As 2020 is coming to an end, I find myself looking back on how much our life has changed. My husband and I both work in the Travel Industry; I run our Luxury Travel Agency (Hoener Adventure & Luxury Travel) and Max represents luxury hotels. And in case you’ve been living under a rock the past 8 months, not many people are traveling right now. This abrupt change in pace has altered our lives in more ways than one.
We live in the small town of Millbrook, NY, just 90 miles north of New York City on what is now a small farm with our animals. Normally, we are constantly traveling, always off to familiarize ourselves with amazing properties and destinations to help make our clients trips wonderful and memorable. I guess you could say that 2020 grounded us (literally). I flew once to New Mexico this year to celebrate my grandmothers 90th birthday in January and my husband (Max) flew a handful of times for work. When Covid-19 first began to spread in Asia, I was hopeful that it would be “short-lived” and that my clients would be back to traveling in no time. Unfortunately, that was far from what actually happened.
When we bought our property almost 3 years ago, we had big dreams of bringing it back to what it once was, a farm. After years of neglect, it had become overrun with trees, bramble, and rusty barbed-wire fences. It took all of those 3+ years for us to get to where we are today; and we still aren’t done. Our dream has always been to have animals here. Having grown up with sheep and horses in New Mexico, it has always been a “must” for me and my future, thankfully Max goes along with my crazy ideas.
When the pandemic hit and we were forced to stay home (which was far from bad for us), we decided it was a good time to start making some of our dreams come true. One week before the 4th of July, I brought home FIFTEEN chicks. What was I thinking?? Two weeks later, I was talking to a local farmer and ended up with 6 guinea keets. Had I completely lost my mind? I was never a “bird” person. We had large animals, not animals with feathers! It was a big step… but at the end of the day, I wanted fresh eggs and fewer ticks, so it was a win-win in my book. In the end of July, we decided to get two young pygmy goat kids (Pebbles & BamBam) from a farm in Middletown, NY. Then came two more animals, two Icelandic lambs that needed a home (Tom & Jerry) from the Catskills.
We went from 3 awesome dogs (Kody- border collie/Australian cattle dog, Kallie- Australian cattle dog, and Emmy- Australian labradoodle) to 3 dogs, 21 birds, 2 goats, and 2 lambs in a number of weeks! Max and I have always loved cows and dream of being (mostly) self-sustained. One way to accomplish that is by having cows to provide us with milk (yes, we drink raw milk, yum!). We have always loved Scottish Highland Cattle but kept talking ourselves out of getting one and instead, getting a dairy cow. Long story short, once you go and see a Scottish Highland calf, you can’t say no. In October we brought home Elmer, our bottle baby calf and he is just perfect.
Living in the country, we have a huge mice problem… it’s so bad. We wanted to get a couple of barn cats to help out with said problem; don’t get the wrong idea, the “barn cats” would be living in a 1500 sq ft. Shop with radiant heat! Last month I found a great local rescue that had kittens (HVARS) and went to see if I could find the perfect fit. Needless to say, I fell in love with two, a boy and a girl who are now named Jack & Jill. Jack & Jill have been living in the house for the past month and I’m not so sure they will be going to the shop after all (shh.. I haven’t told Max that part yet!).
If this year has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate home. The travel industry is (you guessed it), all about travel; not about staying put. But wow do I love our home and our little farm. Our animals bring me so much joy especially on some not so sunny days. Just as our farm and life has brought me joy, I hope it will bring you joy as well. I hope that you will continue to follow us and our journey where I will share all about our life on the farm, how we got here, travel stories, wood working projects, old (and new) recipes, and so much more!
Hoener farms designs and builds heirloom furniture & furnishings - we sawmill, dry in solar kilns and hand build all on our farm in the Hudson Valley.