Magically misty mornings, breathtaking views, the sounds of animals and nearby rivers in an otherwise quiet and remote area are what drew Eryn Leavens and Oliver Gawlik to their farm in July 2019, something they enjoy sharing with other people.
“It’s an incredibly peaceful setting that allows visitors the opportunity to unwind and destress,” Leavens said about Happy Compromise Farm.
When there’s not a global pandemic, there is a yurt on the property where they host guests from Airbnb, an online vacation rental site.
“We call it ‘farm-stay glamping’ though it’s so much more than that. It’s a respite from the stressors of the city, complete with a cedar steam sauna and a roaring wood stove for both cooking and warmth,” Leavens said. Yurt guests also have access to a telescope to stargaze on clear nights.
Leavens and Gawlik moved to Drain from the Bay Area. Leavens is originally from Oakland, California, and Gawlik from upstate New York.
“We have both always felt a strong calling to the Pacific Northwest,” Leavens said. “We fell in love with the natural beauty of our land in Douglas County, and knew it was the farm for us before we even saw it in person.”
In addition to the farm, there’s also a nonprofit sanctuary at the property which is home to 61 animals — chickens, roosters, ducks, geese, peafowl, goats, alpacas, cats and dogs.
The couple had 11 animals when they moved to the farm and acquired some when they bought the property from the previous owners as well as others from people who couldn’t care for their animals any longer. The sanctuary is currently at capacity.
They offer tours of the farm to guests, have a small menu of food and sell items they make and grow on the farm — including ceramics made by Leavens in a barn studio.
The farm is located in a remote area, about 30 minutes off the highway and an equal distance from the town of Drain, that has been visited by few people, although the road they live on leads to the coast.
“We wanted to open up our property for guests who wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience this tucked-away paradise,” Leavens said. “They can come spend a night away from their normal responsibilities and instead decompress in nature with animals who they might not normally get to know. We also wanted to share the knowledge and skills we have learned from living somewhat self-sufficiently.”
Leavens and Gawlik hope to expand by offering sourdough workshops, ceramics open houses, flower arranging classes and fermentation classes in the future. They also hope to open a farm stand.
The farm is a low-waste, vegan, regenerative farm, which goes beyond organic farming practices and improves the soil through no-till practices.
“We know that animals are an integral part of restoring the soil, and by allowing animals to do what they naturally do (peck, scratch, poop) we reduce our off-farm inputs for fertilizers, eliminate the need for gas-powered machinery such as a tractor, and can provide a safe and loving home for animals otherwise slated for slaughter,” Leavens said. “We don’t consume, use or promote the use of animal products for the sake of our rescued friends.”