by Jenna Woginrich

Published 2011

So a while back I realized that I have several homesteading books that I really love, and although they are not written by the same person, they are published by the same publisher.  Storey Publishers are a delight, and I highly recommend checking them out if you have any interesting in homesteading or homemaking or doing-it-yourself.  If I could work for a publisher, it would be Storey.  Anyway, I decided to make a list of all the books they publish that are also available at my library and read through them all, and purchase the ones that I felt like would be especially good reference.  I haven’t gotten very far on that project since I’ve been moving and involved in other chaos, but Barnheart was first on the list.

This is actually a memoir sort of book, written by a woman who moved from Idaho to Vermont.  In this first year-and-so of her life in Vermont, she recalls transitioning not only into the community, but attempting to realize some of her dreams, dreams which you will either understand immediately or look at askance – dreams that involve gardening (and composting and canning and everything that goes with a truly amazing vegetable garden), raising sheep, raising chickens – in short, dreams that involve living independently, maybe not quite off the grid, but with the comfortable assurance that you could live off the grid if needed.

Jenna’s story has another unique dimension because she is doing this on her own – she is single, and she stays that way (throughout the book, at least).  She simply has not found someone who shares her passion.

I found myself really appreciating Jenna as I read this book.  She is someone who is overcoming obstacles and pursuing her dreams, even though they are somewhat impractical.  Her willingness to sacrifice many of life’s comforts so that she can achieve her goals is inspiring.  I love the way that she plunges in and learns on the fly.  Things do not always go well for her (this is a story of real life, after all), and no Prince Charming appears on her horizon, but she creates a life that is fulfilling, prosperous, and contented.  This book is a definite recommended read for anyone who has yearned to move to the country and make a go of homesteading.