This month for our book selection, Andrew Thornton chose “The Bucolic Plague” by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The real life tale of 2 Manhattan executives who became… goat farmers. I had heard of Josh and Brent as they starred in a reality show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” depicting the cycle of growth and chaos on the farm. Raising heirloom vegetables, parenting a diva llama and a herd of adorable goats, and creating “Beekman 1802” their line of goats milk based bath & beauty products – all taking place on the former Beekman estate in upstate New York. They also ran… and won… “The Amazing Race”! Quite a multi faceted pair, these two…
The book was a fast and engaging yarn. Josh tells their tales, all the ups and downs, with honesty and humor. I dare anyone to read the scene about the baby goats in the truck on the way to the Martha Stewart Show – and NOT be compelled to read the rest! It was heartfelt in the telling of the trials and tribulations of this dream turned reality, and didnt candy coat the all too real stresses that this journey put upon the partners. I applaud that honesty, and was all the more engaged; feeling I was allowed to see the real deal. As someone who left a full time lucrative (art) teaching career at its prime to allow myself to be a full time artist – I respect and admire their risks taken and rewards reaped.
I was struck most by the contrasts in the book and the attempts to reach compromise, middle ground and a general sense of balance. And this was an evolving journey, with no clear solution – just 2 loving, inspired, creative, energetic, daring adults trying to make a dream a reality. And a life for themselves, and then some…
From the city to the country. And back to the city.
From close partners to long distance partners, working partners…
The polar opposites of Martha Stewart’s Stepford-like perfection to Oprah’s “Best life” with a dash of Wabi sabi.
“Country” – Hand painted watercolor, under mica; with gems. Inspired by the goat barn, and the grassy border of the “Beekman 1802” logo. (Shown below).
“City” – watercolor sky behind a copper NYC skyline; with gems.
*Disclaimer -I designed this piece to be two sided. Country/city pendant… and I drilled the holes incorrectly. Jeez. Embarassed. As I thought it over – trouble shoot or do 2 pieces? Inspiration struck…)
The finished “Country ” piece – the copper backing is stamped with “Best Life” typos and all. I wanted to pay homage to the idea of doing what you love, doing what makes you happiest – even if its not perfect or always pretty.
The finished “City” piece. “Good things” come in all shapes and sizes… and should be appreciated, honored, and recognized. The city became a bit of a necessary evil to Josh as he spent weeks working to financially support the farm/his dream, while Brent was doing the day to day… yet it was Martha’s own “good things” that helped launch the soap business initially.
But this story wouldnt have occurred without both sides of the tale, both people, both environments. A sense of contrast and a sense of balance achieved!
Congrats to Brent and Josh at their upcoming wedding at the infamous Beekman Farm!
Please take a look at my friends and colleagues’ offerings this month! The full list will be posted on Andrew’s blog.
Thank you for stopping by – I would love to hear what you think!