William Hoag also known as “bulldog” is letting me tether my horses and camp down by the Canaseraga Creek off his beautiful park like lawn. Horses are VERY happy, so am I as there is much to do on this stop.
Two day rest stop at ALLEN LAKE. Oh my did we all need rest and food, just rest and food. Two days of fresh farm vegetables, eggs and jam (a loaf of Sandy’s bread) thanks to Jan and John McElnery
and Dennis another visitor who brought hay and grain and checked in to see if I needed anything. I’d ridden into Jan and Johns place looking for water. John must have gone in after I left and told Jan because Jan and John came driving up from behind me in a little red car, pulled over to the side of the gravel country road, hopped out and produced a bottle of wine. Jan said something like,”every woman needs a bottle of wine when doing a thing like this.” Or something like that.
They came over to Allen Lake with bags cukes and zucchini, tomatoes, peach jam, potatoes and big white crisp onions. I thought oh good grief I’ll never eat all this. But I stayed two days, 3 long restful nights and ate… fresh foods. Thank you, all of you who stopped by to visit and brought one thing or another.
I have been asked by Laura Lane from the New York Chamber of Commerce and Lisa Burns from the Dept. of Tourism to swing up thru Rochester, New York to visit the Susan B. Anthony home..of which I enthusiastically agreed to do.
I expect to arrive next week either Thursday the 4th of Sept. or Friday. Then it is on to Seneca Falls to visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. Women like Lucretia Mott, Elisabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and many other extraordinary women who literally gave their lives to bring us liberty are honored at these now historical sites. I think about these women, a lot. I think about what they must have persevered – the ridicule, violence, personal newspaper attacks. How difficult it must have been during a time when women had no rights. Think of it.
During the mid 1800’s. The only occupations open to a woman were a seamstress, cook, maid servant, governess or… prostitute. If she married as most had little choice to do otherwise, upon doing so everything she owned inherited and earned automatically belonged to her husband. A married woman could not make contracts, keep or control her own wages or any rents, transfer property, sell property or bring a lawsuit against another. A woman who remained single would attract social disapproval and pity. She could not have children or cohabit with a man: the social penalties were simply to high.
And it was in this atmosphere that a handful of educated women, brave beyond words, courageous and determined, set out to bring equality and emancipation to women. Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution.
Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920. We take for granted these days that almost any woman can have a career if she applies herself. We take for granted that women can choose whether or not to marry and whether or not to have children, or how many. Women live considerably different lives now because of these few “radical” women and their pursuit of liberty. On Susan B. Anthony’s grave the words…”there is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven, that word is Liberty.”
I am here to pay homage to those women that cleared what was once only a pitiful path to become a freeway which I now ride.
(many of the paragraphs above were taken from Women’s Rights website)
Giant silos loomed behind the building that I must admit did not look like much as I rode in from the west on Humphrey Road (about 10 miles northeast of Salamanca, N.Y., at the junction of 18 & 67) Even though a line of car’s stretched out in front I could not make out what the “funky” structure’s purpose could be as it sat just in front of a dairy farm….it was part of the dairy farm.
Then I saw “Sandy’s Bakery” and I said “Bakery? What is a bakery doing out here in the middle of nowhere?” I could not believe it! As I slowly dismounted Essie Pearl I noticed a perfect white box in the hands of women leaving the building. A new perfectly white box, like the ones you see at a wedding or a flower shop or?…a bakery. I tied the horses to the dumpster off to the left side of the building – with plenty of grass in reach for the horses.
The small green building was nothing fancy that’s for sure. (I learned later it had once been the tool shed) But Sandy’s Bakery was busy and when I opened the door a line of people stood patiently waiting to be served by the one and only Sandy. It was as if I’d stepped inside of a down town bakery but there was no down town and these folks had driven, some of them many miles to satisfy their sweet tooth. Three elderly men sat a round table with coffee and sweets, they’d come 10 miles for Sandy’s two day a week extravaganza. I couldn’t believe it…the assortment and how much people were buying, I stepped to the side, I couldn’t make up my mind. So I visited, stared, and visited, drank a cup of coffee and waited for the opportunity to talk with the the Queen Bee!
So here it is Sandy’s Bakery in the middle of nowhere, literally, and people are just lined up coming and going, coming and going as Sandy, only Sandy, behind the counter surrounded by two days of baked goods from bismarks to loaves of bread to thick molasses cookies to brownies, big chunky cinnamon rolls drenched in frosting, buns and gazed donuts. She bakes for two days and sells for two days, that’s it. Not long ago she served up a breakfast buffet, all you could eat. “I had to cut back, I’m heading for retirement,” said Sandy. “It’s been thirty-five years, or something like that” said Sandy, she’s legendary, unassuming and tattooed many times over. She’s got five children and 14 grandchildren. She got started because,”she just wasn’t seeing her children enough when they were growing up so she started a home business.” I’d say she’s been on a long ride with her bakery business. At first she would not let me take her photo but with the encouragement of other customers she agreed.
She had a break between customers and slipped out from behind the glass counter to take a look at my noble steeds, now nickering.
“Times up,” I said, they want to move.” I packed my loaf of bread and cream filled bismark into the saddle-packs, swung onto Essie and waved goodbye.
Truly a one of kind bakery, truly a one of a kind gal. But then this is New York any thing could happen.
New York’s number one export is farming! We think of New York as well New York CITY. And its not. I have seen more small dairy farms in the last week than I have in all my years of riding – combined! I measure a dairy farm by the way it smells. In my humble opinion a good dairy farm smells sweet and does not have an offensive smell to it. As I walked up the hill to visit Golden Windows Dairy On Shawmut Acres, I took a long deep familiar breath of sweet corn silage, I knew I was walking into a “good dairy.” I wanted to interview Chelsea Bouffard a gal in her mid twenties who made a turn, a the fork in the road, from a major in Art and Education to Dairy Farmer.
She began milking for Harv and Sue Lacy when she was 14yrs old, Harv is her mentor and now business partner, he will phase out in a few years, retire….and pass the small farm on to Chelsea, none of his children wanted to farm, but Chelsea sure did and after 11 years working on the farm certainly must have felt a keen devotion to it, to the life, the cows, the sweet, sweet smell and end of the day satisfaction. The farm has been in the Lacey family for 3 generations. Harv’s grandfather milked 30 head. Today Chelsea and Harv milk 70 cows mostly the long legged black and white Holstein, with a 8 station milking parlor. Eight cows at a time come inside, are milked, then lumber out to feed.Each cow gives on the average about 80pds of milk a day. Golden Windows Dairy does grazing, the cows are out on grass! not all do this, I am all for it, my Dad always had the cows out, but now on most big dairies the cows never see grass. I think, again in my humble opinion that a herd of cows looks and stays healthier when they have access to green pastures and exercise.
Chelsea said she’s not for the huge conglomerate factory farming. “I could protest all I wanted but this is one way I could do something about it.” She wants a well run small dairy farm, plain and simple. But its not- soon she will make ALL of the decisions, which heifers to keep, which to send to market, choice of breeding stock, daily feeding rations, to buy or not to buy a new piece of expensive machinery, if an older cow must be let go. A farmer is met with a fist full of decisions each and every day. Chelsea can AI (artificially inseminate) a cow which gives her a broader choice of breeding. She also “scouts” for Western New York Crop Management, ie. she tells farmers whats going on in their fields if they have problems. For example if there’s a pest problem or if the crop is growing slow or if the soil is deficient in minerals etc. They have two other gals who help with the milking which takes place twice a day. Mornings begin at 4:30. I noticed that when Chelsea called the cows in from the pasture she used a lighter high pitched “come bessie, come bessie” My dad called out deep and low “come boss, come boss” so did Harv. Evening milking ends about 8pm. Long days, hard work, dirty, poopy, muck boots are a must. 4800 pounds of milk pour forth from this herd in a single day. The milk truck had just pulled up as I was leaving. The farm is inspected often by state and federal inspectors. We visited as milk machines were sterilized and walk ways were washed down. My senses were bombarded with memories all of this familiar to me. I have noticed over the years more and more women taking on the position of rancher or farmer. I have even read articles detailing the changes that these brave new women are incorporating into the business. I think we are naturals at it. I was delighted to see this energetic young woman stepping into a position that would not have been open to me at her age. Farming is not easy never has been never will be. When you pull that jug of milk from your refrigerator next time remember its been a long haul from that cows utter to the plastic container you now pour so easily. Remember every once in a while that there may be a young gal in muck boots, washing a cows utter, asking that cow for another load of its precious cargo which will eventually find its way to your table, to your lips. Harv Lacey and Chelsea Bouffard at Golden Windows Dairy On Shawmut Acres, LLC oh by the way email Chelsea and ask how the name “Golden Windows” got in there.– – I think you’ll like the story.