that instead of looking immediately for some job that I might not really like and would probably get stuck in, that I would take the leap, live off my savings for a while, read about various subjects that I'm interested in, and play lots of music! And already I'm getting paying gigs and students. Here's to self-employment! :)

May 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Janet Gordon,
I too was one of the first CSA members. My thoughts....batting for a doll quilt. That's what I plan anyways.

May 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Janet Gordon,
I too was one of the first CSA members. My thoughts....batting for a doll quilt. That's what I plan anyways.

May 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I'll email you, Jenna! :)

May 24, 2012 at 1:15 AM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Hot dog and hot DAMN, Jenna! Way to f'ing go!

May 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM  

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