11 January

Celebrate the love of a farm and a farmer: “Barnheart” January 22

by Jon Katz
On the path

Farmlove is either a gift or a disease, depending on how you look at it and how you handle it. I see farms as dangerous places for mad obsessives, and they can be the most wonderful places on earth or they can suck you right in and keep you there. When the bug strikes, it’s a pretty big bite. In Washington County, we have a small and exclusive community of mad writer/bloggers with farms. Jenna is a writer and a farmer, and I am a writer with a farm.  We both have used our blogs to share the stories of our farms.

We have both brushed against the same thing and are both making a living writing about it.  Neither of us is sure how that happened.  Jenna used to make me nervous – she still makes me nervous sometimes – as she reminds me a lot of me a few years back, even though we are quite different. We are good friends now, and I am grateful for that.

Farms are not simple places, neither are the people who end up living on them. I am flattered to be introducing Jenna at her Celebration Party for “Barnheart,” her new book on her obsession with getting herself the increasingly famous “Cold Antler Farm.” I see Jenna as a testament to creativity, individuality and courage.

Many people dream of having a farm, few people under 30 – or over 30 – go out and buy one. “Barnheart” is getting wonderful reviews and people are loving it. It’s a wonderful book.  Jenna will read from it,  talk about it, take questions. Her publisher is also giving away 50 posters of the books’ cover. Free.

I admire Jenna greatly. She is generous and funny and  a very gifted writer (she got herself a hot New York City agent this year) and she will make a much bigger splash, I think, than she knows. She did something that is nearly impossible these days, got a mortgage for a farm, stocked it with useful and not-so-useful animals, crammed her day with chores and dramas,  poked her fingers in the eyes of much conventional wisdom. So many people wish for that, and so few people can or will do it.  Jenna is an individual creating her life, working hard to keep it and to live it and showing many of us how to understand and use Mother Earth again. It will be a very special afternoon. Come join our celebration of Jenna’s book “Barnheart” at the Battenkill Bookstore (518 677-2515), Main St. Cambridge, Sunday, January 22, 4 p.m. She is worth a trip.

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