Dear Jenna: An open letter of thanks…

Cold Antler Farm - ยฉDalliann 2013

Dear Jenna,

As of February 16th, it has been one year since I first visited your blog; I’m writing now to say ‘thank you’ because this past year has been the most productive of my life and I know it’s in large part due to the inspiration you impart on a near-daily basis.

My dad died in early 2011 and during his stay in the hospital, we talked about the homestead we’d build when he got better. His chance of recovery was slim and we owned no property on which to build a proper farm but the planning gave us something to hope for and entertained him; he was the only one of our family with actual farm experience and he loved to be in a position where he could teach us new things.

Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Although owning a quaint little berry farm and orchard has been my dream since I was six, I pushed away all thoughts of homesteading that year; it didn’t seem possible without Dad and we had too many other things to worry about in the immediate future. But then a year later, in February 2012, a co-worker lent me her copy of “The Secret.” That film hit me so hard and made me question what I really wanted– and I was a little surprised to find ‘I Want A Farm’ at the top of the list. How I would get a farm (or even prepare for working on one), I had no idea, but at least now I knew what I wanted so I went to Google for research.

I don’t remember how I found your blog but I do remember that the very first post I read was Biting Your Tail (which I read over and over and cried through each time because it touched me so deeply and echoed so many things I was feeling right then).

In the twelve months since I read that post, I have changed so much. As you often point out, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t take that first step… so I have taken lots of first steps this past year, in lots of different directions, and it’s amazing how much easier the second step is, and then the third. My first step towards farming was planting a vegetable garden (something I’d never done) and this spring my mom and I have plans to more than double it. We also got in touch with our local beekeeping club and are learning about apiculture. We completed a handful of DIY projects and have immersed ourselves in homesteading books and magazines. We still have a long way to go but there’s a goal to work toward now.

But it’s not just farming I’ve learned about from reading your blog; the real core of your writing is about manifesting your dreams, whatever they are, and I believe that’s the thing that keeps your readers coming back for more. You encourage us to declare our plans and intentions, share them with whoever will listen, and open doors and create opportunities in the process. I have stopped believing that ridiculous superstition about keeping your wishes secret or they won’t come true; now I write them down, chat about them, incorporate them into my daily activities. I call for them. And they’re answering; this year, I’ll be quitting my office job to work full-time as a professional illustrator (number two on that ‘I Want’ list).

Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor have long been my idols; they lived the way I want to. But, in many ways you have become more inspirational than them; you have manifested your farm through creativity, cleverness, enthusiasm, and grit– not a substantial bank account. Thank you so much for sharing your ups-and-downs with the farm, your excitement, your advice, and your ‘magic’ with those who visit. Words cannot express the value of the gift you give.



If you’re looking for a jolt of motivation or courage to go after your dreams, please check out Jenna Woginrich’s blog Cold Antler Farm. She’s a young professional writer who jumped headfirst into farming five years ago and now owns and runs her own farm while juggling a number of other projects and hobbies. Even if farming and homesteading isn’t your thing, I dare you to visit and tell me you’re not inspired by her go-get-’em posts; Jenna makes you want to get up and tackle the plans you’ve had simmering on the backburner for a decade. If nothing else, check out her music recommendations; I’ve found dozens of new favorites over the last year. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re still not convinced, check out this video from her farm:

20 Thoughts on “Dear Jenna: An open letter of thanks…

  1. Cathy Hoff says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Like you, I have been very inspired by Jenna and her life and adventures. We are doing what we can to get our own little homestead and keep pushing through no matter what. Your illustration of Jenna is absolutely wonderful and spot on. Blessings to you and your mom.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you so much, Cathy, for your kind thoughts and blessings!

      I forgot to mention in my letter but one more thing I love about Jenna’s blog is the opportunity it creates for connecting with so many other kindred spirits! It’s so encouraging and exciting to meet people like you who are going after their dreams with all they’ve got! ^_^

  2. Bruce Bagwell says:

    I loved the picture, I loved the letter, and I loved the video. I agree with Dalliann, Jenna you are a great inspiration! and now Dallian too.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you so much, Bruce! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Alicia says:

    Wow. That is awesome.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you, Alicia– I appreciate it! ^_^

  4. Holly says:

    Sorry that your dad passed. I lost my Dad in 2000. Like yours he was a farmer at heart and would loved my little homestead. I wish you the best with your dream. I loved the Jenna picture! You are very talented:)

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you, Holly, for the encouraging feedback and kind wishes! You’re very sweet!

      I’m sorry to hear about your dad. But it’s lovely that you’re able to take part in something that he would have enjoyed; it sort of keeps the connection between you strong and alive. I hope to have that experience myself someday soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you again!

  5. Russ Paul says:

    Well said, Destiny. Your’s is an attitude Jenna seems to radiate, certainly to me and probably to many. Good luck with your ventures (you certainly have a gift as an illustrator).
    – Russ Paul

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you, Russ– I really appreciate that! And you’re right– Jenna radiates such a positive attitude, you can’t help but be inspired by it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Rosa says:

    I just dropped by from Jenna’s. This was a lovely post and I LOVE the drawing of Jenna! ๐Ÿ˜€ I too have decided to follow my dreams this year . . . it’s no longer farming but. . . as you said, It doesn’t matter what your dream is, Jenna still inspires you.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you, Rosa! I’m so glad to meet another Jenna-inspired dreamer; it’s amazing the amount of energy and creativity her readership generates! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I just visited your blog (beautiful layout!) and bookmarked it for future reading; I love gardening blogs! I don’t really have much of a green thumb, yet, so it’s always fun to run across new-to-me gardening tips; plus, all the greenery photos are wonderful inspiration when I’m trying to come up with new fairy illustrations. Looking forward to reading your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. KellyV says:

    Just so wonderfully talented. I am glad to have found your blog via CAF.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you so much, Kelly– I really appreciate that! ^_^

  8. Lisa says:

    Awesome illustration- what a perfect depiction of Jenna…& a beautiful letter! I too am inspired by Jenna & follow her blog. Best of luck to you in all of your endeavors!

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you so much, Lisa! Good luck to you, too! ^_^

  9. Becca says:

    Absolutely love your illustration of Jenna and letter to her. I’m still stumbling my way towards my dreams, but Jenna’s blog helps to keep me encouraged. Always glad to see someone else who is inspired by her writing.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you, Becca! It’s wonderful to be able to connect with so many others who are chasing after their dreams; I think being able to share the ups and downs with like-minded people makes the tough times easier to bare and the successes all that much more exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Karen from CT says:

    What an awesome illustration of my favorite blogger. I have been reading CAF for a few years now and I start my day with a dose of Jenna and her can do attitude. Thanks for such a lovely letter to such a special person, you captured my feelings about Jenna so perfectly. Good luck to you and your Mom in all you wish to accomplish. I am looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

    1. Dalliann says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! I appreciate it! ^_^