Family Joins Town Farming Tradition with ‘Guinea Pig Garden’

Longtime Easton residents Kathi and John Cunningham have opened their home to their daughter, Megan, her husband, Daniel Chait, and the couple’s son, Jack. 

Typically, the Cunninghams are accustomed to weekly trips to New York City to see their children. Their son, David, lives near his sister in downtown Manhattan with his wife, Suysel, and daughter, Cecilia; Kathi and John visit both children frequently. But now, with the spread of the coronavirus in the city, the visiting has been reversed and extended.

David Cunningham and his family also left their New York City apartment and are living in and working out of their country home in the Catskills due to the current situation.

Jack Chait has spent his entire life until now as a New York City resident. So the adjustment to Easton for him has included foregoing subways and buses while gaining access to acres of outdoor space.  Jack spent the first few days of his visit “clearing the yard of debris, including fallen branches and leaves,” with his grandfather. As they proceeded with the yard clearing, their discussion turned to gardens.

In the following days, Jack worked with tools from his grandparents’s shed, removing moss and large stones to make a clearing in the shape of  a garden grid where herbs will grow. The plan is to grow mint, basil, oregano, chives, thyme …. “And lots and lots of rosemary!” Jack said.  The final herb was insisted on by Jack, teasingly, because of his grandfather’s strong aversion for rosemary.

The garden sits in the Cunninghams’s back yard, next to their stone wall. “The layout of the three-box grid and the stone path was inspired by my visit to Shaggy Coos Farm,” Jack said.  The materials for compost and topsoil were ordered from Snow’s Farm. It’s truly an all-Easton effort. 

Jack said he plans to name the garden after his guinea pigs and hopes there will be herbs available to pick for their meals this spring.

The guinea pigs are staying in Easton during the COVID-19 crisis also. Two males named Huddles and Cuddles they are rescue guinea pigs and Jack’s first pets. Jack got them a year ago today, March 31, on his seventh birthday. Happy eighth birthday, Jack!

John Cunningham of Easton and his grandson from New York stay active while socially distancing, building a backyard Guinea Pig garden.
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