Although my husband, Mark, and I were products of the suburbs, I always dreamed of living close to the land. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. When we bought a run-down house on 21 acres in Virginia, I got that chance.
We started with horses, and then got sheep and a llama, and eventually, chickens. We named our place “Bramble Creek Farm,” because down the hill from our house was a creek, and it was lined with wild roses. I hated them, because they had terrible thorns and prickers, and our three kids learned early on to bail out of their sleds when they got near the bottom of the hill, before they got to the brambles. When we got our animals, we did not know what we were doing, but we got a lot of help from good people.
I wrote a book about our experiences, called Bumble Creek Farm. We never were much good at being farmers, but we loved it, we loved our animals, and loved living where we could see the stars at night. For Mark’s work, we moved away from Virginia, to Baltimore County, Maryland, and then to Prescott, Arizona, both places we loved, but Virginia was etched into our souls. In 2023, Mark returned to the University of Virginia faculty, a dream come true! Every day, we wake up and see the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the tall trees and now (end of October), millions of leaves in red, yellow, and gold, and feel so grateful to God to be here. I wrote another book, called Where’s the Wine, too. It is mostly light-hearted, and like Bumble Creek Farm, it’s family-friendly. With the amazing illustrator Laura Hatcher, I also have written a children’s book called Nelson Llama.
For my day job, I am a veteran science writer who has written and edited a lot of health publications and contributed to several health books. With the legendary Johns Hopkins surgeon, Patrick C. Walsh, I have co-written several books about the prostate and prostate cancer. With Northwestern University urologist Edward Schaeffer, we just updated it: Dr. Patrick Walsh’s Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer (Fifth Edition, 2023). For 30 years, this has been Amazon’s #1 bestselling men’s health book.
I also am the founding editor of several Johns Hopkins publications, including Discovery, a magazine for the Brady Urological Institute of Johns Hopkins, and Leap, a magazine for the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins.
Before kids, I used to be the editor of Hopkins Medical News (now Hopkins Medicine) the alumni magazine for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. I also am a former national commentator for “Marketplace,” a program on public radio. I have a men’s health blog, too: vitaljake.com. Check it out!
Janet Farrar Worthington
Photo by Kimberly Marsh