A camper’s money is nice and sometimes even wonderful to have, but honestly, for me and my farm, it’s not going to make or break my ability to stay here and do my work. While your lovely credit card payment (for which I am grateful) will certainly be used to fix something, or feed something, or pay for some tool or infrastructure investment in the future of the farm, that’s not the main reason I welcome folks. Instead, seeing people appreciate my land helps me to appreciate it more myself, and so I wake up feeling lucky and go to bed feeling luckier when I have guests.
What do you appreciate? What surprises and delights you? What brings your mind to other times in your life and helps you connect with who you are? What will you see or hear or feel that will follow you for the rest of your days? I will show you where to park, and where to set up your tent, and how to use the composting toilet, but I would like to show you more and if I am good at that, you will show me new things too.
Every farm has its routines and daily rhythms but every day on a farm is a unique message in a bottle from the land to your heart. The day starts with arrival of the dawn chorus, a wave of birdsong that is constantly circling the earth, appearing just before sunrise and moving east to the next sunrise as the sun’s rays take full possession of the landscape: for some moments the land is awash, and you may sense yourself surrounded by expressions of pure, non-utilitarian joy from every corner of the land. In the early summer there are cranes in the pasture. For two and a half million years these birds have flown over the earth, circling meadows like ours, their seven-foot wingspan gliding across the air as they call to each other in pterodactyl language, landing near spring-fed ponds like ours to dance and mate and raise their young, which are called colts.
I want to tell you about the light on the water in the creek at just the right moments, and about the best times to nap in the hammock; to introduce you to the medicinal friend Horsetail, who lived during the age of dinosaurs, and tell you how to climb the ridge, taking cues from deer paths and the patterns of bitterbrush populations to find a sweeping view of the latest awe-inspiring cloud formation’s march up this rare and beautiful valley – but that is magic I have happened to experience, while you have your own discoveries to make. Please make them and tell me about the nest you found or what it felt like to dip your toes in the water or the pulling-back of the earth as you tug on a leek you’ll be eating in an hour – what did it make you think of? How will you use this information? Did you discover the name of a previously unnamed place? Really, anything could happen.
I am a human inviting you to the land, but the land is its own, more powerful, invitation. It is an invitation to stop and watch for a moment or more, to practice being aware of a world that is full of life below your feet, above your head, and all around you. It is an invitation to connect with scales of time and space as you gaze at the Milky Way above or watch an ant make its busy way across your book. Its kind, forgiving embrace is eternally offered to each visitor, no matter how short or long their visit. The presence of such magic is a gift that’s easy to forget when there are rows to weed, and leaks to fix, and way too much of some things, and not enough of others, and its hot or cold or wet or late or early and everything seems to happen too soon or too late for the plans you’ve made.
Please come to my land, enjoy yourself, and find what you need there, even if it’s just a good night’s sleep, serenaded by frogs and watched over by gentle night creatures. If the land speaks to you and you hear it, you can also help me remember why I choose to be dirty, tired, and sore most of the time – and I would not have it any other way.
Laurie is the host and owner of Locavore Farms, a 105-acre ranch in Modoc County, California ("Where the West Still Lives"). Learn more about her farm stay and campground through the listings below. Photos by Vanessa Lamb.