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

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,277 ratings  ·  152 reviews
With humor and poise, Jenna Woginrich describes her adventurous self-education in homesteading. Poignant offbeat observations on learning to farm by trial and error punctuate the story of her quest to find a permanent home for herself and her livestock: chickens, geese, sheep, ducks, rabbits, a goat, and a turkey. Alone and on a shoestring budget, Woginrich takes on cranky ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published November 16th 2011 by Storey Publishing
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,277 ratings  ·  152 reviews

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Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Crystal Neilson-hall
Dec 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, memoir, big-kahuna, 2011
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
Sarah Alice
Jun 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Though I can identify with the author's struggle to make her farm dreams happen, not every dream realized makes for a good read. She seems completely intoxicated by her own newfound identity as a hobby farmer, and overly enamored with her every step along that path. Her unending superlatives and self-congratulations about her life style quickly start to fall flat, even when I more or less agree with her point. Ultimately the story lacks perspective, which might be a result of a person writing a ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: farming
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
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: farming
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
Jun 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
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'
Florence Millo
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, farms
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.
Marisa McClellan
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2011
As someone who spends a great deal of time engaged in "homesteady" activities (though I live in the heart of Philadelphia), I so loved reading about Jenna's experience becoming a farmer. Just amazing.
Jordan Voigt
Oct 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Self-congratulatory and disjointed, lacking in substance. Some problematic language (sorry, no you can't say Indian-style). The moral of the story is that sometimes you want things you can't have, and even though you REALLY WANT THEM, it's still not a good idea to get them immediately.
This non-fiction book is by a woman who has an irresistible yearning to be a farmer without actually making that her livelihood. A very popular theme nowadays.
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Worth reading if you have an interest in homesteading, gardening, livestock or country living.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book made me really grateful I didn’t write a memoir in my twenties. The writing is bright, snappy and episodic. The books lacks a strong narrative arch and congruity. Whatever happened to the goat she was going to train to go on hikes?? We don’t know. But we do find out about the multiple other random animals the author falls in love with and purchases. This book gets three stars for multiple chicken references. It loses two stars for the author’s immaturity and lack of self-reflection. Th ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was interesting to read about this woman's quest for a farm, but I had reservations - she seemed to go from one thing to another, in a somewhat immature, self-centered way, and judged other people who didn't live up to "her standards." (the guy who put a recording studio in his barn), rather than just accepting that's what he was into. Tried to do too much in too short of time, such as getting the sheep dog, without having the right sheep who would accept that. The dog bit something like 3 pe ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is just as much about farming as following your dreams. if you're looking for a "how to farm" book, look elsewhere. This is more of a "how to dare to dream" book. I've followed Jenna's blog for years, so I do have a bit of a bias. This memoir has you on a roller coaster of emotions and sitting on the edge of your seat. However, I'm still in love her first memoir, Made From Scratch and believe it to me better. As far a grammar and such, I've read far worse. I only just just a few awkwar ...more
Rachael Brady (Gilliland)
Would have liked to see some more detail. Her word choices and story structure left much to be desired. I found myself having similarities with the author, but also found her to be quite naive. While the author talks about farming, it's mostly about her obsession with animals and doesn't give way to any description on how she manages a farm and a job. The novel felt too free and it was hard to stay focused and read because I felt she just kept bouncing from subject to subject but lacked incredib ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
I can relate to some of the other reviewers on here - mentioning how each chapter was very formulaic, not much originality. I'm sorry! I wanted to like this but the writing just seemed really drawn out!
Desiree Depinet
I was disappointed in this book and the tone of the author throughout. I actually have read all over the authors books and enjoyed some of them.
Kati Polodna
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: farming
I want my own farmette after reading this!
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
My only problem with the book is the constant discussion of how single she is.
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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
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