Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Mailbox

“Well, girl, you don’t have any brain tumors!”

....was what my Optometrist said to me, after inspecting both of my dilated pupils with those giant alien-autopsy face machines they are somehow allowed to use on us civilians. Not exactly normal patient/doctor chit chat, I know, but it was warranted. Before the exam I told her how I always am nervous about going to the eye doctor and have been ever since I was eleven years old... 

I'l never forget my first eye appointment. I was a chatty kid. (I am a chatty adult, too. And I talk fast and often to others when I get nervous.)  I was telling my hometown Optometrist about how I thought what she did was so great, because nobody ever leaves her office worse off. Everyone she helps out; through glasses and contacts and what not. What a great gig! Then she went grim, looked me right in my 11-year-old eyes and told me sometimes she has to give people horrible news. Sometimes she can see right through to the brain and see a mass of cancer that will kill a patient in weeks. They come in expecting a new pair of frames and leave with a death sentence.

If she wanted me to stop talking, it worked. 

And that's why till this day I prefer the Dentist to the Optometrist, both of which I had to visit this month. I had a hole in a molar the size of a peppercorn that needed to be filled in, and my last pair of contacts were about to wear through my retinas. My eye wear prescription was out and I couldn't chew. You can only put off self-care for so long.

I know the Eye Doctor and Dentist isn't a big deal to most of you out there, but to me these are watershed moments. Heathcare was the biggest boogeyman of self employment to me. It was the monster under the bed that even the most hearty of friends and supporters warned me about leaving behind for a life of farming. But if you can live your dream life and afford a new pair of glasses - that is my humble definition of success. So today I had my first eye exam in over four years. I paid the $170 bill for the doctor's time and effort, and was happy to do so. I earned the money for that visit. I had $20 in reader subscriptions come in through Paypal and I sold a piece of artwork for $150. This day I made exactly what I needed to cover that visit. So I felt amazing. I felt like I was doing it. I felt like this was something I could pull off....

And then I went to check my mailbox.

It wasn't a big mail day from the USPS. Inside was a package from a blog sponsor, a bunch of pamphlets about my wood stove to hand out at workshops or to inquiring guests. The other piece of mail was a plain, white, letter addressed to me (with my last name spelled wrong) and instead of my house number it just read:

Jenna Wogenrich
Cold Antler Farm
Cambridge, NY 12816

There was excessive postage and no return address. Inside was a blank, generic, job application printed from a website hosted by the state of Maryland. I pursed my lips. There was no note, not explanation at all. Then I got it. I sighed.  It was clearly a next-level internet troll sending a reminder to my physical home that I should get a job. That I should stop expecting to live the life I am living, pack it in, and return to a 9-5 office life.

And I will admit it had the EXACT effect intended. This person pressed my shame button, hard. They basically were saying; Jenna, how dare you live this life? Stop talking about it. Stop celebrating it. Shut up, Don’t expect patronage, get a job. Go away. And I felt small. I stood there, by my metal mailbox that I painted Cold Antler Farm on six springs ago. I stood there holding that job application on the land I am facing foreclosure on if I don’t get lucky, soon. It made me feel sick inside. Who the hell does this?

This was a kick in the ribs while I was already down. I folded up the blank application and went inside the house. On the doorknob was a hanger notice from the electric company: final disconnection notice. Another kick. I wanted to throw up.

All the good news about lack of brain tumors, the art sale, the pride of self care, and hope for new glasses in the future went out the window. I went inside, sat down in the living room floor, and cried. Gibson came to me, instantly, and collapsed in my lap. Friday watched from her crate, head cocked and curious. I had a prescription in my pocket, a head without cancer, and I still let a nameless stranger knock me down a peg. How long before the lights went out? How much longer before I quit, sell the animals, leave the farm, go away?

Not sure what else to do, I took care of some farm essentials, let out the dogs, and then changed into running clothes and ran five miles. These days, that is a very short run. It was a hot day, and it didn't take long for sweat to coat me like the mandatory baptism I demanded. I ran and I thought. Did I deserve that? Was it a sign? What am I doing here holding onto a ghost like this? Maybe I should throw in? Maybe I should start over?

When I got back home in record time, I finished evening chores early. I refilled everyone's water and checked the flock, goats, and horse. I moved the chicken tractors.  Then I came inside a dripping mess to that job application on my bench, like it was supposed to be dissected for posterity. I gave it a closer look.

What? It was totally blank.

I looked through the pages, all of them.  It had no assigned job. The person who mailed it wasn't clever enough to fill in a position they thought I belonged in. They thought the gag was enough, but what they gave me wasn't a scolding - it was a canvas. And I sat down covered in deerfly bites, sunburn, and sweat and applied for the job I wanted:

 I filled out the application as if I was asking for my dream job, which is to make a living here as an author without fear. So when the space offered me a position, I chose World-Renowned Author. (Which I know is ridiculous, but if I get a blank check I am cashing it in) - And then I went through the rest of the application, all the pages, and filled out my hopeful salary, my experience, my history and resume.

It turns out that this 33-year-old woman actually has a decent shot. I have put out five nationally circulated books from two major publishing houses, and was working on wrapping up my first self-published novel. I had a BFA in communication design from a four-year University with a minor in Illustration - two degrees I use daily to help keep the lights on (literally!).  I had traveled around the US and been to both coasts promoting books, speaking at huge events and fairs, and had nearly a decade of farming experience under my belt. My order didn't seem that tall now that it was all on paper in front of me. That piece of snark mail turned into a spell book.

After the application was done, I read it as if I was the person hiring (I kinda am), and felt pretty great. I set it down like it was a decree of faith, gently and with love, and then went to my rotary phone to call the electric company. I called them with calm confidence of a tumorless eye patient, and we worked out a half-payment now and the rest in two weeks. It is a pinch but the lights and internet stay on so I can continue to work from home. I let out a silent prayer of thanks. Someone out there has my back.

People send things like this and want to hurt me. They want me to feel shame for the life I want, work for, and crawl uphill with bleeding fingernails to keep. Fine. I get it. You aren't happy, and you don't think I deserve to be either. But honestly? What were you thinking? You don't send a box of kindling to an arsonist. You don't send white gloves to a mime. You don't send a 6-pack of beers to an alcoholic - these are not avatars of shame. These are evidence of validation!

I am well aware I don't have a normal job you Agents of Caution associate with the kind of approval that helps you nod behind crossed arms. But your stupid letter was a badge for my sash, a light in the dark, and it made me feel strong.  Really, really, strong. And I say that as a woman farming alone for nearly a decade.  I say that as a five-time author.  I say that as the qualified applicant in the running for the most amazing life of all time, and I am just getting started. Did you think your adorable letter was Kryptonite? Well, it wasn't.

It was spinach, bitch.

And I am framing this application and putting it on the wall. 


Blogger Beth48 said...

You put a vlog up in December that you got a job. What happened to that job?

June 30, 2016 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Well, this is going to be fun.
That was for temp work. It was over months ago.

June 30, 2016 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Jenna, you have an indomitable spirit! Keep on seeking. For every troll and naysayer, there are countless people rooting for you!
I am going now to vote for Cold Antler again.

June 30, 2016 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger EZ said...

I wonder what this person would be like if she met you in person. I wonder how people have the kind of energy to actively be nasty to other people. I think all we can do is be sorry that they're in the situation they're in, and hope it gets better. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Try to be kind. Love from the West.

June 30, 2016 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You are my spirit animal!

June 30, 2016 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger crazymimi said...

Jealously makes people act stupid, so proud of you and what you have accomplished. The fact that it is always a struggle shows how strong you are!

June 30, 2016 at 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My middle daughter is an artist. For a couple years she supported herself and her boyfriend (who has medical problems) on on her art. Now its not her full responsibility and she can enjoy life a bit. As her mom, I worry a lot. Part of me wants her to get a "real job" but I am so proud of her. Good for you for standing strong. Trust me, I have a real job along with our small farm and my home business and money is still right. Keep keeping on.

June 30, 2016 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You're my hero, screw superman, you're the best.

July 1, 2016 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Just curious, where does the postmark say it was mailed from?

July 1, 2016 at 12:23 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I cried today too. Life can be a bummer. Maybe I will have a good day tomorrow.

July 1, 2016 at 12:31 AM  
Blogger Chelsea Tarver said...


July 1, 2016 at 1:27 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

You rock big time, Jenna ... and for all the people who are stopping by ... don't forget to vote for "our" Jenna

July 1, 2016 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Ducky said...

Hell yes, Jenna. Way to turn that around. I've done almost that exact thing before and it worked powerful magic. You are a badass. I am pulling for you so fucking hard.

July 1, 2016 at 6:00 AM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 1, 2016 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My favorite of all your blog posts to date!!! Brilliant way to turn it around.... Also, the job title you put on that application, you can manifest that, so when you had that thought, don't dismiss it, embrace it and believe it :)

July 1, 2016 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Lesley UK said...

Well done! You have far more friends than you know. I wish I could do something to help you financially, but as I only receive disabled benefit I can't. But I have been voting for your farm every day, and I hope with all my heart that you get the finance you so deserve. You're living a life that most of us envy, (although I must admit I would never have the mental, let alone physical strength to do it) You live the dream for us. If there's ever anything I can do to help, I will. That's a promise. Blessings

July 1, 2016 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Guys! thank you so much!

July 1, 2016 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger admin said...

There are so many people who project their ideals...good thing the people living their dreams don't listen to their "guidance". You did good with this one!

Even with insurance my eye stuff (and dental :-() isn't covered. Glad to know another contact stretcher....

July 1, 2016 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Patti said...

Jenna, why is it that you think you can live without working? I'm really curious to know. I once sent money to you for one of your many emergencies. It didn't seem to help you at all. You live in constant chaos either real or created. I've often wondered why you continue to bring more animals into your life when feeding and taking care of yourself seems to be a bigger job than you can handle. I just finished reading a book called "Bootstrapped" by Mardi Jo Link. You should read it. It's a memoire about a gritty woman who when faced with divorce decides to fight to keep her farm and kids. Very very interesting. I could not help but compare her story with yours. The difference is night and day. I think what people object to about your situation is that you appear to be living off of your admirer's pity and generosity through writing about your hard luck when you continue to make bad and costly decisions. And you continue to think that it is possible to live without holding down an income producing job. It seems like a scam to always be crying wolf and collecting money.

July 1, 2016 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Keep shining Jenna. No matter what these Agents of Caution throw at you, you bounce right back. You will be successful. You will maintain your farm. You will be invincible.

July 1, 2016 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jealousy makes people do some really ugly send hate mail. Screw them! You are a very hard working, resourceful woman that I am proud to follow. I wish I could say we knew each other because I would be proud to have you as a friend. I know there are so many others who would sincerely say the same words to you. Please never give up the fight. Stay strong, continue to work hard. It WILL come together in the end babe!

July 1, 2016 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Patti, first of all thank you. What makes you think an act of kindness didn’t help? I’m still here, aren’t I?

And what makes you think I am not working!? I blog. I create videos. I write and design freelance. I write books. I raise pastured pork and poultry. I teach fiddle lessons, instruct archery, and I speak at events. I create illustrations and mail them all over the world. All of this pays better than the work I did in a corporate office. I am never not working. And every since homeowner bill is mine, as is every homeowner/farmer responsibility. I had to leave that job so I could have a shot at making the life I wanted and the living I wanted. That is what this blog is about - not a farm, not how to raise chickens, not a photo album - it's the story about a fight for a dream life.

The reason these past few years have been hard is because these are the first years of figuring it all out as a self employed person. Nobody has to read it, support it, or care about it. The people reading are doing so because they choose to. People who buy logos or subscribe to volunteer to pay for writing - choose to. This is a free blog I have kept for nearly 10 years now. You can watch, comment, donate, or disdain it - but don't ever say I'm not working.

I fell behind on the mortgage 2 years ago and was never able to catch up. I’ve been keeping wolves from the door for years now, and yes, it must seem constant if that is what you are focusing on. How do you think it feels to me?! My goal is to create a successful, safe, and happy life as a writer and farmer here in my little paradise. That is what I want. There is no plan B. There is no quitting. There's just more work, projects, ideas, and dreams.

People can choose to see my blog however they want. They can see it as a scrappy success story or a nightmare - it's none of my business what you think of me. So why do you feel the need to comment, read, and be a part of something and someone you don’t respect? What are you getting out of this relationship? My guess is entertainment. Because love me or hate me, you're spending your free time invested in the story.

July 1, 2016 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Portia said...

It's hard to understand why people are so mean sometimes. I'm still wondering about that optometrist from 20 years ago. What in the world did she intend? What was wrong with letting an 11-year old child believe she had a happy job helping people? If she *had* to introduce a dark note a simple "not everyone's problems are easy to fix" would have been sufficient.

July 1, 2016 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Portia! I can't tell you how many times I have thought that same thing?! All I can assume is she felt horrible, or it just happened, or she didn't want credit for an easy job. If some pre-teen came to me and said, "isn't your life amazing! you just ride ponies and eat organic food you raised and hunt with hawks!" I would probably tell them it wasn't like that at all, too. Maybe not go as dark as she did though

July 1, 2016 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

@Patti If you truly live in West Michigan as you say, you CERTAINLY are surrounded by farm country, orchards etc. The majority of those operations are run by a couple, often one of whom is working outside the home to make it fly. Last I looked, Jenna is a party of one. It certainly would be easier with a partner who might be bringing in another and/or different source of income.

And certainly, Patti, living in West Michigan you ought to be aware of the cyclical nature of business....look at the auto industry, the tool and die shops, suppliers etc. The economy is never always "up". I suspect the same holds true for a farmer/writer.

Common sense. As a start up business, she hasn't quite gotten to the point that she has cushion for the short cycles. Or root canals.


Living smack dab in West Michigan, just off The Ridge (fruit producers), pork producer down the road and husband working the Tier 1 supplier route.

July 1, 2016 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love that there is no quit in you, keep fighting for your home. Though I probably would have paid my overdue bills before going to the eye doctor, each of us has the right to there own way of doing things. 10 yrs from now it may still be a struggle, but life is like that for most people and you have several yrs of paying that mortgage under your belt already. Fight the good fight
And never let anyone get into your head. Its not about what they want , its about what u want

July 1, 2016 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Jenna, with Jon's blog about 'sham', I think we all know exactly where that envelope came from - if not Patti directly, then the same tribe that think being nasty with their anonyvile is funny. Patti does not speak for me - when she mentions these things that are pity and generosity. I do not contribute (when I can) out of pity. I contribute out of understanding struggle, out of compassion and inspiration. Her contribution did not purchase vile input/criticism into how you live your life or earn your living. As Jon would say, 'Your life is not an argument.' And honestly, if you ever get ahead again, I hope you send her an envelope returning her sour contribution that tells her to go suck a farm-raised, organic hen laid, small-farmed egg. Rooting for a person to fail is sick. Using someone's struggle to validate self-righteous judgement is sick.

I will never understand the need of someone to tear down another human being. Why spend precious energy that way when you could be doing so much more with your time that is good... it is entirely possible to read a thing, say 'I don't enjoy this' or 'I don't care for that person', and WALK AWAY. Not return. Not pick it back up. Personally, I employ a 50-page rule (3-entry rule for blogs) - if I don't enjoy a thing by that time, I don't return. I say 'this one's not for me - it doesn't add good to my life' and I put it down. I move on. I feel sad that someone who has reached that same conclusion continues on a path for years reading shit that doesn't make them happy BY CHOICE and then seeking to destroy it so that no one else can enjoy it either. As if everyone should have the same favorite color. Their world is a bland, jealous misery and they will never know what it feels like to walk a falcon through the woods, or taste homemade mead at the end of a day that included a 5-mile run and a float in the river to cool off. If I never know these things, well - that's MY life, but I can at least enjoy reading about it and imagining. THAT is what my contribution pays for, in my view - supporting the writing and pictures that help me envision bettering my own dream life.

Some day I hope Patti and her Anonysham Tribe move along - hopefully to being kinder rather than picking a new target other than you or Jon (which is probably far more likely). Whatever, if anything, they contributed, they got their money's worth long ago.

July 1, 2016 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I don't think that letter came from Patti, I think it came from other folks. It was postmarked Albany, but not sure if that's where letters are received or sent.

July 1, 2016 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Per the eye apointment - i can't see without glasses or contacts and I am on my last pair of contacts and the glasses are taped, I did put it off for 4 years....

July 1, 2016 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger cjbstar said...

Jenna - keep going and keep dealing with the naysayers in a positive manner. You are on the right track. I have a "real" job and I have also been self employed in varying degrees for 30 years. I can tell anyone who wants to listen that you work twice as hard being self employed because it's all on you. Every. Single Detail. Stay strong. It will come together.

July 1, 2016 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Pilates Paula said...

Fan. Tastic. Brava!

Let's make more badges for your sash- a hunk of wool, an arrowhead, a braid of Merlin's hair, a turkey feather, a piece of the next sneaker you run into the ground, a mini book (, a record player... Then wear your sash like an ammo belt, warding off the nasties with all your amazing You.

July 1, 2016 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Patrice Nelson said...

I think you work harder than most people with "regular" jobs. Keep fighting the good fight and living your life on your terms. God bless you and your sweet farm.

July 1, 2016 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger jules said...

What a way to turn it all around! Good on you, Jenna!

July 1, 2016 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger jules said...

@mdoe37: Hey! I am moving to SW Michigan, the place of my birth! Maybe we can exchange emails?

July 1, 2016 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

The decisions you make are yours, period. Yes, you put them out on the blog and people will make positive and negative comments. But, only you walk in your shoes. Only you have the whole picture of what is going on in your life. And I guess what gets me is that some people refuse to see that it is YOUR life, warts and all. Your mortgage has been an issue for several years but I would bet that it is your biggest expense, so it makes sense that it is a concern. Some people have been blessed to have enough income to cover their expenses no matter how foolishly they spend their money. Others, like you, live close to the cuff. Perhaps what I find most interesting about your life is how you rise above the monetary culture and utilize bartering. That fosters more community good than a money based transaction. Perhaps, Patti should read "Radical Homemaker" and develop an understanding of the function of a non-extractive community, bartering, and trade. And, finally, I don't understand why people choose to spread negativity...what a waste of energy.

July 1, 2016 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger barnowl1702 said...

Hi Jenna, I first wanted to say that I am a really big fan of yours and have been for years. I make sure your blog is the first one I visit every morning and I have read all of your books more than once. I really, really love your writing. I applaud everything that you do and everything that you are. It just seems like lately you have been in real financial trouble and I was just wondering why you don’t find temporary work off the farm for a while until you are caught back up? I know you are an author, a farmer, an artist, and a graphic designer, first and foremost, but it seems like lately those things aren’t paying the bills. For a really long while actually. When your power is about to be shut off, drastic measures may be needed.

My friend runs an organic farm and has been in business for more than 20 years. It is what he does and who he is. But sometimes, not often, but sometimes he has a bad season and it doesn’t pay the bills and he has to find work off-farm. It doesn’t change that he is a farmer through and through. He knows when he is in danger of not being able to pay his bills, he just has to do it, if only for awhile. Through it all, he is still a farmer.

I am scared alongside of you when the bank threatens foreclosure and when you lay awake at night with worry. I think nearly everyone has felt that same worry at some point in their life and it sucks. It is beyond awful. There is no shame in being in a bad financial spot and recognizing that at the moment, what you are doing isn’t paying the mortgage. Maybe what I said will be seen as negative but it isn’t meant to be. Being an author and a farmer, etc is what you are, and it is what you will always be in my eyes. It is what makes you awesome! But, declaring you are one thing and only that one thing while your bills go unpaid isn’t realistic. Sometimes we all have to put on a different hat for awhile to make ends meet. It isn’t great admittedly, but it is a lot better than being in long-term financial trouble. Sometimes, it is just something we have to do.

Anyway, I know that I will probably get put down by your readers for saying anything but I, like many of us I bet, really, really care about you. We feel like we know you and we are always rooting for you to succeed. I know I for one would not think any less of you had to find outside work to get caught up because many of us have been there. A lot of us work jobs for a long time that we don’t really love to pay our own bills. It is just reality when we have to take care of ourself. I truly wish you the best of luck Jenna, and wherever your journey takes you, I will be cheering you on. You are amazing!

P.S. You are my daughter’s hero too! She still adores the book you signed for her and talks daily about the farm she will one day have.

July 1, 2016 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Barnowl, there was nothing wrong with your comment and I appreciate it. But the honest answer is no off-farm job is going to make the same amount of money that I make already working here. I make more selling 2 logos a week than I did at my last corporate gig I worked at for 4 years with annual raises.

July 1, 2016 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Jenna you are young and smart and talented but life is too short to be constantly stressed and scared and worried. Yes, everyone deserves to live their dream life but sometimes you have to go to Plan B. Figure out a way to work off the farm in order to pay the bills. You may have to downsize but it would be worth it,I think, to take the constant worry away. I'm sure that what you are going through financially is not part of anyone's dream life. I think you can live the life you dream of but maybe not exactly as you planned. Good luck and hug the dogs for me!

July 1, 2016 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Robin Follette said...

That job app piece of mail? That's not about you. It's about the person who sent it, the person who didn't have the ovaries to put a name and return address on the envelope. Like you never thought about getting a "real job," right? Keep living a real life. No matter what happens you will always be able to say you worked your ass off and did your best. We can't all say that.

July 1, 2016 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Paulette said...

Patti, and the person who sent you the job application - if not one in the same, should have realized long ago that you have a gift for inspiring folks to try to realize their dreams. We have read your books, blogs, and watched your videos and have incorporated you into our thoughts as we live our lives. I catch myself thinking: I bet I know what Jenna would do in this or that situation. Your struggle is what gives us courage to keep going, and we are all pulling for you.

July 1, 2016 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger barnowl1702 said...

Jenna, than you for your honest reply. I am relieved to hear that you make more money now. Really relieved actually! My husband and I both cringe for you every time the mortgage van comes by because we too have had that experience when we had a rough patch a few years ago. It is literally so scary and demoralizing. I would wish that sort of experience on no one. Especially someone like you that has more talent than anyone I ever seen. You have really achieved so much and accomplished so many amazing things. I mean it from the depths of my heart when I say I think you are an inspiration. Please know that I mean no disrespect when I ask, that if you make more money now, why then are you always in financial trouble? I am sorry to ask. I am just confused. Thank you again for all you do. Like Paulette, I often think about your fearlessness and it inspires me in times of doubt. Your name is a household word around here because we are always saying, "Jenna posted something amazing hon, you gotta read it!" Or, "Jenna was saying... " Thanks again!

July 1, 2016 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Christina S said...

Patti, what makes you think that she isn't working? Just because she is not working at a "typical" job doesn't mean that she is sitting in front of the television with a bag of chips !! She is working, she is self employed, open your eyes to that, or don't read the blog. She has her business (s) with goals and strategies. My goal is to work for myself someday too. I admire Jenna, and her accomplishments. If you do t want to hear about struggles than don't read!

Some people have "typical" jobs and still have to struggle.

Could you live if the world crashed tomorrow -no more "jobs" to go to, money didn't matter? I bet Jenna could, and she is a friend I would want to have in that situation.

July 1, 2016 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

The issue isn't making money, it's making double or triple the money I would usually need to pay off the bills I was behind on. There was a rough patch before (actually, what I am writing this next book about) and that is what I am recovering from. That's why there is the Going Postal Campaign, to finally knock those late payments out so I can save and not be constantly worried.

July 1, 2016 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Morgan S. said...

I'm always amazed at your spunk and your ability to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after a letdown, Jenna! I work an incredibly boring desk job for a myriad of equally boring reasons, but point is, I don't think it matters what kind of things you do to earn money--life is ridiculously expensive, and you'd need a LOT of money not to be in debt, especially as a single person. Your little farm is amazing, and you work crazy hard! You're also a very talented writer and artist. Good for you, for doing what a lot of people won't ever dare to try (including myself). There should be no shame in asking for help; you aren't forcing anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Why anyone else would care enough to send you mean things is just illustrative of their own petty selfishness and insecurity. They're butthurt (as the kids say) because they're probably stuck in a life they don't want, but they don't have your gumption, and they resent that. I really hope you pull through this latest setback, but I know you'll land on your feet regardless. It's nobody else's business, what you do with your life! If someone decides to help you out, that shouldn't mean they're buying a piece of you, and reading your blog shouldn't make them feel like they should have a say in how you live. You are kind to invite us all into your farm via this medium, and you do provide us with an adventuresome vicarious experience, and you do it well.

July 1, 2016 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Chuck & Bonita said...

I have donated to your life because I was a small business owner doing a million things and feeling l was a failure when I tried to keep the wolf from the door. You work most of your waking hours and worry the rest. I'm glad to support a young woman who is trying to achieve a dream. I am proud of your character and your willingness to keep going. There will always be people who will try to take you down when you step out into the light to try to make a difference. Ignore them they are cowards and they are not worth a tear.

July 1, 2016 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger ponygirl said...

I've read all your books and loved them. I gave a couple to my neighbor and she loved them too. I keep up with your blog and vlog. I really used to enjoy them. I have read every blog post and watched every vlog--just found you a year ago--so I've been busy! Sadly, though, I'm getting weary of about every other post being about your financial struggle, losing the farm, electric being turned off, septic broken--all with no money or solid plan to catch up the bills. Your posts have gone from happy and giving good information to anxious, scared-of-the-present and -future as the over-riding theme. It's pretty much a constant. You say you are happier than you've ever been. I don't read that in your posts--I read anxious, fearful, stressed. I wish the old, happy, positive Jenna would reappear and provide the former interesting content, rather than drama. If it really is true that you are have more income now, from the farm, than you did when you were working at your office job, then common sense says you are either living beyond your means or not managing your money as well as you could be. I don't remember reading any dramatic financial posts until you quit your job and were a year or two into trying to make a living just from the farm and your writing/artist work. Everyone gets in financial binds at some point during their lives for reasons they can't control. I get that. Been there--I made sacrifices and caught things back up. I guess I don't get why it goes on and on and on, but yet you say you are making money. Doesn't make sense at all. And, I have to say, I do not understand why getting even a part time job wouldn't make more sense than not working outside the farm at all. Any extra income would help, not hurt. The solution to getting out of a financial bind is simply to either cut expenses or bring more money into your household. Whatever you decide to do, I do wish you all the best, and I do hope that I will be able to see the old happy Jenna who made me smile reappearing soon.

July 1, 2016 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Mountain Walker said...

What happened to the money that the Birchthorn kickstart project brought in? I can't wait to read that book! The parts that you've already published (in previous blog posts) were so exciting!

July 1, 2016 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Dorothy I appreciate your thoughtful comment. And I am sure the Jenna of the last few years has been different, and that's for reasons I don't feel comfortable sharing online. As uncomfortable as it is answering questions about money - it's a lot more comfortable than talking about my personal life. So I guess the best answer to your concerns is to stay tuned and see what is ahead, my next book I am writing now has a lot to say about the last five years. And, know that what you read is what I present publicly, not the whole story. And I appreciate your readership and suggestions.

July 2, 2016 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Elizabeth, that money was here almost 2 years ago. While it was the huge help this farm needed at the time, a cushion and an amazing community effort, it was 2 years ago of one person running a full time farm and household. Birchthorn comes out soon as I can get it out - already talked about the hardcovers and paperbacks, ISBNs, the publisher and I have it good to go. It's a matter of time for revisions of edits, layout, printing and mailing but soon as the ebook is ready - it will be mailed to all folks who pledged for it. IT should be before the print versions.

July 2, 2016 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I think Patti's comments were pretty much correct. If you are still facing potential foreclosure and power disconnect, you are proving the lifestyle you wish to lead isn't realistic. I'm sure you are right that a logo makes you more than a job but is it steady work? Apparently not or you wouldn't be in this bind.
You ask why do we follow you if we disapprove of you always being in a financial mess. Probably because you have the gift of story telling and we enjoy the tales of Cold Antler Farm and its inhabitants. We just don't enjoy the whining about money.
None of us want to see you lose the farm but many of us feel you need to step up and help yourself.

July 2, 2016 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Jamie Rohrbaugh said...

Jenna, I don't know you and have never read your blog before; I came to it when a friend--another farmer--shared your link on Facebook. But I am super-impressed that you wrote this; impressed that you're chasing your dream; and impressed that you kicked that thing in the pants and called the electric company and made a deal.

I'm one who has had a long, corporate career in the Fortune 500. I have a great job and I made good money. But money doesn't satisfy. Money doesn't equal fulfilling work. Fulfilling work = fulfilling the call on your life, the destiny for which you were created.

So I quit my job part-time a couple of months ago so I could do the work I was born to do. And God is blessing. It's challenging, and sometimes nail-biting, and it has made me grow. But I've never been more fulfilled in my life, and I'm believing God to make a way for me to leave the corporate world completely soon. I'm sure some people don't approve. But who cares what "some people" think? The people that I'm touching every day are awfully glad I'm there, and so am I.

All that to say... YOU GO, LADY. You can do it. It's worth it. If this is what you were born to do, kick the naysayers in the pants and may many who embrace your gift come to you and be a blessing to you. There's only one you, and what you do matters. So may encouragement come to you from every side. May deals work out in your favor. May income you never expected arrive at your doorstep. You're inspiring people, and I'm so impressed with you already.

July 2, 2016 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Step up and help myself!? I don't know if you follow me on social media - but I am constantly offering sales on logos, pitching freelance articles, working on book proposals, selling commissions, selling ads, classes, indie days - My facebook is my farmstand. I am constantly "helping myself" by earning money. I am doing the postcard/art for the farm project as a mass selling of art to do exactly that. So help myself? Do you not see this blog as exactly that? Or do you just see it as a character in a TV show you like to read about when things are going great?

In the past five years I have paid off my credit cards, kept the farm from foreclosure, kept the lights on (even though it's been touch and go at times, the power has never been turned off here once), secured a safe vehicle that I own the title to, cut off all “extras” in the forms of a cell phone, cable tv, AC, central heat, washer and dryer, dishwasher, etc. I have not been on a vacation once since I bought this farm. I have not left this place in four years, not for one night. But if someone sees a picture of me in a new tee shirt I am a reckless spender and don’t deserve a monthly $5 contribution...

I am damn proud of this farm and all the help I give myself.

July 2, 2016 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

It also really gets me when I know people love to call me an ebeggar when I am selling logos to the public, but have zero problem borrowing money from their parents, family, spouse or friends. Or, they see nothing wrong with living with their parents or friends rent free. Or they are on government help in the form of unemployment, financial aid, or social security - it doesn't matter what it is - but I can say I don't borrow money from friends or family. I don't expect to live somewhere for free. I don't take any sort of government assistance, at all. Every penny I have earned to keep this place going I have done by myself, and have been open about every good and bad time on this farm in that sense.

There are people who say the meanest shit about me who have probably depending on help in the past themselves. They just did so quietly, a check in the pocket from their dad - or had their sister co sign a lease, or they had the sense not to write about it publicly online to a society obsessed with outrage and shame.

I have learned this - some people just plain HATE the modern, internet, model of making a living in the self-employed creative field. Some people just HATE me for having something they want and doing it in a way that seems unfair while they sit at a desk all week and no one is emailing them and asking them make logos or cat art. My art, the blog, none of it is "work" in the traditional sense to people. Because I am at home it is seen as a flat-out refusal to go back to the office - even though that job paid less and I make more doing this.

All I am doing is trying to sell things to keep things solid here. I am not asking for you guys to pay for anything but the words if you wish to voluntarily do so. And if you happen to want an illustration or logo, I’ll sell you that too. But don't you dare shame me and make it sound like I am begging for help when I am asking to be hired at home in a way that best supports this job. You don't get to do that.

July 2, 2016 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jenna, you are great and I am really happy I found you to create our logo, I am really enjoying the process of it!!
Good WORK!! 😉

July 2, 2016 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger lenithecook said...

I am delighted by your persistence in making a life you have designed! Your passionate writing about what you do is important especially since you are still young enough to have a long life of successes ahead of you. One has the feeling that the shit slingers out there obviously do not know any poor folks who do work conventional jobs! I have only one small critical note: Social Security is not government assistance; we oldsters payed into the system over the years and are getting it back at an average $1200 per month. For me at age 73 the soc sec income just pays my mortgage which means I still have to earn an income for all the rest of life expenses. this I do as a lecturer, writer, home provisioner, teacher. Now I'm doing my best to get my food memoir published.

July 2, 2016 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

You know, I was thinking while reading these comments.... It must be completely out of many people's realm of experience to understand how much effort it takes to cobble an income together from all over the board.

Going to a place of employment is simple compared to your lifestyle. It's guaranteed. There's a predictable budget involved, notification of termination required with time to prepare for a loss, perks, insurance, yadda frikkin yadda. And of course, membership into the club of socially-acceptable employment.

And you're right... this isn't a how-to blog, full of sparkly chikkin-pikkin articles and "which green bean variety matches your personality?" quizzes, tailored to get as much sponsorship as possible through that route.

But it IS a resource I consider a valuable "how-to" anyway. How to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving toward a dream. How to be present in the joys associated with this life and put the mountain of stress on a shelf during those moments. How to continue to remind yourself that your dreams are your own map, and standard directions don't apply.

It's a story bravely showing the ugly, vulnerable side of all this. And 'shame' on people taking advantage of that. It's like they sit around thinking, "Ooh! An opportunity!"

I think you do a damn good 'job' using the resource of your popularity as a platform to market your other skills. And for crissakes... just what is WRONG with these people? That about sums it up. ;)

July 2, 2016 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Angela Palmer said...

Bravo, Jenna! Pay no mind to the critics. Some people just aren't happy unless they have something to complain about, and judging others makes them feel better about their own lot in life. They don't understand you're living an amazing adventure! I think you're awesome.

July 2, 2016 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Totally support your efforts but I do have to echo the lady about social security. I have been paying into my social security since I was 14. Lots of sacrifice of time and missed events to always work to pay for school, then college, then graduate school. Even when I was in my career working fulltime, I worked an additional part-time job for ten years. So I don't view social security as anything but my money. To date I have 39 years of paying social security and probably about 15 more years until retirement. I definitely do not view it as government assistance.

July 2, 2016 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I do apologize if the social security thing came off as a dig, what I meant was I am not using it.

July 2, 2016 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I work at home too Jenna and I know people think that I don't do much but I do. I am at the computer 8 hours a day. I work for a doctor's office and do the transcription for them. I get full benefits and don't have to drive into a city to do my work. I love it. I get to do other things while I am typing like laundry and such and not having the aggravation of driving in traffic is a big plus. What some people don't seem to understand is that yes you can work outside the home but you have to have money for the gas and then you would have to do all the chores in the morning and evening which is hard not only on you but the animals as well. I have to say I've been there with the overdue bills and credit cards. My husband and I paid them off and never got any more credit cards. Not spending money you don't have is the first step to independence. (that's pretty good, I think I need to write that one down LOL). Keep your chin up, Jenna. Things will get better.

July 2, 2016 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I find it amazing that a person can be so petty as to take the time to actually mail you a job application. That person REALLY has some issues.

July 3, 2016 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

First of all, I have to make a small correction in your job application...since I live in Canada and bought your book right here in Montreal, I think that makes you an internationally known author not just national...just saying. I als need to add that you do work...damn hard. These blog posts that we are all reading do not just write themselves. Not to mention the hundreds of other things that you are doing to bring in money. You work harder than most of the people I know.
Some smart person I know of once said that it is ok to live life that others don't understand. I think that is brilliant. I know people that make tons of money, waste much of it, and then pay a therapist because they can't handle the stress or are falling into depression because they feel caught in this rat race. There are other people who spend tons of money collecting cars, or figurines, or golfing in resorts, whatever, I don't get that, but does it make it wrong? Of course not.
This thing called the Internet is a wonderful thing. People like us can find like minds, Google solutions to our problems and fix things, and learn so many things. Unfortunately it also gives small minded people an anonymous platform to be judgemental and mean spirited to be those who are brave enough to put themselves out there.
You don't have to answer to anyone but yourself. Anyone who hides behind an anonymous non signature is, simply put, a coward.

Sorry to have gone on and on. Final word: You. Go. Girl!!!

Thank you for all that you do,


July 3, 2016 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Imo Thomas said...

Don't listen to the naysayers! I worked 38 years in corporate America. Looking back, I wish I had done what you are doing. You live in the moment. That is the best kind of life!

July 4, 2016 at 12:40 AM  

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