I’ve been to Southern California many times, but I’d never ventured this far in land. Out here it looks more like desert than city, with distant dusty mountains watching over this flat piece of brown. Bulbous yellow weeds are just starting to sprout and the arid environment sustains just enough for cactus and low growing citrus. Horses, sheep, chickens, and hares are common out here, and birds of prey circle overhead. An occasional helicopter flies above, but other than that, evidence of humans are scarce. Mexican Spanish is spoken in town and mariachis provide the soundtrack to a quiet life out here.
At night, the expanse of sky and stars watches over what looks like an endless dark playa. Street lights are scarce and distant.
I had a friend from college who invited me out here to spend the week at his farm, and here I learned about raising chickens and roping horses. There’s a lot to learn for city folk about how a farm works and just being here a few days I feel much more connected with the animals. My friend is a vegetarian, so none of the chickens were in any danger from us, and thus greeted us with cheery boks and scattered themselves all over our feet whenever we ventured outside. I honestly couldn’t tell if the chickens were friendly or hungry, but they followed me around like pack animals whenever I went outside and I got a playful vibe from them. Daily we would toss cornmeal feed to all the clucking birds freely wandering the farm and dropping eggs.
Roping a horse in was a whole other beast. Horses get spooked rather easily. Any big or sudden movements would cause them to jump. I carried a blanket around in the early morning for warmth and adjusting it around my shoulders would be expanding myself unintentionally and scaring all the farm animals. One of the beautiful black horses was moving to another farm, and in order to get the horse into its trailer, four of us had to corner the horse (which it did not like) and one of the ranchers had to ring a rope around her neck to drag on the horse and calm her.
It’s rustic but cozy out here. Neighbors don’t bother each other, in fact you rarely see them. There’s a sense of daily work ethic, the animals need to be fed, need water changed daily. In exchange the chickens let us take some of their eggs, the freshest I’ve ever had. And since you can only make them with fresh eggs, I finally got the boil the best poached eggs I’ve ever eaten, straight from the chickens butt.