The first baby robins of Spring.

The first time doing anything is always a little bit tougher than the second time. Since this is my first official blog entry on Beekman 1802 it feels like it should be somewhat momentous. Which has me scratching my head. Nothing feels that momentous this morning. Brent’s not at the farm this weekend. I’ve got a list of chores that will fill every sunlight hour. A little gardening. A little clean-up. Putting the screens in the windows. See? Nothing very noteworthy.

This should be easier. I’ve written three books, dammit. How tough could a blog entry be?

It’s spring. That’s momentous in itself, no? Plenty of songs, poems, books have been written about spring. Surely I can wrench something appropriately heartfelt and metaphoric out of spring for my maiden blog entry.

I’m eating breakfast on the porch for the first time of the year. It’s 54 degrees according to the thermometer by the kitchen window, but it’s predicted to reach into the eighties today. The sun won’t reach the backside of the house for hours though, so until then, I have my doubts.

Still, it’s been unseasonably warm for three weeks now. Everything is blooming at once. Flowers that have never met in person before are being forced to bloom together. Daffodils, meet lilacs. Iris, meet forsythia. So far, everyone seems to be getting along fine. No floral fracas to my knowledge.

I’m having English muffins with rhubarb sauce. The rhubarb in the garden is as large as it would be by June. The asparagus seems to have come and gone in a week. I doubt I’ll get any radishes. They’ll bolt right to flower – the nights aren’t cool enough to form bulbous roots. I’m tempted to put the tomatoes in already. (But I’ve lost bets with frost too many times.)

There’s a lot going on. And a lot to do. None of it very momentous.

Across the table from me, in the weeping cherry that grows too close to the porch, I’m being evil-eyed by a protective mother robin sitting in her nest. There’s always a nest built in the same crook of the same branch every year. It never makes it through the winter. But it always seems to reappear without me ever seeing the construction.

Normally, by the time it’s warm enough to sit on the porch for breakfast, the fledglings have long taken wing. But this year’s early spring means I have to share the porch with this setting mother, and she has to share it with me, just like the daffodils have to share the stage with the lilacs this year.

After I mop up the last of the rhubarb sauce with my muffin, I stand up, startling the mother into flight. Balancing my coffee cup in one hand, and empty plate in the other, I pause to stand on my tiptoes to peer into the nest.

It’s not as cute as one would expect. Inside is a fleshy, beak-y, hair-feathery, grey blob – pulsing and twitching in unison. I can’t see where one baby ends and the other begins. If I hadn’t already eaten breakfast, this definitely would have put me off of it.

A nest full of just hatched robins should be about as iconic a sign of spring as anything, right?

Still, I’m not feeling the momentousness. Don’t get me wrong. Breakfast on the porch is about as perfectly pleasant an experience as one could have. But I’m missing the Peer Gynt Morning soundtrack (you know, the one that signals daybreak in Warner Brothers cartoons) that could turn my blog drivel into a life-changing epistle.

The mother robin is scolding me to back off from her hungry grey blob. And I’m already late getting started with chores.

So disregard the poets and bards. There’s nothing really all that singularly momentous about spring. It’s simply a bunch of little pleasant firsts, all happening at the same time.

To which I’ll toss in this maiden blog entry. Happy happy Spring.


by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

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Hi Josh & Brent:

Came across your show about Thanksgiving, aw poor turkey, but at least you got to have a nice feast lol! Really enjoy your show and Brent, please let Josh have at least one cup of coffee when he gets home ;)! You two remind me so much of two friends of ours John and James. James with his list, John with his rolling eyes! They have a farm called Funland Theater in which I was able to christen it with a great fundraiser called Foodstock feed the animals for our Alternative Humane Society. They have loads of beautiful chickens and two goats, Shiela and Peggy and these girls know how to party lol! Thanks for sharing your life with us and best wishes in your ventures. Tammy


I can't get enough of your show! We just moved from Duchess County, New York in the town of Lagrange to Savannah, Tennessee. We purchased a small farm and like you have to do renovations on our home. Your episode about harvesting the pigs really touched my heart. We too had 2 hogs that we had to harvest and it broke my heart. I still can't walk past their empty pen without crying. You are a true inspiration to all of us who are trying our hand at farming. It is a lot of work but the rewards are priceless! Can't wait to see more of you! Love that Polka Spot and Farmer John!

Janice Mahon

Every Spring, when we put the indoor plants outside, we have a spider plant that we hang outside the front door. There has been a nest inside the plant that we never remove in the Fall. In the late Spring, we observed wrens coming in and out of the nest. This year I was peeking, three or four eggs. Then I heard chirping, four little wrens looking for their dinner. All of them flew away. How wonderful!


Great idea Aaron! Dr. Brent would you ever consider doing an episode with a brief history of the mansion? We've all see glimpses of the other rooms besides the kitchen and I know we'd love to see and hear more about your farm and home.

By the way what IS that beautiful crystal/glass vase that can be seen behind you when you are comenting? It's gorgeous!!

Have fun at the Harvest weekend this year and congratulations on the opening of your store. Can't wait for your new episodes to start~

Aaron Linker

I love the show. I love the goats even more, with their cut names! I'm into architectural design, if you guys have before and afters of the mansion you should post them on the web site!

Amy Pope

Okay…something strange happened. I was trying to say "my kids…ages 12 and 8…" (with regard to watching the show), and my keyboard had a mind of its own. I'm a perfectionist, so I couldn't let that go without "fixing" the error.

Amy Pope

Hi Brent and Josh,

I do wish GREAT things for you guys and your show. My whole family gets a kick out of your 30 minutes a week…and we each have a favorite thing. My "old goat" husband (*lol*) grew up a country boy, and appreciates the way you depict the everyday aspects of farming and raising your food animals with respect. The Porky and Bess episode was painful to watch, but I was impressed that you were brave enough to share that with us.

On a lighter note, my kids (ages 12 and 8) get such a kick out of Polka Spot. We've joined her Facebook fan page. I love the drama between she and Josh… what a hoot! When she gives you that turn-around, and then won't look at you! Ha! That's TV gold. *lol*

Y'all keep this up, for many more years, okay? And we'll keep watching! The whole Pope family. 🙂

Connie Wedding

Great first blog entry!

I love your sense of humor!

QUOTE: "Everything is blooming at once. Flowers that have never met in person before are being forced to bloom together. Daffodils, meet lilacs. Iris, meet forsythia. So far, everyone seems to be getting along fine. No floral fracas to my knowledge."


augie and barney

hello boys barney and i was just up there last weekend. i loved the town and your and store. we are now looking for a place up there now. we tried to find the beekman no luck. what area should we look in for a farm and house with history we now live in huntington village long island we have 38 chickens 8 goats and 3 donkeys. how gay friendly is it there in sharon springs thank you augie [email protected]

Pam Twombly

You guys are awesome. My husband and I are from farms in New England, now living in Florida raising kids (5) and little, non shedding hypoallergenic lap dogs. But we miss the north. We both LOVE your show. I had missed a few episodes so got caught up this weekend, but Kevin is a 911 dispatcher and watches between calls. Unemployment is horrible here in FL and I know many families that are separated for work. Real estate values fell drastically and most can't afford to sell their homes and move as the loss would be too much to absorb. You guys are an inspiration!!

Sue Harig

MY first came this week-end when I found you fabulous show on I write this, my elderly mother is re-watching the episodes we watched yesterday!:)Loving Polka Spot and the goats , as well as you guys. Will be setting my DVR so I don't miss any episodes.

Carla Fenn

Josh and Brent,I've seen every show (several times) and have even got my 'he-man' husband to share your hilarious and tender adventures on the farm. Beekman is certainly a giant step above most of the farms here in middle America. After a job loss this year as-well-as our son being over-seas(military), it's so good to find a peaceful place to laugh and/or cry. Thanks guys, Carla


Why is the video of the robin chicks private?

Loved Bucolic Plague, btw. It was a great holiday read.


Josh and Brent: I cried right along with both you last week when Porky and Bess were harvested. Thank you for showing us the humane way to put food on our table. I do agree with my fellow blogger who suggested purchasing pork products from a farmer who raises them for that purpose. It will be so much easier on both of you! Thank you again for the wonderful episode…keep up the good (and extremely hard) work!


Josh & Brent,

I just discovered your show on PlanetGreen and love the show! As a former (now Florida) country-boy from north of Utica, I can tell you both that you are living the life I wish I had made for myself! I think on my next trip North, a stop at Sharon Springs is a MUST!


Dear Josh and Brent,

Having been raised by a Dad whose occupation was producing and selling wholesale pork products to retail Vendors, I really knew what you two were going through when you had to release Porky and Bess from your loving care in order to use their bountiful product for your nourishment as was intended by you both from the start.

It was a "First" for you, and I am sure one you will never forget.

The process chosen was indeed humane.

That being said, I would like to suggest that you keep your new next set of piglets as your beloved pets and purchase the necessary pork products from a farmer who raises 100's of them for the purpose of human consumption.

It will be so much easier on you both and way less stressful everytime you eat.I cried when you both fed them for the last time.

Thank you for a wonderful show, you two are just a super couple!

Take care, and think about my suggestion…ok? Oh,this is my very first blog posting! A "first" for me too!!


I LOVE y'all's show!! I've told everyone at work about it and now they love it also. I find it very funny and at the same time I am touched by how much love and respect you both have for each other. I hope someday I find a man who loves me like that!


Hi, Just wanted to say I just read Bucolic Plague. I bought it Saturday and Finished it Monday. I loved it!! Also bought my first bar of Beekman soap on July 4th at the Mercantile and like it as well. My Partner and I have a farm in Brazil, which is hard to get to from here in Rensselaerville Ny but everything there is grown green. We can appreciate all you have been through and go through. With the farm and your relationship. Good Luck!

Michael Rash

Great first Blog, Josh. Partner and I are loving the show and everything. His name is John and we bought fresh strawberries this spring here in Douiglas, MI and he made rhubarb strawberry pie that was very very good fro Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. We follow Barbara Kingsolver and eat local as much as we can. Thanks for everything. You've reenergized me! I was just at a yoga retreat north of Albany and was driving around near Saratoga Springs, wish I would have checked out Sharon and Beekman, didn't realize you were there. 🙁

Justine McCrory

Josh, when you talked about eating a biscuit with rhubarb sauce it made me laugh because of a funny memory. As a child I would go live with my aunt and uncle on their farm in Ohio during the summers. My aunt had a white goat named Katrina that would go to the garden and eat her rhubarb. Well, when Katrina was done eating the rhubarb she looked like she had smeared bright RED LIPSTICK all over her lips!! I will cherish that memory forever.

Kathryn Warner

I love your show, you products, and have finished your 3rd book. I cried like a baby.

Am now reading your first. Everyone that I turn on to your show becomes addicted. Everyone loves it. I agree with comment above: value everyday with Brent. It is precious. I lost a

a son when he was 16 and have learned how every moment is precious. You have each other, that is really all you need.

Gillian Hemphill

I love the blog! Now I want to try the rhubarb sauce on a muffin. You have now accomplished making me hungry and I love the birds as well. I so wish I could have a house like you guys and sit on the porch while eating breakfastin 54 degree weather. I live in Houston TX and if I ate outside here the mosquitos would attack me and I would feel like I was eating in a sauna the whole time.:) Until I accomplish this dream, I will continue to watch your show and just envy where you guys live and the animals in your life! LOL

Keep the blog up…I love it! And we want to hear more about Polka Spot too…LOVE that animal! What a character!

Julie b

I loved this blog entry. There's something about your mannerisms and the way you talk that puts me at ease. I'm going to have to get your book. You're a new favorite.


Hi Guys,

I just watched your show and I love it! I am a huge fan of everything you are doing. Please, please, please make time for your relationship. I love you guys and don't want to see this turn ugly. Purely selfish reasons. LOL and because you are so great together. I love Farmer John. When he broke down about the goats I started laughing and crying at the same time. What a sweetheart.

Jill wood

I would love to come work at your farm. A room and food would sufice. I raised three sdaughters and have experience with gardening. I am a fablous cook.

Loved your show. Take care Jill

Joe Geppert

Great first blog, eating breakfast in your garden is enough excitement for one day. Joe


I am patiently (trying to be) waiting for your show. I really want to live the kind of life that you are living right now. I know that it is hard work but you both do it with style and class. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your lives with us. Blessings!!

Terry Corigliano

Very good first blog. I will be watching for more. I just finished read your new book last night. I loved, loved, loved it. So much so that I had to come to the Beekman site to read more of you and Brent. Your writting tranports me to your little piece of heaven and inspires me to do more with my own. " The Bucolic Plague " Made me laugh one minute and cry the next. I am going to Amazon next, well after I read every word on this site, and order your other books. Thank you for this book.


Good first blog! Wait til those baby robins get to filling up the nest, holding up their heads with beaks wide open for mom to fill. They're pretty cute then! Have your camera ready.