My wife of 41 plus years and I are living on a small ranch (20 acres) in Northern California. We have some sheep, about 16 at the last count and two llamas to protect the sheep from the coyotes. Then we have two large mixed breed herding dogs to protect the llamas from the mountain lions. (No, I don’t know how many mountain lions we have because they are roaming wild in our area and also they don’t belong to us.)
Then we have close to 100 chicken because we like the income from selling the eggs to our neighbors. The chickens run free and “willi nilly” in a 2 acre fenced area. Next we feed over 300 homing pigeons. I write here that we feed them. Not that we own them, because I think that they own us.
When we bought the ranch, it came with 20 of them. Then we saw that they were laying eggs and the little birds were sooo cute ….and then we were feeding 50 of them. Now, 4 years later, we feed over 300… No, we don’t over-feed. We stopped that after the first 50. And in our mind we are only supporting fifty. But, they multiply faster than rabbits and find all the free food in the chicken corrals.
Next to mind come our two large shepherds which earn their keeps by protecting us all. We are also doing some dog boarding for our friends and when my neighbor heard that I was writing a novel he asked me “Where do you find the time?” Well, truth is, as long as I lived I never “found” any time. It always seemed to me that I had the same time as anyone else. No less, no more. If I wanted something done I always “made” the time.
Same here with my writing. I decided to write a book and in order to do so I set my alarm clock to 4:00 am. Bingo, right then and there I “found” or “made” two hours which I did not have before. How simple is that? “Ugh,” my neighbor asked “I understand that, but are you in a mood to write this early in the morning?”
Now you have to remember that I am an old fashioned German. I never think about “my mood” or nonsense like that. The decision to write is already made. The time to write was created by adding two hours in the morning. So, all I have to do is ……..start writing. After the start I continue….. writing…that is. I also “created” some time by simply dropping some unproductive habits. I mean we all have them, we just don’t like to talk about them.
However: “The ugly ones know who they are!”.
Hmm, yes, when someone asks what the sheep are good for?
We change the subject.
I’ve always wanted to be on a place like you’ve described, but without the mountain lions! My sister-in-law was born and raised in Napa Valley and wanted us to go to see how beautiful it is. She still has siblings in Vacaville. But, once she moved to Georgia and fell in love with our south, she felt it was home. I believe she would have loved reading your articles, answers to people’s questions, and about your menagerie. We lost her to cancer but she trusted us with her beloved Birdie, a “chi weena” as she called her. A mix of chihuahua and miniature dachshund whose legs are so short she’s even half the height of the cats and weighs a bit less! She is not small in her own mind, though! She can puff her chest out as if she is a pit bull when she feels the need. I can almost see your place in my mind, chickens, llamas, and mountain lions – oh my! Thank you for the early smile for today. And if some want to know what sheep are for, you can just explain that sweaters are made of wool which comes from a sheep’s coat that must be sheared occasionally. ‘Nuff said.