Jenna Woginrich

In her own words: Local author Jenna Woginrich
Jenna is a homesteader and the author of Barnheart, Chick Days, and Made from Scratch. She blogs at Cold Antler Farm, as well as Mother Earth News and the Huffington Post. A Pennsylvania native, she has made her home in the mountains of Tennessee, in northern Idaho, in rural Vermont, and most recently in upstate New York, where she lives with a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, a border collie in training, chickens and geese, a hive of bees, a horse, and several amiable rabbits.

On living on a One Woman Farm: I live the way I do because it makes me feel satisfied emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Homesteading takes care of the whole person.

On the spiritual nature of life on a farm: Some people love mantras, yoga, churches, and temples. Some people collect crystals, amulets, prayer beads and candles... I prefer heavy horses, hard work, and the way a river feels after a day of moving 300 50lb haybales. We all get our religion somewhere.

On the heartbreak of working with animals: Oh man, this is an essay in itself. I think the hardest choice is putting animals down you can't afford to save. It's that fight between the pocketbook and the heart so many small farmers need to make to stay afloat. Here as well.

On communicating with animals: We are all animals, and when a horse needs something I find it isn't about any deep, spiritual, communication as much as a loud holler right in your face. People are looking for so much deep meaning these days from animals, and they usually miss the messages right in front of their faces. I've learned much of my livestock cares a lot more about the three biggies (food, sex, and sleep) and very little else. When you accept that you really start the conversation.

On the rhythms of writing, the seasons and the farm: Rhythm sounds so nice, bless you. It's more of a manic fistfight of creativity. I write in the morning when I need to write for a deadline, and I write in the evening when I need to write for passion. Seasons are just the furniture. 

On advice for aspiring writers: Write every day. Pile it up. Someone's bound to notice. 

On a favorite book: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I can't even begin
to write like that but waking up in a world with that book makes me more excited to live in it.