01 February 2012

Review: Barnheart by Jenna Woginrich

The Book:

While many people are content to dabble in gardening, maybe raise a few chickens, there are some that find it just scratches the farm itch. Being able to act on those desires can take a great leap of faith. Jenna Woginrich made that leap, from Idaho to Vermont to New York. For all of those who feel the same way, the author admits this is an illness that can only be cured by sun, dirt and the sounds of the barn. This, my friends, is Barnheart.

The Yarn:

I first heard of Jenna Woginrich with her first book, Made From Scratch, and have been reading her blog, Cold Antler Farm, since then. Farming has become chic to a lot of people; urban homesteading is growing by leaps and bounds, as you can see from any bookstore or libraries' shelves. However, there are many who are not doing it to just be part of the culture that it has become, but because their lives need it.

Barnheart chronicles Woginrich's journey back to the East Coast and her time in Vermont, plus her acquisition of the homestead she has now in upstate New York. Farming is not an easy life, and Woginrich does not back away from the lean times, the solitude, the mistakes, the fear that came with her decisions. Failure is always a possibility; failure happens. (Anyone who has followed Neysa's journey on Homegrown.org will know it does.) Beyond this, there is success also, and Woginrich shares the joy of walking the path to achieving her dream, her life goals, one step at a time.

What I really enjoyed was the changes in writing from her first book to this one. There is an amount of self-revelation that Woginrich has given her readers which was not evident in the first book. While this would definitely not be considered a Photoshopped version of farming, there is a depth of self-awareness and analysis in Barnheart that I do not remember from Made From Scratch. What Barnheart emphasizes is the perseverance, even knowing the failures and downsides. Because as Woginrich points out time and time again, Barnheart is not about a pastime - it is a way of life.

The Ink:

Title: Barnheart
Author: Jenna Woginrich
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Date: December 2011
Read: Purchased copy