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!


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Dispatch from the Rural Front Fall 2015

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, November 06, 2015

 

The leaves have fallen and the geese are moving south.  Sunlight is slanted now, a bit harsher on the eyes.  It is incredible how much the sun's trajectory moves throughout the year.  We now have a large object in which to fix it's path across the sky - our house and barn.  We have many large windows  in the house - there's not a bad view from any of them, and sunlight streams in all day.  We're going to need it as we settle in for what will most likely be another long, cold winter. 

 

It is incredible to me how the animals respond to the changing seasons.  I do not know whether they are conscious of it or not, but the rabbits eat more voraciously this time of year, as if they cannot ingest enough.  Their coats have become thicker and longer, preparing for the freezing temperatures ahead.  We hear the coyotes celebrating their kills in the evening, their cries echoing and bouncing off the hills like sirens.  The hair on the back of our necks stands up when we hear their war whoops encircling the farm.  Neither we nor the dogs like it one bit. We spied a VERY large bobcat a couple of Saturdays ago.  He or she was sauntering across the back of the house, way too close to the patio for comfort. 

 

We are prepared for the greyness to creep in and the cold to settle in our bones.  We shall steel ourselves to it, as Northerners always do.  We will huddle around the fire and sip our ales and think fondly of the warm days we left behind.  The hospitable company of our good friends and neighbors shall warm us on the coldest of nights. 

Winter is coming.

The Mysterious Tale of Mr. Crane the final installment

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, October 01, 2015

R.S. never saw his friend Mr. Crane alive again.  Just a few short days later, on All Hollows Eve, working late into the night, Crane had decided to sleep at his desk in town.  When Mr. Marley discovered his sleeping employee when doing his nightly rounds, he rudely kicked Crane out into the street, without his coat and hat.  A shivering Mr. Crane was spotted at the base of Callaway Road by the good doctor returning in his brougham from a late night sick call. 

He yelled to Crane to come to his carriage for a ride, but a wild-eyed Crane scurried frantically away into the night.  At that juncture, he was less than a mile from his home.

R.S. rode his horse the next morning to see what could not be believed by hearing alone.  The doctor was there amongst the crowd, but his expertise was not needed to declare Mr. Crane dead.  That was plain for all to see.  There he lay, in his own dooryard, hands crossed over his chest, with his head neatly severed and replaced by a jack-o-lantern, with the tallow candle still sputtering inside.  All around poor Mr. Crane's body, in the dust, were the shoe prints of a massive horse.

No satisfactory explanation could ever be put forth as to what exactly had happened to poor Mr. Crane.  His life and death stitched forever into the fabric of local lore.  But in the years since, R.S. brews a special beer this time of year to commemorate the life and death of a one Mr. Crane, a man whose final days remain shrouded in mystery. 

We hope you enjoyed our spooky serialized farm tale!  Mr. Crane's Stupendous and Sublime Spiced Pumpkin ale will be on tap at the farm tap room beginning this Friday, October 2nd!  We hope you enjoy it!

The Mysterious Tale of Mr. Crane Part Three

Misty Bleu Farm - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The October day dawned bright, sunny and warm.  A perfect fall day of the sort one dreams of when contemplating the pleasures of autumn.  R.S. was tending to his horse, when he saw Mr. Crane, once again, walking up the sweep.

"Good day to you, Mr. Crane!" he called out.  He noticed, even from a distance, that Crane's clothes did not hang quite right from his frame.  He looked gaunt, with eyes that appeared sunken back into his skull.  Crane approached, carrying his growler, now divested of its liquid contents.  "Looking for a refill, are you Crane?"

"Yes, R.S.  I am in desperate need of some fermented spirits to calm my nerves.  I am afraid I was not quite forthcoming with you on my last visit, you see.  I lead you to believe I was just having nightmares, but the truth is I have been terrorized by a figure that follows me home every night from town.  I know now it is not a fever dream but reality.  This morning I saw the horse shoe prints in the middle of Callaway Road."

"Some men here the other night spoke of you seeing a ghost.  What is this nonsense?  Look Crane, you cannot give these types fuel for their fires.  They will mock you endlessly.  They consider it good sport, you know."

"But that's just it, "Crane replied.  "I think I really did see a ghost.  The figure that plagues me so, you see, is headless."

Standing in the bright sun, Crane's statement sounded impossible, lunatic even.  Frantic ravings from a scared little man.  "Crane, I'm sure there's a rational explanation for all of this, and I have a feeling that explanation lies with those boys from up past Belcher.  They know you walk that road all hours of the night alone.  They know what kind of hours Marley makes you keep."

Crane explained, "I cannot see how the boys in Belcher could have anything to do with this.  How can they make a giant black stallion simply appear and disappear out of thin air at will?  They do not possess magic, for the love of God!  This is not of this earth, I tell you!"

Crane's whole body seemed to convulse at this point.  The poor thing, R.S. thought, what will disabuse him of this notion?  "Come partake of a pint of my oatmeal stout to calm your nerves and sit beside me in the cool autumn sun a bit.  Perhaps we can talk of less strange days."

Stay tuned for the final installment of "The Mysterious Tale of Mr. Crane" and to find out when Mr. Crane's Stupendous and Sublime Spiced Pumpkin Ale will go on tap!

The Mysterious Tale of Mr. Crane Part Two

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, September 25, 2015

 

A few nights later, a boisterous crowd had assembled in the tap room.  It was mostly a hard-scrabble lot from up in the backwoods in Belcher and beyond.  R.S. happened to overhear Crane's name bantered about the table and came over to give the men a what-for. 

"Pray, gentlemen, tell me you are not giving our good neighbor and friend Mr. Crane any more grief than he already has.  You know his lot in life.  I do not wish to hear him spoken ill of, what with no family or wife to call his own.  He is a good soul."

VonBrunt, the boldest of the group, looked up from his pint and burst out, "But R.S., he says he saw a ghost on Callaway Road the night of the last full moon - a headless ghost on horseback, no less!  Why he must've gotten into some of old man Irving's moonshine and dreamt up the whole thing!"  The table then erupted in laughter as everyone knew Irving's home-distilled imbibements were practically undrinkable.

"He wouldn't have seen a ghost, in fact, he wouldn't have seen anything.  He would have went blind drinking that stuff!" shouted another.  And with that, another round of guffaws rose from the men.  R.S. turned away, worried for Mr. Crane.  He knew the men just wanted a bit of harmless sport, but the poor soul was taunted enough in town as it was.  He did not wish to see Crane's torment increased.  R.S. took a pint from the draught and settled down with his moody thoughts.

Installment No. 3 to be released next week.  Stay tuned...

 

The Mysterious Tale of Mr. Crane Part One

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 21, 2015

 

 

It was a dark and stormy October night.  A steady, chill rain tapped at the windowpanes.  R.S., safe and snug in the cozy tap room, contemplated closing early for the evening.  The clock had not quite chimed seven and the place was aglow with candles and golden firelight.  As R.S. peered out the rain-streaked window once more before closing up, he spied a dark figure coming up the sweep.

"Oh well," he mused, "a few more moments of my time and at least I shall make one sale this night."  R.S. waited anxiously to see who would venture out on such a night as this. The polished mahogany door slowly creaked open, and a fleeting chill ran up R.S.'s spine as he saw the bony, white-knuckled hand clenching the knob.  In with a rush of water and leaves came a thin figure, clad all in soaking wet black.  A hat covered the creature's head and the dripping brim concealed his face.  As the head turned up, R.S. locked eyes with his neighbor, Mr. Ichabod Crane.

"Why, Mr. Crane!" R.S. exclaimed, "What are you doing out and about on a night such as this?  'Tis not fit for man or beast, as they say."  Just then, R.S. noticed the wide-eyed, frantic look in Mr. Crane's eyes and said softly, "What evil malady afflicts you, my poor soul?"

"I, I cannot say for sure, my good barkeep," Crane replied.  "I seem to be plagued of late with fever dreams.  They have terrorized me so ever since the last full moon.  You see, I had a bit of a fright a few nights back as I returned home from work."  Now, everyone in town knew of poor Mr. Crane's plight.  Crane, meek and mild, was a clerk in town for the penny-pinching Mr. Marley.  No one else in town would work for him, save Mr. Crane.  His treatment of Mr. Crane was quite ill.  Yet Mr. Crane's station in life was a poor one, so he kept his job with Marley & Marley, Msgrs.  R.S. imagined Crane was probably delirious with exhaustion after Marley kept him after hours.

"So then, Mr. Crane, you have come to partake in one of my ales, then, to cure you of your ills?"

"Why, yes sir, indeed I have.  I came straightaway from Mr. Marley's office.  I shall head home after this."

"I insist you do not travel further this evening, Crane.  You shall catch your death in weather such as this.  Let me get the mistress of our house to make you up a bed for the night."

"I could not impose.  I have just come for a growler of your fine Amber Ale and I shall be on my way."

"As you wish, Mr. Crane.  And I do believe in the restorative powers of imbibing in a well-crafted ale.  The Amber Ale is a fine choice for your this evening."

And with that, Mr. Crane paid what he owed and left the tap room.  R.S. watched the solemn figure fade into the gloom.  He extinguished the flames and retired for the evening.....

Please stay with us for Part 2 to be released next week.

It's Different Now

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, June 08, 2015

The wild phlox are in bloom along Washington County's roadsides.  Co-mingling with ostrich ferns and silky field grasses, it makes for a spectacular show, and it doesn't last long.

It used to be we spent the entire weekend outdoors at the farm.  We became attuned to the vagaries of the weather and intimately aware of the comings and goings of all the wildlife.  I find we have lost touch a bit with the outdoor world now that we spend more of our time indoors when we are there.  I can't say that I really like it.  It changes the whole perspective.  Everything used to be viewed through the lens of being outdoors and now it's not.  It will take some adjustment and balance.  Sunday was a good day.  We all spent time outdoors weeding and watering.  I spent the whole morning down by the creek weeding out some of the most invasive wetland grasses you've ever laid eyes on.  But it was glorious.  I had my water shoes on and my feet got numb from the cold spring water rushing up to my ankles and beyond.  I hadn't done anything like that in a while, and I've got to remember to do things like that more often. 

The Suburbs are Crazy

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In Glenville, New York, Target is more important than Joshua Rockwood.  It's obvious after driving through the Town of Glenville last evening, on our way to show support for small farmer Joshua Rockwood at his court hearing, that the citizens of that town have made their wishes known loud and clear.  They have proudly welcomed big box stores and embraced suburban sprawl. They are clearly out to shed their rural sensibilities, trading pastoral scenes for parking lots and traffic snarls.  I doubted many of our fellow supporters there last night were Glenville locals. 

So who needs a small farm like West Wind Acres to muck up the pretty, sterile housing developments?  All the food that can possibly be got can be had at the local supermarket, all nicely and cleanly packaged in plastic.  Farming is messy, dirty, smelly business.  And it clearly doesn't mix well with Glenville's aspirations to be like their wealthier neighbors with more suburban sprawl.  Someone should tell them "the more the better" mantra is not necessarily a good strategy when it comes to welcoming suburban sprawl into your community. 

Someday they will be sorry.  The drought in California is a slow motion train wreck.  And with inland California producing a large percentage of our country's food supply, we should be embracing small Northeastern farmers like Mr. Rockwood, not trying to shut them down.  It has been estimated that less than 2% of our population is actively engaged in farming.  Do we want to piss off this very small minority of important people who feed us every day?  Farmers are some of the most vital people in this country.  It is simply insane that we do not recognize this fact.

Having a small family farm around like West Wind Acres raises uncomfortable questions for people who are clearly disconnected from the origins of the food they eat every day.  When you food comes all neatly packaged with the blood and guts and poo nowhere to be seen, why would anyone want to be reminded that animals sometimes live in uncomfortable conditions, both on factory farms and on sustainable farms?  Animals, including livestock, don't have perfect lives.  Just as we humans don't always have perfect or comfortable lives.  Although, truth be told, humans don't always like to see other humans living in uncomfortable circumstances, either.  Witness the number of communities that routinely shift homeless populations around to hide them from public view.  This is now what is happening to our family farms.  They don't fit in with the neat, tidy, clean suburban sensibilities, so let's do away with them in our communities, even as we embrace the "locally sourced" and "sustainable" lifestyle at the local Whole Foods.  Let farms go off to the "country", not to be seen except on rare excursions.

Were there instances of outright animal abuse at West Wind Acres?  By all accounts, including the accounts of two veterinarians, no.  Could things have been managed better?  I'm sure they could have, but that is not criminal.  Here's my philosophy on this debacle:  I would rather see Joshua Rockwood's pigs live a semblance of a more natural life in an outdoor habitat and get frostbite on their ears during one of the worst winters on record than see them live their days on a factory farm in a pen too small for them to turn around in.  The real crime here is that the powers that be in Glenville, New York don't understand the distinction between the two conditions.  Neither is a perfectly comfortable scenario for the pig, but one is far better than the other. 

How Snowy Was My Valley

Misty Bleu Farm - Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sitting here in the snug farm cottage, warm against the cold night air and listening to the Beatles' "Hey Jude", the waist deep snow outside my window seems like a bad dream.  But alas, it is not.

 

Due to a quirk in the local geography, our little valley here seems to get ever so much more snow than just over them thar hills.  So much more that the creek has completely disappeared, stymieing the deer looking for liquid water.  The deer are now forced to partake of their refreshment at the sulfurous artesian well overflow.  Such are the deprivations of winter.  We all suffer.

 

 

 

The Louis Vuitton of Nests

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, June 08, 2014

   

 

Who says animals don't have an aesthetic sense?  I found this incredible nest laying in the field grass after a particularly windy day.  Obviously, the bird who crafted it took pride in their work.  The interior was perfectly round and lined with the softest animal fur imaginable.  Truly a luxury nest.  I put it up in one of the smaller pine trees.  Hopefully, all that hard work will not go to waste.

Real Farm Tales: A Salamander's Story

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, June 06, 2014

This is the tale of the salamander who did not want to get into the bucket.  Last Friday evening, as I was walking to the schitthaus, I spied a bright orange salamander in the grass along the path.  I was worried he would get squashed, as this path is, ahem, a much-trafficked thoroughfare at the farm. 

I called for Rich.  I wasn't certainly going to pick him up with my bare hands.  Rich came around, and we decided after a period of earnest deliberation that the best course of action was to shepherd the little creature into a bucket and remove him to a safer locale.

Now, this was a perfectly acceptable gray plastic bucket.  Any salamander should be proud to have been scooped up in it.  It was not too big, nor too small.   It was the proverbial "just right" bucket.  And besides, this little guy wasn't exactly in a position to complain.  Or maybe he was...  We couldn't seem to grasp his tiny little tail, and the more we tried to scoop him into the bucket, the more worried we became that we would hurt him.  Frankly, this was becoming a major project.  Time was of the essence for me, you see. And of course, the reason why we were doing this in the first place was to make sure he was safely out of the way of our foot traffic. 

He kept burrowing deeper and deeper into the grass, making it more and more difficult for us to scoop him up.  He really, really didn't want to go in the bucket.  So that was the end of that.  The bucket went back into the bin with the other odds and ends, Rich wandered off, I headed off for my original destination, and the salamander took his chances in the grass. 

And I say good luck to him.