The Muse
The Muse

As many of you know, the farm and the goats were featured in the New York Times recently, and we were overwhelmed by the number of messages we received.  It is a wonderful feeling to receive so much mail from folks who feel as inspired by The Beekman as we do.

Truth be told, one of the reasons that we spend so much time on this website is because we are equally inspired by everyone who comes to “visit” us.  Just read through a few of the letters we received to see some of the fabulous things our readers are doing.

Don’t forget to share your own creative triumphs this season. Comment on any page that tickles your fancy. We’re all in this to learn from each other.

Beekman 1802 Letterpress Stationery
Beekman 1802 Letterpress Stationery

Here are just a few of the lovely notes we received:

“Just a heartfelt note to let you know how you have helped change my life.

Just looking at your website got me excited about renovating my home, eating healthier and taking care of myself and my surroundings.  I have been in a rut for years, but because of your inspiration, have already lost 10 lbs and started home renovations.

I thought about how you both have chosen to live and love your lives. The care you put into your home, into your garden, goats, friends, work, and also into educating people like me.  It has filled me with a new hope.

I got your soap (the big Honey bar and February soap) and LOVE it. Using it reminds me to be mindful of being good to myself, and to others. To go the extra mile with everything.”

“Dear Josh and Brent, what a fabulous website! After reading the NYT article I clicked the link and found myself in my dream come true! It’s so inspiring! I always thought this kind of dream-to-reality quite natural. But sadly most people get stuck in the dream sequence and don’t find the courage to realize it.  My favorites are the lamas and the young goats (nice video!) About myself: I’m a photographer turned writer (still) living in Germany. My first manuscript was too wild for the market but my second one seems not to. An agent is reading it right now and says he loves it.  Now more than ever I know that as soon as I will be able to make a living with my writing I will start another happy “farm”.
All best!”

“Thank you for the beauty and inspiration!!! After reading the article about you both, and your wonderful home, and lives, in the New York Times this week, I could not wait to read your website — and can tell, immediately, it will be an ongoing friend. Delicious in every way! Wonder glistens in all you are doing. How kind of you to share it!”

“Your site is lovely!  It is a vacation for my eyes!  Especially love the YouTube videos!!  Maybe you can film the train trip by the Hudson River some time.  Thank you for joy!”

After reading the article on Beekman1802 appearing in the Times yesterday, I have been drawn back again and again to read it and to share in your happiness.  I have emailed all my friends about your life in the country, and they have joined me in becoming acquainted with the two of you and what you have achieved together.  I must admit a certain jealousy tempers my joy just a fraction, but believe me it is soon mitigated by my ability to get out of bed at 2 a.m. as today to revisit your goats and turkeys and share the sound of rain from your front porch.

You have no idea how you have delighted a 78-year-old gay man in Oklahoma.  Thank you so much.

Go for it all; accept nothing less!

Hello there and thanks for sharing your interests with us.  Our friend whom lives in NYC and read an article about your home sent us the necessary information.  Lovely home and philosophy. We moved from Manhattan to the Loire Valley six years ago.  We found a spectacular turreted, moated 15th cent. Manor house. If you are ever in France, please visit. Should you like to see our site, please go to:  www.saumurfrancemanor.com We have many more updated photos at:  www.purefrance.com and go to two different residences:   49004 for the Manor house and  49007 for Maison Louis Richard. We have cooking classes here and both do interior and exterior design in France. Enjoy the spring time!

HI BRENT AND JOSH,

I READ THE ARTICLE ON YOUR HOME TODAY IN THE NY TIMES AND WENT TO YOUR WEBSITE TO SEE BEEKMAN. I SALUTE YOU BOTH. IT IS MAGNIFICENT. WHAT A JOY IT MUST BE FOR YOU BOTH TO UNWIND FROM THE CRAZINESS OFTHE CITY AS YOU PERUSE YOUR ESTATE. AND HOW LUCKY FOR YOU THAT ALL THE MAIN RESTORATION WAS DONE EARLIER. HAVING DONE RESTORATION WORK I CAN ASSURE YOU, YOU FOUND THE BETTER PATH TO TAKE. JOSH, I WANTED TO TELL YOU I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF YOURS FOR QUITE SOME TIME. I SO ENJOY READING YOUR ARTICLES IN OUT MAGAZINE EVERY MONTH. WE HAVE NOT BEEN UP TO YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS IN YEARS BUT IF WE EVER GET UP THERE I HOPE WE CAN COME AND VISIT YOU AND SEE YOUR HANDIWORK.

I ALSO CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR WEBSITE. VERY WELL CONSTRUCTED. I ENJOYED THE VARIOUS BLOGS, ESPECIALLY THE ONE ON MARY BEEKMAN AND THE VIDEO TOURS. GOD BLESS YOU BOTH WITH CONTINUED SUCCESS IN BEEKMAN AND IN YOUR CITY JOBS.

I am a 7th and 8th grade Family & Consumer Science teacher at Sharon Springs Central School.

Part of my curriculum for the past three years has been healthy eating through organic and locally grown foods.

I would like to arrange a midweek spring tour of your home/garden/farm, etc.

Thank you for bringing such life and information to our community.

Dear Brent and Josh,

On metro-north yesterday evening, heading back to Kent after a scrumptious Dress Rehearsal of La Sonnambula at the Met, I spied/peeked at a copy of the New York Times, being read by a neighbor.  Lo and behold, handsome pictures of you both and the farm!

All best to you and the baby goats…

Good morning….I read the article about Beekman 1802 in the Friday Times section, Escapes. I went on line this morning and am really enjoying learning about it.  My partner and I have a Flower/Interior Accents shop and are looking forward to enjoying some of the items in your store and sharing them with our employees. I am looking forward to seeing the items change with the seasons

Gentlemen, the Times article was very inspiring! Thank you! I am now a subscriber.

Hi,

I am a huge fan of your soaps for my little one and am on your email list.  I just read your article on the goats’ fame…would love to send you some fresh Dancing Goats coffee as a congrats!  Is the mailing address on your newsletter the best for sending perishables?  (To read more about the coffee, www.dancinggoats.com) I just thought it would be too cute (and that you would enjoy it)

Just put down the article about you in today’s Times.  What a wonderful place to call “home.”  Incredible. read the article in today’s times and had to check out your site. bless you for doing what you’ve done. i only WISH i could.(sigh…)

So glad to see Sharon Springs having the potential of becoming “New Chelsea” – the article in the Times was great; very impressive – the guys at the American Hotel told us about your buying that amazing home – so belatedly welcome to the neighborhood! My husband and I have a place in Richmondville, and we come up after the snow melts and the garden begins – amazingly, but of course you know this already, about mid-May – and we’d love to meet you both. We live in the city, in Chelsea, and although I’ve often thought about leaving my practice and patients and going back to the land, you guys have had the courage to actually do it, with style.

Gentlemen,

I read with great interest the article on your farm in the New York Times today. I have lived the last twenty years in New Orleans, but I am originally from Poultney, Vermont which is less than an hour from Beekman 1802.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the beautiful photographs of your home and farm.  It was the bright spot in an otherwise dreadful morning. As a child, I also had goats. I think you would agree that they are an underappreciated animal, today. There are such sweet creatures.

I will not take up any more of your time, but I am delighted to be a member of your mailing list. Though I live in a city, I can always escape to the country by visiting your web site.

Hi,

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading about your “doings” at Beekman 1802.  It really sounds amazing and the sort of thing that many of us would like to do – given the youth and money!

Your web site is beautiful and has much to interest the viewer/reader.  I especially enjoyed the “goats” feature.

Anyway, I have included my local web site for the Fairlington community (Arlington, VA) — we were built in 1943 by the order of President Roosevelt for housing for the workers building the Pentagon.  Built in the Colonial Revival style, Fairlington remained rentals until being converted to condominiums in the seventies.  We were placed on the National Register of Historic Places and also on the Virginia Landmarks Register after two years of dedicated volunteer work.  Currently we are an oasis of 7 separate associations amidst urban sprawl!  Our community web site is www.fairlington.org

My garden site is http://www.fairlington.org/gardenadvisor.htm.  If you have the inclination and get a chance, check out some of the photo series of my “garden” — an English style border along 3 sides of a very small townhouse.

Thanks for sharing all the wonderful information about your home/farm/and lifestyle.

What wonderful press! You two are living the life. Even if it’s not always glamorous, it’s what most people dream of. Especially these days.

Hi Brent and Josh,

I enjoyed reading about Beekman 1802 in the NY Times today.  As a New England architect living in an antique home myself, I greatly admire your country home.  Though my home is Georgian too (c. 1768), it isn’t anywhere near as fabulous as yours.  We live in a portion of our Georgian as a condo.  Anyway, I admire well-crafted homes and write about them often in the online magazine I produce, House Enthusiast http://www.katiehutchison.com/house-enthusiast/.  If you get a spare moment, drop by and take a look.

I was interested to read that you have goats and make/market goat milk soap.  I’m wondering if you’ve ever considered offering goat cheese camp.  I’m thinking of a one-week intensive course on the property with a goat cheese expert and maybe ten adult students.  I don’t know anything about goats, but I know I love goat cheese.  I have several friends who are also interested in attending goat cheese camp, so I’m sure I could help you fill a class with other likeminded students.  It seems like a dreamy way get in touch with the countryside and live closer to the land — if only for a week.

Let me know if you have any interest in the idea.  Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy your website and interesting pursuits

Dear  Dr. Ridge and Mr. Kilmer-Purcell,

I’m a Dutchman, living in the UK, reading amonst others the New York Times, on line. This is how I stumbled upon your existence and your property.

I just feel the urge to give you a big compliment for what you’re doing.
The house you inhabit and promote is amazingly beautiful and the things you do with it are fantastic. I very much recognize your words as well.

I wish you every succes with everything you do, all in good health!

Hi guys:

Your article in the New York Times was wonderful!  Also, I noticed in the article you have an interest in the elderly.

My company nurtures the elderly with hand-written (not computer generated) letters of friendship and caring.  I am always on the lookout for great stationery and gifts and just ordered some of both from YOU!

I hope you will visit my website (noted below) when you have an opportunity as Mother’s and Father’s Days are fast approaching.  I would be grateful if you would tell your friends about Letters-from-the-Heart. Thanks so much.

Dear Brent and Josh,

I loved the piece about you and your lovely house in the Times today. I have an old farmhouse in Ulster County in a town called Accord.

It wasn’t on my wish list but after a dreadful marriage, the house was dumped on my lap. I was born and reared in Brooklyn, always lived in
apartments and knew nothing about country living. When I heard the word ‘joist’ I thought the contractor was talking about his girlfriend. I am
Green Acres with carting my garbage in Manolo Blahnik bags, of course with the new economy, I’ve run out of those.

My twin sister and I have a blog…
http://yvonneandyvettetiquette.blogspot.com/

It’s about manners, remember those?
We have written about weekend guests manners or lack of and many other subjects relating to modern living.

Take care and all the best in your beautiful, healthy world.

Great house, and a great website.

Do you rotate your tomato crops every year?  Do you have more than usual Tomato Blight or other tomato annoyances with your crops?

Time for me to worry about these things, of course.  We use raised beds with non-soil medium, but they drain to the same soil, so once the roots get far-enough advanced, we deal with the same contaminated soil.  *sigh*

Again, thanks for a great web experience.

I enjoyed reading the story about your home in Friday’s New York Times.

I look forward to perusing your website, but wanted to thank you for “taking me away” for the brief time I was enveloped in your story.

Dear Dr. Ridge and Mr. Kilmer Purcell,

My wife and I will be moving to Hamilton, NY (about 50 miles west of you) next year when I start a job at Colgate University and tomorrow (Saturday, 2/28) we are planning on driving to that part of the state to look around at places to live next year, and thinking of taking a detour to Sharon Springs to look at your house.

I just read the article about you in the NY Times and discovered your blog and I wanted to say how phenomenal I think it is.  I grew up in Vermont and after living in Cambridge, MA for 13 years (with interludes in Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, and Berkeley, CA) and then this year in Rochester, I’ve been terribly excited about moving to a really rural area and my wife and I have discussed the idea of raising some goats and living in an old farmhouse.  Your story is a real inspiration to us!

I don’t know if you’ll have time to read this–I imagine you’ll be swamped with e-mails after that article about your phenomenal life.  But it said in your article that you don’t mind “internet friends” dropping by, so I thought I would just send you this note in case you did have a chance to read it

Wonderful article in today’s Times. I am a flutist, founder and artistic director of the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival and summer resident of Springfield Center (15 min  from Sharon Springs). I live on the UWS during the year and head of the Woodwind Department at Manhattan School of Music.

CCMF  (www.cooperstownmusicfest.org) is in its 11th season. Our 2009 dates are Aug 2-23rd and I am just now finalizing venues, repertoire and artists. I have long been hoping to find an appropriate venue for a performance in Sharon Springs. It occurred to me while reading the article that there is a wealth of chamber music that was composed between 1802-1804  Might you be interested in having a program featuring  works of the period this summer?  Or something unrelated but fun?  If so, please get back to me as soon as possible.

In any event, I’d love to meet you both.

Good Morning

Fun article

About the goats, a neighbor when I was growing up in WNY state raised goats,the excess milk he generously passed around the neighborhood, my brothers and I drank it and enjoyed it along with raw milk straight from the cows of another  farmer.

Back to goats milk, my mother would often make stove top fudge using goats milk in place of cows milk, a taste and flavor like no other, plus when we collected black walnuts from a local farmers woodlot, they would be added in place of ordinary California walnuts.
Try it some time

Add a couple of bee hives for some more fun, my grandfathers hives kept the ‘hood supplied with honey for years, plus all my cousins were taught how to “take the honey” by the time we were 12 years old.

Have fun in the country.

You are an inspiration. We’ve been ‘back on land’ in Angelica, Allegany County, NY (another sweet holdover from the past) since the 70’s with time in Ithaca for careers and child educating. Now we return to our farming there with lavender, organic vegetables, and a pancake market stand using local grains, Winters we go south. Crop land is rented out for now. This is all pretty small time but your story is lighting a fire for us. Thanks for the jolt!

I’m not sure how this happened, but it appears you are living the life that me and my partner Eric were supposed to have.

Hello,
You guys are working hard and playing hard.  i applaud you. enjoyed the tip of the iceberg article in today’s NYT’s.

Wonder if you could tell me about the two couches in the living room facing each other:  clean lines, slant ends on back.
I would like to buy similar couch for my petite apartment. [Ed Note: They are Jonathan Adler sofas. ]

Dear Proprietors,

I’ve enjoyed my first visit to your Web site and look forward to your “How Too” bulletins.  I hope to use many of them when my husband and I return to Ohio later this year, after a marvelous Fulbright year in Sri Lanka.

I have a suggestion based on my understanding of 19th century American life, and my experience living in rural Ohio.  People were carefully frugal, and the needle arts were important in most households.  By the 19th century there weren’t many who spun and wove and sewed ALL the family clothes, but sewing was an important contribution to farm economy.  You might consider adding sewing and needlework projects or kits to your store offerings; aprons have come back into fashion, for example, and a sturdy work apron is a treasure in the garden and the kitchen.  As an avid needlewoman myself, I can also recommend hand crocheted linen mesh bags and hand knitted sweaters, throws, and rugs, which warmed the person in old houses that were innocent of insulation (as our home in Ohio was until last year).  Some very fine weavers also made blankets and yardage for coats and jackets.  You might consider talking with a weaving or knitting guild and even encouraging high quality standards with them–there is a resurgence of interest in sewing and knitting, but many people can’t tell the difference between good work and poor. For many of us who enjoy these crafts, the quality shows in function, durability, design, and beauty.

Congratulations on your restoration and renewal of what appears to be a wonderful farm

I just want you to know who I am and how I came to place my order yesterday.

I am a retired CPA (just to give you some of my educational acumen) who actually graduated from UW with degrees in accounting and english literature.  I was too old to be a Hippy – my life was far too conventional with a surgeon for a father and my mother who knew F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I usually buy the NY Times on Friday (and Wednesday for the food section) and saw the lovely article on Beekman.  I bought it on my way home from a routine mamogram which turned into a nightmare day ending with the prognosis that I have breast cancer.

I loved the article and I love how you two are on such an incredible journey.  And are such fascinating people.

That’s all.  Cancer has already given me a new attitude where, were I younger (I am 65) I would try to figure out what I could do to make life more interesting.

I ordered all the baby products – I have my first grandchild (2 weeks old) and I will continue to follow your lives as long as the information is available.

Thank you for reading this, if you did.

Dear Josh and Brent — I was delighted to see the NY Times articles on your paradise. As the author of more than 20 books on design and architecture and the author of a course in metaphysical healing, I feel great kinship with the intent and beauty of all you’ve created.
I’m wondering if you might have suggestions as to how I could organize a Creativity workshop in your vicinity or in connection with the Beekman Mansion. I’m at http://www.lauracerwinske.com and my bibliography at http://www.bluehairlady.com.

With congratulations and all best wishes.

We are sincerely grateful for everyone’s kind words. It’s not always easy keeping The Beekman going, but we’re determined to do so with your friendship and support. Thank you again. Happy, happy spring to everyone.

by Dr. Brent

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