About The Author
I always knew I had some sort of disease. A steady throbbing in my heart that only few things could heal. It wasn’t until I read Barnheart (2011 Storey Publishing) by Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm that I could put a name to my troubles. I have what she calls “Barnheart”. A condition where you are in “the state of knowing unequivocally that you want to be a farmer, but due to personal circumstances, cannot be one just yet” (p. 9). In my case, I have been one, given it up, and now have an intense longing to farm, or at least homestead, again.
Really, it is a hereditary disease in my book, or at least something that I know my mother passed on to me. She had what I would consider stage five “Barnheart.” Basically incurable. While my disease seems to be tamed by having a small flock of chickens, baking my own bread, gardening on weekends and canning, my mom’s was never tamed. I grew up in a whirlwind of animals, projects, and workshops. This disease and the world that I grew up in made an impact on my life and sense of place more than I realized. When my mother passed away, I vowed that that part of my life was done. I would never slave away in the kitchen until the wee hours of the morning canning tomatoes so that they wouldn’t go bad. I would not weed the garden until my fingers bled. I would not sign myself up for any more farming or agriculture workshops. We got rid of the seventy sheep, let the garden become feral, and my canning supplies collected dust.
Now in my thirties, I realize that an old saying is true: you can take the farm girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. Much to my family’s chagrin (though they tend to enjoy the good food), I have accepted my condition and have dusted off my pressure cooker. Perhaps I knew this truth all along and I just needed to know that I am not alone with this so-called problem. In taking that stand, I have thusly decided to embrace it. Perhaps not in the tornado driven way of my mom (if I get that way, I have told my family to please stop me, as I know what living with that person is like), but in the pleasurable way that I would like to embrace the world around me and find my sense of place. Living in Vermont in a 1785 farmhouse, I am digging into my roots and searching for the good life.