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Doc's life

For 34 years, Stan Doc Garrison didn't so much make house calls as he did farm calls.

Ballston native Penny Heritage has captured the life and times of Garrison's colorful life in her book, "Burnt Hills Veterinary Tales."

Writing in the first person, the book is a charming narrative that's a walk down memory lane for anyone living in or familiar with the towns of Burnt Hills and Ballston.

Heritage's family has long been a part of the town's agricultural history. She was one of four daughters raised on Palmer's Acres View Farm, 345 acres in Ballston, and graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. Heritage earned a degree in agricultural science, and then worked in communications and public relations. She now runs her own business, Heritage Farm Originals, creating and painting agricultural designs for farms and other organizations.

Heritage's calling to write

"Doc will be 90 years old in March, and he's such an icon in town that it was important to me his stories not be lost," said Heritage. "We sat down in his living room, and I started the tape recorder and just let it run."

Heritage is a distant relative of Garrison's, and remembers him making visits to her family farm. The book is her first foray into being an author and a publisher.

"The biggest thing I'd ever written was a 12-page newsletter," said Heritage. "It was a labor of love, but I had a gut feeling it had to be told."

More than 2,250 copies of the book have been sold to date, many picked up by local people at Fo' Castle Farms. Heritage will have a book signing at the farm on Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 2 p.m.

"We didn't think it would be likely to sell beyond Burnt Hills, but people have bought it from Florida, Oklahoma, Alaska; a couple from Slovakia bought it," said Heritage. "Families send it to other family members who grew up here."

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