Rutland is a small town (smaller than Lowville with an estimated population of 3000) in upstate New York off NY Route-126.
My Dad grew up with his two brothers and two sisters on the dairy farm that is now called Centerdale Farm (It was previously called Rutland Lake Farm). The farm was in our family from 1928 to April 1987 (my Aunt Irene and Uncle Doug took over the farm in 1960/1961 and came up with its previous name and sold the farm at auction in ’87).
I’m so glad the new owners haven’t changed it much. It looks almost exactly like it did when I was a little kid. I loved visiting my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Doug and Aunt Irene on that farm.
I remember being fascinated by my Uncle using lye to clean the barn floors (I was heavily cautioned about it, so my fascination was in part, due to an extreme fear of it). I also remember great home-cooked meals, desserts made by my Aunt and ice cream churned by my Uncle. There was always lots of laughter and music (Aunt Irene is an excellent piano player, singer and former choir director) during those visits.
The pasture surrounding the farm is gorgeous. The cows pictured here are Angus, which sadly no, are not dairy cows. When my Aunt and Uncle owned the farm they only had Jersey cows (oh my gosh, the cutest cows ever). Here’s what she says about the changeover to Holsteins (black and white):
“Because of the high butter fat or cream in the milk, is the reason your grandparents produced butter and delivered butter into the city as well as selling at the homestead. When we purchased the farm, the value and price paid for high butter fat was not a profitable decision to stay with. Therefore we decided to change over to Holstein cattle. It took selling 2 Jerseys to purchase 1 Holstein, so it was a slow change over, but we succeeded.”
I’ve always loved watching cows out in the field. They’re so gentle and calm, and sometimes silly, especially when they get spooked.
My Aunt (my Uncle died in an accident several years ago) still owns much of the land surrounding Rutland Pond, less than a mile from the farm. It has always been private property, but while my Uncle worked the farm, they didn’t use it much so local residents were free to fish and hang out. Today, trespassing is strictly enforced. Luckily, we had an invitation.
My family and I met Aunt Irene at the pond one afternoon. I was so excited for the girls to finally meet her. She had a beautiful spread waiting for us. Bacon-wrapped chestnuts, homemade pesto, mini apricots, cheese, crackers, chips and nuts.
My Uncle built the dock in the winter of 1984. Aunt Irene says only two or three boards have been replaced since then.
We had fun looking for frogs.
And swimming (which I didn’t do because I don’t get in unless its in the 80s) and paddle-boarding. I never get tired of this view.
After lunch we walked the trail (initially cleared by my Uncle and kept up by his son) to Aunt Irene’s house, where we enjoyed piano and pie. A perfect day.