Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead

Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead

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by Jenna Woginrich
     
 

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Jenna Woginrich is well loved for her essays on all that accompanies the life of a true homesteader: the mud and mess, the beautiful and tragic, the grime and passion. In Cold Antler Farm, she draws our attention to the timekeeper of such a lifestyle: the ancient agricultural year, filled with celebrations and seasonal touchstones that mark turning

Overview

Jenna Woginrich is well loved for her essays on all that accompanies the life of a true homesteader: the mud and mess, the beautiful and tragic, the grime and passion. In Cold Antler Farm, she draws our attention to the timekeeper of such a lifestyle: the ancient agricultural year, filled with celebrations and seasonal touchstones that mark turning points in the cycles of life.

Amidst these new-old holidays, we learn the stories of her beloved animals and crops. May apple blossoms become sweet fruit for rambunctious sheep in June. Come September, the apple harvest draws together neighbors for cider making under the waning summer sun. These living beings fuel one another—and the community—day to day, season by season.

If we examine what living seasonally truly means, the agrarian calendar becomes a source of wisdom. How do we set down roots and break new ground in spring? How can we best nourish body and soul in the heat of deep summer? And what can we learn by simply paying more attention to the weather? Cold Antler Farm encourages us to eat and live well with respect for the natural rhythms of the year. In turn we learn what it means to be truly connected.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Verdict: Homesteading advice, some recipes, and a good dose of humility make this a most enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in living a life that’s more in tune with natural rhythms."—Library Journal

“Few writers can put into words the epiphanies that break upon a mind and spirit communing with a piece of earth. Home, barn, and garden converge in the quietness of agrarian labor to provide transcendent thoughts about living, loving, and learning. Jenna is a master.”—Joel Salatin, farmer, Polyface Farm, and author
 
 “In this graceful and touching book, Jenna Woginrich reminds us of humanity’s deep connection to season and cycle. This is a book full of humility, inspiration, and the richness of experience inherent to living in harmony with natural forces far beyond our control.”—Ben Hewitt, author of The Town That Food Saved

“Jenna Woginrich’s life and writing are both marked with a ferocity and passion that are inspiring, disturbing, and mesmerizing all at the same time. This is a powerful memoir of a brave and determined young woman's love affair with a gritty six-acre farm that is every inch her own and her struggles to keep it going.”—Jon Katz, author of The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story

“In Cold Antler Farm, Jenna Woginrich lovingly grabs you by the hand and takes you along for the ride of her life. As the caretaker of a menagerie of lively animals and an antique home riddled with personality, she is the sage observer of seasonal rhythms and the compassionate soul studying, questioning, and learning from it all. This book will ultimately leave you torn: you'll be just as anxious to turn the page and learn what comes next while simultaneously wanting to close the book, put it down, and walk away, so as to draw out the eventual conclusion. It's that good.”—Ashley English

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834829671
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
06/10/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
663,851
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from the introduction:

To become a farmer is to accept the worst sides of chance and laugh at them, and to understand there is no difference between pleasure and pain. Feeling either is proof you are still waltzing among the living.

I love equally the early mornings that get me outdoors before the sun crests the tree line and the early nights tucked in under heavy blankets with my kind dogs. I am too tired and too grateful for their heat to kick them out of the covers. I rejoice in holding baby chicks in my dirty hands and feeling their rapid-fire heartbeats under their baby down. I rejoice in the black soil of spring, the sweat and humidity of summer, and even the downpours that wash away three months of work.

We all thrive together here at my homestead. Cold Antler Farm has always been a one-woman operation—me—but that hasn't slowed down its growth. It has grown from tending just a handful of chickens and a few rabbits into a full-time job. I raise dairy goats and turn their milk into cheese and soap. I raise rabbits, pigs, and chickens for their meat. I keep hens for eggs. There are expansive vegetable gardens and beehives, too. I use horses as working animals to cart, haul, and plow. There are no tractors on this mountain farm, just a strong brick house of a Scottish pony and my stubbornness. The farm runs entirely on animal power, and usually I am the animal powering it.

(I'm not against tractors, I simply can't afford one. Even if I could I am certain it would topple over and crush me on my steep hillsides.)

This is what takes up my daylight, and keeps me up in the darkness. It's a lot of things to me, but mostly love. I'm in a monogamous relationship with six-and-a-half acres cut into a mountain.

Meet the Author

Jenna Woginrich is a thirty-something homesteader and the author of Barnheart, Chick Days, Made from Scratch, and Days of Grace. 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, and several amiable rabbits.

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Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
sue_nyc 23 days ago
Awesome, ready to check out her other books. Loved the chapter on sheep and chickens. The baker in me appreciates the 2 recipes, the knitter in me appreciates the chapter on spinning. Lovely lyrical style to her writing.
KPH More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written. The author is extremely knowledgeable and completely down to earth. She is able to convey the feeling farming and gardening evokes thru the rhythms of the different seasons, ups and downs. If you have a love of growing (animals, plants, spiritually) this book is for you!