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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Reflections on the Surveillance State Part II

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, July 04, 2016


"Edward Snowden is a traitor" - The United States Government

" All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach." - Adolf Hitler


"Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."  Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest him for - or blackmail him with.  Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused;  to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we are doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.  We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom.  We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation.  We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them.  Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right.  Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause.  Of course, being watched in your own home was unreasonable.  Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day.  You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens.  YOU ruled your own home.  It's intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.  We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that either now or in the uncertain future patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once private and innocent acts. 

How many of us have paused during conversations in the recent past since 9/11/01, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped upon ?  We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context.  Then we laugh at our paranoia and go on.  But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered.

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us.  This is life in former East Germany at the hands of the Stasi or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  And it will be our future if we allow our government an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy."  The real choice is liberty versus control.  Tyranny, whether it arises under the threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritarian scrutiny, is still tyranny.  Liberty requires security without intrusion, in other words security PLUS privacy.  Widespread police and governmental surveillance is the very definition of a police state.  And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide."  -William van Zwanenberg

Remember what we have lost.  Plan for the day when we seek to retrieve what we have lost.

Reflections On the Surveillance State Part One

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, July 03, 2016

I originally posted this on Fourth of July 2013.  It bears repeating, EVERY YEAR, until we take back our privacy from the government.  Remember what we have lost. 

For those of you who ascribe to the "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mentality, may I present in two parts perhaps the most cogent argument I have found to strike down that myth. 

This was written by William van Zwanenberg on February 26, 2009.  Please note the date this was written.  How long has it been since we lost our privacy to our untrustworthy government?  I have edited the essay a bit because of space constraints. 

" One of my chief concerns (and I have many) regarding the emergence of what Guy Herbert from the campaign group, NO2ID, calls "The Database State" is that its development is inextricably linked with the notion that as good citizens we should be required - indeed expected - to constantly prove (a) that we are good - i.e. that we are behaving in a socially acceptable and socially endorsed manner and (b) that whatever we may ask for from the state, we are in fact entitled to ask for it.  That is, that we must first prove our entitlement.  Only by constantly monitoring us, under a constantly operating regime of surveillance may we achieve this and in the process, weed out those who aren't entitled or those who are deviant and dangerous to society.

Such a view profoundly confuses the distinction between entitlement and privacy and is symptomatic of the move towards the emergence of a totalitarian state.  It is my view that we in the west are already well on the way to a new form of post-modern totalitarian state (what Guy Herbert calls 'soft fascism') in which behavior and opinions which are disapproved of by the political class are pathologized and then regulated by violence-backed laws "for your own good" or "for the children" (think how many times that phrase was uttered after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School) or "for the environment.  The emergence of the surveillance state is simply the icing on the cake if you like of the development of an infrastructure designed to orchestrate social control.  Resonating strongly with the warnings Orwell extolls in his book, "1984", its obvious how the more information you have about citizens, the more you can control what they see, hear, think and ultimately do.

What's essential, somehow, is to get across the idea that you are entitled to be anonymous in going about your lawful business.  I think that this is close to being a fundamental principle of a free society under the rule of law:  because we ought to be treated equally in equal circumstances, an inquiry into who you are ought to be considered unacceptable in any casual transaction because it ought to be irrelevant.

Do the innocent really have "nothing" to hide?  What about their sexual activities?  Bank details? Medical records?  If someone says the blighted phrase to me my usual reply is:  "Then you won't mind me coming round to your house to search through your bedroom drawers, after which I'll install cameras in every room of your house.  After all, you've got nothing to hide."

We are, of course, fighting for principles - the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy, but I have found that some "nothing to hide" folk can be made to think twice when you point out how easily they could become a suspect in a database state.  As easily, say, as getting a letter addressed to the wrong person at your home address.  Who's not experienced that at some point?

Within the database state, it's not whether you think you've done something wrong or not, it's whether they think you've done something wrong.  And if they control your identity, how are you to prove your innocence?  When it's your ID that will have drawn them to your attention in the first place.

You may have been pulled in because you were tracked to a certain place at a certain time (we can be tracked with our cellphones) or because your behavior fits a "profile" or deviates from some definition of "normal". 

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" cuts right to the heart of civil liberties - those things which protect us from the arbitrary exercise of power by the authorities.  There is nothing more arbitrary than assigning a persona an official identity and then treating them as nothing more than a number, or a piece of data to be matched."


Time for a Cool Change

Misty Bleu Farm - Saturday, January 16, 2016

When I first started this blog, about 4 years ago, it was about our family's journey of moving to the farm full time.  That has finally happened, and since then our lives have changed, dramatically.  I have tried to chronicle as much of this as possible in these pages.  I hope you, dear reader, have enjoyed the journey and our observations along the way.

The rhythms of our daily existence are different now, and it has made me reconsider the focus of this blog.  It may be time for something fresh and new.  I am not sure exactly what the next incarnation should be, but I believe it is time.  The last thing I want is for this blog to be, heaven forbid, boring.

We have new lives now, and the new neighbors and friends we meet in the tap room each week only confirm this.  I find that I am correlating less and less to the outside world- outside of West Hebron, that is.  We have no tv, although we do follow along with the outside world via the internet.  We do this mainly to make sure it is still there; but otherwise we have very little use for it. 

Stay tuned for what happens next.

Take Joy

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I salute you!  There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take. 

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.  Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instance.  Take Peace.

The Gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy.  Take Joy!

And so, at this Christmastime, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away....

                                                                                                           Fra Giovanni, A.D. 1513


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...


This Suburban Life

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, August 06, 2015

Driving back and forth between the farm and my office in Albany has been nothing but a slog.  The only saving grace is that I take the long way home, the scenic way home.  That may sound a bit crazy after a long, mentally exhausting day at the office, but I find I need the time to peel away, ever so slightly, just a little bit more of the suburban life we had been living for the last quarter century.  There's a lot to slough away.   There's a lot of habits that die hard.  Suburban life takes a lot for granted.   

Once I hit the intersection of Ferry and Broad Streets in Schuylerville, that's my last traffic light 'till I turn into our driveway.  Not many folks can ride home for 30 minutes or more and not see a traffic light, but we can. 

This suburban life I once knew is slowly falling away.  Sometimes I slip up and still call Albany "home", but I'm working on that.  These fat green hills are starting to feel like home, even if I spend only a short bit of my week among them. 


The Summer of 1979 in a Can: Ode to Grandma Brown's Baked Beans

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some food is so evocative of a specific time, place or person it's hard to disconnect the two.   There weren't too many major holidays or family get-togethers that didn't include my mother making Grandma Brown's baked beans.  Not just straight up out of the can, of course.  That wasn't Bev's style.  They had to be doctored up, with ketchup and brown sugar and a bit of onion and then baked in the oven covered in bacon, just the way Ivan liked them.  They were a cheap and easy side dish to feed the crowd of family members that inevitably showed up every weekend at Wells or Caroga Lake when we used to go camping in the summertime.  Sometimes, my mother would bake them in a baking dish over the campfire.  That woman would cook anything over a campfire, including a lasagna. 

Other campers would walk by our campsite and stare at us as we sat down to a full Sunday dinner with all the trimmings, while they shlumped back to their site to eat their hot dogs and hamburgers on paper plates.  My mother was on to this idea of "glamping" before it was a twinkle in some marketer's eye.


Grandma Brown's Baked Beans are still sold today - the exact same label on the can - and I mean the exact same label.  Made in Mexico, NY.  There's no toll free number on the can, nor is there a website address.  Just an address in Mexico where you can send your "correspondence".  Does anyone out there still write actual paper letters to companies anymore?  I don't know if they sell their products outside of upstate New York even.  While baked beans in general are not exactly a regional specialty here, Grandma Brown's baked beans certainly are. 

So, sure I can make Tyler Florence's awesome baked beans recipe using canned beans, chipotle peppers and rosemary, but that wouldn't bring us back to the summer of 1979, now would it? 

So here's to summer food before the advent of cell phones, the internet and goat cheese pizza, for chrissakes:

Beverly's Secret Grandma Brown's Baked Bean recipe (modified by me):

Take a couple smaller cans of Grandma Brown's Baked Beans or 1 or 2 large cans for a crowd and empty the contents of the can into an ovenproof baking dish.  Finely chop 1 small onion (or more to taste) and 5 oz of cooked bacon and add them to the beans.  Squirt about 1 cup of ketchup or more over the top of the beans.  Then squirt some French's yellow mustard over the top, too (as much or as little as you want.  Squirt some nice designs while you're at it).  Then pour on some molasses - again as much or as little as you want.  I would use about a cup.  About half a cup of worstershire sauce over the top finishes it off.  Mix it all up in the baking dish until mixed thoroughly; smooth out the top, cover with tin foil (as my mother would call it - that's aluminum foil to you and me), and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you like your beans crusty, take off the foil halfway through baking. 

Next time I'll see if I can re-create Cousin Martha's famous (and I do mean famous) taco salad recipe with Kraft Catalina dressing.  Oh, the memories.....