We created our own country for 5 days. Farm Camp 2016

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All photos by Riley Salyards. Food by Danny Newberg. Kiddos  from the best parents ever. Staff straight from heaven.

For the last 4 years, we have created our own country on the top of Mark Firth and Bettina Schwartz’ sheep pasture in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. When we arrive to set up, 4 days before camp, the pasture is rolling hills of wild thyme and lush grass. With birch and maple saplings, we construct our worlds: The tipi is raised Blackfoot style by Bryan Norvelle and Mark Kolski,  and then we set up tent world, kitchen world, dish world, magic world, art world, poop world (yep). When campers arrive, camp looks like scenes from ‘Out Of Africa’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’.

We awoke every day with the sun- some campers earlier than others (Daisy was the earliest riser)! We’d quietly make a fire, putting the early risers to work, cleaning camp and doing dishes, setting up for breakfast, tending to the fire, collecting eggs and water; with the reward of being first in line for breakfast.  After eating homemade granola with raw milk from Blue Hill Farm, topped with luscious berries and fruit from neighboring farms, campers would do their dishes and prepare for the day; swimsuits under LDBA t-shirts, shorts, hats, a backpack with 4 essentials (sunscreen, water, notebook, pencil).

Artist classes in the Tipi, survival school, sacred arts, medicine cards, yoga, cooking school, herb school, and lots of free time to run wild in the wild thyme… then an incredibly delicious lunch in Best Made bowls; daily herbal tea made by Jessa and the campers, dishes, and then SWIMMING (!!) in Lake Garfield every single day. We’d return to camp to play and help prep for dinner, practice whittling, draw, go check out the sheep… then long pants and long sleeve shirts and tons of bug spray as those blood sucking skeeters came out around sunset. Dinner was gobbled up by the fire, then dishes, sticks collected in anticipation of S’MORES..but first, story time, or jokes, or the Military Alphabet… Bed time happened after marshmallows as the darkness settled, campers falling blissfully asleep after being outside all day. The week seems to expand time, and then suddenly it’s over.

These photos capture the magic and beauty and FOOD (!!) of our LDBA Farm Camp, (more to come)! Thank you Riley, and thank you to everyone who co-created this world- we miss our tribe like wildfire.