It all started when I read this:  http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/10great/story/2011/05/10-great-places-for-a-rural-haycation/47139082/1  Turns out that offering people from the city the “true farm experience” has turned into a most-profitable proposition for some family farmers across the country. The price ranges from about $100 per night for your standard B&B-type stay to nearly $2000 when a gourmet dining/cooking event is included.

The more I think about the business side of this, however, the more I realized these “rural resort” people aren’t maximizing the opportunity.  There are clearly ways to reduce the cost, heighten the experience and better the bottom line. (This farm girl hasn’t been writing corporate annual reports for three decades for nothing!)

So, let’s get started:

Doris P:  Do you think your grandson would be willing to have guests help him get his lambs ready for fair if he were paid for supervising the grooming, walking, feeding and such? Also, while I don’t know your friend Allison, might she accept some dollars in exchange for teaching a mini-workshop on “Renovating the Country Home”?

Arlene T:  If we can find several bushels of peas that need shelling, green beans that need breaking and sweet corn that needs shucking, may we pay you for keeping guests on the porch, in the shade, until the job’s done?

Jill H:  I’m thinking a hands-on craft would be good…so maybe you can get a group of Lockridge guys to teach fence building and repair?

Marvin T:  We’ll be counting on you to provide the shovel-skill exhibition (you told me you were a world-class manure mover after your years at the Iowa State Fair).  Wait…a field-trip away from the fields! No one’s offering an escorted trip to the Fair! And all you old 4-H kids certainly know the “behind the scenes” story there!

Of course, we’ll be needing horses for them to ride (plus hayracks for the non-straddlers), ponds for them to fish (Marilyn W. can always tell them about the catfish that got away and my brother Gary can show them how to bait their hooks and clean the catch). But, you see where I’m going, right?  Here, right here, we have a way to augment our savings in case our Social Security gets trimmed or IPERS gets slimmed.

And for the piece de resistance:  To get the full boat price–the one with the gourmet cooking component–I thought I’d ask my Aunt Dorothy T. to demonstrate the fine art of award-winning lemon meringue pie baking. When you’ve still got it at 97, that’s worth a premium.

Sign up sheet’s below. Let me know if you’re in.

😉 C.

Photo: mahalie stackpole/flickr/creative commons


5 Responses to “haycation”

  1. I can remember many times growing up on the farm when we would have a “city slicker” visit us. Did we ever have fun with them ! ! ! Those were some good times that I will always remember. It’s just too bad that we didn’t charge for the experiences they acquired – we could have been millionaires ! !

  2. I remember when my city cousins visited, and they wanted to go to the hen house and “pick” the eggs! My best fishing story would have to be when I buried one prong of a 3-prong hook in my thumb while the fish was on another prong! Mom & Dad were gone, and Paul Ingram had to take me to the ER, complete with the fish still attached!! Dr. Marston didn’t know whether to detach the fish first or cut the hook out of my thumb! Fortunately, I bear no scars or phobias of hooks!

    • And there will ALWAYS be the one that got away from our east farm pond. 😉
      What I remember about your city cousins was when one was hurt by fireworks.
      That was a huge deal in my brain. C.

  3. My husband Carroll has a great city cousin story. He placed a lit firecracker in a fresh cow pile, and told his cousin to lean over it and see what would happen. Well, we all know what happened, and the cousin’s very long hair was covered in cow poop. Her mother was not happy, but what a memory!

  4. I remember an incident with our family and a cow pile! Garu

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