The place has always been called The Farm because Elmer and Emma raised a few animals and had a large garden on the 160 acres they homesteaded. All of the food raised was simply to survive. “It wasn’t a commercial farm,’’ Darrold said.
After Elmer Olson died in 1962, Don and Myrna Persson became caretakers.
A well and septic system were added in 1982; a bunkhouse in 1991, a front porch — the main gathering place now — in 1998.
“It’s not fancy by any stretch of the imagination,’’ Darrold said. “It’s just comfortable.’’
Besides its tidy white outside appearance, other things set The Farm apart from more typical northern Minnesota deer-hunting lodges.
“We’re probably one of the few camps with a defibrillator,’’ said Darrold. “We had the fire department come and give us first-aid training, too. Old guys like me want the young guys to know how to do that.’’
Also the camp has its own website (www.perssonfarm.com). And when deer aren’t in season, it serves broader purposes.
“It’s a deer camp from October through November, but the rest of the season it’s a family gathering place,’’ Darrold said.
Then there are the poems, written by Darrold, hanging on the wall. In one about his grandparents, he wrote:
“For the seeds that they planted so long ago
Continue to flourish — continue to grow.
Parents and children making memories to share
A heritage preserved — ever a family affair.’’
An opener to remember
As a storm dumped 3 inches of wet snow last Friday, 12 family members and friends gathered at The Farm. Though some didn’t get to bed until 1:30 a.m., they all got up around 5 Saturday morning, ate a quick breakfast, climbed into blaze-orange clothing and hiked to their stands.
Darrold spotted fresh deer tracks on his trail, and climbed into his enclosed, elevated stand shortly after 6 a.m., then watched the woods slowly become visible. Light snow fell.
“It’s like a Christmas card out here,’’ he whispered.
A shot rang through the woods at 7:10, a second at 7:15 and a third, more distant, at 7:30. Then around 8:30 came a single shot nearby.