Thursday, June 19, 2008

Alasa Farms on Sodus Bay

After the two-week trek my pod of 4 adults and 2 dogs finally reached our destination of Alton, NY situated on Sodus Bay which opens onto Lake Ontario. Alton and Sodus Point -- the two small villages which the farm is associated with -- lie nearly halfway between the metropolitan cities of Rochester and Syracuse, NY.

This is a beautiful time at the farm. The roses lining the fence of the pool are in full bloom, along with the peonies, dogwood, alium and numerous other wildflowers. The apples and peaches are just beginning to fill out and exhibit the potential which lies within for developing into a sweet, juicy, crisp piece of fresh fruit. Strawberries are the current fruit of choice at the numerous farm markets and cherries are nearing perfection.

This is Sophie and Sadie's first trip east and they have not stopped running, sniffing, exploring, and absorbing all the new sensations which are available to members of the canine species on a farm. Cats, llamas, goats, sheep, horses and who knows what else have given these two town girls a whole new perspective on life.

As the volunteers of Alasa Academy prepare for their summer classes, I am faced with the daunting task of deciding what stays and what goes. Where does one begin?

I feel a massive shift of culture between this nearly 300 year old Shaker home and all the history that it contains -- years as the Sodus Shaker Community; followed by the utopia-seeking Fourierites, and their attempts at communal living; later becoming the showplace farm of the 30s and 40s, owned by Alvah Griffin Strong (my husband's grandfather and grandson of the first President of Kodak), with it's herd of show cattle, Standard-Bred horses, massive barns with tongue and groove siding inside, acres of forest and bay front property and apple and peach orchards; then its continuing legacy as a Shaker historical site and educational center operated by Griffy, his mother and family -- Shaker Days, Alasa Center, Fiber Days and Pick and Picnic (u-pick apples) which included my small contribution of Simple Gifts, the farm's gift shop; and now is home to Cracker Box Palace (a farm animal rescue organization) and Alasa Academy (an alternative educational program).

How does any of this history translate to South Texas? I'm not sure and there is a lot more room to accumulate things in a 4 story, 6 bedroom, farmhouse than what a 1400 sq. ft. South Padre Island house can hold. I ponder this as I sit at my desk, where I used to enjoy dabbling with watercolors and peruse the shelves of books spanning from Griff's great grandparents library of the 1880s through my additions of the early 21st century. Where will they all go, and will I ever have enough space for new books?

And then there is my collection of Beanie Babies and Griff's Titanic memorabilia. I am so-o confused and overwhelmed. and I thought living here was overwhelming, leaving seems to be equally as challenging. Well, I suppose I need to get started. More later.


Roman Perez ("V") said...


That is a lot of packing to do. How long do you think it will take?


Joni said...

I fully intend to be selective in what I take with me, especially in the initial move. A lot on things can stay here for the indefinite future.

So, that being said, I thought I could wrap things up (no pun intended) in a few days. But then that would be assuming one could locate boxes, dish wrap paper, and other tools of the moving trade.

That has proved easier said than done, but I still hope to be through with this first pass by the end of the month, sooner if things go right -- do they ever?

I am then heading to SPI to make some design decisions - building color, floor color, ceramic tile, patio pavers and who knows what else.

That's my life!!/JSM