"Ba, ba, black sheep..."

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By Christopher Klose

While March typically comes into Red Hook like a lion, by month's end its roars give over to the bleats of newborn lambs. Hundreds of them.

Ever since Napoleon Bonaparte gifted General John Armstrong with a flock of prize Merinos for his farm, La Bergerie (today's Rokeby), sheep have been a local mainstay. As it was on the Vogel Farm, on Yantz Road, in March of 1924, where we see Lily (Vogel) Dillman, and, possibly, to her left, her son Louis (later to become Red Hook's dentist-of-record for some 50 years), and Norman Vogel, left, proudly holding the farm's newest ovine arrivals, while Shep, the border collie, looks on.

Lily's cousin, Henry, and his wife, Elise, had come up from Brooklyn a few years earlier to grow apples, keep cows, chickens and sheep, raise Norman and his brother, Walter -- and treat their city-bound relatives to life on a farm. Later, Walter and his wife Kathryn (Weaver) Vogel moved to their own Sepascot Home Farm on Rt. 308, outside of Rhinebeck.

Their son Craig, longtime Dutchess County Soil & Water extension agent, married Patsy (Braig) Vogel. Together, they operated Sepascot Home Farm until 1986. Craig died in 2009. Patsy is assistant town historian of Red Hook. Nancy (Vogel) Kelly, Craig's sister, is Patsy's sister-in-law. She is also Rhinebeck Town Historian.

Generation after generation, farming, sheep and history have been a family affair in Red Hook.

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