(Page 2 of 2)
Photo by Rhoda Peacher
The Stuarts provide hospitality to local artisans, like Skip Berkery, who makes Adirondack-style chairs from old wine-barrel staves.
Avoiding Water Woes
Water usage is often a concern for rural bed-and-breakfasts and event centers, but not for Abbey Road. The farm draws well water, treats and filters it in an on-site water treatment “plant,” and stores this treated water in tanks that hold up to 12,000 gallons. With this amount of fresh water ready for immediate use, there’s neither concern of limited supply for events large and small nor for guests who want to fill the Jacuzzi tubs—even if all five suites filled their tubs at the same time or multiple times per day. In fact, the Stuarts have installed fire hydrants connected to their water tanks, so if they or their neighbors have a fire, the local fire department’s trucks can draw from this large water supply.
Seven acres of Abbey Road Farm have been set aside as a natural area, which the sheep, alpacas, llamas and dairy goats share with wildlife. This area includes natural springs, and the Stuarts have added small ponds to attract passing ducks and geese. To help control mosquitoes near these ponds, the Stuarts added swallow houses, constructed of wood reclaimed from old, neglected outbuildings. Bed-and-breakfast guests are not allowed on this part of the farm, to prevent wildlife from feeling threatened by close human presence.
Lending a Hand … or Few
In between ongoing projects, Stuart does most of the work in the garden, while his wife focuses on running the bed-and-breakfast. They employ a full-time foreman to manage the animals. Bed-and-breakfast guests are also invited to participate in any farm chores they’d like to try, which might include gathering eggs in the morning for their own breakfast. Some guests enjoy spending time working in the garden or even cleaning the chicken coop or mucking stalls, but, of course, no one is required to do any of these chores if they don’t want to.
Milking goats is another chore that guests often try. All of the goats are milked by hand, either by the farm foreman or interested guests. There are three different breeds in the herd (Saanens, Alpines and Nubians), but all of the goats are relatively tolerant of inexperienced milkers.
Returning the Favor
Just as John garnered support from the community, his farm supports other community members by featuring work from local artists in the event center. He also provides space for an artisan workshop on the farm. Currently, Skip Berkery makes Adirondack-style chairs and other items from wine-barrel staves. Guests are free to visit the workshop and observe the work in progress.
John says he likes having someone on site to do hand woodworking. In addition to providing a place for the artist to work, he feels this gives a sense of history to the farm. The workshop also reminds guests of traditional tools and techniques used on a farm and provides another meeting place for guests to interact and have a shared experience.
The Stuarts have created a special place to share with their guests and with children and grandchildren. At Abbey Road Farm, people can stay on a working farm and reconnect with the basic concept of food—where it comes from and how much work is required to produce it. Many people in cities and suburbs have lost sight of the origins of food before it reaches the grocery-store shelf. At Abbey Road, people have a chance to participate in farm life, in very comfortable surroundings, and go home having had a good time while perhaps learning something along the way.
After spending many years traveling, staying in interesting places and meeting all kinds of people, John says he’s enjoying staying in his own space and having people come to him. “The most intriguing people end up here,” he says. “You’ve got to be a little courageous to want to sleep in a grain silo.”
Planning a stay in Oregon? Use our directory of Oregon bed-and-breakfasts.
About the Author: Rhoda Peacher is a freelance writer and photographer in Beaverton, Ore.
This article first appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Hobby Farm Home.
Page 1 | 2