The thermometer on the back porch
The thermometer on the back porch


On Friday nights in the winter, we usually don’t arrive at the farm until 8:00 or 9:00pm. Sitting empty on the hilltop, The Beekman seems to ice over during the week. So what greets us when we arrive is a structure shimmering with frosted panes and gently dusted with sugary snow.

As sweet and romantic as that may sound, reality comes biting when we realize how cold the house is. With its 12 foot ceilings and large, drafty rooms, it takes at least 48 hours for the place to be comfortably heated, and that’s if we have a fire in all 7 fireplaces and the thermostat set to 65.

Luckily we ran across some survival gear at a quaint country store called Wal-Mart in the neighboring village. I am convinced that heated mattress pads were designed by a genius.  You put your fitted sheet over them, so you don’t have to know that they are there.  They cover the entire mattress, so you don’t have to worry about your feet shockingly escaping the confines of warmth in the middle of the night, and if you turn it on before turning down the bed, the down duvet holds the heat in so it feels as if you are slipping into a warm cloud.

While we try to elevate the artisanal in everything we do at The Beekman, one just cannot argue with progress sometimes.  The heated mattress pad is better than a heated water bottle, a fire-roasted iron in a handsome cozy, woolen horse blankets, and a mattress stuffed with hay and horse hair.

It just is.

But without the chill we couldn’t have scenes like this.

Sunset in winter
Sunset in winter

(Each week I’ll give a quick status recap of the train trip to and from The Beekman)

30 minutes late.  Inexplicably, there were fire hoses across the track just before reaching Hudson.

Absolutely packed with people heading to their Thanksgiving destinations.  We didn’t get to sit together.  The upside of this is that we both got lots of work done on the train.


Because we are both taking the week off to prepare for Thanksgiving, there’s not really a “from” to report.

I’m sitting here on Sunday thinking about how to make it a memorable holiday for the 7 guests (including 3 children) who are spending the long weekend with us at The Beekman. The recent snowfall may have thwarted my plans for a craft project.

The llamas
The llamas

The first guests to arrive were a mother and her baby.  These llovely llamas belong to our friends Tim and Kathy Spofford. They own the beautiful Clausen Farm Bed & Breakfast in Sharon Springs.  They spend the winter in warmer climes and asked if Farmer John could babysit for them.  Fortunately for Farmer John, llamas are excellent goat herders.

While we are determined to appreciate each season at the Beekman, when you live on a farm, it never hurts to do a little planning…and even a little dreaming.

This semester we volunteered the grounds of The Beekman for use by the students at the State University of NY at Cobleskill.  The Dept of Plant Science at SUNY has educated some of the most prominent landscape architects in America. Each year students are paired with local properties for which they put together a very detailed landscaping plan.

Two students in Professor Jack Ingels landscape design class were assigned to The Beekman, and over the past several months they came to talk with us about how we used the property – our likes and dislikes, wishes and dreams.  This weekend they made their final presentations.

Designer:  Todd Snyder…


Todd’s presentation was remarkable for an outdoor entertaining area in the middle of the formal garden that used many historically appropriate plants:img_3550

Designer:  Robert Beers…


Bobby’s design completely re-imagined the pool. Notice how he included the historic moon cut-outs on the doors leading to the changing rooms.


Both students knew that many of the plants and flowers grown on the farm make their way into the BEEKMAN 1802 products and did some excellent research on some new fragrant and therapeutic varieties we could plant.


Fortunately, neither student recommended cutting down this beautiful tree.  And it’s a good thing as it was the inspiration for one of our  2008 BEEKMAN 1802 hand-pressed Christmas cards.

Beekman 1802 Stationery

You can see exactly how each card is made over at this week’s HowToo blog

For all of those reading our blogs in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, we say thank you to all of you.  Who knew that we’d meet so many new friends just by killing time on a weekly train trip?

by Dr. Brent

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Bobby Beers

Hey Brent and Josh, congrats on the new show! I was shocked to see you guys on television one Saturday flipping through the channels. The Beekman is just how I remembered when Todd and I did our project there back in 2008. My wife and I were down in the city and picked up your cheese at Murray's and it is Fabulous. Hope to come up to the area again soon as I do miss living in that part of the state. Robert Beers- Cobleskill Alumni

Frank Tucker

I was a student of Jack Ingels, graduating from SUNY-Cobleskill in 1976. I am glad to see that the same project continues.