Marchaland Farms - Generations of Easton Family Tradition

Friday, October 18, 2019
work in acres, not hours. 
 They don't just work till the sun goes down, they work till the job gets done.

I got to see firsthand the truth to that statement this past weekend when we had the opportunity to tour Marchaland Farms in Easton, NY.  It may have been our first 'official' visit to the farm, but I've been photographing it for a few years as we traveled past it on Burton Road.  In July, Sue Marchaland, one of my devoted Easton followers, emailed me offering a tour of the farm.  Sue thought some of the views from the pastures might be 'picture worthy'.  Always excited about the prospect of new views, we enthusiastically accepted the offer and when Sue contacted me this past weekend to arrange the tour, we jumped at the opportunity.  I had no idea what adventure Sue's husband, Lou, had in store for us!
Marchaland Farms was founded in 1934 by Lou's grandfather, Louis Marchaland.  The farm began as a dairy farm and operated as such for three generations until 2012 when it transitioned to raising beef.  The farm is now in it's third, fourth and fifth generation.  As a young man, Lou would come to the farm before and after school with his brother to work on the farm.  When I asked him if he knew growing up that he wanted to be a farmer, he quickly explained that farming was really hard work.  in order too avoid that, Lou joined the Marines.  After the Marines and some civilian jobs, Lou came 'home' and back to the farm to help his brother, Dan, who is now running the family business along with a nephew and a very longtime hired hand.  

The farm is home to about 140 Black Angus brood cows and 2 Holsteins.  The Holsteins are great surrogate moms for the calves when Angus moms are lacking that motherly instinct. The Holstein takes over and nurses and nurtures the babies as her own.  Calves weigh between 35-55 lbs when born and eventually grow to around 1600 lbs.  Cows are butchered between 16 and 18 months of age, depending on weight and size.  In order to produce high quality beef, the cows are raised on grass and finished with GMO-free corn silage and haylage that is grown on the farm.  Speaking of the farm...originally the farm consisted of 160-180 acres. It now consists of over 1000 acres between what they own themselves and land they rent from neighbors.   With all that land, it is fortunate that modern technology and equipment can help with the workload.

Replacing silos today are these long sleeves for holding silage.  Lou explained how silage is loaded into the expanding sleeve and how it is later removed in portions and resealed again for storage.  
During our three-hour long tour, Lou educated us on practical details about cows, feed, breeding, hay, and the economy of farming.  John feverishly took notes but me...well I listened and photographed as I sighed over the breathtaking views from Dan's pastures. Sue was correct.  Every view was picture worthy and breathtaking.  Our mode of transportation for the afternoon was a big golf cart-type vehicle (the formal name escapes me) which not only mastered the terrain we traveled, but added a bit of amusement park thrill to our commute.  And this commute was unlike any we'd ever experienced with views surpassing any I could have imagined.

After our lesson on silage, Lou headed up the hill behind the farm with our first stop in the pasture amidst the cows.  If you aren't familiar with cattle, or if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting them (many of them) up close and in person, let me tell you they are curious and least the Marchaland cattle anyway.  Within seconds of Lou stopping our chariot, we were surrounded by black and sometimes red, wide-eyed, shiny nosed cows, large and small sniffing, licking and hoping we'd stopped for something more exciting than conversation.  I wish there was a way to insert video into this post because the serenade we got was loud and enthusiastic.  Even when Lou turned the engine back on, no one budged.  These beautiful cows were obviously used to machinery and not afraid of humans.  Their size and number may have something to do with it.  Lou did explain that despite how close they were, catching a calf over a day old is nearly impossible, explaining why it's important to tag and care for babies soon after birth.  

Here is Marchaland Farm from our view atop the mountain.  While the view was no doubt enhanced by the peak foliage, I cannot imagine it being any less awe inspiring at any season.  We could see for miles and miles and though I've referred to Easton as God's country many times, on this day atop the mountain, I swear I had a glimpse into the window of heaven.  All that was missing was a reunion with loved ones.

We traveled over the hills and down the road to one of the farms the Marchaland's rent land from.  Again we climbed the terrain (well, not we, just our limousine) and soon we were once again on the edge of heaven overlooking miles and miles of God's green earth in Washington County and beyond.  As the afternoon progressed, Lou made his way over the hills and past ponds, down worn paths we'd only seen in passing, from pasture to pasture giving us a glimpse of where the cows spend their grazing time.  If beautiful surroundings made for delicious beef, these cows would provide the best on earth.  These are some lucky cows!  

I didn't get to meet Dan Marchaland that day but after touring his farm, I feel I know a little about him, and his family.  One might imagine that sharing a family business with a stranger, even a little photographer/blogger like me, might have something to do with pride, but it was abundantly clear that what this farm is about is not just pride in having a successful business.  It's about heart and it's about the love of family and the dedication and hard work that goes into keeping a family business alive and successful generation after generation, even through hardships.  It's about a family that knows the value and rewards of hard work and the determination and drive to carry on what started before you.  It's about the accumulation of knowledge and expertise, and the application of years of experience.  It's about elbow grease and sweat, long days and short nights.  It's about commitment and it's about family.  And that is what pride is about on Marchaland Farm....pride in their family business and maybe a little in their spectacular views.

I fell in love with Easton for the first time in 2017 and I've been falling in love with the people who live there ever since.  There's something genuine and welcoming about the folks in Easton, people who love their land and appreciate when others love it too.  The Marchalands are no exception.  We are blessed to be able to meet and hear the stories of so many folks in Washington County who have reached out when I've shared photos on Facebook.  I guess it's rural hospitality and I'm so grateful to be on the receiving end of it so often.  Thank you Dan for opening your family farm to us and thank you Lou for sharing your afternoon and extensive knowledge and passion about farming.  

For more information about Marchaland Farms All Natural Meats, you can follow them on Facebook at: or at their website:

Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Come back soon to see where life takes us.  To see more of beautiful Easton, check out my blog Directory under the category, Destinations-New York.

Brant Lake - One of 3,000 Lakes in the Adirondack State Park

Sunday, October 6, 2019
They say beauty can be found in unexpected places and I'm pretty sure the Adirondacks are not among the unexpected places anyone refers to.  Although not on our regular list of  'go-to' destinations, when we do head to the Adirondacks, we are always rewarded with spectacular sights.  That is especially the case when visiting the Adirondacks in autumn.  We headed north a week ago to explore Brant Lake, a place I've only seen in photographs, and let me say our live view did not disappoint.

Brant Lake is 5 miles in length, with 15.3 miles of shoreline.  Unlike some lakes, Brant Lake can be viewed from it's complete circumference.  It is located half way between Albany and Plattsburgh in the hamlet of Horicon, in Warren County, off Exit 25 of the Northway.  It has a maximum depth of 65 feet and a mean depth of 30 feet.  The lake is surrounded by glacial mountains and historic houses line its shores.
It is one of the Adirondack Park's 3,000 lakes. In 1899, NYS passed a law declaring various waterways, including Brant Lake, to be public highways for floating timber and lumber.  Specially constructed steamers herded logs along their way and Brant Lake resembled a shallow, dirty canal with rocks and lumber and debris along its shores.   But... one regular summer visitor decided to change all that.

Attorney Abel Crook found the condition of the lake deplorable, especially in dry weather.  In 1907 he called a meeting in the town to solicit donations from local businesses to improve the quality of the lake.  The group in attendance resolved to repair and fortify dams on either side of the lake to control the level of the water.  Fish stocking began and continues, and Brant Lake continues to be a popular fishing destination with plentiful large and smallmouth bass, trout, pickerel, panfish and bullheads.  Trout fishing remains open all year at the lake but state regulations control the seasons for other species.  Today Brant Lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

In 1892 Brant Lake got it's own post office and zip code and has been a popular destination among the wealthy, including Theodore Roosevelt.  Beginning in the early 1900's hotels began catering to wealthy visitors.  The Brant Lake Camp for Boys and the Point O'Pines Camp for Girls were both opened around 1916 and remain open today. Both camps are summer-long camps, with sessions lasting 7 weeks and costing around $13,500 per camper.  A christian camp, Pilgrim Camp, was founded in 1946 by Reverend Gordon Gardner and is also still in operation today.  We drove the entire perimeter and the view from every vantage point was breathtaking.

I can only imagine how much more spectacular the view will be in the weeks ahead as the colors become more vibrant.
I love when I research for the blog and find unusual and interesting facts.  This one may take the prize for most unusual story.  Victor Schwentker was born in Schenectady in 1899.  After attending Missippi A & M to study agriculture, he studied genetics at the University of Iowa.  He enlisted in the Army during World War I and served as an aviator in France.  Upon his return, Victor snuck liquor back to the US from Canada.  To evade arrest, he took a boat to South America where he flew a crop duster and broke polo ponies.  Multiple random jobs later, Victor settled in Philadelpha finally working for the G.E. as an electrical engineer.  He met and married Mildred West in 1929.  The stock market crashed and Victor lost his job at the G.E.. The couple came north and eventually settled in Brant Lake, Mildred's former home.  Victor had learned that labs were looking for reliable companies to supply animals for experiments. With WWII happening in the Pacific, soldiers were battling something more fierce than the Japanese.  They were battling malaria and yellow fever.  There was an urgency to find vaccines to prevent soldiers from contracting these and other diseases.  Victor bought himself a few rabbits and spent the next 35 years expanding and growing his business to include rats, mice, voles, hamsters, gerbils and more.   He was so skilled as a breeder, he was able to produce new hybrid animals to fit any requirement.   Soon the military recognized the farm's value and Rat Farm (officially called Tumblebrook Farm) was considered a Navy installation.    Victor died December 19, 1990 at the age of 91.  His wife died just a few months earlier.  The full story is fascinating with much more about how he expanded his collection, and how he was instrumental in making the gerbil popular as a household pet.  To read the entire story from an article in Adirondack Life Magazine: Victor Schwentker - The Gerbil Genius and Rat Wrangler of Brant Lake
Brant Lake is one of the many jewels of New York State.  If you haven't explored it, I suggest you take a drive north and check it out soon.  We had a delicious lunch in Chestertown at the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor, a recommendation by the nice gentleman at the public boat launch. It was full of lunch customers and so delicious, we didn't save room for ice cream.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you'll make a date to do some of your own back road travels sometime soon! Come back soon for more Life As I See It.  You never know where you'll find us next!

Autumn Never Looked Prettier Than It Does at the Farm Stand at Tiashoke Farm in Easton NY

Friday, October 4, 2019
I have many 'favorite' things and today's post features a few of them!  Unless this is the first time you've read my blog, you know Easton is one of my favorite places on earth, often the subject of my photos and blog posts.  Like most everyone who resides in the northeast, autumn is my favorite season and I'm pretty sure there's no place that boasts the beauty and colors of autumn better than the Farm Stand at Tiashoke Farm.
Tiashoke Farm
Most of you are probably already familiar with the Farm was featured on WTEN News this week.  But if you missed it (like me), I'm here to fill you in.  You may already know Tiashoke Farm because the Ziehm family has been growing and selling pumpkins for nearly 20 years along Route 40 in Easton (Washington County).
Tiashoke Farm Stand

Offering one of the largest selections of pumpkins in the area, the Ziehm's grow over 50 different varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash.  They also sell mums, corn stalks and straw bales....all at very family friendly prices.    This year is the first year the display includes the 'Pumpkin House', a dream of Jessica Ziehm's for the past several years.  Inspired by the pumpkin village that is created annually at the Dallas arboretum, the Pumpkin House is turning heads of commuters on Route 40.  The house showcases over 350 pumpkins.  Jessica says she loves pumpkins because they are beautiful and they make people smile.  I can attest to that.  So many varieties in so many colors and textures, I compared them to glass pretty and colorful, you need a handful (or trunkful).
Gourds and Pumpkins

While it may seem right now that pumpkins are the Ziehm's pride and joy, their first love and passion is their dairy farm.  With over 1000 cows, Tiashoke Farm is a member of AgriMark, the owners of Cabot Cheese.  Tiashoke Farm is owned by brothers Brian, Eric and Terry Ziehm.  The Ziehms moved to Washington County over 50 years ago from Krumkill Road in Albany.  With the low and/or unstable prices for their product, the Ziehms supplement their farm income by selling pumpkins.  They also sell home grown beef and pork.    With seven children ages 6-16, representing the fifth generation on the family farm, everyone has a hand or two in the business from harvesting pumpkins, restocking the stand, manning the booth and learning about business....this is a real 'family affair'.

Farm Stand at Tiashoke Farm

Easton Tiashoke Farm

See what I mean? Like marbles and potato chips, you can't have just one.  Do yourself a favor and take a ride to Tiashoke Farm.  Bring your family and your camera.  There's so many beautiful photo ops.  Just make sure your trunk is empty!  You'll find plenty to fill it at the Farm Stand!  I brought home a few to add to my display.   To follow the Farm Stand on Facebook...
Tiashoke Farm is just one more (new) reason we love Easton, NY.  Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Come back soon for a picturesque ride around the pristine beauty of Brant Lake in my next post.  You won't want to miss it.  For many more posts about Easton, check out my blog Directory under New York Destinations:

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