For just a moment I stood in stunned silence as my mind tried to get a grip on why the person who I thought was a total stranger looked very familiar. When my brain unlocked, I realized I’d met Grace Knight before. One of the best, but most hazardous, parts of my job is that I get to meet a lot of really great people, because everyone seems welcome at any meeting or gathering of The American Chestnut Foundation. The problem is, I am not good with names, so I never remembered meeting Grace last April, even after e-mailing with her and talking to her on the phone. Embarrassed, I was. Not the first time, won’t be the last.
Fear not, Grace and Randy Knight will put you at ease immediately. Their hospitality combined with their action-packed farm with a stunning view of the Vermont mountains will make you want to stay, especially after an 8 hour drive with two young children and two dogs.
Grace and Randy introduced my son Luke and daughter Clare to their dog, sheep, chickens, and chestnut orchard, winning them over for good with cookies and lemonade and by letting them hold fluffy chicks. Luke especially liked feeding Japanese beetles (“Chicken Popcorn” says Randy) to the chickens. They certainly won’t forget meeting the Knights.
I was particularly curious about their chestnut orchard, which has no deer fence nor tree tubes, a hard concept for me to grasp. Apparently, the combination of low deer numbers and a vigilant dog who knows a friend from a foe (he ignores the chickens and wild turkeys) allows the trees to escape the “deer blight”. This is certainly a huge bonus. The trees looked great.
The Knights are also Life Sponsors of TACF and Grace is the state chapter President. Thanks for your dedication and hospitality!