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Goats


The author with a Nubian kid, Murdock, that was somehow smuggled onto the farm.

My life has a goat theme. This morning I turned on the computer to see that our friends at Beekman 1802 had a great announcement: their launch on Home Shopping Network last week broke all sorts of records for new launches! For those who are unfamiliar with Beekman 1802, educate yourselves! Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell are the brain-children and chief chore-doers behind a small-and-growing company they started from scratch. The premise: Gather the beautiful artisanal creations of their neighbors, and share them with the world. What started with goat milk soap, evolved into a multi-dimensional lifestyle marketplace focused on the concepts of small, quality, and community. It is fitting that the HSN launch is with goat milk beauty products. Goats and community were the original Beekman 1802 inspiration, and it is appropriate that they are leading the charge to another quality level of community.

Troll's Bridge Suzanna, another permanent grand-champion, all dressed up for her commute to the show ring.

I grew up with goats. I remember sitting in the school cafeteria with my friends as a 4th grader, dreaming about the new goats that my parents were adding to our tiny farm. My mom (now Grandma Pat, or "GP" for short), was always coming up with new business ideas. She was the Schemer-in-Chief. I doubt she realized how passionate my father would become for the goat idea, but soon enough we had our first two does: Abigail (the meanest, most accurate milk-pail-kicker of all time), and her daughter, the Italy Hill "Flash" (so named because she escaped while being unloaded and sparked a year long goat hunt spanning the greater Keuka Lake vineyard region, ending anti-climatically in a corn crib with a truck ride home). So launched Troll's Bridge Alpines, and the total transformation of my summer vacations. Every summer thereafter was spent "fitting" goats for county fairs, wrangling the herd into the back of a truck, and competing across the state. For the uninitiated, "fitting" involves--always on the hottest days--bathing, clipping, checking tattoos, and other "glamorizing" of the goats before their show. We did as many shows as my father could convince my mother to write entry fees for, and it was an education. My sisters and I could speak authoritatively on county fairs throughout the state, advising on best food, cleanest restrooms, most tantalizing overall displays, most entertaining people-watching, and stiffest competition. The goats taught us a lot about many things, although we may not have recognized it at the time. Hard work--visible and not-so-visible--all counts. Beauty--is in the eye of the beholder, and with the showman who can point it out. Every goat matters--and every person, too. Be kind--sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. Aggravation--often means you're doing it wrong. Humor--improves every day. Appreciation--may be there even when you don't see it.

Troll's Bridge Mozambique, 2001-2018

The last doe on the farm from the original Troll's Bridge herd passed this spring at the ripe age of 17, and while the herd is dispersed, the Goat Lessons live on. One of the reasons we at Tapatree are so excited about Beekman 1802 is that they share our commitment to hard work, humor, beauty, quality and community. We're also happy to be on their shelves (check out the maple syrup, Tapatree for Beekman)! Congratulations, Neighbors! We're happy for you, and happy to be a part of your Neighborhood.


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