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Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  773 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Whether they’re about raising chickens or herding sheep, the tales of Jenna Woginrich have caught the imagination of thousands of young homesteaders. As she learns traditional farming skills by trial and error, Woginrich records her offbeat observations and poignant moments with honesty, humility, and humor.

In BarnHeart, she lands at a small rented farm and struggles to fi
Paperback, 184 pages
Published November 16th 2011 by Storey Publishing
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The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla EmeryThe Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John SeymourThe Backyard Homestead by Carleen MadiganPut 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks VintonSeed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth
27th out of 146 books — 80 voters
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Down on the Farm
48th out of 97 books — 153 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,946)
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Disappointing. The author is smug and immature. This "memoir" chronicles one "gotta have it" after another. She wants to be a farmer, she wants to be a shephard, she wants a truck, she wants a goat to walk like a's one chapter after another describing her impulsive and momentary obsessive desires. I found that she equates real farm animals to toys, and once the novelty of the goat wore off, on to the next new toy/animal. I don't recommend this book to anyone looking to her for sound, g ...more
At first I enjoyed this book (yay! Farmy stuff!!!). But the book quickly devolves. Each chapter seems to run along the same lines: author wants something, author complains about never being able to have what she wants despite it's righteous roots, the stars align and author gets what she wanted through means of both "hard work" and incredible kismet ("wow! it's like the universe knows Me and is rewarding me!") author talks about how awesome she is and how even seasoned farmers thinks so. Of cour ...more
Some spoilers ahead so be warned.

I find that I gravitate to memoirs of homesteaders or wannabes and I am pleased about 50% of the time. Unfortunately, this book falls below the mark of a wannabe homesteading memoirs that fell a bit flat for me. A quick read, this book was light and somewhat informative about a topic I appreciate. But I didn't LOVE it and I couldn't put my finger on it until the episode with the neighbor Casey happened - when he accused Jenna of animal abuse/neglect - and it all
I was really looking forward to this book, but when, on page 17, the author bragged about not having a TV, I knew I was in trouble. Later she starts a sentence with "As a Buddhist, I...". I groaned so loudly at this that Frank came into the bedroom to see if I was okay. Also, I think it's pretty ding-dang irresponsible to start an entire homestead on rented property (without even getting your landlord's permission for some of the animals you bring home) and not have a back-up plan (or more than ...more
Remember when I said I was giving up on blog memoirs for good? I suppose I overstated. I am only giving up on blog memoirs that devolve into "how I became famous on the internet." This book did not do that, so it passes the blog memoir test.

My not-so-secret dream in life is to keep sheep and a farm in Vermont. Guess what this book is about? A mid-twenties girl who creates a little farm (with SHEEPIES!) on a rented property in Vermont. Jenna's blog is probably more interesting than this book. In
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal Neilson-hall
I am completely obsessed with farming memoirs. This may be because I am a goat farmer and love reading about like minded people. I have to say though that I really did not like this book. I found Jenna extremely immature and pretty judgmental for someone who was constantly complaining about being judged. She was not in the position to have the farm she was trying to establish, and just because you slightly exceed animal control's care requirements does not mean you are taking good care of your a ...more
Don't let the bad reviews of this book fool you! This is a memoir of woman with farming in her soul, trying desperately to start a farm with very limited means (requiring a day job to do it); it's about the hurry up and wait trails that come with soul driven goals as all the pieces do and do not fall into place. So yes, this book documents many a grumble of longing disappointment, because that's part of the hurry up and wait path.

This is not a farming how to book, written by an experienced farm
Jenna Woginrich
The incurable longing for a farm of one’s own
Jenna is a witty, well rounded homesteader with a knack for finding the funniest things about farming and living off the land. I loved her book Chick Days and when I saw she had a memoir out I knew it would be a memorable read.
Jenna as she mentions in her intro goes from urban designer to rural shepherd. She starts her memoir with a chapter on “How to know if you are infected”. Infected with what you ask? Barnheart.. the desir
This book was a birthday gift (thanks Lauren !) that I really enjoyed reading. It is the memoirs of a single girl that wants (emphatically so) to start her own farm, and the follies she encounters moving across the country and doing just that in a rental cabin in Vermont. It's really very engaging, despite the fact that I fell of it just a bit because of the overly stated obvious plot 'I want a farm and I shall do anything to get it'. Certainly this book is as the title states "The Incurable Lon ...more
This book was great. For someone with much the same aspirations as the author, it gave me an in-depth picture of how my dreams could come alive or sometimes die. I would recommend this book to anyone who "suffers" from the longing to live in a more rural setting, or maybe even to their friends who think they are crazy. I'm sure that the line between those who dream like Woginrich and those who don't is very distinct, but I bet that understanding how an aspiring farmer/homesteader feels can clear ...more
While I didn't like Barnheart as much as I liked A Homemade Life, it was still pretty good. Jenna Woginrich takes a job in Vermont, which means moving across the country from Idaho. She finds a small house to rent that has some land and the landlord agrees to let her have some sheep and chickens in addition to her two dogs. Jenna takes her landlord's OK pretty far - she ends up with 3 sheep, a goat, a flock of chickens, 2 ducks, a turkey, a beehive, and her 2 original dogs. She also manages to m ...more
a fair tale of a young woman moving to a new job, a new state, and starting a small farm at her rent house. she's a good story teller (and i guess veteran blogger) and reader goes through with her thoughts on gardening, chickens, sheep, dogs, rabbits, neighbors (good ones, and some very BAD ones) and ultimately striking it good by buying her own farm and house and barns. not super fact filled, more authors thoughts and feelings about going "back to the land" and what it is like to be a young per ...more
If you're like me and live in the city / work in a cube, then you may have also had a fantasy of moving away to the country, finding a cottage on a hillside, and spending your days digging holes, feeding chickens, and wandering around in the nature. Well, this girl did exactly that. And while the details of her farming adventures are interesting filler for my pastoral-life fantasy, I wasn't much diggin' this narrator or her writing style.
Overall an enjoyable and light read. I enjoyed the author's adventures and trials and connected with the feeling of wanting land and space of one's own. Her tone occasionally became pretentious which got a little tiresome (Yes, you're a special snowflake, we get it already), and her total lack of financial responsibility had me yelling in horror at times (you have HOW LITTLE? On THAT BIG of an income?!?). Despite being the same age (as she was when she wrote it), I found her somewhat immature, a ...more
Worth reading if you have an interest in homesteading, gardening, livestock or country living.
This book suffers from the blog to book symptoms of needing a better edit. It didn't flow together very well and the final chapters felt rushed.

Overall, I was put off by the smugness. She at one point seems amazed that someone would be concerned about the view from their window rather than the use of the land. She also has a lot of judgey things to say about her neighbors not using their properties "correctly."

I love reading about folks throwing themselves headlong into a dream, but I wish she'
Carolyn Miller
This book rates right up there with Bedlam Farm-just an awesome read.

I was able to relate to just about every word wrote by Ms. Woginrich. I found myself living vicariously along side her, or nodding my agreement as she told of her latest adventure with her sheep or chickens, or the dilemma she faces with housing them all and fitting in with the locals. It was one of those books that I dreaded coming to the inevitable last page, and when I did immediately went online to search for more of her wr
May 20, 2014 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
Woginrich is nothing if not earnestly excited about all of her adventures. She's cheerful and upbeat, even when the neighbor steals her rabbit and calls the cops. Unfortunately, this ended up getting on my nerves toward the end. Not because it was unreasonable - she's working hard to live the life she wants, and to keep a positive spirit in the face of the unknown is commendable - but because it didn't allow the book to have the ups and downs that draw the reader in. I wanted to feel some despon ...more
I've been reading the author's blog for about four or five months, and picked up her newest book in actual dead-tree format signed by her and her border collie from Battenkill Books in upstate New York. The book follows her arrival in Vermont and the first incarnation of Cold Antler Farm, on a rented acre with a tiny cabin that she works when not at her regular day job. Slowly the farm comes together, including sheep, chickens, rabbits, a goat, a turkey, and even a sheepdog, on top of all of the ...more
In Barnheart, twenty-something Jenna Woginrich chronicles her efforts to transform the backyard of her Vermont rental house into a small farm with vegetables, sheep, chickens, bunnies, and a goat. Like many young people with homesteading dreams, modest incomes, and no land of their own, Jenna works forty hours a week at a non farm job and squeezes her agricultural pursuits into the morning, evening, and weekend hours. The book is based on her blog, Cold Antler Farm, and as a result, it does have ...more
I enjoy Jenna Woginrich's blog, and so I thought I'd enjoy the book as well. And I did, for the most part. The story of her journey to owning her own farm is interesting, as are the details of the homestead she built for herself in a rental. But there is one things that bothers me--in some isntances I feel like the author is a bit judgemental about non-farmers. For example, she talks about two pieces of property near her rental cabin, one owned by a gentleman who is building a large barn, as it ...more
I'm a little torn about this book - on the one hand, I love that Woginrich is so honest about both successes AND failures but on the other hand - I hate to think that someone would take action (or inaction) based on Woginrich's own lessons. I have to admit having quite a bit of anxiety while reading about her trials - the thought of moving my own "farm" is quite anxiety provoking - but I also realize, as Woginrich does, that if that happens, I'll just have to start again. So, yeah, I have barnhe ...more
Megan Mueller
I've read her blog and another one of her books and enjoyed both, but this was disappointing. Another reviewer wrote that this book came across as smug, and I'm apt to agree. She starts the book with a description of "Barnheart", how if you have all these "symptoms", then you're just like her. As I read the book though, I found that I could not relate to her AT ALL. I'm definitely someone who wants their own farm someday, and while I haven't done most of the things the author has towards that go ...more
This is a great read if you're looking for a bit of escapism without the farm chores. However, it does seem irresponsible how Jenna lives on a knife's edge financially, on rented land, despite having a job that pays fairly well. It was fun to read about her experiences as a new livestock owner, but I would recommend Barbara Kingsolver if you are looking for a better picture of how hard a job it is to raise food, both of the vegetable and animal variety.
Oct 10, 2014 Tracy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
I found this book to be light heartedly amusing. It wasn't an in depth look a stages to procure your own hobby farm. In fact there was barely any mention of time frame on how it all came together once she arrived at the cottage (and knowing her lease was for a year) Could have easily been a wk or a mth.

Few inconsistencies that were slightly annoying. Her eagerness to have enough hens and sheep to keep her and the dogs in lamb chops and chicken w/o being cumbersome then a few chapters later her p
I can totally relate to the author and her longing for her own farm. It's a sweet and short memoir of her adventures in creating her own farm. The chapters were well defined and kept me engaged. Some stories were funny and some were emotional. It was the perfect mix for a snowy day at home filled with reading and my own dreaming for a farm. I hope to read more from the author.
she is trying so hard to find a connection with this place she has been for a year. Finding "home" at a corner convenience store.

If I ever met this woman I don't know if I would hit her or just walk away. No doubt she would still be talking about her connection to the rustic peoples of rural Vermont. Gah!

She has no place to live and a butt load of animals. What should you do? Buy another freaking dog. Good idea, lady.

So irresponsible. All of it. Her whole life is flying by the seat of h
Aug 08, 2012 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in farms
While her previous book,Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, was part memoir, part how-to, this one was ALL memoir. Which was awesome. ; )

The last book talked about her getting into the whole homesteading life, learning the ropes, etc. Barnheart went into her actually achieving the dream.

She talks about her victories, her failures, and the turkey drama hinted at in the back of the previous book is told in this in full detail. You end up rooting for her the whole way,
After reading her first book, I was really pumped for this one. It's not bad and she is a brave lady. Towards the end of the book she begins making poor choices and does certain things I find to be annoying, which makes it harder to read.
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Former urbanite, future shepherdess and current farm writer — Jenna Woginrich has big plans. Plans that include living a more self-sufficient life with dogs at her side and wi-fi in the barn. She drives an orange pickup and shares her Vermont cabin and gardens with working sled dogs, a small flock of sheep, a hilarious goat, a flock of gregarious chickens, two awkward geese, wooly angora rabbits, ...more
More about Jenna Woginrich...
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life Chick Days: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatching to Laying One-Woman Farm: The Seasons of Life Shared with Sheepdogs, Goats, Woodstoves, and a Feisty Fiddle Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead

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