Not many people would have the courage to take on what Jane and Jerry do, as chronicled in Homestead by Jane Kirkpatrick. Whether it’s shooting rattlesnakes or handling dog seizures, surviving a plane crash or navigating a treacherous road, chasing down run away calves or protecting watermelons from the onslaught of deer, the Kirkpatrick’s seem to have faced and conquered it all. Such stories usually make for great fiction. The most startling realization, however, is that this story is real.
Jane recalls everything from the beginning, in this memoir of personal struggle and ultimate triumph. To move to an unbroken land and settle into its rhythms, to find a home among the wilds was a dream that she and her husband shared. More often than not, however, it seemed that this dream was as unmanageable as the road they had to travel just to get there. Everything kept going wrong. From broken machinery to tragedies of a larger scale, the Kirkpatricks found that these events kept drawing them closer to one another. For Jane, the call was to “go to the land and write.” And write she did; not only this memoir, but nine novels as well. Settling the land was an adventure and a risk neither of them now regret making.
The book was well written with enough action and personal perspective to keep a reader interested. One can not help but feel Jane’s concerns as she watches her husband’s vehicle slip desperately close to a cliff edge, as she tries to reach out in the best way she knows how while feeling so inadequate. It isn’t within herself or her husband that Mrs. Kirkpatrick finds the strength to carry on. That’s the kind of strength she only finds in Christ.
Broken into four parts, the book reads quickly and leaves the reader feeling rejuvenated and wondering, “How on earth did these two manage to do this?” Homestead is a book that challenges while it encourages. It challenges the reader to grasp every day and turn it into something memorable; it encourages to keep eyes focused on the dream, whatever it may be, even when getting to it is tough. This is a good and memorable book for all ages. – Lauren Steigerwald, Christian Book Previews.com
Joining her husband in the fight to create a home out of a rugged stretch of sagebrush, rattlesnakes, and sand in eastern Oregon, Jane Kirkpatrick uneasily relinquishes the security of a professional career; the convenience of electricity, running water, and a phone line; and, perhaps most daunting, the pleasures of sporting a professional manicure. But the pull of the land is irresistible, and they dream of gathering their first harvest from a yet-to-be-planted vineyard.
Rather than the simple life they had envisioned, Jane and Jerry find themselves confronting flood and fire, government bureaucracies, and runaway calves, among other disheartening setbacks. Jane frequently questions the sanity of pioneering in this remote area, known as Starvation Point, and she fights against panic with each trip down the seven-mile, boulder-strewn, rut-carved “driveway” she calls “the reptile road,” which threatens to spill them into the ravine with every lurch of the truck.
But as she learns to navigate her new life, this novice rancher discovers that disappointment, isolation, and danger can’t compete with the generosity of their rural community, the strength of family bonds, and the faithfulness of the God who planted in their hearts the dream of carving a refuge out of an inhospitable land.