Friday, October 30, 2015


Hey locals and readers, alike! Want to learn new skills, grow your community, meet cool people, and get a great looking logo for your farm, future farm, or small business? I am offering a combination deal of a Season Pass to ALL Cold Antler Farm Events for 2 YEARS! AND a graphic design for the package deal of $275. That includes Antlerstocks, weekend events, and a professional logo. If I am able to sell four of these packages I can make a mortgage payment this week, which is VERY important to the farm's ability to stay put! And if you already have a season pass, you can buy this as an extension to your current pass!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Samhain Knocks

After a spell of cold nights and blustery, rainy days the sun is out! The mud is starting to dry up and the animals are starting to shake off the dew and fluff up their coats. I have a pile of office work to slog through this morning but soon as I am done my best friend Patty is coming over with her horse and we're going to go for a long Autumn trail ride. I will make that the daily vlog today, and that means it won't be posted later in the evening. I never know if a vlog will take half an hour to make or an entire morning. That horse video took half a day of filming and editing. The one about self doubt took fifteen minutes. I think anything with animals takes longer than just talking at a screen, so perhaps it will be up after 7pm? Regardless, the daily vlogging is going well and this month the channel has 300 new subscribers! This is great news since many of them have no idea I write books, blog, or have this whole thing going on here and the videos are bringing in book sales to Battenkill Books, too. What a great thing!

Samhain is coming up, and Dumb Supper will be held here again with close friends. It's a very reverent night to remember those lost. It's also a Cold Antler tradition to host the event here. There is no big meal to prepare, as everyone coming brings their own dish - something that was loved by the person they are remembering that night. Everyone eats in silence, thinking of the person who was lost and when the meal is over we raise our glasses and share stories of the dead. It is healing and hopeful, not at all creepy or sordid. Do any of you celebrate Samhain or Winter Nights? What are your family rituals and customs?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dealing With Self Doubt

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Owe Bear McCreary a Drink

Bear McCreary is a composer, and unless you're a fan of modern composers for television and film, there is no reason you should know his name (though, it is a helluva name?!). He wrote the music for Battlestar Galactica, Black Sail, and The Walking Dead. More of import to this blog post - he wrote (and is writing) the music for the television adaptation of Outlander. And that music is what I was listening to in one earbud while the other ear was listening to the autumn forest. I was on the back of a black horse and we were riding fast through mountain trails.

The music was perfect. Hearing those bagpipes and drums as Merlin pounded up the trails, me comfortable in the way only a person who has ridden the same horse in the same place for years could be. I silently cursed myself for not doing this every day. If I'm honest the only reason I escaped a morning of just design work and writing in the house was because of the daily vlogging series and the person who asked for a saddling video. I filmed all the stuff I needed for the vlog and then I had a horse ready to ride standing in my front yard. To do the three-mile loop up the mountain and back would only take a half hour or so, especially with how feisty Merlin was since morning chores (he pushes my took right off my head in the beginning of the video!). So I jumped on his back in jeans and boots and hit the wind.

I loved that ride. I love that horse. I loved the music and the moments. At the near end of the loop we stopped in a stream and Merlin drank while I listened to Bear's themes and looked up at the maples above me, stretching tall and golden as the walls of Valhalla. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath of creek and mud, dying leaves and woodsmoke. It was a fine way to spend a morning. And horses are a fine way to spend your 33rd year on this earth. Good music and good beasts are all I need.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2 Weeks of Daily Vlogs!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Frosted Flakes

Good morning from a chilly little corner of the world! Cold one last night and everyone is mostly back to hay feeding twice a day and just nibbling the worn out pasture. Here is one of the new ewes and Merlin enjoying their frosted flakes. Glad to say the flock is doing well and the ram is doing his best to make sure lambs are here in the spring!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hot Water

I had my first hot shower today in months. It was glorious.

I should explain. I had my first hot shower in my own home, in my own bathroom, in months. My furnace stopped heating water back in March and I don't have a bathtub yet, so it remained fallow for half a year.

Please don't think I was neglecting my hygiene. I had plenty of solar showers in the woods after long runs, showered at friends' places, and swims in the river. I know people with hot tubs and have the agency to just hunker down for a good sponge bath — I was mighty clean — but it's not the same as enjoying a hot shower up in your own home.

I gotta say, it was orgasmic.

So why did I go so long without it? The reason is the same reason I wrote, deleted, and rewrote this post four times already today; because I have learned that being honest about money online receives punishment. If I talk about not having hot water or a flushing toilet for months people will think I am using hardship for donations. And the people that would help me without question, sadly their kindness pales in emotional comparison to the emails and comments I would get from people who hate me. Why accept a pat on the head when there are people out there ready to kick you as hard as they can in the stomach at the same time?

So I didn't write about it.

This summer was a rough one. Bad things happened.  If I wrote about those issues people would want to reach out and help me, which is very kind but I honestly would not have used their help to get hot water again. I would have used it to just pay the mortgage so the bank stopped sending that creep who takes pictures of my house every month from the road to prove it is "occupied".  I would have used it to stop the people from the Electric Company from literally driving up to my house and banging down the door to turn off the power unless I wrote a check right then and there. I would have used it to stop the bank from repossessing my only vehicle that was so broken down it was unsafe and illegal to drive anyway...

I wouldn't have used a single penny to fix luxuries like hot water and flushing. What's the point of hot water and a bathroom if the bank takes the house it's in?

I don't want to be that girl. I know in the past I have been that girl. But now it goes against my faith. It goes against everything I have learned in the past ten years. It goes against everything homesteading and farming has taught me.

So I figured it out.

This summer I designed my ass off. If you follow me on Facebook, you know this. I was ruthless in marketing logos and design work. I bet some of you got sick of the constant sales and promotions but know that Facebook was my Farmer's Market. It was a way to reach people and not only make some money but honestly help others make their own farms and brands better.  Facebook let me reach thousands in moments and those efforts saved this farm.

Thanks to logos I was able to make a mortgage payment every 4-6 weeks (still behind 2 months as of today, but as a solid payment maker I think the farm is okay). I found a reliable replacement truck that actually runs and got it financed through Kiva. Guys,  I have the title in hand! I did this because I had no way to travel off farm without it and knew if the bank repoed the broken-down Dodge I still had wheels. I got my root canal, finally. I have three cords of seasoned firewood outside and three more on the way, plus a woodshed being built to hold more! (A barter with a local guy who wants logos for a sawmill/horse business). I paid off the last of my credit cards! I got more time from the Government on my student loans. I paid off all of last year's hay and have zero hay debt going into this winter.

This is all the silent, uphill, crawling you don't read about but is happening in this little house on the mountain. If you think my life is playing with animals, listening to music, and riding a pony you have no idea...

And you know what? I was okay. All this time I was showering in the woods and using an outhouse the lights never got turned off and no animal ever went a single missed feeding. I raised a puppy. I got Gibson's split paw healed. I earned my black belt. I got my runs up to 8 miles an outing. I lost 20 pounds! I trained a new hawk. I got my tooth fixed without health insurance. I got the plumbing fixed and the hot water flowing from the taps again and most importantly - I stopped apologizing to strangers for living a life that makes them uncomfortable. If you don't like me, don't respect me, or don't want me in your life - go away. Stop bothering me. I have shit to do.

And I am so sick of Agents of Caution. Spend your energy elsewhere.

Guys, I got through it. I got through it and that hot shower tonight was a baptism. Just a few weeks ago that shower was flooded with backed up septic waste but tonight on a new shower mat and a bleached basin it was holy. It was healed. It had seen the worst I could do to it and was made whole again. Joseph Campbell just came. THAT'S a hero's Journey!

My bank account tonight is negative and I can't even drive to the local gas station to get some diesel for the furnace, but I am still proud. I am still here.  I have remained self-employed, kept this farm, paid my taxes, lived the life of my dreams, and improved my health and home while barely scraping by for FIVE YEARS. As far as I'm concerned Cold Antler Farm is the closest thing we have these days to the American Dream. A place where you get to punch self doubt every day in the face in the name of actual liberty. That's the kind of truth worth going a while without hot water for. That's the kind of fuel that keeps me running on vapors and gritted teeth.

So, I am okay. I'm broke but I'm rich. I'm single but I'm loved. I'm scared but I'm excited. I'm feral but I'm trained. I'm living life in a way that lets me wake up each morning howling. If I forget that there's a dark horse and a smart dog that will remind me. I'm a luckless slinger and a hard charger.

And yes, I know I'm always in hot water. I like it that way.

I fucking love it.

Back to Black!

A couple of days in the red here and not feeling comfortable about it. Hoping for some sales going into the weekend. So I am offering up some big discounts, today only:

SEASON PASS TO CAF - $200 (come to all workshops for a YEAR)

One Workshop Pass, bring a friend for free! - $60

Fiddle Indie Day (4 hours of private lessons at the farm comes WITH FIDDLE) great Xmas present! - $175


ARCHERY INDIE DAY (comes with BOW! 4 Hours of lessons here at the farm, private) $175

Fiddle, case, and bow - $100

Haflinger-sized Harness (not collar, leather, chrome hames) - $300

English saddle, bridle, stirrups and leathers, pad - $150

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vlogs vs Blogs?

So I am really enjoying Youtube. I love making those quick videos and look forward to filming them in the same way I look forward to going to speaking or author events. The coolest thing is instead of talking to a room of 20 people in a store or library I can talk to 3500 while you're in your bathrobes drinking coffee. It's fun and easy. The channel started last year with under a thousand subscribers and has grown three-fold! The viewers are engaged and asking questions and I am finding a whole new audience. So I am going to keep doing it. I am considering making the vlog a daily thing (Monday - Friday) if you guys are into that? Details in vid above!

But I don't know if I should keep posting the videos here? This is really more of a place for words, don't you think? Until I have one larger site that combines the blog, vlog, photography and more I would like to keep them separate. So if you want to keep seeing the vlogs I suggest you to go to the channel page, click subscribe (it's free), and that way new videos will be emailed to you soon as they are uploaded from here on. I'll share them here from time to time if I feel one is blog-worthy, but for the most part if you want visual-CAF you'll need to pay attention to that link!

Look Down

So Friday is growing into a fine little lady. She's spunky and fun and incredibly sweet. She's got down the morning snuggles in bed, she's coming whenever I call her, has sit and lie down mastered, and is adding a level of fun this farm didn't realize it was missing. All that said, she is far from an angel. We are having some potty training issues....

Border collies are smart. How smart? Well, let me explain the process for training this girl not to use my house as her lavatory. For those of you not familiar with training a dog, this is the power play of the actual process: you need to catch them in the act. You can't drag a puppy and stick her nose in a pile of poo like some idiot. Dogs don't have human memories and have no idea why you would do that. You need to use a harsh tone and say "NO!" right while they are peeing or pooping in front of you, scoop them up, and take them outside to finish the deed. It took Gibson a few scoldings and he was set at 4 months. Friday is different.

Friday has learned not to poop in the bathroom, because I yelled at her in there. She knows not to poop in the living room, dining room, or my bedroom. She's been scolding both upstairs and downstairs to not defecate. She gets it. But since she's a Border Collie she found a loophole. She just shits on the stairs themselves.

Yes! The stairs! That No-man's Land, the international waters of scat! Being a portal between two lands of NO she simply squats over the edge of one stair (I assume) and plops turds down the stairs, and I have yet to actually catch her in the act. It's frustrating as hell and two nights ago when I was heading downstairs to use the bathroom I slipped on a turd in my bare feet and fell hard. I laid there at the bottom of the stairs, bruised but fine, thinking

"And that's how she died... naked with poo on her feet."

No, not the riding a half ton of horse at full gallop without a helmet up a mountain. Not hunting with rifles in the wilderness. Not out driving her truck on the highway or from a heart attach due to internet trolls.... but lost thanks to a pile of shit. I was fine even if my pride was a little damaged,  and Friday is spending more time in her crate while she learns the stairs are not her personal receptacle —but I figured that was a moment worth raising my mug to this morning. I am always telling people to look up, perhaps I should warn them to look down.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Just Watch The Fireworks

When I woke up this morning, around 5:30, it was dark and cold. The house wasn't bad at all, but these first snaps of true cold coming on always hit you hard. You're just not ready for it. It was 19 degrees and it hit me the way a first mile hits an overweight jogger - expectedly miserable. I was sleeping next to Friday, who now has enough mass to her that I can't tell if it's her or Gibson in the dark until I call a name. She was not looking to head outside in the crunchy black of the pre-dawn frost either. Gibson was. He was already looking out the window that until very recently used to hold a big box fan. There was ice all around it and it glittered in the light of the lamppost outside. All of a sudden winter was here.

I headed downstairs shortly after. The dogs bounded down past me. Annie, at 16, was asleep downstairs by the wood stove instead of the colder upstairs room. I'll be sleeping down here as well when I shut down the upstairs for the winter in a few weeks.

I was already in jeans and a heavy men's flannel shirt. I could feel the cold wood of the downstairs floor through my socks. (If I had on a pair of Meredith O. Green's hand-knit socks she mails me every year, this would not be an issue, but alas they were in the laundry bin.) One of the cats stepped on the wireless keyboard of the large iMac in the living room (my media center) and a frozen scene from 1939's The Women was on of Rosalind Russell. That made me smile, and it fit pretty well that a cat had made her picture appear (my nod to movie dorks out there).

The dogs were let out and I ventured with them. I grabbed a pail and shovel and old ash was moved out of the woods tove while they took care of their morning business. I could see my breath inside, but knew that was temporary as the darkness was. Within moments the little house was lit by candles and firelight and a fresh pot of coffee was on the stove. Morning had officially started.

Chores took a while. I had to bring in the rabbit's bottles to defrost by the fireside and crack ice on the water tubs. But a few bales of hay, buckets of grain, moved chicken tractors, refilled fonts later everyone seemed happy as clams. I came inside to work on the day's massive Welcome-to-Mondays-Again to do list. I had 8 clients scheduled for graphic design work, pages to work out on the end of Birchthorn (which is hard as hell to end, I am learning, wrapping up so many stories!) and random phone calls and errands.

I worked until 1PM at the table in the living room. I listened to records and podcasts. I listen to so many L.A. based podcasts I feel like I always know what is playing at the ArcLight (Homage to Horror tonight with guys behind the game Until Dawn) and Meltdown Comics. My podcasts are The Indoor Kids, Doug Loves Movies, Ear Biscuits, Nerdist, You Made it Weird, Harmontown, and Bizarre States but I'm always looking for more so feel free to suggest some! So I listened to Pete Holmes and Kumail and Emily while working on a bunch of new branding work.

I headed out for a 5 mile jog after that. A girl gets tired of sitting still. Five mile jogs are easy and fun now. A hell of a thing, that.

After the jog I went about half of the evening chores, and saw the cloud cover coming and the weather forecast's threat of snow. I knew it would just be a dusting but it made me cower at the size of the wood pile I need to get serious about stacking. Firewood from Antlerstock and bartered-in wood was piling up in the driveway. Time to face the music...

I didn't face the music today though. Not unless you count listening to the New Pentatonix song SING about 10 times while on my run. No, instead I decided today would be the day to let Anna Kendrick fly free. (Oh! Here is a story I wrote for the Guardian about Anna and Me, and Falconry in general). We'd go on a real hike/hunt side by side while the sun was shining and the glory of full Autumn was all around us. Most of the leaves still were on the trees and evenings had plenty of rabbits and squirrels out and about.

So I got Anna, weighed her in, prepared some meat in a little ziplock bag for my pocket, and suited her up for flying free. We walked for a while with her hood on but once we were clear of roads and in places where bunnies dwelt, the hood came off and her eyes darted and danced. She stayed on my fist as we walked a mile up the mountain and took in the smell of woodsmoke, rotting apples underfoot, and dead leaves. Is there anything better? Turns out a hawk on your fist is and in the afternoon sunlight she looked stunning. Anna watched me and when she was ready flew away and perched in a tree. I would call her back with some of the meaty bits and she happily returned, still a thrill every single time. It was a gorgeous way to end the day.

Now it's evening and I have already finished my dinner. It was nothing fancy, just one of the birds I raised here over the summer which had sat all day in the crock pot with veggies. It was tasty and just enough to satisfy. Truth was after the cold, the miles, the hawking, and evening chores I wasn't very hungry and was glad it wasn't heavy fair. It was just right and what I couldn't finish on my plate Bogh the barn cat happily lapped up on the counter like the thief he is.

Now there is nothing left to do but tuck in. I'm listening to Jimmy Eat World's Clarity on the record player and it still holds up after all these years. Just Watch the Fireworks still gets me, every time. In a moment I'll sign off here and retire to finish up The Women. That's a wrap for one long farm day. I didn't hit any of my income goals for the day, and that's a little scary, but what is anxiety if not motivation around here? I need to learn to get comfortable with discomfort - it's the new normal for a while. Which is okay, and my choice.

I'm proud of Anna and the relationship we've built together. I'm proud of that sleeping farm outside tucked in safe, fed, and sound. I'm proud of this tired body, that carried me across miles in happy strides listening to kickass music. I'm proud the lights weren't shut off. I'm proud that I'm learning to love myself without any stupid conditions for the first time in my highly-flawed life. And I'm proud of the fact that I'll wake up and do it all over again tomorrow - creating more art, words, videos, pictures and music of my own. That's the end game, folks. To keep living on my terms, with really, really, really, good dinners.

That'll do.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Vlog! Are You Team Sheep or Team Goat?

Hallow's Eve Farm Workshop

If you don’t already have a date for Halloween this year, let me tell you what is planned for this little homestead in the woods. We’re going to throw a proper celebration of the day, and that doesn’t mean costumes and candy but instead conversation, memories, and warm blankets and hot cider around a roaring fire. I’m hosting a workshop for all the wannabes out there, including myself. Want to be a writer? A Homesteader? A full time farmer? A Blogger? a storyteller? A horseback rider? A market gardener? This Halloween we’re going to gather and talk about our goals and dreams and how to make them happen. It’s part advice, part inspiration, and part fellowship.

Let me paint the picture of the day. At 10AM folks will arrive to a farm covered in fall foliage on the side of this little mountain. I’ll be there to greet you with Merlin, riding him and then dismounting to show you around farm and forest here at Cold Antler. Meet the pigs in their woodland lot. Meet the sheep on the hill. See the chickens and the dogs and the whole world here I crafted from hope and force. Then we will bring hay bales and blankets (you provide the blankets, I’ll provide the bales) and head out into the cleaning behind the barn where a campfire will be kept burning all day. That fire will be for the memories of loved ones lost and stories we’ll tell but also to keep the mood going strong this Samhain. We’ll carve jackolanterns as we talk about possibilities, options, ideas and goals. We’ll share writing if we have any to bring (I’ll share writing from my new books) and we’ll talk about book proposals, publishing, and crowdfunding.

We’ll brake for lunch and either eat around the fire or you can head into Cambridge to shop at Battenkill Books or visit the Roundhouse Cafe and Jack’s Antiques or whatever strikes your fancy.

After lunch we’ll talk about getting farms and how I manage to keep this one. We’ll talk options from internships to housesitting to home loans and more. We’ll talk about what is keeping you from taking the leap? Think of this as a support group meeting for Barnheart, but at the ground zero of the disease.

The workshop will end at 4, but anyone is welcome to stay into the night for a bonfire. We’ll light the place up with the jacks we carved that morning and sit around the fire for good drinks, and the annual reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which I must say is extra special with a black horse listening from just 30 feet away in his pole barn! And if it rains, well, we’ll just come inside and sit around the wood stove instead. We'll make it work the way we always do around here.

So join me and others this Samhain at Cold Antler Farm for a day of making things happen with our words, deeds, and goals!

All Hallow's Eve Farm Writers Workshop 
October 31st 2015
10AM - 4PM

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Vlog: Kill Your TV?

You Gotta Do You

I've been blogging here for nearly a decade, sharing my story of going from a wide-eyed wannabe to a full time homesteader on my own land. It's been a hell of a ride. The entire time I've been a single woman, without a trust fund, scratching by to live the life of her dreams. That's both a fun and terrifying sentence for me to write, because while it sounds romantic it means that the struggle to keep what I love never stops pacing. That's a tiger I'm used to looking at, though.  Now, in my thirties, I accept that my choice to live a life of constant resourcefulness is a blessing and not a curse. Tigers, after all, are goddamned beautiful.

Blogging has exploded over the years, with websites showing perfect farms, perfect families, and perfect lives. These blogs have giant audiences clamoring for recipes and picture-perfect homes. I get that — I understand the attraction and need for it — but we all know CAF has never been one of those sites. This is an uncomfortably personal story of one woman's life. It's messy and imperfect and there are pictures of broken down fences and stories of mistakes and misfortunes (though, these days, a hell of a lot less, thank you).

My goal has never been to get you to update your Pinterest accounts. My goal is to get you on your own horse, or on your own farm, or taking risks and chances that the 17 jillion Agents of Caution in your life tell you not to. The line between feeling constantly excited about my life and being a responsible adult will always going to be a razor's edge here. I'm ruthlessly optimistic and unapologetic about it.

That said, there is some refinement needed on this blog. I would like to move it to a more modern design and make searching and navigation easier. I would like to upgrade my photography and video skills, and it'll all happen in good time. Right now life is about living - not how to best curate my life to the public.

The real Jenna, if you ever do meet me, isn't refined either. I write from the heart here and often fall in love with what I am writing about at the time. Read a book like One Woman Farm and you'll think this is Walden Pond but if you swing by you'll soon discover I swear like a sailor, my interests are a constant contradiction to my lifestyle, and my house is never as clean as I want it to be. I still hold fast that the best bits of Cold Antler are shared in person. And if you come here you will not see white walls and perfectly adorned end tables with a single vase and some hand-woven scarf dangling from a shaker chair, but you will see some taxidermy-cum-hawk hood holders wearing sunglasses and enough books to stress the floorboards.

You gotta do you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Vlog! Antlerstock & Harrow County!

Lucky Ones

Saturday night I found myself out behind my barn in a small woodland patch. The stars were out and the campfire was crackling. Friends new and old were around the warm blaze, and we were grateful for it. The forecast said the bottom would drop at 36, which is brisk for a pre-Hallowmas bonfire. So we set our feet on big river stones circling the pit to stay warm. Others hung back under blankets and poured a little more whiskey into their mugs of cider. All of us were tired and happy; under the sort of trance that a long day working outside followed by a big meal and a good story can cast over a group. We were passing around The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the original unabridged story by Washington Irving. Reading it aloud around the fire is a tradition of Antlerstock and it took about an hour. I loved it. Mason jars were rimmed with cinnamon and sugar and sloshed with fresh press. I was warm and surrounded by good people - some from a few miles away and others that had traveled for miles. I was asleep that night by 9:30 and still had a full day of workshops, talks, songs, and music ahead. I am the brokest wealthy person in the world.

Antlerstock has wrapped up once again. It was an absolutely stunning weekend. Twenty people, sunshine, new faces, and a farm I love more than I should. That's not a bad combination, folks.

The following few days have been recovery from the festivities of the weekend and catching up on work around the house and hosting guests who stayed past Antlerstock. Now that it's a rainy weekday morning I am back in the saddle of blog, book, and design work. Laura Marling is singing to me in her wonderfully smokey style while keeping the mood bright, which is a hell of a talent. I have much to catch up on and it is a race I look forward to winning. With a puppy asleep in her crate, bacon on the stove, and coffee in my mug I am a happy woman.

Thanks to all who came to Antlerstock. Thank you to those who supported the farm through your teaching, stories, songs, and work. Thanks to all who learned to chop firewood with Brett that will go into my woodpile. Thank you to those who were brave enough to sing folksongs taught by Rev. Tim. Thank you to those who helped harness horse, fell logs, tell your stories, try fiddles, and shared a story around an October Fire. We are the lucky ones.

Photo by Miriam Romais

Friday, October 9, 2015

Antlerstock Event Schedule!

Here is the living schedule for the weekend. Due to the nature of activities including animals, weather, volunteer teachers such there might be announced changes in time but it is all happening here on the mountain. So excited!

Friday Night Campfire: Canceled due to rain.


9AM -10AM Arrival/Meet and Greet:
Show up, park, sign in, meet others from all over the US and Canada who are here to celebrate homesteading.  Be adored by border collies. Walk around the farm. Don't touch electric fences!

10AM-Noon - Brett Mcleod's Woodland Homestead - Author, professor, doctorate, and farmer Brett teaches about felling trees with traditional woodsman tools. Cross cut saws, axes, and more!

10AM - 11 AM - Not interested in taking down tree?  I'll be in the farmhouse to talk about getting started with small backyard livestock, raised bed gardens, and composting at home.

10AM - Noon - We'll all take a break from trees and talks to meet the gentle giant Steele, Patty's Percheron and enjoy a talk about getting started with Draft Horses! Learn what it takes to take on the dream of a working equine.

Lunch break I Hour

1PM - Chopping Wood the RIGHT way with Brett!

2PM - Goats and Soap
The home dairy and all it can offer with just Goats!

2PM - Chainsaw 101 with Brett McLeod

3PM - Archery for beginners with Kathy Jones and Me
Come up into the high pasture and learn the basics of stance, safety, and aiming. Equipment here on loan, but feel free to bring your own traditional bows and arrows.

4PM - Closing words - end of official day!

7PM - Campfire back here at the farm! Come back with your camp chair for a jack-o-lantern lit night around the fire with music, hot apple cider, and a live reading of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Bring a flashlight!


9 AM - Morning Meet and Greet, General Homesteading Q&A

10AM - 11AM Sheep and Wool! Come and meet the flock of CAF and learn how wool turns into yarn, by hand, with the use of simple hand tools like carders and drop spindles!

11- Noon - Kathy and Mary Talk about homesteading in their retirement, and how dreams can start no matter what age!

LUNCH Noon - 1PM

1PM -2PM - Traditional Folk Music with Timothy Lake, folklorist and Pastor.
Learn music of the agrarian societies!

2pm - 3PM Mountain Music!
Meet the banjo, fiddle, dulcimer and strumstick. Learn what it takes both in time and money to teach yourself.

2PM - 3PM - Prepping 101
Storms, power outages, and other events are a certainty. Be prepared without a tin foil hat. Resources, podcasts, basic steps towards personal freedom from debt, fear, and uncertainty.

3:30PM - Closing Words


ART PRINT SALE: Prints by photographer Miriam Romais!

Book Sale! Get signed copies of some of my books and Brett's new book! Also a used book sale and other farm antiques, instruments, and cool yard sale items to support the farm (indoors).

Barter Blankets: If you have anything you want to barter with, bring a blanket (picnic style) and set it out at the allotted space. All weekend people can trade items (chicken feeders for handmade mittens, for example) and try some alternative economy.

Pumpkin Carving: Station set up with bucket for insides for pigs. Carve a jack for the campfire/stories Saturday Night.

Also: I believe this Weekend is also the Bedlam Farm Open House, located about a mile from my farm. Stop in to meet Jon Katz, Maria, and the animals!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lift up Ryan!

If you have been following my story than you already know who Patty Wesner is. She is the woman who got me into horses, farm girl style. Because of Patty I learned to drive horses and she was with me on the day I met Merlin and every step of my own horse story from then on. But here is something you may not know about this amazing, strong, farm woman: she is the primary caregiver to her 29-year-old son Ryan, who is a quadriplegic. Ryan has cerebral palsy and can not use his arms and legs the way many of us can. So for him to get in and out of a wheelchair and into a vehicle for appointments and everyday travel means being physically lifted in and out by people or machine lifts. I don't think Patty would mind me saying that it is getting harder and harder for her to lift her son up into the front seat of a truck or SUV, so she is trying to fund a special lift that Ryan's insurance won't cover. You can watch this video to learn more about this small crowd-funding project for his medical equipment. Even the smallest donation helps get this piece of lovely gear to folks who need it.

For more details and to see the campaign, click here!

Anna and Me

Monday, October 5, 2015

Prepping for October!

It has been an October of preparation so far, and that's where I have been. My parents came for a visit this past weekend and brought along my sister and her son Bryce. I was great to see the family but it meant two days of cleaning, baking, and preparation before their arrival and then three days with a toddler. I gotta say this, I run a farm alone and it isn't half as exhausting as an afternoon with a three-year-old! That aside - we mostly enjoyed local tourism and ate out. I cheated on my diet, big time, and have zero regrets but I certainly am paying for it on my runs. My body wasn't too  happy about a weekend with pizza, beer, burgers and ice cream. Hoo. I ran like a kicked dog today.

Antlerstock is this weekend and it looks like the Friday Night campfire will be canceled due to rain. That's a bummer but sitting in the dark in the rain is never a good time, so the campfire will be moved to Saturday night only. I think it will be cloudy but we might just get some weather luck in. Folks are coming from countryside and cityside for the two days of homesteading workshops, teachers, and talks! I am spending this week getting ready and planning out the final schedule based on teacher's times and such.

In other news, there are preparations for winter that need to be addressed ASAP.  Most of all there is the need to get firewood in and my friend from the Washington County Draft Animal Association, Rob Wilson, is delivering 2 cords on Wednesday. That is half of the firewood I need, and just having it here under the shed roof will be a long held sigh, released.

Oh, and speaking of the Draft Club, the last day of my family visit included a Sunday Afternoon drive, Washington County Style. Watch the vlog here! And please do subscribe to the Youtube Channel (It's free. You just click the subscribe button on the channel page), you get the videos sooner and it shows Youtube there's interest in my content!