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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Book Review: ‘Cold Antler Farm’ by Jenna Woginrich

Finally! Another book review. I took a break from fiction to get some non-fiction read – a book on writing, a faith based book – books I’ve been wanting to read aside from my YA Fantasy stuff 😉

‘Cold Antler Farm’ by Jenna Woginrich was on my list, as well. This book covers an average year for Ms. Woginrich, as she lives and works her homestead, alone and proud. She tells of the drastic change she made years ago, having lived in the big city as a graphic designer before deciding to pull up stakes and move to up state New York to become a homesteader. She didn’t know much about raising animals, gardening, taking care of a farm, etc, but made it work.

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Since that time, she’s become learned enough that she runs workshops from her farm, teaching others what she’s gleaned and often celebrating nature focused holidays. She tells of the challenges and the joy she receives from working her farm by herself, about her satisfaction at finding she could do things she never thought she’d be doing just a few years ago. She stays as self sufficient as possible, commenting she can go months without gracing the front door of a super market. 

Throughout the story, she tells of her love of the fresh food she grows and raises; the boost in confidence she receives knowing she successfully fixed the broken part of her fence to keep her sheep safe, in the dead of night; how she basks in the joy of driving her small cart via horse to the local creamery for an ice cream. She’s the first to admit the lifestyle is filled with challenges – she can almost never leave for a vacation of any kind – but wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The idea of homesteading has always fascinated me, to the point that usually a few times per year, I’ll announce to my husband it’s time to sell our house and all our belongings and move somewhere remote where we can ‘live off the land’. That is, until I read something like this 😉 Then I’m reminded just how much work it is, and that I’d better be 100% in love with the idea of saving an escaped animal in zero degree weather at midnight, or this lifestyle might not be for me.

Having said that, I really did enjoy this book. It was a fun read, as the author is sarcastic and witty, and I found a connection with the way she writes. She does admit she enjoys celebrating pagan holidays, of which she went into some detail about. Although I do not necessarily celebrate them, it was interesting to learn the background of many celebrations of which I’d heard about. I give it a solid four star rating (but it may have only lost a star since I’m not as much a fan of non-fiction.)

If you’re interested in learning about homesteading, I think you’ll enjoy this book very much! I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the book 😉

Happy Reading, friends!!

“But vegetables don’t play by rules… every year you learn from mistakes… and hope somehow you figure out the best way not to kill things next time around.”

“And the saurian preteens (young chickens) running like a pack of velociraptors through the nettle patch chasing a luna moth keep reminding me that even the most serious and majestic rooster or responsible mother hen was once an idiot. Gives a gal hope that we get better as we get older.” 

“Hay was a language I needed to learn. It’s more than winter feed; it’s a lifestyle choice.”

“As I weed my garden… I see weeding as a metaphor for the lifelong process of winnowing out that which does not serve me, giving me space for all that feeds me and lets me flourish.”

“‘Luceo non Uro, I Shine, not Burn!’ What a beautiful way to see the world! To choose to be part of light, instead of destruction… We do it through memory, and kindness, second chances, love, and forgiveness.”

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