Thursday, March 14, 2013

Barnheart Book Review

During my recent trip to the bookstore, I picked up a used copy of the book BarnHeart by Jenna Woginrich. I had read Jenna's previous book Made From Scratch, loved it so I snatched this one up as well. The book is an easy read and chronicles Jenna's journey to a new state (Vermont) where she rents a cabin and starts a small farm. While at times the book seems extremely romanticized, it does cover many of the hardships of small scale farming. Jenna came up with the term Barn Heart and uses it multiple times in the book. Her definition of Barn Heart is a condition of the heart where you long to have a farm (of any sort) and can't stop thinking/dreaming/planning for it. I think this is an extremely useful term and I completely "get it". I have had Barn Heart since I was young. Before buying our house, I had a really bad case of it, bad enough to turn down prospective gorgeous houses because we wouldn't be able to have chickens on the property. Its what led us to finally buying property in the country. I get it, I really do. One thing that annoyed me about the book, was how easy things seemed to fall into place for Jenna. I am sure that's not really the case. A memoir is supposed to highlight and skim the authors life, so I don't blame Jenna. Its hard to read a chapter where she mentions wanting sheep and in the next chapter she is given sheep by a friend (granted it was a fair trade for fiddle lessons). In real life, things take a lot longer, at least for me. There has to be saving up of money, planning fences, and so much planning. One thing I did like is that Jenna really seemed to do her research before jumping in. She knew someday she wanted sheep and a border collie. So before she even had a sheep dog or sheep, she started going to shepherding trials. She took classes and got mentors. I appreciate that she didn't just take on a new breed of farm animal without the proper research. Jenna is not the type of farmer who has chickens and a compost pile because its cool, trendy or the thing to do. This is her life. She gardens and eats from the garden. She raised a turkey for Thanksgiving (even though she was a vegetarian, she discusses changing her stance on vegetarianism if the animals are raised in the right way). Her farm is her livelihood and passion. If it fails, so does she. When she needed a truck, she didn't go buy a shiny new F250. She got a used cheap truck that fits her perfectly. While the book is a bit romanticized it really lets you see Jenna's heart. I enjoyed following her on her journey. The book makes you want to buy a fiddle and a sheep dog and curl up in front of a wood stove and play to your hearts content. I would recommend it to anyone who might have Barn Heart themselves. I am glad that I found an inexpensive used copy for myself. If there is any interest, we could do a giveaway of the book so that the winner can have their own copy. Thoughts?

4 comments:

  1. Barn Heart. What a perfect term. I've had it for about 20 years - ever since I had a dream one night that I liquidated all my assets and bought a flock of sheep.

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    1. Love it! I think Barn Heart is a term that can be applied to most anyone "like us"

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  2. I love Jenna Woginrich. I read Made From Scratch (own an e-version) and own Chick Days (purchased before we had chickens...so easy to follow). Before moving to the country we had Barn Heart like you wouldn't believe. We love our little homestead but military says time to move...so now we are planning our homestead in Wisconsin...a think I hear goats or a cow ;)

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    1. Jacki-
      I too, loved Made from Scratch. I love her writing style and thought her transition from office worker to farm owner was inspiring. And a single woman at that! I was so nervous when the Army moved us from TX to MD, but I am so glad they did! We would never have moved to Maryland on our own. I absolutely love Maryland and we have been so blessed here. I hope Wisconsin is above your expectations! Good luck with the move!

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