In this week’s “Farmer’s Corner,” Aryeh Goldschein shares his unique (true) experiences raising golden retrievers on a farm in upstate New York. (Aryeh also has the unique distinction of being the younger brother of Kol HaBirah’s publisher, Hillel Goldschein.)
Some of you may know me as Hillel’s crazy bother who lives on an organic dairy farm in upstate New York. The Greater Washington Jewish community actually has me to thank for Kol HaBirah, as had I not asked Hillel to quit bothering me with his crazy ambitions, he would likely have created Kol HaKelev: Voice of the Dog for me instead.
I have decided share my perspective on what it’s like to live out on a farm, and why I prefer it to living in a city where everyone lives on top of each other and pays an obscene price for it to boot.
It all started when I left Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, New York to learn full-time in their yeshiva in Dallas, Texas. Growing up, I continuously experimented with new business ideas, and at a certain point during my time in yeshiva in Dallas, I shifted my schedule to learning in the mornings and college in the afternoons.
Once the semester ended, I decided to fill my extra time by working on a farm about 30 minutes away. On the farm, the owner raised–– you guessed it–– golden retrievers.This prompted me to do my own research into the business, and I finally realized what I needed to do with my life.
My family members responded to my conviction that I wanted to move to upstate New York and live out on a farm with what we’ll call “loving doubt.” They all told me I was nuts and that in three months I would be on to something else.
Once I moved upstate, I frequently changed addresses trying to find the right fit.I hoped to settle down near a Jewish community while also following my passion (yes, it’s still golden retrievers, are you with me?). One of the most memorable places I lived was on a 388-acre property in Wurtsboro, New York. Here I began raising goats, chickens, ducks and even a bull I named Rib Eye.
This place was a camp in the 1950s up until the early 1970s. It was a fair assumption that no renovations had taken place since. I didn’t mind, nor did the animals; it was important to me that if I raise golden retrievers they should be on a farm so that they can run free.
After the difficult living conditions of no power or running water were resolved, one weekend several of my family members visited for an extended Shabbat. We decided to explore some trails deep in the property. To make it more fun, we took my herd of 10 goats and shepherded them about a mile deep into the forest to a beautiful lake hidden from the world.
After a while of us all feeling like Yaakov Avinu, we decided to head back–– when the goats who had so faithfully stood by our side booked it out of there like they were under attack…(to be continued)