Jake Jenkins: “I can’t waste time.”

Article & Images by Valerie MacDonald

Fifteen-year-old Jake Jenkins has a mature soul and outlook on life, unlike any 15-year-old that I’ve met.

And it’s just not what he says, but what the young Hamilton Township man has accomplished, is presently doing, and what he hopes for his future.

Living off the grid is just not an idea for him. He has a “tiny” house already erected atop a hill on his parent’s property near Baltimore complete with an efficient kitchen, television, seating area, amazing windows and a loft for sleeping.

In fact, until recently Jenkins slept there because he was getting up at 3 a.m. to work at a nearby dairy farm and didn’t want to disturb his family’s sleep.

At the farm, he brought the cows into the milking dairy and then cleaned the aisles, Jenkins explained during an interview about his part-time job while standing in his parent’s raised garden compound where some of his 50 free-range, laying chickens flutter about.

At present, his the solar panels for his tiny home need to be moved from their current location on the ground where they have become too shaded to provide power to his little home, he said. He’s using a generator at this time. His dad, Brent, will help him relocate the panels, Jenkins said, high up in the trees.

Wooden chairs surround a table that sits on the front porch in the wooded front yard of the clearing where his home sits.  Literally, the little place has all the comforts of home.

In addition to his ongoing building project, raising laying hens to sell their eggs and another batch of 50 new meat chicks which he will also sell, Jenkins has just finished selling produce from his garden.

About his White Rock chicks, he says “I like them on the heavier side” (around seven pounds). He enjoys the taste of fresh chicken and has a strong philosophy about how to raise and care for them.

Quoting well-known Chef Gordon Ramsay, Jenkins says: “You can taste the good life they’ve had.”

Neither of his parents are farmers, by the way, although at this new house they have chickens and goat pets.

His mother, Erin, told the enterprising teen that he has been interested in farming since he was three. His goal is to either have a farm apprenticeship at the end of high school or study agriculture at the university level. After that, he wants to acquire a large acreage to grow cash crops, and raise beef.

And he is in a hurry to get there, learning as much as he can from others – and from researching the internet – along the way.

“I can’t waste time. It (farming) is not a get rich quick scheme,” Jenkins says earnestly about his push towards his work and career goals.

But when I ask him what he does for fun, a new look brightens his face as he smiles and says that is the time he spends gaming on the internet with friends.

“We use to do sleep overs but (because of COVID-19) can’t now,” he says.

This young man has already learned that life is a balance: a good work ethic and action tempered by enjoyment.

His parents must be so proud.

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