The Farmer Who Writes: an interview with Sylvia Jorr�n
by Joshua Holz
Sylvia Jorrin is my friend. She's a sheep farmer, who writes.
Her book, "Sylvia's Farm", will be out soon. I cannot wait until her book comes out.
I got my first four chickens from her. Three were hens and one was a rooster.
They were living in her kitchen! I got my first 3 sheep from her so I got
My starter farm from Sylvia. We learned how to farm from her. It's better to
learn from a farmer than a book.
J: What books did you read when you were a kid?
S: I read a book called "The Three Musketeers". The first book I ever
read from cover to cover in one day was "The Secret Garden", when I was 7.
I read Isak Dinesen's "Out Of Africa". Those are three books I read when I was
J: What is like being a farmer who writes?
S: I come from New England, and it used to be that farmers always read and
wrote. So, it's like being home again for me to be a farmer who both reads
books and writes, and is a farmer, and I like it very much.
J: What is a farmer's life like?
S: (laughs), well, that's a very big kind of general question. It's very
very difficult because you have to work every single day, all day. And you
can't choose when you are going to work, because your animals choose for you
when they need you. So, you're working all day and sometimes all night. On
the other hand, being with the animals and seeing them grow is a lot of fun
for me. I really like them very very much! I have sheep, as you know,
and I have 17 goats. There's probably 130 sheep including rams, and 17 goats
and I'm looking to buy a cow, which of course means I'll be tied down even
more. But being tied down is a magical thing. You can think you're tied
down or you can think you're free. And it's up to you to decide whether
you're free or whether you're tied down. I think I'm free.
J: What is your favorite breed of chicken?
S: My favorite breed of chicken? (laughs) At the moment, it's the Buff
Orpington, but I used to love the Barred Rocks. And guess what, I almost
bought some Barred Rock chicks today, but didn't. I have one chicken that's
laying double yolk eggs, but I don't know who it is.
J: What is your favorite breed of sheep?
S: That's really hard to tell. I don't have a favorite breed of sheep
because I have so many different kinds here and I don't want to hurt any of
their feelings. I have Horned Dorsets, which I like very much for some
things, I have Dorset Finn crosses, and I have east Friesian crosses. Each
one has their own purpose, so I don't really have a favorite. I used to have
a favorite breed of goats, I liked the Nubian goats the best. But now,
(laughs) I like the Toggenbergs the best!
J: What do you do for fun?
S: I take care of my sheep! (laughs) And I take care of my goats! And I go up
into the chicken coop and get eggs and then I put them in pretty dishes on
my kitchen table, and that's a LOT of fun for me! (more laughter)
J: What is your favorite kind of horse?
S: I don't know horses at all. But I love my donkey!
J: How do you write? [your stories]
S: Well, I look at the clock, and I say, "uh oh, Earnest is coming in two
hours", and I grab a pen and a paper and I sit down, and whatever the first
words are that come out on the page from the pen, that's the beginning of
the story. And then I look at the clock and I say, "uh oh, Earnest is coming
in another hour", so I write faster, and then I say "uh oh, that's his
horn honking for me in the driveway", so that's the end of the story! (Laughs)
That's how I write.
J: That's how I write too!
S: Is it? That's good! That's a great way to do it!
J: What is your favorite book?
S: Probably "The Secret Garden" is my favorite book. But I have different
ones at different times. It depends on what I'm reading. At the moment my
very favorite book is "The Secret Garden". But one of my favorite writers
is a mystery writer who's name is Michael Innis, and I love the way he uses
words. I read his books over and over again, just for the words, not for the
mystery but for the words.
Joshua is 7 and 1/2 and he writes for "Explorer Magazine", which is a home schoolers newspaper.