We are Marc Kratzschmar and Judy St. Leger. We have been married since 2001 and have been together over 20 years – we are clearly very cautious. Marc and I met while we were in college in Ithaca, NY. Finding jobs I our chosen careers together after college was no small feat and in 1995, we moved to Southern California. We lived in the sunshine. We smelt the orange blossom pollen in the winters. We were very happy. But we missed the trees. We missed grass beneath our feet. Heck, we even missed snow. On top of all that, Judy has a pretty big family in the Albany area and we weren’t getting to see them very often. So, coming back to NY made sense.
About the time we were thinking about a move back, Michael Pollen started convincing folks about thinking about what you eat. Then Brabara Kingslover wrote a book called “Animal Vegetable, Micacle” about self-sufficiency and living in a rural community. Both Marc and I have always cared about environmental and animal walfare issues. I grew up with ponies and small livestock and I had degrees from two agricultural colleges. Revitalizing a small farm seemed like a way to make a positive change in the world. Not a big one, but still a positive one. Starting a farm in upstate NY made sense.
It took about two and a half years to finally find Dutch Barn farm. Then it took another six months to make it all happen. Seems that when a place has been in a family for over 150 years, making a switch can get a little dicey. In the end, all of the pieces fell into place. In December, 2009, we moved into the Getman farmstead in Stone Arabia, NY. We started 2010 looking out the windows of our 1800’s house onto the snow-covered yard.
We are holding on to our full time jobs as we try to work out how to make a go of the farming adventure. Marc is a software consultant for a computer company in Pennsylvania – he works from home. I am a veterinary pathologist; I also work from home. We don’t have hobbies or kids - right now, the farm serves to fill both of those niches quite well. We are restoring the house and barns. We have a garden and are raising chickens. We have a hops trellis planted in the best soil at the top of the hill. We love the farm; we love the house; we love the idea that we can grow what we eat and eat what we grow. It will take time to get things the way that we think they should be. But we will get there - it just makes sense.
The latest addition to Dutch Barn Farm, Habitue, Harry for short, minutes after getting off the trailer above.
And here he is with Judy riding him over the horizon.
There’s always something going on at the farm. We’ll update the web site to keep you informed.