If you’re curious to see what free range looks like, TreeBird Farm and Ranch is a shining example. Driving onto the property, campers will see 450 chickens and livestock roaming the grassy fields of Rebecca and Michael Wellman’s property. Perfectly centered between Mount Adams and Mount Hood, TreeBird Farm and Ranch has no shortage of stunning views. The five unique campsites scattered throughout TreeBird range from having a clear view of Mount Adams, to being tucked away in the woods with a private rushing creek.
From glampsites to indigenous lands, wineries to working farms, Rebecca Wellman is part of an emerging community of landowners and camp hosts who have generously opened their land to the next generation of campers. Dive in to learn more about TreeBird Farm & Ranch, sustainable farming, and a peek at her camps in our interview below.
Hipcamp: Why did you decide to allow campers to stay on your land?
Rebecca Wellman: We have such an amazing piece of property and we love sharing it with people. I don't get tired of hearing how beautiful it is, because it reminds me that we live in an amazing place. It's also just fun to meet people. We've also done wwoofing, so that made us open to the idea of bringing people here. It's fun to meet people from all over. We don't get to travel much, but we can bring the people to us if we can't go to them!
Top photo by Erika Bailey
HC: What kind of activities can campers participate in at TreeBird Farm?
RW: We offer farm tours for people and we'd like to have a self-guided tour that would be totally free. I checked every single activity option online for our property, from camping to paragliding, and that was not stretching the truth at all. The only thing I'm not really familiar with people doing here is surfing and I'm sure that people do somewhere.
Sleeping Beauty is an amazing two mile hike that gets you a four mountain view. It's part of a native legend about how Mount Adams and Mount Hood were fighting over a beautiful lady, but she loved Mount Adams so she laid down at the base of Mount Adams. You can see a rock face and it looks like the profile of a woman with the hair and everything. That's the most bang for your buck hike.
Last two photos by Erika Bailey
HC: In your listing you talk about guided and self-guided tours of the farm. What are some of the highlights of these tours?
RW: I think for a lot of people it’s about seeing the animals and seeing how food is grown, particularly meat, which is what we raise. We're an organic farm and also Animal Welfare Approved. You get to learn about how food can be raised differently. It's truly free range. All of our animals spend their lives outside on pasture. Also, Oly the big dog is a highlight. He's super friendly and everybody loves him.
HC: What are some of the products campers can purchase at your farm store?
RW: Eggs, sausage, bacon, ground beef, ground pork, steaks and pork chops. They're all available in our farm store.
HC: What is your day-to-day routine as an organic farmer and rancher? Is there any overlap also being a camp host?
RW: We have livestock which have to be taken care of twice a day, everyday, 365 days a year. So that rules our life. We have about 450 chickens and we're expanding to 600 this year. We have varying amounts of pigs, we just butchered nine. Then we have 40 piglets coming in about a month. We have 15 head of cattle right now and we also buy steers and cull cows which are the old cows that are done milking from the dairy up here. There's two organic dairies that we buy from. I'm planning on having really good signage, because we won't always be here. We're gone every Saturday at market.
HC: Can you talk more about the history of this property?
RW: My parents bought it in 2004 from Lon Ball who started Trout Lake Farms. They were a huge organic herb company. Trout Lake Farms is still all around us which is kind of cool because that means we're surrounded by organic farms. There's a ton of rock outcrops and it's divided by the creek. For us, we love the diversity of this property and all the different microclimates. There's a ton of rock shelves that don't have much soil on them but over time we’re adding more soil, cardboard mulch, and leaves, as we plant more trees. We're building soil here and we just love the diversity of this land. And of course it has two mountain views and the water is amazing!
HC: When is the best time of year to visit TreeBird Farm?
RW: Spring and fall are just gorgeous. They're my favorite seasons because they're not as hot. It gets hot, but the evenings usually cool off to 60s or 70s, which makes the heat bearable. I wouldn't recommend winter, because it's totally covered in snow!
HC: How long did it take for you to get your land setup for campers?
RW: Not long, we already had the water line in. Michael’s dad is going to be here next week and he will help us smooth out some tent sites and that will get us to the very basic level. We'll also have an outhouse delivered. We just need time and dry weather.
HC: Have you found that you need a lot of spare time to host campers here?
RW: No, but I spend a lot of time thinking about it. If you have a spot that makes sense then I feel like it's very easy, but that’s to get to the very basic level. Someday I would love to have a communal fire pit so people can have a fire. Then picnic tables so there’s a few more amenities, but otherwise I feel like it took us no time.
HC: Any advice or questions for fellow hosts?
RW: I guess how do you get more bookings? How much can I just bank on Hipcamp doing the work or do I really have to get out there and start marketing my own stuff?