WHO WE ARE
The Catskills are a unique geography; not necessarily a part of the Appalachian Mountains, we are specifically at the northeastern end of the Allegheny Plateau. After the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago, this flat region was eroded into sharp relief by the receding glaciers and the Delaware River, creating dells and hollows relatively inaccessible even into the 20th century. The resulting landscape was the grooved and scratched bedrock created during the Devonian and Mississippian period, 395 to 325 million years ago. Agriculture in Delaware County has been on the decline since the advent of rail shipping opened New York City markets to farms in less challenging geographies. Construction of the NYC fresh water system (DEP Watershed) may have contributed to this decline, but about 60-70 years ago the majority of pastures, especially less productive parcels were abandoned to the “weed trees”. These first succession trees, such as Ash, Hawthorn, and Norway Spruce, grew quickly in the sunny meadows and covered the once pastured hills.
We moved to Delaware County to make a life lived at home. Our dream of starting a farm has shifted somewhat in the past four years, but the goal of working from home, together with our children, hasn’t changed. The children are now three and five years old now, and the family includes two dogs (who are very popular with the guests) and three cats. We’re doing more forestry, more tourism, but the plan is still in place. Stay tuned as we build our family farm based on subsistence eating and permanent food-production zones. Delhi is a perfect place to raise our kids with a wonderful library, pool, plenty of playgrounds, playgroups, and so many family-friendly events throughout the year. To be honest, we hardly leave the town limits! Our year-round farmer’s market is vibrant, the local supermarket is well stocked, and so many other services remain in our “country town”. Please check out our WHERE page for more about local businesses and places to visit.
These lands had long been home to countless ancestor whose absence we are humbled by: the North American Mountain Lion, the American Chestnut, the Highbush Cranberry, among so many other displaced by successive european and capitalistic incursions. On our property the stone walls that border the fields are the most stark reminder of the intensive agriculture practiced here. Fences and barns have been left to return to the earth. Our goal is to construct 3-5 acres of permanent vegetable beds interspersed with fruit trees and shrubs. We also hope to install 10 acres of pastures and raise hobby flocks and herds of different domestic livestock. Along with these projects, we will be managing the trees for potential timber harvest (in 25 years), wildlife habitat, and other forest products, such as mushrooms and maple syrup. There are also about 12 acres of wildflower meadow that we are planting and working to keep clear of trees to attract song birds and insects.
“Wall building, like so many of a farmer’s menial jobs, was something that had to be done, not commented on…there is a darth of written record about the building of stone wall by the people who actually built them. Stone walls are anonymous epics of earlier generations, lyric forms in rock, which, when they were being composed on the face of the landscape, were never signed and rarely reflected upon–at least in writing. The lack of written material is interesting in itself, for it shows better than anything how ordinary these enduring objects were once thought to be…These walls had not all been erected by the stalwart Yankee farmer….In different areas, at different times, American Indians, black slaves, and indentured servants also built walls.” (Sermons in Stone, Susan Allport, 1990) We are humbled and honored to work with local stone builder Jane DeWitt for the construction of our campsites.
Our two (sometimes three) dogs have the run of the property, 24/7. After three years of hosting, the dogs sincerely believe the guests come to visit them. They can be generally found lounging on the decks at the entrances to the guest spaces, waiting for the ample pets. We also often welcome more dogs who accompany the long-term renters, contractors, and many of the guests who stay short-term. If you’d like to bring your dog, please make sure they are used to lots of other dogs! Our dogs approach the majority of arriving cars (they’re used to cars in the parking area) expecting friendly humans and their dogs. Please let us know if you do not like dogs and we can kennel our dogs for your check-in times. We also have three cats, property lines, and other general hazards so please expect to keep your dog(s) either leashed or under voice control.