Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things

Stories from the Farm, 05.06.2021, Sabine Ertl

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” This is a philosophy that everyone at the farm and restaurant “Löckerwirt” in St. Margarethen im Lungau holds dear. Young and old alike.

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Familie Löcker geht über den Kartoffelacker. | © Urlaub am Bauernhof im SalzburgerLand / Daniel Gollner

Christina Löcker was firmly convinced: “My career could take me anywhere but never ever will I become a farmer or a landlady.” However, life has a way of messing things up. Destiny may be laughing up its own sleeve as it determines the course of events in the lives of two young people. And then, Christina ran straight into the arms of Leonhard, a passionate farmer and landlord. Today, she knows: “Looking back, I’ve done everything right. I put my heart and soul into being a nursery school teacher. I would have never thought that I would do something else in the future. But then, there was the love of my life, the farm, the restaurant. At a certain point, I had to ask myself where I was needed most.” She went with her gut and chose to give up her profession, thereby setting the stage for a new life. She didn’t regret her decision, not a single moment. The reasons are diverse and yet simple. “I can be there for our son Lorenz, without compromises. Our second child is on the way. My husband sees how the kids are growing up on the farm. He can be part of the most beautiful moments. The first smile, the first steps. A lot of dads who have another profession do not get the chance to experience those moments.”

Bake Bread and Watch “Barn TV”

On the farm “Löckerwirt”, the whole family pulls together. For the guests, that doesn’t remain a secret. Christina’s father-in-law is in charge of the farm whereas her mother-in-law rattles the pots and pans in the kitchen. She is also an expert on herbs. However, they are gradually making way for the next generation. “I can raise our children and learn everything I need to know about the business along the way. There’s no pressure. Both goes hand in hand.” In any case, the young, dynamic farmer is bubbling over with ideas. “I’d like to contribute to our business by using my expertise as a nursery school teacher. My wish is to give our young guests, the kids, an understanding of the things we care about. Through play. Show them how bread is made from fragrant grain, let them be part of our life in the countryside.” For this purpose, she likes to make use of new technologies. “In their rooms, our guests can watch ‘Barn TV’. It’s a direct line to the barn. They can see what’s going on there in the morning or in the evening.” Apart from that, the hosts try to encourage their guests to cut down on screen time and go without WiFi, tablets and the like. To focus on the joy of the simple things. “Most of the kids run straight to the garden after they’ve arrived. It’s much more difficult to help the parents wind down”, Christina knows. There is great beauty in the simplicity of nature. Noticing, enjoying and appreciating the simple things around us is a virtue. It’s her son who made her rediscover it. “Snail shells, for example. You can find them everywhere on our farm. But on my own, I’d never have noticed them. Children give you a sense of a slower pace in life. They show you a refreshing new glimpse of the world. Allow yourself to shift your perspective. It’s worth it.”

That’s why there’s no huge playground, no garage with countless go-karts. Nature plays the lead. Collecting chestnuts, building a sand castle, harvesting the famous locally grown potatoes (called “Eachtling”), that’s on the agenda. “It’s the simple things in life that allow kids and adults to slow down. We want to keep pursuing this idea of not making things up, not creating a surplus of activities. We want to be authentic. Nature gives us so much already. It’s enough for us all.”

Down-to-Earth. Energising.

The restaurant “Löckerwirt” serves authentic cuisine. The milk is sourced from the Lungau region, vegetables and meat are produced on site, on the organic farm. Slow Food is celebrated every day. A private abattoir that complies with EU rules was recently built on the farm. The facilities ensure minimal stress to the livestock on their last way. Plus, careful on-farm processing guarantees premium quality. At times, even vegetarians who are on holiday here choose to eat meat for dinner in the restaurant on site. Why? Because it simply can’t get any more authentic than that. Because they know where the meat that’s served comes from. Christina thinks that children are allowed to and should understand what’s behind the cutlet on their plates. “A lot of people only see the pre-packaged meat in the supermarket. For us, it’s important to give our guests an understanding of the natural processes. The youngest of our guests go to the henhouse in the morning to collect their eggs for breakfast. That may be something completely random for us but for them, it’s the highlight of their day.”

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Sabine Ertl
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