Farm Life

Me with Scooter Pie Moonshadow (my first goat), my cousin Andre, and brother Justin at the Ulster County Fair.

My husband Jeff jokes that he knew I was the woman for him the first time he came over and watched me apprehend a loose rooster. When we got together twenty years ago, we were a patchwork family: I had a 2-year old and 10-year old, and he had a 6-yr old who fit right in the middle. We were a family of five right from the beginning. Shortly after we got together, I got accepted into a PhD program that would require that we move out of state. I asked Jeff what he thought, and he said: “I kind of liked the idea of us living on our little farm.” That settled it. I passed on the doctoral program and enrolled in a local graduate program, eventually finishing my degree anyway.  

We live on the small farm where I grew up. My parents raised pigs, cows, and chickens here, and my mother always had a big garden to supplement my father’s meager living as a television repair man.  When I was ten, I got my first goat: Scooter Pie Moonshadow, a beautiful spotted Nubian. I slept in the barn with her the first night I got her. It was true love, and I’ve been a goat person ever since.

It took a while for Jeff and I to have more than just chickens and dogs on our farm. We got hooked on traveling the world and opened an art gallery: “Farfetched Gallery” in Kingston, NY, featuring local and international visionary and outsider artists. We ran the gallery for about four years while I kept forging through a few graduate programs. About fourteen years ago, we got our first pair of Nigerian Dwarf does. In 2009, we added a fourth child to our repertoire, becoming a family of six just in time for the oldest of our children to start moving out into the world on their own. Now our older kids are partnering and starting families of their own. It’s an ever-evolving work of art:


Our life is messy and perfect, reverent and irreverent all at once.


We would probably starve if we had to depend on farming for our livelihood. I’m grateful that my career in clinical psychology and Jeff’s as a coffee roaster allows us room for the greatest joys of our lives: Raising kids, traveling, growing food, and being stewards to the animals we care for. 


-Nikki Peone Pison

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