This is our old place. Well part of the place. Galedog and Abel are running up the donkey path that led to our humble Cape out behind the barns. Chesterfield was an odd litte place. The barn was a New England Bank barn on four levels with a stable for the cows out behind. It was part of the Bisbee estate. Old Allen always let us know that it was still the Bisbee farm no matter how much Dave changed or improved the place.
So, this is where it all started. I met Dave in a hay barn here at this farm. I bought some cheap first cut meadow hay. Only fit for sheep and beef heifers. I think I paid $5/bale or something for that rubbish. Well, it was not exactly love at first site, but we seemed to have this thing in common. We were sick of wealthy people and non-profits telling us how to run our farms.
For me it was the end of a horrid "Slaughterhouse project". For Dave it was Community Involved in Selective Agriculture. That is what a lot of hilltown farmers called it anyways. Either way you play the game, the deal is that unless you are a "pretty person" and played the games they outlined, they used and abused you.
Dave was processing his own milk then. My housemate told me that this was a great example of successful agriculture in New England. I think that the best thing it did was improve cash flow. I think success depended on having a number of children and their friends offering cheap labor. Well, cash flow, a distributor and cheap labor.
There were the usual cast of characters that are attracted to a farm. There was the contractor, Dunnovan, Dave's farm help - Bruce, Dipper - the neighbor (and his clan which is now out here in NY), etc. There were also the various regulars at the farm stand. There was Kessie, the guy who paid in pennies (always one short), Mandy, etc. Jim lived next door with his sister and girlfriend. He also has a sweet daughter that was there too. Dave sold him that building. Later Janice got the property in the center of town too.
The Bisbee's had this Mill Museum across the street. We helped out on occassion. Allen's dream. It was a pain on the days they had events because people seemed to think our farm was a public parking lot. Allen said it was, so they parked there. Kinda forgot that he didn't own the place anymore.
I miss and don't miss the place. I miss A1 pizza in Williamsburg. They made better pizza that the Italians here in Central NY. Greek guy named Con owned the place. It was run by El Salvadorians. We enjoyed them. I missed good restaurants. It is far and few between to find a decent meal here. Expensive too.
The dairy plant was also a perfect place to make cheese. I only wish that I learned more about cheese when we were in MA. I think that we could have started making it there. I bet we could have made an easy transition to cheese. Boy was it easier to market in MA then here in WalMart happy Central New York.
OK, I sound sappy. I guess I am a wee nostalgic today. Going through photos does that to me. Trying to find photos of some of the dairy processing stuff to put into the Hill's b.plan. Well, gotta finish their grant.