Saturday, September 20, 2014
Book Review: One Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich
My eyes scanned the titles on the bindings of the books on the shelves in the gift store at Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, NY. They made a sudden stop at this one and I snatched it off the shelf like I was going to steal it. A quick thumb-through and I knew I wanted to read this book.
Let's start with first impressions. The title caught my eye immediately because between Mr. Scott's career and illnesses, I largely run the micro farm on my own. The fact that a woman is running a farm entirely on her own (that she didn't grow up in) intrigued me and I hoped to glean inspiration and support from the pages. If she could do it, maybe I could, too!
I loved the format of the book, too. It is done in journal form, following days and seasons bit by bit. This makes it an easy, quick read; two things I need with my busy life. The illustrations are charming, too, making it a relaxing, content book to read.
Now, on to the content, itself. Ms. Woginrich has been criticized for being too romantic and idealistic about her farm life in this book. (Amazon.com reviews) I, personally, found it a pleasure to read. I was under no impression that this was supposed to be a non-fiction account or how-to book. I knew it was prose and enjoyed the metaphors, related to some of them, even. The perspective she shared was quite relatable.
Farm life is real. Farm life is dirty, hard work, painful, exhausting, worrisome, sad. It is all that. But it is, beautiful, fresh, new, rewarding, strengthening, hopeful, joyful, too. Ms. Woginrich shares that wide-eyed side. She chooses to see that and share that in her prose. She is living her dream, so why not describe it in a dream-like way?
I also related to Ms. Woginrich's desire to have many irons in the fire. So much has been lost over time and technology. I understand her desire to get back to basics....things that were taught from birth and just naturally done in days gone by are now "hobbies" and "past-times," "irons in the fire" and "unnecessary in today's world." But, to have that ability, to learn that new thing, to try, fail and try again is GOOD. So, as a read about her new ventures in the book, I cheered her on and hoped for the best. I, myself tackled a few new to me things this year and I wasn't sure I'd be successful. The thought that I might fail was humbling, but, I accepted it, shared that reality, grit my teeth and did it anyway. Reading Ms. Woginrich doing the same was a boon to me.
There were two specific moments in the book that really had me on my feet. The first was when I discovered that she has a Vermont Bun Baker stove. I. WANT. ONE! Reading this bit early on the in the book literally had me scouring the internet for the author. I found her on facebook, introduced myself and just had to tell her how excited I was to read that she has a VBB. The second was when I realized she lives just two counties from me, in the same county one of my brothers lives in! I hope some day we can shake hands. I'd love to tour her farm, see her little house (another relatable fact), and admire her Vermont Bun Baker.
So, if you want a gentle read, a true story, a beautiful, charming place to escape to, and a bit of inspiration, I suggest you read One Woman Farm: My life shared with sheep, pigs, chickens, goats, and a fine fiddle by Jenna Woginrich. You can also visit her blog HERE.
*I obtained permission from the author to do this review. I am doing this review because I wanted to. I am not receiving nor did I seek out compensation for doing this review.