Wednesday, July 11, 2012


One the best purchases I made all year was this gadget called Soulra. It is a solar-powered speaker for my iphone and I got it on sale. It's made by the Eton company, maker of high-end crank and emergency radios. But Soulra is not a radio, it's a phone charging station that sends out loud sound across this farm. I can put on the Celtic station on Pandora and the farm is alive with fiddles and pipes. Or, I can put on an audiobook (currently in love with the Emberverse Series. Juniper Mackenzie is my hero!). Since I don't have a television it's like having my own, personal, storyteller and radio stations. I download things from or turn on a Pandora station and suddenly this farmhouse is a campfire or a fiddle festival, all run on nothing more complicated than a small solar panel.*

So there I was in the kitchen, listening to some fine Irish tunes when I turned to look out the window. There was Merlin, standing at the gate of his paddock. I started to cry right there. My Black Beauty, my Anam Chara. So many stories in that one scene, so much hitting me at once. For one, it was a Wednesday morning and instead of sitting at the office, we had just got back from our first trail ride here on the mountain. He still had the shine of sweat on him and in the summer sun, he glistened. He was held back by a gate secured yesterday by Ajay and Patty, after Patty so kindly trailered him over from the boarding stable. That horse barn taught us so much. It trained me and Merlin to be a team, and we even won a ribbon at a horse show there. Patty taught me just as much, and the most important message of all "horsemanship comes from miles in the saddle and hours behind the lines in a cart" and I agree. You learn much in lessons, and you learn a lot in the woods on a mountain too.

And so I look at my horse, and the gate, and think of all those instructors and friends and I cry a little more. I think of Brett and the Daughton boys carrying timbers and building the frame of the pole barn. I think of us stretching fences, running to hardware stores, and sharing stories about our animals and farms over dinner last night.

That black horse outside my kitchen window is so much more than a possession or a pet. He's an entire community of support and encouragement alive in a black mane and steady feet. So many people have touched my life, and grow closer to me, because of that British-born colt who was a stranger when I barely knew myself. And here we are, against odds and reason, past judgment and scolding, sharing our lives at Cold Antler Farm. I adore that horse because of who he is, nothing could be truer. but I also need him because of what he is:


*That sounded like an advertisement, but neither Eton, Pandora, or Apple are sponsors of the blog. I just wanted to share how to have the same experience!


Blogger Sandy said...


July 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger MollyKnits said...

What a beautiful moment! I had an exciting moment today, I got my first egg! I had pulled a bunch of beets for pickling, and decided to give the green tops to my hens. I checked the nest box (not really expecting anything), and there it was! You inspired me to farm in my small town backyard.

July 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Congrats Molly!

July 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Sara Thompson said...

Such a beautiful moment - I really appreciate when you share these. For now, I'm stuck in an apartment but your posts remind me of what I am striving towards.

July 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

Well said, Jenna. Most people can't wrap their minds around that concept. It makes you appreciate things so much more.

July 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

As I read this, I was thinking about how you bartered lambs and whatall for your barn building and fence stretching, and it hit me that when you barter, you get more than the material goods. You get a community, experience, memories and the promise of future support when you're at the end of your rope.

You know...all that stuff that money can't buy.

July 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

Happy Birthday! Great post and I can't wait till you post a picture of that tree on your 50th birthday! You know I was just thinking the other day that 'self sufficiency' does not mean we do everything all by ourselves, it means that we are ready and able to carry our share of the load. Good on you for figuring that out so early in your journey.

July 11, 2012 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jimmie said...

This post is the definition of contentment.

Glad you're happy!

Diane in North Carolina

July 11, 2012 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

My heart squeezed when I read this. I am so very happy and can feel the peace and happiness you are radiating into the world.

July 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was interested in the product until I read the reviews on Amazon. You might want to read some of them, just in case. Some have had their ipod melt!


July 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

that's why I got in on sale, i guess!

I have had nothing melt, and I use it every day.

July 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna -- you are truly a wonderful writer, not to mention person -- can't wait for whatever book you're working on!


July 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Hey all you Canuck kids- just thought you might like to know that Joel Salatin is on the George Strombolopolous show tonight at 10!

July 11, 2012 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Such a heatfelt post. It makes me think of the first night I spent in my new house, 16 years ago. I remember walking around thinking of what everyone did to put me there. The whole family helped us build this place and as I walked around that first night, all those memories come flooding back to me. The parts everyone played were so touching and ment so much to me. None of us get to where we are alone. We all have helpers, some helpers are even magical. Congratulations Jenna.

July 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Noël said...

So happy your enjoying Merlin! I miss riding horses. Someday I'll be back in the saddle...someday. :)

July 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM  
Anonymous Sara Hartman said...

You said it so well, Jenna - it is about love and I remember it well from a horse I loved once. The sense of nervousness at venturing out alone at first- of courage - of increasing mastery - and of a shared experience and adventure with a special horse is memorable. May you have many more successful rides together exploring the countryside!

July 12, 2012 at 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Sloane said...

"And here we are, against odds and reason, past judgment and scolding, sharing our lives..."
I love this. So much.

July 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

Beautifully written!

July 12, 2012 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I haven't ridden in many years, but this post gave me goosebumps and made my eyes fill up.

July 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM  

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