Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!


Latest Project Updates

The Patron Poet of Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 14, 2015

 

To the lads and the lassies:

We have selected the Ploughman's Poet, the Scottish Robert Burns, as the Patron Poet of the farm and brewery.   And good ol' Robbie Burns is a perfect fit.   He's the author of Auld Lang Syne and Ode to a Mouse and A Red, Red, Rose - all classics.  He was a libertine, a louse, a drunkard and a womanizer of uncommon repute.  He was a chronicler of the mundane, the unsung, the unloved.  And he was brilliant.

Each year, his birthday is honored around the world at Burns' Night Dinners.  For the past three years, we have attended the dinner at Blantyre in Lenox, Mass.  And now we plan on having our own Burns' Night Dinner at the Brewery as a new tradition. This will be an invitation only event on the poet's birthday, right down to the cock-a-leekie soup, haggis and sticky toffee pudding.  Perhaps you'll make it on the guest list if you're very, very good or like Robbie very, very BAD!  Robbie's birthday is January 25th, so be on the lookout for this invitation only event at the Brewery.

And don't forget the Scotch ale!  There must always be Scotch ale on Burns' Night to keep the lads and lassies warm!

Mid Winter Dispatch 2015

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

 

Is that you underneath all that snow?  And how would we even know what's under that 36 inches covering the ground?  Rich has to be so careful as he plows.  We have construction materials all around underneath the deep piles of snow.  There's several pallets of slate for the roof that are simply lost in the drifts until spring. 

The deer are belly deep in snow in the fields.  It's a tough winter for them and for domesticated animals, too.  I saw a glimmer of hope last Sunday, though.  As we were heading back from Salem on Chamberlain Mills Road, near one of the old homesteads, I spied at least 5 or 6 bluebirds flitting around the branches along the side of the road.  It stunned my eyes - all that bright blue and muddy coral.  Obviously someone nearby has been feeding them.  They looked plump and healthy as we passed by.  Usually bluebirds head south if the winter is harsh, so if they are still around now, they must be getting some regular meals from some kind souls.  A bluebird in winter is a sight to behold. 

Spring is possible!

Drilling for Water

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 29, 2014

Well, apparently Clarence's dowsing rod was right.  Good news - the farm now has two wells.  Bad news - both of them feature sulphur water.  Our well came in at 480 feet and had to be hydrofracked to get 15 gallons a minute - impressive flow, from what we were told.  That's enough to run a dairy farm.  Nancy's well is overflowing as we speak - all artesian-like.  Hers came in at 460 feet and 10 gallons a minute.  The flow from her well seems to be slightly less sulfurous. 

As you can see from the photos, the water is milky right now due to the drilling.  That will subside as the water is allowed to flow out for about a week or so.  It is a messy and loud business, this well drilling thing.  That is for sure. 

Here's Clarence's well drilling rig in action:  Notice how the front wheels of the rig are off the ground!

 

 

 

Dowsing 101

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dowsing, or the art/science/magic of locating underground water with a willow switch or other type of branch, is an ancient practice.  In today's modern world, it seems like a mystical and strange thing.  Surely, there must be some scientific basis for it, just as there is for every natural phenomenon. 

Is it all an act?  I'm not sure, but Clarence Gould & Co. would beg to differ.  Clarence and his son, Clarence, from Vermont, bet their livelihood every day on the results of that dowsing rod.  Otherwise, how would they know where to drill for water?  Clarence is the best at finding water in two states, or so everyone in these parts says. 

So, load of crap, old folk wisdom, or downright magic - you decide:

 

Only Clarence & Co. knows for sure.

The Construction Chronicles Part 3

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things are moving along at a furious pace at the farm:

Nancy's radiant heat flooring system was laid down:

 

 

Then the concrete slab:

 

The house arrived yesterday morning on two tractor trailers.  Construction began immediately.

The Construction Chronicles Part 2

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 08, 2014

We had to compact the ground where the houses are situated in order to dig and pour the foundations:

 

 

Last week, the first round of concrete got poured for the foundation footings:

 

 

 

The concrete contractors will be back this week to pour the frost walls and begin pouring the footings on our house, which you can see off to the back right hand side in the above photo.

 

The Construction Chronicles Part 1

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, September 03, 2014

In the midst of trying to pick hops from 72 second-year hop plants that appear to have produced as many hops as mature 5 year old hop plants, we have "broken ground", as they say. 

Here is our story:

These are two head-on shots of both house sites a couple of weeks ago.  You can see in the first photo that we have begun removing trees.  There was a whole grove of birch and cottonwood trees here.  Nothing worth saving.  Both house sites face due Southwest. 

This is my mother-in-law's home site:

 

This is our home site directly to the right of it:

 

Our excavator extraordinaire has been busy at the farm for about a week and a half now. Here's how the same site looked a week later:

 

 

You can see that we are literally moving a hillside.  Our excavator, Robbin, will make it look natural.  He's a real artist when it comes to moving dirt around. 

The stamped house plans from Connor Homes arrived last week.  We have already obtained the building permits from Washington County.  That was very quick.  Here's a hint to anyone who is thinking of building a new home, especially in a rural area or small town :  Always use local contractors.  Your town or county building inspectors are usually very familiar with their work.  We have found that because of the good local contractors we are using, it has helped us to obtain permits faster and easier. And here in Washington County, everybody knows or is related to everybody else.  Do not underestimate the value of this.

Preliminary home delivery dates are as follows:  House 1 will be coming on September 20th.  House 2 will be coming October 1st.  It will be a tight schedule, but as long as the weather holds, it should go smoothly.  Concrete will begin being poured in the next day or two.

More to come.....

 

Summer Hiatus and Other News

Misty Bleu Farm - Tuesday, July 01, 2014

It has been pretty crazy around here.  Between finalizing construction plans and interviewing prospective builders to trying to pack up a 3600 sq. ft. house and move into an 800 sq. ft. townhouse by July 15th, well, you can imagine how overwhelming it all seems.  And did I forget to mention Owen graduated from high school last weekend, too?

Plans for the house and brewery are moving along at a very fast clip.  The folks at Connor Homes are not even giving me enough time to get impatient.  We've been talking to some people at the SLA and the governor's liaison office about our plans, and we're performing our due diligence BEFORE construction starts.  Yeah, that's the smart way, anyway. 

In all of this craziness, we actually have not been able to spend much (read no) time at the farm.  Kind of ironic - in order to move to the farm full time, we have to take care of a whole bunch of things that keep us away from the farm.  Rich did get up there last weekend to finish up his bracing system for the bridge.  At this point, we could probably roll some tanks over that thing.

We've decided that we are going up to the farm on the 4th of July and stay over until the 5th.  We won't have a party this year - too bad because the weather looks spectacular.  Figures, right?  Last year and the year before were hotter than hell.  We'll probably hit the 4th of July parade in Salem at 5 pm and see what all the fuss is about regarding this year's redneck theme.  Then we are meeting with another builder on Saturday morning.  We still haven't found the right person yet, but I think we're getting close. 

Electricity Finally

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, May 18, 2014

Well, I did say we were to have trials and tribulations, did I not?  Chalk up the quest for electrical services at the farm in the "trials and tribulations" category, please. 

It started last May with a fruitless request from one of our neighbors for an easement for the lines.  Yes, the LINES.  We were not putting a pole on his property, the pole would be on our property; but the lines would have to run above a corner of his land, so we needed an easement for that.  Since this would be nowhere near his house and near where other power poles and lines already run, we thought it would be a simple matter to get his permission, all concerned parties being neighborly and all.  Let's just say it appears he has a long-running feud with NYSEG that, had it been disclosed to us up front, we probably would have went an alternate route in getting the easement.  Who knew you could hold an air easement hostage?  Many months wasted there. 

By this time it was summer.  And of course, those in the legal department at NYSEG do deserve to take their summer vacations.  So we waited a bit more.  Then, lo and behold, we discovered (or rediscovered) the prior owners of the farm actually had already secured an easement for the electrical pole from one of the other land-owners many years before.  We had been told this at the time of the sale, but promptly forgot that little piece of information.  Ok, that was our fault.  NYSEG had the easement on file, too.  I guess they just never looked for it.  Or maybe it was just because we never asked them to look for it, ahem.

We finally got approval for the placement of the pole the first week in October.  Yep, by this time it was all of October.  We were told it would be a couple of weeks.  Ok, that means two.  Well, no. That really means five in NYSEG land.  The pole went in during the first week of November, literally days before the ground froze for good until spring.  Ahhh, another winter at the farm running off of batteries.  

Now we're ready to get moving and finish up this project.  Good thing our construction was not dependent on it.  The delay would have been disastrous.  The excavator and electrician will be there in the next week or so to dig the trench and start laying the cable.  I won't believe it 'till I see the lights come on without a battery! 

So, one whole year down in getting electric service at the farm. 

The Farmhouse and Barn Design Part 1

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, March 06, 2014

As you may know, the family has been working with Connor Homes in Vermont to design the farmhouse and barn/brewery for Misty Bleu Farm.  For the main house, the decision was to customize one of Connor Homes' catalog plans - the Annaline Syrus house, for the family's needs.  Here's a photo of it built with another Connor Home:

 

Like many old rambling farmhouses, our barn will be connected to the house itself just like in the above photo.  The design we have chosen for our house is more classic American farmhouse, though. The one pictured above is one of the Greek revival styles offered in the Connor Homes catalog.

I cannot say enough how much we are enjoying working with the design team at Connor Homes.  No request or question is too minor for them.  We have both an architectural designer and an interior designer working on our plans.  So far, everything we have asked for is a "yes, we can do that".  They refer to their process of designing and building modular new old houses as "mill built architecture". 

We fell in love with the clean, simple and classic lines of Connor Homes' designs.  I have been following the company and their home designs for about 20 years now.  I first heard about them many years ago in an issue of the now defunct Colonial Homes magazine.  They are uncluttered by the modern gee-gaws and superfluous gables and bump-outs of modern Mc Mansion architecture.  Yet the Connor Homes factory is the epitome of modern shop technology.  Go figure...  But any way you look at it, their homes ooze old fashioned charm and good design.