Orrin and I had dreamed of running a camp once many years ago. We even applied to run a church camp at one time, where Orrin would be caretaker and I would be cook. He has always been more forward thinking than I so I listened when he said we should buy some property. We tried to buy some land near us but were unsuccessful. We ended up going to a realtor who helped us find the property that has become Lab Land. It was a series of 6-acre parcels. At first we bought 4 parcels (24 acres). As we lived with the property, we realized that we didn’t want someone else to buy the parcel to the north of us so we added the 5th parcel, bringing our total to 30 acres. Once again we decided we should try to buy the remaining parcel but someone else put a bid on that property on the same day we did. We each had a chance to put in one more bid. We were outbid which was meant to be. Barb and Don became our neighbors and good friends. Barb is the one who got me interested in doing the quilting on my own quilts. She and Don helped move my longarm quilting machine from the store into my upstairs dormer (quite a feat for 4 or 5 senior citizens). Many who have come to Lab Land have met Barb and her dogs, Barkley (ShihTzu) and Casper who come out and walk several times a day at Lab Land.
Once we had acquired the land, we would take our dogs out to run and have a good time. Soon several of our friends would also come with their dogs. For about a year, we kept saying we were going to “the property.” That became insufficient so we started thinking about names. We had 3 Labs, Lu had 2 Labs, Lu’s daughter had 2 Labs and her friends Pam and Elaine had 3 Labs, Diane had 2 Labs, Purlie’s breeder (Barb) had 3 Labs, Phyllis and Bob had 2 Labs. It became clear that the property was for the dogs so it was a small step to name it Lab Land.
Orrin had always thought that it would be really neat if we could name our drive as a private street so I started checking. It only took a relatively small amount of money, and the county would come put up a sign and register the street with emergency services (911). Since the property was named Lab Land, the drive almost had to become a lane(because of the alliteration), and, thus Lab Land Lane was born. I happened to be at Lab Land at the time the county came to put up the sign and could help determine its position.
The next step in the evolution started when my mother gave us some flower seeds for Lab Land. We planted them and then had to keep them watered. This became a life consuming task as we had no water at Lab Land. So after a year or more with no water,we decided we would put in a well. Of course, this meant we had to have electricity. In order to do those things, we had to have a physical address.We went to the county to ask how to do this. Most people had told us that our address would actually be on Thompsonville Highway so we were expecting to be disappointed. The county, however, said we had to have a Lab Land Lane address (what we wanted) and proceeded to give us a number: 15170 Lab Land Lane. We don’t use that address much since it is a private lane and not available for GPS purposes but Orrin does list that address for his AKC address. (I still use our home address which is about 13 miles away.)
The photo on this page is very special and always has been. We took this photo one of the first years we owned the property when Lu, Maria, Pam, Elaine, Orrin and I were there with all our Labs and an extra that belonged to someone’s father. We all have a copy of this photo. It is special because of the beauty of the fall color and the number of the Labs all being obedient without people. Purlie was just a puppy although he was mostly grown. The significance of this photo now is that it is a tribute to all our dogs for whom Lab Land was named, all of whom have now crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Tally was the last to leave us. We all still have Labs but there has been a changing of the guard. Lab Land still belongs to all the dogs who come to track and play. We just pay the taxes and drive the dogs to and from.