Friday, August 14, 2009

loud as hope

I just came inside from feeding the animals and while carrying some of Nelson Green's second cut over to the sheep I noticed the pre-dawn dewy ground was covered with a few yellow and orange maple leaves. Now that's how you start a weekend. I grinned in my green knit cap and frumpy blue hoodie as I tossed the hay over the sheeps' fence (I really need to replace it). Like the photo I posted yesterday morning, the proof is everywhere. Fall is on the way and this farm girl could not be happier.

Someone mentioned in the comments that chicks, like tomatoes, need to be hardened off. She was exactly right. Young birds used to the heat and claustrophobia of a small brooder box should slowly be introduced to summer weather and sunlight. But after that first chance night outside the five young chickens did well. They still live in their cage in the coop, but I prop open the door every night after work and they are learning to explore the world, eat bugs, chase and be chased, and return to their roosts at night like all the big kids do. Watching them understand their world—learning to live in it—never gets old. Ever.

I am beginning to worry about the kits. They haven't arrived yet. The nest has been built for days and still no birth. I am worried it may have been a false pregnancy. Or the sudden heat-wave that overtook us earlier this week was a shock to Bean Blossom and her wool coat and cased a miscarriage? I'll need to do some research but if no bunnies appear in the next week I will try with the pair one more time before fall. I really want to keep one doe from her litter for my own future herd.

I hope this heat comes to an end soon. I had my flavor of summer and am ready to move on (this, you all know too well). I know it's almost the end because the white plank sign is up at the Yellow House announcing the Ox Roast (Sandgate's big End-of-Summer party). I can not wait! I'll be bringing my apple pie, fiddle, and some friends. Surely, there will be pictures. It's a big time; Endless tables of pot luck, a dance floor outside by the barn, a string band, kind neighbors, a roasting ox, and Wilcox ice cream. Mmmmm.

Oh, and I have some huge news to share. I am going to talk to a bank about buying a farm. Not any farm in particular, but to see where I stand as a possible home owner. It's just a meeting, and it may end with a teary handshake, but I need to start moving forward on this. I need to see what's next. I love this cabin, and I love this neighborhood. I hope to buy land right here in town, and grow Cold Antler Farm: Lamb and Wool among the Ox Roast guest list. This is step one: information. This is how the dreamer's disease gets cured. Wish me all your luck. I want some dirt of my own.


Blogger Jeremy said...


Good luck in talking to the bank. When I bought my little place here in Middlebury (1/2 acre homestead, chickens, garden, lumber, firewood, and soon a pig), I talked to Chittenden, and ended up using the VHFA first time home buyer program.

It has worked out great, a reasonable mortgage, and nice local people to deal with when I have question.

Also if you are going to be running a farm, I believe FSA has financing available at reduced rates for new young farmers.

Good luck and believe me, when you walk onto land you OWN for the first time, it is the greatest feeling in the world.


August 14, 2009 at 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck with your bank meeting, Jenna!

August 14, 2009 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger MIB said...

All good wishes, Jenna! I know from experience that there's a huge difference between leasing and owning, even if it's the same piece of land!

August 14, 2009 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I wish you ALL the luck in the world! If you like the land you're on, and have a good relationship with the present owner, I strongly urge you to talk to them about the possibility of owner-financing. People are often more amenable to this arrangement than you might expect, especially if you've already rented there for awhile and have proven yourself a timely payer and a good steward. We did that with our first house which we just made the last payment on (THAT is the best feeling ever) and plan to do it with the 12 acre property we're renting now. The owner has already agreed to it.

Sorry about your kits (or lack of). We've had that happen too. Waiting, waiting, waiting...nothing. It's hard to tell the reason sometimes.

August 14, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger TheRaspberryChicken said...


I am SOOO excited to hear you're going to talk to a bank, and SOOO jealous! My husband and I own a house but it is in the city. We had been looking to buy out in the country but then I lost my job, went back to school, etc., so it's been a waiting game... Very frustrating! I'll be done with school in October and then I just have to find a job... Maybe by next year I can finally get out...

Anyway, since we all live vicariously through you, I hope we can watch the adventures of your new farm until I can get my own!!!

I'm sorry to hear that there are no kits... I was afraid of something like that when we didn't hear... Kelsey and I are heading to the rabbit judging at the Bolton Fair tomorrow morning which we are really excited about. Maybe someday Tofu will enter something like that.

Have a good day!

August 14, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

If your credit is at least decent, this is really the perfect time (imho) to be buying real estate. The market is down, so are interest rates, and our new President has some programs in place to encourage small farmers. I lurk on United Country Real Estate's website all the time--there are some decent deals out there---esp in upstate NY. Good luck & happy hunting!

August 14, 2009 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Patsy from Illinois said...

I will say a prayer for you, Jenna, that everything goes smoothly and you would qualify for the loan you need.

August 14, 2009 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Just to clarify, this isn't a loan meeting. this is a meeting to see what i need to do to qualify to apply! it's a long way off folks...

August 14, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Geeka said...

I am so with you on the fall. The cicada's just starting making noise where I am, and every time I hear them, I smile.

As for your bank meeting, it can only come out good. If you have a plan when you are done, you know what you can do to make your dreams a reality. It may seems like a lot at the beginning, but (in the eternal words of 80's cartoons) knowing is half the battle.

August 14, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Floridagirl said...

Good luck on your meeting. I'm crossing my fingers for you.

I'm a summer girl myself but I do know what you mean about fall. "Autumn is that time of year when you get homesick for someplace you have never been." (Klare Provine)

August 14, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger carri said...

Good Luck!! I've got my fingers crossed for ya!

August 14, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Go for it!!

August 14, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Jenna--everything will come together for you, I'm sure. You're doing all the right things. I LOVE fall and winter. I am not so happy with summer--I don't like the heat and humidity, the mosquitoes, snakes, and assorted other things that "summer" brings with it. I much prefer fall and winter--I'll stay out all day every day in the fall and winter and never complain, but summer, that's something else. I was born in a blizzard in December and always have lived in old, drafty houses, so cold doesn't bother me. I do, however, love my garden (it has been great this year) but that's it. Good luck and my prayers are with you. Mimi

August 14, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous kandy said...

good luck with yur meeting; you may be surprised! with the economy and intrest raits and home values as they are, you may just be looking at farms on MLS tonight!

as for the bunns, my girl has falce pregnancies all the time. my male is nutered and so is she, but she builds a nest and pulls out fur at least 2x a year. sorry to here the there may be no kits.

have fun at your meeting!

August 14, 2009 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Anna M said...

Buying your own place for the first time is just like eating an elephant. One bite at a time. Good luck with your meeting!

August 14, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Good luck with your meeting, Jenna. I understand your need for dirt of your own. Here's hoping for great news :) Have a happy weekend,

August 14, 2009 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good luck! A journey begins with a single step.

August 14, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Shari said...

Good luck!!!
Buying your first home is very exciting! My husband and I are working on buying one right now. We've found one we like but have to find out where the septic field is before we go further. Check it out at my blog if you'd like...

August 14, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger T said...

All the best to you Jenna! I'm sending you positive Reiki energy and will be thinking of you all weekend.

As for the change in the weather - it can't get to Chagrin Falls, Ohio fast enough for me. Autumn is my mostest, favoritest, time of the year and I'm the only one in my family that feels that way. Everyone else here loves the heat and humidity - but not I said the little red hen!

August 14, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Shannan said...

Best of luck to you Jenna, I am so glad that you are taking the first step toward your dream. Even if it is only a meeting to see what you need to do. I am also very jelous of you seeing the first signs of fall, it is still very much summer here they are calling for it to be in the 90's for quite some time. And again I ask myself why am I still in S. Carolina? Well enjoy your day and again good luck to you.

August 14, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try your local credit union, too.

August 14, 2009 at 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Shelly said...

Oh! How I wish it felt like fall here! It is still a bit hot and humid in WV...I am looking forward to learning more about making cheeses and such at the farm I volunteer at. Picking, sweating and helping at the farmstand...those are my days now. Bring on Autumn!!

August 14, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Jim said...


It's a big deal just knowing you want to stay in Sandgate. If this goes for you how it went for my wife and I, it will be a whirlwind of activities, trying to stay one step ahead of the next activity. Find yourself a good real estate agent who knows what you want and are willing to pay. All the commissions are paid by the seller, so it costs you nothing and can be a big help guiding you through the process. Good to pace yourself. Any chance you can buy the cabin and 6 acres of the current CAF location, or is it not for sale?

August 14, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

It's not for sale Jim, at least not that I know of. And while I love that place it isn't enough pasture for more than 5 sheep. I need more space and fields. I am looking.

The meeting went okay. Shook hands, talked to a nice lady named Dawn, and we're meeting with a special mortgage guy next week.


August 14, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger omnicharm said...

Good luck, girl! At the very least, you'll come out of there with a better idea of what you need to do. My husband and I bought our first house a year ago and it was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Not as much land as we would have liked but we sure couldn't afford that here in the SF Bay Area, Cali. It's a first step, though!

August 14, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Oh Jenna! I have all my fingers crossed for you!

August 14, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! This is my first visit to your blog and I must say, I'm hooked already. What a wonderful life you have!

August 14, 2009 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good luck! Owning your own square of dirt is the best feeling ever.

August 14, 2009 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

Jenna! How exciting! This is an amazing announcement...I'm glad to hear that the meeting went well and you have another one to go to. You'll find your dirt Jenna!!!! :) :)

August 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good Luck!!

August 14, 2009 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger smilingcat said...

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August 14, 2009 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger smilingcat said...

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August 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger smilingcat said...

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August 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM  
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August 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

Glad to hear there's another meeting - this time with a loan broker. Your attitude is great - getting your "ducks" lined up to make things happen. Getting the dirt on getting your own dirt. :>)

I second what Tara wrote: owner financing may be another option. That is how I purchase my land (5.25 acres). I had a 20% downpayment and the owners "carried the loan" for a period of 10 years at a fixed interest rate. It was a simple transaction and the Note was filed through the Title Company. Your real estate agent can help you do this.


August 14, 2009 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

Good Morning Jenna,

I'm so hopeful for you! I know it will happen someday and hopefully this is the time.

I've been reading your posts daily since I read about you in Mother Earth News and you make my day every day - really. I'm so proud of you for knowing what you want in life and working patiently for it! I live your lifestyle in my mind on my imaginary farm because I live in the city right now. Maybe someday for me too . . .

I'll be sending good thoughts, karma, prayers, anything that will help. You're a beautiful person.


August 14, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Oh good luck!!! You'll get that piece of dirt some day, I just know it! That ox-roast shin-dig sounds like so much fun! Man, that's the way neighborhoods should celebrate. Can't wait to hear all about it!

August 14, 2009 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Best of luck with all things mortgage-y. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed (as much as I can and still type) that you find your little chunk of the world.

August 14, 2009 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I don't suppose there is any chance you could buy Jon Katz's farm, could you? I know it's in NY, and not VT, but it's close, and it's for sale, and it would be the perfect set up for you, land/farm/animal/barn wise. I bet you could work out a GREAT deal with him... you are two kindred souls.


August 14, 2009 at 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So excited for you! We just bought a farm 2.5 years ago. We live in Virginia (not sure if you'd run into this in VT) but since the property was over 20 acres we had trouble getting a regular loan at a bank. (60 acres total) If you want a lot of acrage check out Farm Credit Services. They have a new part time farmer loan through the AgFirst bank. They have pretty decent rates (we got one at 5.25%) When we were doing our morgage research I found out the new farmer's loan at the FSA is only if you are denied by the banks so it didn't work for us. you are smart to do your homework! Its good to know how much you can get on a loan so you know what to "shop" for :)


August 14, 2009 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Stephanie O' said...

I'm wishing you lots of luck!

August 14, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Sherry/Woodswoman said...

Jenna ~

Don't stop at one bank. Find one that "get's it" and knows what you are about to embark upon.

There is nothing like owning your own land. Nothing. We own 40 acres. We are buying another 28.

We take walks each night down our horse/sled dog trails just to drink in the beauty.

Good luck!

August 14, 2009 at 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you get your dirt. FARM GIRL.

August 14, 2009 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How exciting - best of luck Jenna! Heidi and I are rooting for you in Ks; I hope it all goes well.

August 14, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Read you in MEN, bought the book, reading the blog-kudos!!
Would it be possible to gather up the recipes you've shared here in one place-for easy reference?

August 14, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger nancmcp said...

Information is good. Crossing my fingers, sending up incense and prayersj!

I am so ready for fall. It's still pretty hot (90's), but it's in the low 60's this week at night,so I can turn off the air and open the windows. When fall starts, I long to be in the country anyplace back there.

I live in an old (for L.A.) neighborhood with lots of deciduous trees, so we have color, but not til mid December. The they start leafing again in Feb!

I so look forward to reading your blog every day. I, like many others that have commented, am living vicariously through you til I'm back in the country. So thanks!

August 14, 2009 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Rachel B. said...

Good luck with talking to the bank. I hope it ends well!
Best wishes!

August 14, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck.


August 14, 2009 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Katz's farm is for sale? That's like 20 minutes from here... But I doubt I could afford it. I need a small starter farm. I think his place is a lot of land and a big house. Where is he moving too?

August 14, 2009 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'll be keeping a good thought for you. If anyone deserves a little farm of their own, I think that you do.

August 14, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

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