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We Are Blessed With Good Neighbors

When we moved our fledgling sanctuary, barely a year old, to Old Stage Road in the winter of 2003, we were struggling to stay afloat. It would be years before we had the tractors, trucks, and plow equipment to help us through a typical January in New York. And so, back then, “Thank goodness for Frank Jr.,” was a frequent refrain.

Back then, you see, Frank Jr.” was a very young man and owner of Tiano Towing. He was also our next door neighbor: we share the Sanctuary’s southernmost border. Tractor in a ditch? Call Frank. Volunteer’s car slid off the road? Call Frank. Three vehicles in three ditches when an ice storm hit? Call Frank. You get the picture. It helped that he’d spent his childhood on the land now known as Catskill Animal Sanctuary: he knew this ground better than perhaps we ever would—this farm had been his playground.

Shortly after we purchased the property from Frank’s uncle, Frank sold Tiano Towing and opened Tiano Excavation. While we hired Frank for everything from road repair to clearing land to dredging ponds and creeks to building the pads for all of our barns, he was alwaythere for us when we needed him unexpectedly. And he still is. Frank has dug huge graves in horrible weather. More than once, he has quietly come down the hill before any of us arrived and cleared the snow from every single road and driveway on the property. He has given loads of free advice: where to site a barn, how to pitch a pasture.  This and so much more, free of charge, because Frank Jr. embodies what it means to be a good neighbor.

Lucky for us, Frank also knows that “sh*t happens” on a farm—both literally and figuratively. For several years, we had a wonderful barter arrangement in which Frank allowed us to dump our manure on his land—manure that he composted and turned into topsoil used by his business. Quite the win-win, until a “poop pile” the size of a large house caught on fire. It burned…and burned…and burned: for six months. Frank took it in stride. “Sh*t happens sometimes. What are you gonna do?” Frank said matter-of-factly.

Frank and and his lovely wife Kerri’s newest endeavor, Fortune Valley Manor, is a 5,000 sq. ft. event space that looks like it belongs right on our grounds because, you guessed it, it’s a barn—a bit fancier than our barns, perhaps, but a barn nonetheless. We can see the glorious structure from any of ours because our properties touch.

In keeping with fifteen years of friendship and neighborliness, Frank and Kerri have offered us the use of their beautiful barn venue, Fortune Valley Manor for our upcoming Gobble & Groove Barn Bash. We hope you will join us there on Nov. 2nd 2019 at 3:30 pm for our annual celebration of the turkeys, a vegan feast and drinks, dancing to Astrograss, and, of course, a toast to good neighbors.



Herd Around The Barn


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2 replies on “We Are Blessed With Good Neighbors”

  1. What lucky ducks to have Frank and Kerri next door. Cheers to kind-hearted neighbors. Best story I’ve read all month!

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