Please visit our website at Beebe Farm IdeaWorks.
PinchPenny Threads is located in an 1830s Greek Revival farmhouse at Beebe Farm in western Albany County, New York. During the local brewery heyday of the 19th century, the farm had the largest hop-growing field in the county. Later the Beebe family sold eggs, homemade butter, and gladioli.
The old barn is now gone, taken down by a severe winter storm. The barn quilt on our garage is a variation of the traditional Churn Dash pattern, in honor of Mrs. Beebe's homemade butter. The pinwheel in the center prompted a friend to name this quilt "Energy in Motion." It's on the Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail.
"We'll take it," Jane told the realtor after seeing the built-in cupboards and drawers in this L-shaped pantry of the 180-year-old "fixer-upper." Over the years, we've made improvements to the house, but the pantry remains just the way it was when Jane fell in love with it. This photo is from an article in the Altamont Enterprise in April 2011.
Birds and gardens fill the yards at Beebe Farm. John is the gardener, nurturing native plants and growing Jane's favorite flower, lily-of-the-valley. As many as 20 kinds of birds visit in a day, including this handsome rose-breasted grosbeak, who stayed with his mate for a week one spring. Listen to its song here.
"It's about community," John gives as the reason for living in a small rural village. We volunteer with local organizations, including Knox Historical Society, Helderberg Hilltowns Association, Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail, and Kiwanis Club of the Helderbergs. Here Jane serves refreshments made with locally grown ingredients at a genealogy event at the Octagon Barn in Knox.
Helderberg Hilltowns is a pictorial history of the four Albany County Hilltowns that we wrote for Arcadia Publishing as part of its Images of America series. We traveled to all corners of the rugged 240-square-mile region, collecting vintage photographs and personal stories. We enjoyed working with Arcadia and learning about our neighbors in the rural Helderbergs. We now give book talks, with Jane "channeling" five Hilltown women to help tell the story.